Technological advances have resulted in fewer personal interactions, with the rise of social media and the ever-increasing accessibility to mobile devices enabling customers the chance to make one-click purchases on the move. This creates convenient and timesaving transactions for both parties. However, many firms are slowly returning to a focus on customer interaction in a bid to stand out from the crowd – and they appear to be reaping the rewards. Let’s take a look at how and why that is happening.
The importance of face-to-face communication cannot be underestimated within a business and, likewise, customer interaction is also imperative in order to establish a relationship between the two parties. Consumers want companies to make them feel special, and every interaction is a chance to make a connection and potentially secure further business. Little extras such as gift-wrapping purchases or offering product samples can keep customers returning time and time again.
Companies such as Paperchase are keen to increase brand awareness; they’ve recently launched their Project Craft workshops which invite customers to get creative and sign up for a beginner-level course at one of their flagship stores. Reasonably priced tickets also play a significant role with customers snapping up the chance to learn from experienced crafters. This has proved a profitable venture for the company, as customers also purchased materials from the shop following the completion of the course as opposed to ordering online. On a much smaller scale, local businesses such as Chirpy in Leeds also run regular sessions for customers who wish to hone their creative skills with embroidery and hoop art just two of the aspects covered by their workshops.
Whilst Paperchase is a successful national brand in the UK, it is also important for local business to increase awareness of their products and these courses provide a terrific platform for customer interaction and potential future footfall.
It isn’t always possible to engage with customers on a face-to-face business however and some companies specialise in online interactions. Starbucks has a dedicated site and social media page which allows its customers to submit their ideas about improvements, product returns or perhaps even pitch new ideas. This has proved extremely popular with coffee-drinking regulars. Fashion brands have also taken to social media outlets such as Instagram to encourage customers to post selfies of them wearing outfits purchased from their store in exchange for money off future purchases. Campaigns such as Snap and Send Back have also become the norm and these encourage shoppers to upload a picture of them in an outfit shortly before returning the goods.
Social interactions are vitally important and online gaming companies such as Buzz Bingo also recognize the importance of their bingo halls which are situated around the UK. Players are able to locate their nearest club using the website, on which they can also take part in games, and this is a great way of enabling them to socialise with fellow players. Meanwhile, Waterstones advertises its meet and greet and book signings prominently on its site in order to encourage customers to head to their nearest store and interact with fellow book lovers.
With a plethora of options available to customers, companies are having to go the extra mile in order to keep shoppers and consumers returning on a regular basis. We may all be glued to our smartphones and tablets these days but social interaction is still an absolute necessity and businesses must make their clientele feel valued in order to benefit from repeat custom.
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