COVID-19 Customer Engagement Tips
by Justin Bromage & Krystal Day
A number of BAA members have expressed that, while much of the economy has suffered during the COVID-19 crisis we have all been experiencing, many retail bakeries have been unseasonably busy. The combination of travel restrictions, supermarket supply uncertainty and a community focus on supporting local business has led to many bakeries seeing a significant increase in customer numbers.
The question now arises – what can we do to retain these new or reinvigorated customers?
How can we engage with our community so that, once the dust settles from this unique period, we stay on their mind and continue to receive their support?
Here are 5 major areas that we’ve seen utilised well by bakeries around Australia for you to consider as a means of engaging with your customers and turning this temporary situation into a permanent boost to your business:
- Provide an exceptional customer service experience
- Make sure that your shopfront is inviting, clearly marked and easy to navigate
- If you have a café, ensure that you comply with COVIDSafe standards to build customer confidence
- Learn the names of your new regular customers, and even their regular orders, to build your relationship with them
- Invite customer feedback that engages and gives a sense of belonging – eg. allow a vote for next week’s ‘pie of the week’
- Connect (& stay connected) on social media
- Actively promote your Instagram with your customers, and post a variety of quality content regularly
- Interact with your active ‘followers’ and show appreciation for positive feedback and referrals
- If you are entering baking or popularity competitions, let your social media connections know and support you
- Promote yourself as a ‘local supporting locals’
- Connect with and support the social media of local councils, clubs, associations and businesses
- Wherever practical, get your ingredients from local producers – and when you do, make sure you promote doing so
- Ensure that your marketing includes your ‘brand story’ – either the history of your business or the products you produce
- Implement a simple customer loyalty program
- If financially viable, implement the trusty ‘buy x get the yth one free’ offer to promote regularity – for bread, coffees, pies etc.
- Develop ‘follow us’ promotions – where customers get a special price when they engage on your channel
- Many POS systems allow multiple price levels, so you could have a discounted price on selected items for ‘locals’
- Whatever loyalty program you come up with, make sure it is easy to understand and easy for the staff to apply
- Develop new products to maintain ongoing relevance to families
- Create a ‘family box’ with a combination of loaves of bread, rolls, pies and desserts at a ‘bulk’ price
- Vary the flavours of ‘family’ size pies regularly to provide variety and generate anticipation
- Develop appropriately sized and priced ‘lunchbox ready’ products that are easy to pack and eat
We are interested to hear what is working for you. If you have tried any of these suggestions already, or something that we haven’t listed here, let us know and we can help our members by sharing your successes or learning from things that may not have worked so well.