Follow these tips to build better relationships with consumers.

Years ago, when your grandparents went shopping, they likely spent some time chatting with the store owner about life in general, including the weather, their kids and the neighborhood gossip.

Now, thanks to the proliferation of e-commerce businesses, it’s almost a guarantee that the owner has no idea what their customers even look like. Plus, if they do own a brick and mortar storefront, they may be so busy running around that they can’t carve out enough time in their busy days to gab with and get to know their customers.

However, as notes, ensuring some form of customer loyalty still requires building relationships with them. Despite the anonymity of shopping online, people still want to feel like they are an important part of these businesses and the success the owners and employees experience.

In order to attract and retain as many customers as possible, it’s important to find ways to interact with them in real time via phone, online or in-person. With that in mind, check out the following tips that can help you build better relationships with your valued customers.

1. Have a Presence on Social Media

Of course, one great and surefire way to reach customers in real time is to create business pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. But instead of posting photos of your latest product or a #MotivationalMonday quote, take the time to answer any questions posed on these pages; after all, social media is meant to foster conversation and community-building. Ultimately, this level of ongoing engagement will make visitors feel like they’re appreciated and valued

To make this process as easy as possible, Facebook suggests using its Messenger app and activating the “Instant Replies” feature to send automated replies to anyone who messages you. Ideally, these automated, templated messages should act as a greeting and thank you to customers for reaching out to your business. Mentioning that you will respond to any specific individual questions or comments in a timely manner is also beneficial.

Additionally, if you have a presence on multiple social media sites, Social Media Examiner suggests using additional tools like Sparkcentral, a customer service platform that allows you to communicate with your customers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in real-time by supporting any needs as they arise.

2. Look into Live Chat

No one likes to call a company with a question or to check the status of their order, only to be placed on hold for 10 minutes. In fact, the customer may get so frustrated that they hang up and elect to do business with an entirely different company. With that in mind, consider adding a live chat feature to your website that will allow your customers to interact with a company rep instantaneously in order to get the information they need.

In addition to saving customers time and limiting any potential frustration, employing such an option can also help to free up your support team’s time and allow them to answer more pressing questions from other customers.

3. Consider a Cloud Contact Center

Another effective way to interact with your customers in real-time is to consider investing in a call center in the cloud. Through this solution, a live agent will always be available to speak with your customers and answer any questions. Call centers are also ideal when you want to be available to your customers 24/7, but don’t want to pull all-nighters on the phone.

Attention Spans May be Short, But Customers Still Want to be Loyal

In this fast-paced world of ours, it may seem like people are satisfied with having super quick and impersonal shopping experiences. Still, in reality, shoppers want what your grandparents experienced — a personal connection and feeling that they are valued.

By being active and responsive on social media, offering live chat and providing 24/7 service via the cloud — and doing everything in your power to make every customer feel valued — you can still offer a meaningful experience.

Read more: How to Improve Call Center Customer Satisfaction With Live Chat