Customer engagement is essential to the success of any company, but it can make or break a small business.
Small businesses often lack the resources of large enterprises, which means creating a small business customer engagement strategy requires a little more creativity.
In this article, we’ve put together some foolproof ways your small business can grow customer engagement on any budget.
How to improve customer engagement in your small business
As a small business, you’re competing with corporations with global brand recognition and other small businesses alike.
Improving your customer engagement can give you the edge you need. Here’s how.
Measure customer engagement
The first step is choosing your customer engagement metrics and collecting data.
This will help you figure out where your customer engagement is currently at, your targets, and the steps you need to take to hit those targets.
Here are a few common customer engagement metrics:
- Social media mentions, replies, and shares.
- Email open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes.
- Focus group participation and feedback.
- Contact centre systems data such as call length and resolution rate.
Measure your current metrics and compare them to industry benchmarks. Then, set your targets and work on reaching them..
Embrace what being a small business means to your customers
Customers choose to shop at small businesses for a number of reasons.
According to this Forbes survey, customers are also willing to spend more money at small businesses—even in this increasingly volatile economy where people are more concerned about their finances than ever.
There is a reason your customers choose to shop with you over your competitors, so embrace it.
Conduct customer surveys, social media polls, and focus groups to determine what you’re doing right (and keep doing it) and which aspects of small business appeal you could improve.
Create a personalised customer service experience
According to research conducted by McKinsey & Company, 71% of customers expect companies to provide some level of personalisation.
Luckily, this is where small businesses excel.
Unlike large enterprises that cater to thousands or millions of customers, small businesses have the luxury of getting to know their customers on a highly personalised level. Understanding your customers lets you create personalised shopping experiences and customer outreach.
This extends beyond just knowing their names and preferences. It can also involve small but meaningful gestures like using custom mailer boxes that reflect your brand’s personality and show your customers that you care about their experience from the moment they receive their order.
Personalisation isn’t just a buzzword to pay lip service to—small businesses are defined by personalisation. Each customer has their own likes, dislikes, quirks, and routines.
As a small business, you understand this and cater to them.
Maybe you have customers whose families also shop with you—ask how the family is. Maybe you have customers who love certain types of products—make sure those products are always available.
Online stores and software providers can offer these personalised moments through regular email correspondence and going above and beyond to offer personalised solutions to customers based on their specific needs.
Say you offer remote connection solutions. Sending instructional content allows new users to read more about your services and their different features and capabilities. Make sure it solves their unique pain points.
Showing your customers you know and value them leads to customer loyalty, repeat customers, and positive word of mouth.
Take care of your customers, and they will take care of you.
In addition to personalization, consider implementing AI customer service solutions to provide instant responses to customer inquiries, recommend products or services, and facilitate seamless online purchases. AI-driven messaging and chatbots can enhance customer engagement further by delivering quick and efficient support, making your small business stand out.
Use social media
Social media is a simple and cost-effective way to create customer engagement on a small budget.
Social media allows you to create brand awareness, announce new products and services, share interesting content, and directly communicate with your customers.
You can also leverage technology to further enhance your social media engagement, such as implementing an eCommerce chatbot to respond to customer inquiries and assist with online purchases.
Engage customers on social media by:
- Asking questions to spark conversation.
- Creating polls.
- Sharing user-generated content. For example, if a customer makes a purchase and posts a picture of it, share that to your feed. This encourages other customers to create content about your brand, further spreading brand awareness and improving customer engagement.
- Creating targeted content. If you’re a local business, create content that supports and engages your local community. If your brand targets families, make sure your content is family-friendly and engaging to children.
You can get to know your audience better on social media, helping you to create customer engagement strategies that best reach them. Your audience also gets to know you, which helps develop customer loyalty.
Additionally, consider embracing conversational commerce on social media platforms, where you can leverage tools like chatbots and AI-driven messaging to provide instant responses to customer inquiries, recommend products or services, and facilitate seamless online purchases. This approach not only enhances customer engagement but also streamlines the shopping experience for your audience.
Ask for feedback
Customers love to talk.
As every small business owner knows, this can be good or bad.
Offering your customers a productive outlet for their opinions helps them to feel empowered, as well as giving you insight into how you can improve.
You can ask for feedback by:
- Prompting customers to leave online reviews.
- Asking for feedback in-store either by chatting to your customers or offering them a survey to fill out.
- Create an email campaign asking customers to complete a survey.
- Conducting focus groups.
However you get your feedback, the important thing is to use it. Share feedback with relevant employees through cloud data sharing or staff meetings and find ways to utilise it.
Returning to the Forbes survey results, trustworthiness and accountability are priorities for small business customers. Customer feedback is an opportunity to take customer criticism, humble yourself, improve on your weaknesses, and prove to your customers that you value them.
Excel at customer support
How a small business handles customer problems can determine if a customer and their entire family or community stops supporting you.
Have customer support channels that everyone can access, whether it’s being able to walk into a shop to discuss a matter or using a dedicated chatbot from a CPaaS provider. If something goes wrong and a customer reaches out to you, be receptive and offer a swift and simple solution.
You can offer more proactive customer support by reaching out to customers who’ve recently made purchases. Send a follow-up email or make a call to check how things are going.
Improving customer engagement in your small business
Many small businesses worry they don’t have the resources to create big, expensive customer engagement campaigns.
But it’s not so difficult!
Customers who shop at small businesses do so deliberately. They’re looking for an experience built around personalisation, excellent customer service and support, and a willingness to embrace feedback.
Small businesses can utilise the simple and cost-effective solutions in this article to improve customer engagement, grow brand awareness, and increase business success.