If you’re a small business owner, keeping your customers engaged is extremely important. Here’s a quick guide on how to do that!
by Troop Atomic Mommy
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Hair salons, coffee shops, yoga studios, tattoo shops, and many more, are small businesses, owned by creative and determined entrepreneurs, and some of these businesses do well in times of economic turmoil, while others don’t. The difference between those that do and those that do not, is customer engagement and adaptability.
As a small business owner, you need to give people a reason to visit your storefront instead of your competitor’s. One of the best ways to achieve this goal is by looking at ways to adapt your customer engagement so that they feel happy and ecstatically satisfied with what you’ve provided them.
Here’s a few tips to help you keep your customers engaged!
Create An Online Booking System
If you’re still using the phone as your only method of communication with your customers, you’re missing out on a great deal of business. If your business depends on appointments, then it’s time to add an online booking system. You can do this simply, by installing a smartphone app to help curate this seemingly easy way of booking appointments.
Having an app to help with this will also allow you to offer your customers additional options, such as pre-pay and appointment reminders. An added benefit to this is that you’ll be collecting client’s contact information, many of which will have emails. If you pick the right app for online booking, they should be able to offer clients the ability to opt-in to receiving company updates. And that’s a game changer for small business owners, which brings us to our next tip.
Send Company Updates Via E-mail
Your tried and true customers love your company, so they naturally would love to hear what’s going on in your business. Remember above, when I mentioned choosing a booking app that lets your customers opt-in to receive company updates–this small feature will help you build an email subscriber base.
Why is this important? Because you can use the list of emails, with the consent your customers have already provided, to send them company updates, coupons, new employee hires, new service add-ons, and so much more! And you don’t need to have an appointment based company to do this. If you’re store sells clothes, is an auto body shop, or even a tattoo shop, you can easily ask your customers to sign up to receive updates. This not only helps build your company’s awareness, but lets your customers in to see behind-the-scenes, which many people love!
Provide Entertainment At Your Business
Whenever a customer attends their scheduled appointment or walks into a store for a purchase, you may find that some people aren’t interested in talking much apart from discussing what they want. Even that is up for debate, as some customers just like to be left alone.
Avoid awkward silences by offering some form of entertainment inside your business. For example, you could utilize a Loop solution to provide music video entertainment via TV screens, or you can have a list of the hottest music playing in the background for shoppers. When customers feel that kind of welcoming energy, they want to stay longer, which opens the possibility of them making more purchases.
Offer A Selection Of Beverages For Clients
In-person small businesses have the unique ability to offer customers a beverage–they can be offered this small luxury during wait times or while a service is being provided. This could be something as simple as offering each client a cup of coffee, or providing a hot beverage vending machine which is free for them to use. If you wanted to go a bit further, you could also offer specialty water, like fruit infused water or even, a cold fruit tea.
Ensure Continuity Of Service
One pet peeve that many people have when attending appointments at certain businesses, is getting served by different people at each visit. Clients have to take the time to explain how they expect to be treated and what they want from their current appointment, and that can be a tiresome experience.
Avoid such problems by offering continuity of service. For example, offer customers the ability to schedule future appointments with the previous person that helped them. Prepare customers for any unmet expectations by sending out email notifications when a certain person has left the company and will no longer be available for future appointments. Additionally, have a note system in place for each customer. Make placing service notes for each customer, a mandatory task–insert what the customer had done and any expectations they have for the future. This will guide all future employees if the needs arises to look back through the notes, and will also provide customers the same level of care.
Sell Value-Added Products
Stock your shelves with value-added products, not just products to make a quick buck. Many stores fail to do this successfully, instead placing items on their shelves that will not add value to the customer’s life.
For example, hair salons often add shampoos and conditioners on their shelves thinking this is adding value to their customers. But in reality, customers go into hair salons to have their hair done, and likely have their preferred hair care system already in place at home. Instead of offering these kinds of products, offer different up-sells such as bath salts and candles for wellness and relaxation–this simple product switch adds higher value to the customer so they can continue their spa-like experience in the comfort of their home.
Being a small business owner may have its ups and downs, but they all have one thing in common, and that’s their customers. So, whatever your small business is, remember to keep your customers engaged with some of the tips from above.