There once existed a time where the word ‘smart phone’ was a foreign and probably strange word. A time where smooth, witty sales people could pull the wool over an unsuspecting customer’s eyes and get them to spend money on anything, assuming that person had the means. Where those individuals could swoop in on their pray (the consumer) and convince them that what they were selling was the best, most reasonably priced product on the market. They would appeal to your dreams, and paint you unreasonable expectations of what their product could do. But in those situations you would rarely have any other recourse. You couldn’t tell them to give you a few minutes as you did some research on your smart phone. You could simply choose whether or not to believe them.
But now with the addition of smart phones, situations like those, although not entirely nonexistent, are few and far between. Now, customers are better connected, more informed and less impulsive. With so much information at our fingertips, it would be silly for us to allow a salesperson to ‘pull the wool over our eyes’ so to speak. Within seconds we can access basic research on just about any item or service in the world.
Which is why conducting business is no longer about simply ‘getting the sale’. Certainly, getting the sale is part of the ultimate goal, but now rarely is it the only goal. With the proliferation of smart phone technology, businesses must now do a lot more to compel their customers beyond the basic customer experience. They must find and create ways for customers to interact with their business in more interesting ways than what they might offer in the store or otherwise.
Appealing to Their Connected Selves
Since a significant number of the customers that you will inevitably face most likely do have a smart phone, it is all the more important that you engage with their connected selves. What that means is that your social media presences shouldn’t just be existent, they should also be engaging. Facebook and Twitter should be constantly updated and monitored 24/7 in order to always ensure that your business is on top of any and all conversation that might be surrounding you locally.
And where there’s conversation, there is almost always an opportunity for business. By rooting out those conversations, whether they be on Twitter, Facebook or any other social network, you grant your business that many more opportunities to engage and interact with potential customers. For the most part, people love engaging in friendly, casual banter through social networks. In the smartphone world, that means that somebody who tweets about your business or about something relevant to your local area could be literally right down the street. “I’m bored, anyone wanna do something?” they might tweet. Tweet at them with something friendly or simply funny, and your business might be the next ‘something’ that they engage in.
Mobilizing Their Experience
Further, because smart phone screens are only a small percentage of the size of most computer screens, the standard world wide web simply doesn’t run as smoothly or look as clean as it can on those tiny 3.5″ screens. That’s why it’s especially important for your business to consider the mobile side of things, such as a mobile website or, better yet, something engaging like Foursquare.
Foursquare is awesome because it provides businesses with plenty of tools to increase consumer interest in their business while simultaneously making it fun. Through Foursquare, businesses can offer easy to redeem coupons for a variety different situations. For example, if someone checks into your business several times in a week and becomes the mayor, you can choose to give that person a free sample product, or let them wear a special hat. Or, if a particular hour is especially slow, you can choose to offer something at a deeply discounted price if 20 people check into your business.
Yet regardless of what strategy you decide to go with, and how you choose to engage with your customers, the most important thing is that you remain persistent and consistent. Running promotions through Foursquare for a few and then proceeding to fall off the face of the earth won’t necessarily attract a loyal fan base, and the same can be said for the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Ultimately, what you are trying to create here are more responsible customers. Ones that won’t listen to anything that anyone suggests about your business because they have learned to trust and listen to their favorite business - you.