Every retail or restaurant chain should know that engaging with customers is critical to increasing loyalty and sales.
In fact, customer engagement has always been a driving factor to grow retention. Consider the mom-and-pop shops of the past. They knew every customer on a first-name basis and would greet them at the door with a “hello” as well as personalized recommendations for the products they’d like.
Today, the nature of these businesses has changed. Many have become multi-location chains, making it much harder to build one-to-one relationships with customers. However, using automated, data-driven tools combined with omnichannel communication over social media, mobile apps, and email make it easier than ever to communicate with a huge audience, so there’s no excuse not to engage with your customers on a regular basis.
The key to long-term success is to keep your audience engaged and interested, even when they’re not buying anything. It’s with this strategy that your brand will be kept at the forefront of customers’ minds, and it’s your business they’ll think about first when they’re ready to make their next purchase. Superb engagement does more than increase customer loyalty—it can also grow your sales. Studies have shown that 80% of US consumers are willing to spend more at businesses that offer quality customer engagement and experience.
Is customer engagement easier said than done? Of course, and there are so many areas where well-intentioned companies get it right and wrong. Follow the below list of dos and don’ts to engage with your customers the right way:
Don’t take a spray and pray approach
Earlier we referenced the power of tools like social media and email for communicating with an audience en masse. That power is constantly abused by chains that bombard their customers with messages without considering the person on the other end.
Research from 2017 indicates that 26% of consumers unsubscribe from company emails due to high volumes of sends, while 21% blame the lack of relevance. Send too many emails that aren’t relevant and the only engagement you’ll achieve is an unsubscribe or unfollow.
Do send targeted communications
The remedy to a spray and pray strategy is a highly targeted one, which enables chains to reach customers in a personalized way.
The online giants, like Amazon, are able to use data gathered about their customers to power ads for products that fall in line with each one’s interests. Retail and hospitality chains could work off the same strategy. By using a customer engagement platform that integrates with their POS, brick and mortar businesses automatically gather data about purchases to send customers the effective kinds of personalized communications that engage them and keep them coming back
Don’t rely on one method of communication
One of the more crucial tips for building engagement is to ensure that each customer is receiving the right kind of communications, and that’s not limited to customer preference or demographic information alone. You might think that social media covers all your bases, but some communications are better suited for emails, app notifications, or text messages. The key to sending effective campaigns is to choose the right communication method or platform for each one.
Do consider your customer journey
In considering that 19% of consumers unsubscribe from emails because they are too salesy, you might assume that it’s wrong to send things like limited-time offers. In fact, there’s every chance this message just isn’t communicated in the right way, at the right time.
When sending communications, keep an eye on where your customers are in your purchasing funnel, and what behavior they’ve taken. It might be that your emails are packed with the type of offers that should be sent over text messages so that they’ll be seen immediately post-purchase instead of getting back-logged in someone’s inbox.
Don’t make assumptions about customers
Your engagement with customers should be based on an understanding of their interests, which should be backed by data. Purchase history gives you a great idea of what customers’ preferences are and why they buy from you. Use this information during every interaction with customers to build lasting relationships with them.
The more careful you are about maintaining the relationship, the more natural the conversation will come.
Do bring the power of online to your store
When attempting to drive engagement via personalized offers, do not forget the power of technology within your physical premises.
Restaurant and retail chains can use automated customer engagement tools inside their POS to offer tailored rewards to customers based on what they like to buy. For example, you could set a triggered promotion to reward a customer with his favorite dessert if he surpasses a certain level of spend.
It’s these little touches that enhance the customer experience and really promote engagement with any retail or restaurant chain. And, by using the right kinds of technology, restaurant, and retail chains can run these kinds of promotions on auto-pilot.
Customer retention comes down to building engagement, which itself comes as a result of knowing who your customers are.
Customer engagement platforms hand you the tools that allow you to develop a much deeper understanding of your audience and launch the right kind of interactions. From here, your customers will be given much more of a reason to buy specifically from you, rather than one of your competitors.
To find out more about fostering the right kinds of customer engagement, schedule a call.
Como brings the technology behind the online giants to hospitality chains through Como Sense, an end-to-end customer engagement platform inside their POS. With Como Sense, you get a personalized loyalty program, branded mobile app, omnichannel engagement tools, data and BI, and marketing automation. Como Sense is proven to grow purchase frequency by 48%. Find out how you can start reaching your business goals with Como Sense, today.