Foursquare's Essential for Building Customer Relationships
Two things dog the small business owner: welcoming each new customer in hopes of earning regular visits, and acknowledging frequent guests in such a way that makes them feel special. The small business that is good at both will be in business a long time.
Because, as all good mom-and-pop shops know, it's not about the transaction, but the relationship. Customers first come to fulfill a need or a want, but they come back for the service. Sometimes, though, it takes more than just a smile and gratitude. It takes knowing what their customers wants as soon as - or even before - they walk in the door.
The way to do that is with foursquare, which is a relatively new way for people to interact with their peers in today's mobile and socially active environment.
What foursquare does is give the small business owner the ability to read a customer's mind by seeing what they're saying about your business, your competitors, and where they are checking in.
How does it work? Founded by Dennis Crowley, foursquare is a system that allows users to tell their friends when they've arrived someplace, a venue in foursquare parlance. It can be a grocery store, nightclub, bus stop, or a one-time event, like Raleigh Wide Open 5. Foursquare users can then choose to send the information to their socially linked friends on foursquare itself as well as Facebook and Twitter.
Where it matters for small businesses is when users leave "Tips" or "To-Dos" about the businesses. A "Tip" might be to visit during off-peak times, and a "To-Do" would be to order the spicy dipping sauce with the fried pickles.
Foursquare also employs two reward systems for its users. The first group are system-generated rewards such as badges and naming someone "Mayor" of the venue. The badges are awarded based on a certain combination of check-ins. A user becomes a Mayor after accumulating the most check-ins at a venue. In some places, mayorships are hard won and have spawned friendly competitions, such as the one between Baratunde Thurston (@baratunde) and Jennifer Magnolfi (@magnolfi).Continued on the next page