In 2020, customer behaviors changed. Online shopping and ordering takeout became popular alternatives to waiting in line at the grocery store or eating at a restaurant while it was closed to the public.
Today, businesses can look forward to turning a corner as restrictions are lifted. Fatigued from a year of staying in, customers are eager to support their favorite brands, socialize, and get back to normalcy again. Their buying power and loyalty will make all the difference as business owners recover from the slump of 2020.
Read on to discover six tips for engaging your customers so they’ll keep coming back all year.
Practice first-class service
Make every customer experience memorable. Whether they’re getting a cup of coffee, looking for new jeans, or just picking up some dinner, customers expect top service. They notice the little things, like how your staff greets them when they walk in or the doodles your team puts on to-go coffee cups.
Encourage your teams to be customer-focused. To help, give them tools and freedom to provide good service. If your staff are juggling manual forms to clock in, or having to dig through their email to ask a question, their customer service can slip.
Try out these tips to free up your staff so they can make customer service a priority.
Automate your manual processes. Timesheets and payroll should be effortless. Allow your employees to easily clock in and out using an app, so they prioritize the customer.
Make communication easy. Equip your team with modern communication tools so they can maintain smooth operations.
Begin with onboarding. Use your onboarding to help your team get aligned on how to help your customers. From how to answer phones to when to clean your cafe, your team will have more time to focus on the customer when they have processes from the beginning.
Use social media
Customers can now shop through Instagram and Facebook. Even as businesses re-open, don’t forget to engage them on social media. Connect with a wider audience, 24/7, by building out a presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Engaging with customers on social media will allow them to connect with your business, wherever they are. If you’re just starting out, don’t worry about using paid ads yet. Your organic channels are a great way to engage your customers.
Keep customers up to date. Have your hours been all over the place? Use Facebook to let them know when things change. They can just visit your page instead of having to call.
Make it personal. Allow your customers to connect with the people behind the brand. Share Instagram stories of your staff making a delicious entree or setting up for brunch, and encourage your customers to share their own stories (and tag your business).
Launch a contest. Have your followers share a memory from your bar on Twitter. Pick the strongest entry and award them with a gift card.
Launch a loyalty program
Loyalty programs allow customers to accrue discounts, prizes, and exclusive access by making repeat purchases. In 2019, Starbucks attributed a majority of the additional $2.65 billion in revenue to their rewards program.
Incentivize your customers to make repeat purchases through a loyalty program. You’ll make loyal fans of your customers and build a stronger reputation by offering rewards to people who keep coming back.
Make it fun. Turn your loyalty program into a game, where customers accrue points for completing actions like leaving a review, making a purchase, or taking a survey. Points can be converted into store credit.
Exclusive access to new products. If your restaurant is debuting a new menu, invite your loyal customers to a tasting event.
Hit up their inbox. Email campaigns are convenient for nudging your customers. Attract them with free shipping and discounts on a regular basis. Everyone loves a good deal.
Your customers miss you. They’re excited to shop in person, dine out, and visit their favorite establishments. Boost customer engagement with events that show off new products and connect them to fellow customers. If you’re not fully open, keep the connections alive with unique virtual events.
Events are a meaningful way to help your business stand apart. Get creative and host events virtually, or safely in-person, to build lasting relationships with your customer.
Host a customer appreciation event. Have your clothing store set the scene for an intimate night of music and special discounts. Tie the event to your loyalty program for VIP guests only.
Take happy hour online. Host a virtual happy hour with a neighboring business, and invite attendees from both mailing lists. You’ll get to draw a bigger crowd and build community.
Educate your customers with a virtual Q&A. Has your care facility undergone new changes? Consider hosting a webinar that allows customers to ask questions and chat with care providers.
Provide helpful support
The customer experience isn’t always perfect. Sometimes a jacket ordered online doesn’t fit as expected or dinner is delivered without side dishes. In these cases, are you ready to make it up to the customer? Maintain customer loyalty by providing solutions, every time.
Make it right. A negative order experience can be turned around with a refund or discount code towards a future purchase. By committing to a refund or future discount, you’re expressing confidence and asking customers to give you another chance.
Provide resources. If a customer can’t reach you by phone, can they find solutions on your website or social media? FAQ articles will help customers help themselves.
Spread the workload by allowing your customer support agents to swap shifts. Whether you have a dedicated team or rely on in-house staff, your employee should be able to swap shifts for maximum coverage.
Connect customers to your mission
Over the years, consumers have shared the importance of supporting value-driven businesses. Zappos, for example, created programs for customers to donate their gently used shoes. Coupled with their first-class customer service, they now enjoy millions of five-star reviews.
Take a social stance and harness your customers’ goodwill. They’ll be attracted to a brand that gives back to the community.
Host volunteer opportunities. Invite your customers to pack meals for the needy at your restaurant, or have them write cards to care home patients.
Collect donation goods for impacted communities. People are still in need of protective equipment, clothing, and food. Allow your customers to donate goods and pass them on to a local organization.
Be vocal. Your storefront, social media channels, and website are highly visible. Use those spaces to speak out against violence in the community and proudly display your values. Be a brand that customers are proud to rally behind.
New ways of working
Customer behaviors have changed, in many ways for the better. Help your team get up to speed, and provide best-in-class customer service, when you learn more about how to adapt Download the ebook New Ways of Working to learn more about how the hourly workforce is changing.