As a retailer, you likely already have a client engagement strategy in place to make sure your sales team is creating a positive shopping experience while they're in your store. But what about when your clients aren't in your store? How are you engaging with them then—if at all?
Engaging with clients via email, text, social media, and other online channels is just as important as making an emotional connection with buyers while they're physically with you.
In fact, Instagram's internal data revealed that 90% of users follow a brand on Instagram, and 62% say they use the platform to follow or research brands and products.
And Instagram users aren't the only ones. 66% of Facebook users visit a local business page at least once a week, and 9% of web traffic referrals are driven by Twitter.
So if you aren't engaging with your brands on platforms like these, your competition likely is.
In this article, we'll walk you through how to engage with your clients—both in and outside of the store—so you can create an emotional connection with your client base from wherever you are.
What does it mean to engage a client?
Client engagement, also known as customer engagement, is all about the interactions you have with your buyers.
"Engaging" with a client can be something as simple as greeting them when they walk into your store to more complex forms of engagement that extend beyond when they're physically with you. For example, sending out a newsletter via email as part of a larger customer engagement strategy is a great way to engage your buyers and remind them to come shop with you again.
Your approach to client engagement will differ depending on your target audience, industry, and the customer feedback you get along the way.
Ultimately, you know you've done your job when you've earned a lot of engaged customers who interact with your brand just as much as you interact with them. For example, engaged customers are likely to follow your social media accounts, sign up for your customer loyalty program, and even have a personal relationship with you or a member of your team.
How to engage with clients while they're in your store
If you're looking to enhance the customer experience at your store, there are two main areas you can focus on to make this happen: the in-store experience and the out-of-store experience.
First, let's talk about how you can engage with your clients while they're physically with you and your team in-store.
When a client walks into your store, your sales team should be curious about that client's experience. What brings them in today? Do they have a special occasion coming up? Are they buying for themselves or someone else? Asking questions like these can help your team get to know your client on a deeper level and make better product recommendations.
However, there's a difference between being curious and being intrusive. No need to get too personal, especially if the client isn't offering up a lot of information upon being asked.
Know when you're needed and when you're not
As a client is shopping in your store, it's important to know when they need you there and when they don't. For example, if you're a fashion retailer, your client is likely going to expect a lot of interaction with you so you can get their measurements, find clothes that fit, and pair them with matching accessories.
On the other hand, if you're a music retailer, you may want to give your client more space to test out the instruments, get a feel for what they're like in their hands, and spend some time alone with it to get a sense of how it sounds.
Knowing what your client expects is key to giving them a personalized shopping experience while still giving them the space they need to make a decision on their purchase.
Take good notes
Finally, train your sales team to take good notes while they're with their clients. If a client mentions they have a birthday coming up, a wedding they're attending soon, or a person in their life they're buying for, write it down.
Nothing showcases that you care about your clients more than remembering the important people and dates in their life. And you can't do that without recording what they tell you. Especially if you see dozens of clients in a given day.
How to engage with clients when they're not in your store
Now, let's talk about how you can engage with your customer base when they're not in your store—and you're trying to get them back in!
Get on the channels your clients are on
The first step when it comes to online communication with your clients is to get on the channels they're already on. This could be social media networks, websites, or text messaging. Wherever your audience is, you should be there too.
Once your brand has an online presence in the places that make sense for your business, start interacting! This could look like making posts in relevant LinkedIn groups, sharing customer stories in an email newsletter on a monthly basis, or offering exclusive content and offers for shoppers on your website.
For many business owners who aren't used to engaging on an online community or social networks, know that it doesn't have to be perfect right from the start. As long as you're making an effort to try an approach to client engagement on new channels, you'll get better along the way.
Follow up with personalized offers
Next, one of the best ways to engage with your clients when they're not in your store is to reach out with personalized offers. Nothing helps build a personal relationship with your buyers better than remembering the kinds of products they like most and making personalized recommendations.
For example, if you own a custom suit shop and have a client who comes in often for custom cufflinks, reaching out to that client when you get a new line of cufflinks in your store is a great way to make a personal connection with that client and encourage them to come back in soon.
Personalizing the customer experience for your shoppers is not only a great way to reward your loyal customers, but it also has a proven impact on customer retention. In Twilio Segment's State of Personalization Study, 49% of consumers surveyed said they're likely to become a repeat buyer after a personalized shopping experience with a retailer.
Ask for reviews
Finally, don't be shy about asking for reviews. Chances are, you already have a number of clients who you have positive relationships with that would be more than happy to take a minute or two out of their day to write a review for you.
Not only is it a great way to get great testimonials that you can feature on your website and newsletters, it's also an excellent reminder for the client who's writing the review. As they take the time to record their positive experiences they've had with their store, they're likely to want to return again soon to shop with you again.
How do you improve your client engagement skills?
If you're still trying to figure out your approach to client engagement—and how to hone your skills to improve it—the following tips will help you get started.
- Focus on the relationship, not just the sale: Your sales team likely knows how to sell, but do they know how to build long-term relationships? Training your team to care just as much about authentic relationships as they do about their sales pitch goes a long way to improving client engagement.
- Engage at every stage of the customer journey: It's easy to engage with shoppers who are ready to buy, but what about the shoppers who leave empty-handed? It's important to reengage with those shoppers to improve your conversion rates.
- Don't forget your online presence: Potential customers have a lot of places to read about you online, from Google reviews to social media platforms. Make a habit of monitoring your accounts often so you don't leave questions unanswered.
How clienteling software can help you with client engagement
When you have hundreds of clients, managing both an in-store and online communication strategy can seem daunting. After all, the human brain can only store so much information! That's where clienteling software comes in handy.
Clienteling—a technique used by retail sales associates to build long-term relationships with key customers—is normally a lot of manual work for your sales team, keeping track of names and dates all on their own. But with software like Clientbook, all of your important client information is kept in one place.
What's more, Clientbook gives you automated reminders on when to reach out to clients, create product wish lists for clients so you can make personalized product recommendations, and even integrates with a number of point of sales systems making it seamless to integrate into your retail store.
Transforming your approach to client engagement so interactions happen both in-store and online is a key way to earn a base of return customers and build positive relationships. Better yet, you don't have to do it all on your own. Clientbook is here to make your in-person and virtual audience engagement easier than ever.
If you're ready to see how Clientbook can improve your client engagement strategy, book a personalized demo today.