How to put a face to your online business

How to imbue the human touch to an online business? Leverate‘s Yael Warman discusses.

Yael Warman, Leverate

Yael Warman, Leverate

Everyone agrees that operating a brokerage online is more efficient, cost effective and has the means to provide excellent user satisfaction.

However a significant drawback is that it is hard to imbue the human touch into your trading services, as brokers rarely meet with clients in person. It is critical that the importance of providing a human element to your trading services is not underestimated. Human interaction creates a rapport between trader and broker that is critical for building trust, and in an industry where people are often times trading a lot of money, the element of trust becomes essential.

As an online business there are various tools at your disposal to help give your brokerage the human touch. These simple tools can go a long way to help build your client’s confidence, stamping your brokerage as responsible, legitimate and professional. In short, the kind of brokerage that can be trusted with their hard earned money.

Put a smile on it.

Put a picture of every member of the management team on the website. If your management team is large, you may want to limit it to those members who have the most amount of contact with prospective clients. Everyone responds to a face. Even if that face is simply a picture, it still has a powerful ability to humanize a company and add legitimacy to its services. With new regulations requiring salespeople to use their own names, as opposed to pseudonyms, a website with names and faces will project a positive image as a reliable source of information.

Instant Messages (IM’s)

There are now many different forms of sending IM’s to clients, be it via traditional phone text message, Twitter, Facebook messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, or using customer support tools like Zopim and Liveperson. IM makes a customer feel like they are dealing with a human being, rather than a robot. This is especially true if you can personalize the IM in some particular way for example, by using names and pictures in the avatar.

Whilst it is common for brokerages to have a customer service IM function, the sales and retention agents would also be well served by integrating this into their methods of contact. It provides them with the same benefits of convenience and allows them to provide particular information links in an easy to send manner. It can also allow them to track life cycle events efficiently and send their best wishes in a personalized manner without much fuss.

Video Calling

An online business video calling is easy to arrange, giving you absolutely no excuse not to use it. The face to face contact that is enabled by video calling is exceptionally valuable in creating a rapport between a broker or sales agent and a client. As social creatures we naturally pick up on nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, hand gestures, eye contact and voice intonation and put more weight on the messages that we receive from these cues than the actual words used.  This is because we intuitively know that we are less conscious and less in control of these nonverbal cues than what we are of the words we are saying. Therefore we are more inclined to trust someone after speaking with them face to face.

Pay a visit

The best option, should time and money allow it, is to actually make a visit to the client. For an online business that may have a very geographically diverse client base, this may not always be practical or feasible. Most companies will use this method for the high potential clients, but an annual or bi annual zone visit can provide an excellent return on investment and a chance for increased business development activities.

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