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    5 things customers expect from your business online

    Smarter Writer
    Smarter Team

    A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

    Smarter Writer
    Smarter Team

    A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

    Do you know which online features customers think are important when dealing with businesses online? Research shows that you may be underestimating these five things.

    Woman shopping online

    The Telstra Business Intelligence report on Digital Marketing found that there are considerable differences in what consumers expect and what SMBs think are important when it comes to the features businesses offer online.

    Here, we look at five areas many businesses underestimate when it comes to operating online – and how you can improve them.

    A quick response to queries

    Your customers’ expectations of online communication may be set by their interactions with big companies that often have a whole team in place to respond to customers. The Digital Marketing report found 61% of consumers expect SMBs to respond to their queries as quickly as large businesses. However, as a small business, you can’t be expected to be available 24/7. Consider using things like FAQs and website self-service automation tools to offer immediate assistance to customers.

    Easy website navigation

    Ruth, a consumer interviewed for the Digital Marketing report, says, “A good website is fast, responsive, very clear, easy to use and timely.” And if it’s not easy to navigate, it could be enough to turn visitors off immediately. “I’m looking for a seamless experience, or I may not ever visit it again,” she says. Consider the customer experience when designing and building your business website – and go for simplicity where possible.

    A clear returns policy

    The Digital Marketing report found 84% of customers say a clear returns policy is important when interacting with a small business online. But only 39% of SMBs agree. If a customer makes a transaction with your business online, they want to know how they’ll be protected if something goes wrong with their purchase or booking, or if a product doesn’t suit their needs. Just like your website navigation, you should try to keep your returns policy simple and in plain language so it’s easy for anyone to understand, and keep it clearly displayed on your site.

    A trustworthy site

    “When making online purchases, cyber security is on my mind,” says Joseph, a consumer interviewed for the Telstra Business Intelligence report on Managing Risks Online. The same report showed that customers are increasingly concerned about online security due to the impacts of COVID-19, as more people are connecting (and ultimately shopping) with businesses online. By doing your bit to keep your site secure, with things like an SSL certificate and secure payment methods, you’ll help give customers peace of mind that you’re keeping their data safe if they choose to spend with you. And while cyber-secure practices are important to meet customer expectations, they’re also beneficial for your business in helping to prevent a security breach.

    Regular website updates

    The Digital Marketing report found that 71% of customers expect a website to be updated regularly, while only 52% of SMBs agree. Customers and search engines both tend to favour websites with content that is up to date – whether it’s new or refreshed. Consider how you can make website updates work for you with the content you have available. You could write blog posts or add customer reviews and testimonials, as long as customers can see that you’re on the pulse.

    By dedicating some time and effort to these features of your business, you can help meet customer expectations and improve how your business fares online.

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