Customer Engagement: Three Steps to a Strong Ecosystem

When you’re running a business, the best results come when all your tools connect seamlessly to enhance the customer experience. Of course, this isn’t limited to the physical in-store experience or the transaction at the point of sale. With the changing omnichannel landscape, customer engagement is now much broader. It’s simple in theory – but many small businesses find themselves with a hodgepodge of physical and digital customer engagement tools that don’t talk to each other.

There are great opportunities from overhauling the way you engage with your customers throughout the entire customer lifecycle. An ecosystem of connected tools and intuitive programs gives you that. Here are three steps that cover the main elements of a robust customer engagement program.

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Attract new customers

Finding new customers is a constant priority for most businesses – getting that foot traffic – or those clicks – helps sustain your business presence and profitability. Marketing is critical to help you set a steady flow of demand and can help you weather the challenges that go with the territory.

Marketing can take many forms and cross a wide variety of channels, depending on what works best for your industry, location, and your business’s unique nature. One marketing channel continues to provide impressive ROI across a range of industries and locations: email marketing.

Email marketing is a consistently high performer and is also incredibly versatile. You can use it to regularly reach a large audience, built from a list of your customer base. You can also use it in a much more targeted way, developing special messages and promotions for specific “smart lists” within your list.

In tandem with your online presence and overall brand, email is a fantastic channel for building familiarity and trust. New leads (someone on your list who hasn’t yet made a purchase) often edge closer to clicking “add to cart” after a series of well-crafted, well-timed emails.

Engagement shouldn’t stop as soon as your customer jumps out of their inbox, though. Most businesses benefit from investing in social media channels too. Whether paid or organic, social media gives your business another piece of real estate in a highly competitive digital landscape.

You should also consider gift cards when looking at ways to leverage word of mouth. Providing either physical Square Gift Cards or eGift Cards offers you many advantages: it gives your best customers another opportunity to purchase from you and introduces brand new customers that may one day turn into regulars.

With the right message, on the right channel, delivered at the right time, you can build something special that stands out to prospective customers.

Drive sales from existing customers

So you’ve built a solid email list, you’re developing a following across social media, and you want to build engagement with your existing customers? This is where a powerful loyalty program can help.

Building a loyalty program that offers real value to your customers is a great way to elevate your business above the competition.

Loyalty programs can offer the perfect incentive for customers to come back or spend more than they otherwise might have. With a Square Loyalty program, for example, your customers can earn points every time they shop with you and you can customize your loyalty program to let them redeem points for free items, get a discount on specific categories or save a percentage off their entire purchase.

What might seem a small expense – like offering the tenth coffee for free – often feels highly valuable to a customer. The result? More repeat business, more often.

Like marketing, loyalty programs are highly customizable and should be centered around your unique customer base. Crucially, your loyalty program should integrate with your other data and customer information. Square Loyalty keeps track of everything right in your Dashboard.

Build a strong feedback loop

Effective customer engagement is a two-way street. Strong relationships with customers are built on regular, useful feedback; sales analytics don’t always tell the whole story.

Yes, if you’re selling out of a particular item regularly, that would suggest you’ve got the product right and that it’s meeting what your customers demand. But if you can build customer feedback into your business and marketing, you can know for sure. For instance, what if there’s an item you no longer offer that customers are craving and ready to purchase? Perhaps there’s a missing piece to your customer experience that you and your team haven’t been able to identify from direct or anecdotal feedback.

If you’re using Square, the Customer Directory in your online Dashboard is your hub for many customer engagement features, including Square Feedback. From the Customer Directory, you can turn on Square Feedback.

Square Feedback allows your customers to privately message your business with feedback about their experiences – right from their receipts. This, combined with the other Customer Directory insights, will enable you to build a helpful picture of your individual customers, so you can truly personalize the customer experience. This, in turn, helps you build more effective, highly-targeted marketing campaigns and loyalty programs.

A strong customer engagement plan relies on a suite of connected but straightforward tools. It’s never too late to start. To try some powerful email marketing that could build your customer base, sign up for Square Marketing today.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. For specific advice applicable to your business, please contact a professional.