Encourage Customers to Engage

Customers who love your business can become your greatest advocates. With customer voice gaining more and more power due to the strengthening of social media, customer outreach and engagement is cardinal to business success. How do you do this?

The simple answer is: just ask.

Your number one job is to delight customers. Plain old satisfactory products and services are not enough anymore. Really think about what would make customers happy and why they chose you. It doesn’t have to be something super expensive or time consuming. In fact, it’s the small touches that make customers feel special. Perhaps it’s chocolates on their pillow or asking about their favorite juice and having it ready next time they walk into your hair salon. Small gestures, big difference.

Once you’ve given customer that sense of delight, then it’s the right time to ask for their support. At the basic level, you want them to like or follow your business on social media. Well, say so in your marketing materials. Have signs, business cards and brochures mention your social media profiles. It’s the least you could do.

However, the real holy grail of social media is when a customer writes about your experiences and shares that message with their friends. This type of organic endorsement is priceless and considered the holy grail of marketing. It can feel a bit awkward to ask for this type of endorsement but it shouldn’t. If you have really given a person stellar service, at the end of their experience, leave them with a business card that says: ‘How did we do today? If we’ve exceeded your expectations and achieved our goal of six-star, above-and-beyond service, we’d love a shout out on social media. Our Facebook page is… and our Twitter handle is … and our Yelp is … (just pick one or two networks that are most valuable to you).

You can tailor the text to your audience and industry but the bottom line is: ASK. Watch a video of one of our favorite professors who actually proved asking works: here.

The last leg of your customer engagement strategy should be to ask customers to engage privately if they have something negative to say. That’s where OwnerListens shines as part of your social media strategy. The notion that approaching you or one of your managers is more fair than ranting online resonates with customers, but they need to be reminded about it. Especially in the heat of the moment, they might instinctively reach for their phone and type away on Facebook or Yelp. You need to intercept that behavior before it happens. Your staff, your marketing collateral in the store and your social media presence should emphasize your commitment to service and your availability to address any complaints privately.

As you educate your customers to message you privately you can also request that they add as many details as possible about what went wrong, including whenever possible relevant pictures (attaching pictures to messages is a built in OwnerListens feature).

For example on the other side of your card to customers the message should reflect the exact opposite: “we strive to do our best but if there’s anything we can improve on or if we disappointed you today in any way, we really need you to tell us. Come up to me at any time or use OwnerListens if you’d like to remain anonymous. It’s the only way we’ll get better.”

Time commitment:
4-5 hours to design and print materials
5 minutes a week reminding employees to hand out the feedback request cards to every customer

A lifetime of work to ensure stellar service and continuous improvement

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