Attracting customers back post-lockdown is essential as companies look to find their feet once more. In his second contribution to Business Changer Magazine, our CEO, Andreas Knürr, speaks about how organisations can incorporate digital booking into the customer journey to ensure a seamless experience.
As lockdown eases and businesses reopen, attracting customers back is the next challenge that needs to be overcome. There is still a level of apprehension from many about returning to public places and, while schemes such as the Eat Out to Help Out helped boost restaurant spending on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays by a third, those operating in other sectors need to evolve some of their existing customer processes to help alleviate concerns.
Prior to Covid-19, customers enjoyed the experience and convenience of booking appointments digitally. Now, however, there is a greater requirement with customers needing to book specific time slots to help mitigate overcrowding.
Moreover, dedicated booking pages provide an ideal opportunity to explain in-full how businesses have amended processes in response to government guidelines, plus any extra information that defines how customers will be kept safe. This will go some way in assuring customers that businesses are safe to return to.
The other benefit of digital booking is that the process can be tailored to each customer, boosting engagement through delivering a personalised experience. Customers expect a seamless journey and when businesses are able to match such requirements, not only do they keep coming back, but they often spend more on each visit. This is critical for companies who experienced decrease trading through lockdown.
Simply put, organisations that can offer a seamless digital appointment booking experience can boost visitor figures and revenue, particularly over those that don’t.
How to integrate digital booking into the customer experience
Make sure an eye-catching booking button is clearly available on the website, particularly on high traffic pages. If customers have to look for one – or are expected to call – that slight delay could be enough for a semi-hesitant customer to go elsewhere.
It’s important to collect all possible information from the customer so that the experience can be tailored. Are they looking for something niche? Then make sure any booking is made directly with the person that knows about that product or service. Data collection beyond the traditional contact information is so valuable, and the booking process provides a perfect opportunity to collect it.
Integrating booking capabilities within social media accounts is also a good way to streamline the process; and this could be as simple as adding a direct link to booking pages. It mitigates the need for numerous click-throughs, enabling customers who are searching via specific platforms to book with ease, while also increasing impulse bookings from customers who spot posts as they simply scroll through.
Another effective way of attracting customers is by incentivising them to book digitally, perhaps in the form of discounts or special promotions. A second benefit is that incentives can also help to attract bookings for less popular times, with bigger discounts being offered to fill slots that could otherwise remain empty.
When bookings are made, the process needs to span across multiple channels. Businesses should think about how customers are engaging with the brand and ensure a consistent experience across all touch points. If bookings are made online, confirmation should be sent via email and app, for instance, this ensures customers are always receiving messages via the channel that suits them.
Attracting customers is vital
Ultimately, as companies begin to find their feet once more, attracting customers back is paramount. Businesses must take steps to simplify visitor booking. Enabling customers to book digitally adds convenience, reassures them that spaces won’t be overcrowded when they arrive and helps deliver a personalised experience. We are all getting used to a Covid-19 world, and it’s the companies that can provide a seamless experience in this ‘new normal’ that will continue to attract customers.
By Andreas Knürr, CEO of TIMIFY