8 Customer Engagement Strategies to Move Your Business Forward

Helping cafes and restaurants survive challenging times #savehospo #covid19response #covid19For decades, hospitality and food service venues have tried all kinds of promotional systems designed to engender a sense of customer loyalty. After all, building a strong platform of repeat business can have a major impact on long-term success. And as internet, mobile device and POS technology has developed over the years, opportunities for genuine, mutually beneficial customer interaction have increased significantly.

If you are a small business looking to improve your customer engagement by utilising a data-driven loyalty and promotion program, consider what you can achieve and how to go about it. 

Build your base of regular customers

Why:
It’s easier to keep an existing customer than it is to find a new one.  Developing ways to motivate customers to return to your business regularly is an excellent  means of increasing sales.

How:
Use a combination of incentives, staff prompts, in-house advertising at the point of sale & social media to encourage customers to join a rewards program that offers them tangible benefits.

Increase average customer transaction values

Why:
You can boost revenue without necessarily getting more customers by finding ways to increase the average amount spent each time someone visits your business.

How:
Develop a series of value-add opportunities such as ‘upsize’ prompts, meal deals and other promotions, and communicate these to your customer base through  targeted marketing.

Grow your gift card business

Why:
Gift cards are a fantastic way to be pre-paid for future sales, virtually ensuring forthcoming business.  The money is in your bank – not theirs!

How:
Utilise traditional plastic or eGift cards that are activated and the purchased value stored online. While, in the past, handling gift card sales and redemption has presented vendors with operational challenges, many modern online gift card and loyalty solutions provide an easy to use and manage system.

Improve the success of targeted promotions

Why:
Customers are more likely to take up promotions for products associated with those they already use or that relate to their interests.

How:
Build an extensive database of customer activity that allows you to develop meaningful promotions and market them to customers most likely to take advantage of your offer. You can also communicate new products or services to customers who demonstrate an existing related interest.

Promote special events, products or services

Why:
Successful innovation requires strong promotion. The more effectively you can communicate  special events, new or under-utilised products & services, the better your chances are of receiving maximum reward for your efforts.

How:
Use a combination of marketing campaigns to your customer base, along with in-store advertising and staff promotion to publicise and incentivise your innovations.

Demonstrate your relevance

Why:
We live in an online, connected world, where marketing and promotion to younger generations has changed dramatically. Businesses need to stay relevant if they are to attract new, long-term customers.

How:
Develop an interactive website or mobile app that promotes your brand, engages with your customers and offers rewards.

Reward your loyal customers

Why:
Traditional ‘customer loyalty’ programs have become less relevant. Customers often find them either too confusing or unrewarding, and some shy away from collecting new plastic cards that they need to carry to receive benefits.

How:
While there still is a place for traditional loyalty cards, mobile app & online membership programs make redeeming rewards quick & easy. Promotions can be tailored to increase relevance and motivation.

Increase customer awareness of multiple venues

Why:
Businesses with multiple outlets find great benefits in promoting patronage of sites throughout their network – advertising store openings, location-based sales and special events to your customer base can greatly increase success.

How:
With an extensive customer database and multiple modern communication channels, the promotional opportunities are virtually endless.

It is important to have a clear understanding of what the latest customer engagement platforms are capable of and how venues can best utilise them to their advantage.

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