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Customer Engagement Tips for Small Businesses

Posted by JEREME SANBORN
12 August, 2016

shop-local-300x200.jpgIf you’re a small to midsized business owner who is competing against larger corporations with more resources, utilizing an effective customer engagement strategy is going to be essential to your success. By engaging with customers on a personal (and personalized) level, you’ll help develop the trust necessary to create the long-term relationships you need to reach and even surpass your sales goals. So, how can you engage with your customers in a way that will have them return to your business again and again? We have a few ideas …

START A CONVERSATION

Have a social presence? Instead of simply talking at your customers, talk with them. By starting a conversation with your Facebook followers for instance, you’ll not only be putting a friendly face on your business, you’ll undoubtedly gain important insights into your customers that could drive your future sales.

GET YOUR EMPLOYEES ON BOARD

If you truly want to make customer engagement a priority for your business, you’ll need buy-in from your employees. After all, they’re the ones who are interacting with your customers on a daily basis. Take some time to think about what experience you’d like to offer your customers. Then, formulate a plan to deliver that experience with every customer interaction. Want to ensure you create a customer first mentality among your employees? Solicit their feedback when forming your customer engagement strategy so they’ll feel more invested in the process.

PERSONALIZE YOUR CUSTOMER INTERACTIONS

Customers like to frequent small to midsized businesses precisely because of the more personal nature of the experiences they have there. So leave the phone scripts and automated emails to the large, soulless corporations. Instead, make an effort to get to know your customers on a personal level.  Sending communications like emails? Keep them conversational instead of formal. If possible, take the time to include handwritten thank you notes along with your receipts.

SOLICIT FEEDBACK QUICKLY

One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an entrepreneur is to think that your relationship with a particular customer ends when the sale is complete. The most successful entrepreneurs don’t focus on making a single sale, they’re more interested in developing a long-term relationship with customers so that they can sell to them again and again. By soliciting feedback from your customers immediately after the purchase, for instance with a friendly, “How did we do?” email, you’ll be able to properly gauge customer satisfaction, improve your product offerings, and increase customer retention.

IDENTIFY ADVOCATES FOR YOUR BUSINESS

When soliciting feedback from your customers, you’ll not only learn how to better serve customers who had a less than amazing experience with your business, you’ll also be able to identify satisfied customers who might be willing to serve as an advocate for your business through testimonials and so forth.

KEEP YOUR CUSTOMERS INFORMED

Want your customers to engage with your brand? Make sure you keep them in the loop about new developments within your business. Consider sending out a monthly or quarterly newsletter informing customers of new products and services, any special promotions you may be running, upcoming events and so forth. By keeping your customers informed, they’ll feel a deeper connection with your business.

BECOME PROFICIENT IN SEO

Customer engagement isn’t just about forming deeper connections with the customers you already have, it’s about attracting new ones as well. Make sure you are properly using SEO so that potential customers can quickly and easily find your company when performing internet searches.

POSITION YOURSELF AS AN INDUSTRY EXPERT

Another tried and true method for maximizing your customer engagement is to serve as a thought leader for your particular industry. By dispensing industry news to consumers (through e-blasts, blogs, social, etc.), you enhance your reputation with those consumers. That’s good for your business and your bottom line.

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