The Secret Tactic Driving Significant Growth for Locally Based Businesses

The Secret Tactic Driving Significant Growth for Locally Based Businesses

Online and off. Now, the distinction is a little blurry… Consumer expectations for response time, availability of information, and immediacy of need satisfaction are growing by the day and it is forcing offline businesses to re-think their approach to customer engagement. The next person who is searching for your business online stumbles across this review, and instead of visiting your store they go next door to your competitor. Let’s get started… Why customer engagement is so critical to local businesses Customer engagement is about being there at the right time to answer your customer’s questions, deliver an exceptional experience when given the opportunity, and then follow them up at the right time to secure an online review for your business. In fact, 78% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. (Bonus: “The Complete Guide to Online Reviews”) What makes for a good customer engagement process? So how do you create a customer engagement process that is well-documented, delivers you consistent high-quality reviews, is powered by technology, and managed from a centralized hub? It’s also super-easy for the customer to place the review, with Podium integrating with both the Google and Facebook review services. Technology makes your customer engagement process streamlined and easy to execute. Since implementing a customer engagement process using Podium, Spencer’s shifted their average Google customer review star rating from 3 to 4.7 and attained over 4,000 new customer reviews!

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The Secret Tactic Driving Significant Growth for Locally Based Businesses
Once upon a time, not that long ago, the business world was made up of two distinct ecosystems.

Online and off.

Now, the distinction is a little blurry…

Consumer expectations for response time, availability of information, and immediacy of need satisfaction are growing by the day and it is forcing offline businesses to re-think their approach to customer engagement.

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Your Local Business Yes, I want to grow my business! (Bonus: “The Complete Guide to Online Reviews”)

In simple terms: Whether you have a brick-and-mortar jewelry store or a fully-fledged eCommerce business that sells dog toys, your customers expect you to answer their queries within hours, not days.

For many locally based businesses, keeping up with these consumer expectations is hard work. You’re under-resourced as it is and have 101 other priorities on your plate. How can you possibly sit on your laptop all day responding to people’s requests on Facebook?

The gap between intention and reality that is killing local businesses

Your intentions are good, but the reality doesn’t match up. You start by being responsive to online queries, but as other priorities get in the way you slowly take longer and longer to respond. Before long your potential customers are going elsewhere because they never hear back from you!

Even worse, they jump online and review BOTH businesses, letting everyone know about their experience.

reviews for driving significant growth

It’s a vicious cycle. The next person who is searching for your business online stumbles across this review, and instead of visiting your store they go next door to your competitor.

Unfortunately, once this cycle starts it is extremely hard to stop. It’s not in your hands anymore, but in the fast-moving social networks of your most vocal customers.

You lose control of your reputation, and before long, the effects on your bottom line are significant.

All of this because you were too busy scrambling for air underneath paperwork, staffing headaches, and execution of a business in the “real” world. You didn’t have time to respond to that customer, did you?

How to bridge the gap without working 18-hours a day

If the above scenario sounds familiar, or it freaks you out that it may be a reality in the near future, you have two options…

Option 1: Sit back, accept your fate, and ignore the risks of an online world for local businesses.

Option 2: Take action, create a robust customer engagement and review process, and explore the enormous opportunities that a merging of the online and offline worlds can have for your business.

Which path do you want to take?

If you choose “Option 2” the rest of this article will help you understand the importance of customer engagement for local businesses, identify the steps you need to take to create a process of your own, and give you the tools and technology to make it all happen.

Let’s get started…

Why customer engagement is so critical to local businesses

Customer engagement is about being there at the right time to answer your customer’s questions, deliver an exceptional experience when given the opportunity, and then follow them up at the right time to secure an online review for your business.

In the end, the goal is to get as many qualified and positive reviews as possible, so that future prospects will choose your business over your competitors.

Why do reviews matter? Here are a few key reasons:

  • Reviews, along with Relevance and Location, have the greatest impact on local search ranking (where your business shows up in a Google search).
  • They act as “Social Proof”, whereby a consumer who is unsure about which product or service to buy assumes that the people around them (other customers) are a trusted source…

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