Customer engagement top priority for small businesses this year

Improving direct customer engagement to better customer service is becoming a main focus for many small businesses.

More than half (58 per cent) will look to improve their presence on social media channels and 28 per cent will improve e-commerce processes, according to a survey by Groupon.

Mobile is a key focus with almost one in five (17 per cent) planning to better support this growing retail channel.

Roy Blanga, managing director at Groupon UK says, ‘In the current economic environment, many consumers are not only hungry to get value for money; they want instant access to new experiences on the move and digital can provide this.

‘However, there is still a very valid and important place for more traditional face time with customers; it’s a great opportunity to encourage them to directly engage with your brand.’

While face-to-face communication is prioritised, SMEs are planning to reduce spend on other traditional marketing methods.

Some 26 per cent plan to cut back on local directory inclusions, while 24 per cent will reduce local advertising activity including billboards and posters.

Furthermore, 20 per cent plan to cut down on sponsorship, in favour of digital channels including m-commerce and email marketing – just 8 per cent will reduce spend in these areas this year.

In order to retain customers, 24 per cent want to engage with customers more regularly and 28 per cent plan to create more targeted promotions via these newer channels. However, one in seven SMEs admit that they are currently unable to structure these tailored promotions accordingly.

Blanga adds, ‘We asked our SME customers what their priorities were for the next financial year in order to better understand their marketing and communication requirements. In order for SMEs to survive and remain competitive, they need to get the balance right and decide when to interact in person or use alternative channels.’

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