Whether you're just starting out or you've got an established business and customer base already, it's always a good idea to think not only about what information to collect and why, but also how to use it once you have it. Today I want to specifically talk about engagement, which you can hone with the help of your Customer List in Bookwhen. Making the most of this tool is essential in planning how you communicate with your customers, so let's have a look at how it can help grow your business!

Before we get to the fun stuff, we need to do some prep work.

Step 1 - Ask the right questions

In Bookwhen you can fully customise your booking forms, by adding different types of field to collect information in whatever format you need it. But unless you think upfront about what you might need to know about your customers further down the line, you'll always be on the back foot. I'm sure you've already got the basics covered, like asking your customers to agree to your terms and conditions, confirming dietary restrictions or signing off a waiver. But, if in the future you ever want to send your customers emails not related to their booking, like offers or information about upcoming events, you'll also need to make sure you're collecting consent for this.

Moving on from the basics, images can be a really great way to help advertise your event. If you're planning to take any pictures of your customers during the class, you'll need them to agree first. The booking form is the best place to let your customers confirm whether or not they (or their children) want to be included in promotional photos or videos. Collecting consent afterwards will always be much harder.

Now to the fun stuff! Perhaps you'd like to reward your customers on their birthday with a voucher? To do this, you'll need to collect their date of birth first! Or maybe you're running a competition or prize draw with a question that customers complete in the booking form? These are great ways for your bookers to remember you, book again and tell their friends about you.

Step 2 - Tidy up your data

Now that you've set up your booking forms, it's a good idea to make sure your email list is tidy before sending out any kind of communication. I have the clumsiest fingers when using a phone to fill in a form, and with 70% of bookings on Bookwhen being made with a mobile device, the odd mistake is bound to happen. Usually, it's not a big deal, but if it's the email address the customer has messed up, this can cause all kinds of trouble! Not only will they not have received their booking confirmation email with lots of important information, but you might also have trouble locating their information on the system, and they certainly won't receive any of the engaging emails you plan to send out! Our system is pretty good at identifying an invalid email address, so all you need to do is filter your customer list to get these displayed:

You'll see some obvious typos that you can fix right away. For others you might want to check with the customer before updating.

Step 3 - Engage

You're all set up and ready to get in touch with your customers! There are lots of ways to go about this. You might want to reward your regulars or target those who've not come to a class in a while. Or maybe you've got a big event coming up that everyone needs to know about? You've got complete flexibility in how you filter and sort your Customer List. You can use the inbuilt tools or export your customer list and work with it further from there.

In the below example I have filtered for:

  • - Customers who have agreed to be contacted and those with confirmed email addresses (the system has identified these as correct based on successful email delivery).

  • - Customers who haven't attended a class since the end of 2018.

I can now export that list for import into tools like Mailchimp, or take the email addresses directly for use in a regular email. I can then send those customers a targeted email, saying something like "Hey! We've not seen you in a class for a while, so here's a 20% discount to welcome you back on your next booking.".

Some other ideas:

  • - Find out who your regulars are and give them a shout out on social media or in class.

  • - Are there any big anniversaries or birthdays? Maybe it's been 3 years since Janet first joined!

  • - Testimonials are a really great way to promote your business, so why not ask some of your regulars to give you some feedback?

There are lots of great ways to show your customers you care whilst promoting your business at the same time. Just make sure you're following the rules and making the most of the information you have at hand for great results! Don't be afraid to think outside the box - Everyone's email inboxes are full of more information than they could consume in a lifetime, so embrace your individuality and keeping it personal!

This article is part of an ongoing series aiming to empower you to get the most out of your Bookwhen subscription. Have you used the Customer List to reach out to your customers? Perhaps you have a unique use of Bookwhen of your own? We love hearing from our customers so get in touch and let us know!

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