Customer engagement today is very different than that of the past. Today, people have a lot of choices when it comes to the number of interaction mediums due to the large number of technological advancements, and customers expect brands to anticipate and meet their needs in real time.
Let’s ask the most difficult question – how does a brand go about engaging a modern consumer?
The customer experience is about so much more than just the sales journey — it’s about feeling heard, getting answers to questions, having problems fixed, and feeling a connection to the brand. In addition to marketing and customer service, brands need to be thinking in terms of customer engagement.
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is about encouraging your customers to interact and share in the experiences you create for them as a business and a brand. When executed well, a strong customer engagement strategy will foster brand growth and loyalty.
Businesses that focus on customer engagement are focused on value creation, not revenue extraction. They give people something meaningful beyond a sales pitch: a brilliant end-to-end customer experience, great content, or interactive, real-time customer support.
Customer Engagement Statistics
Here are some customer engagement statistics that might explain why so much focus is being put on engaging customers:
- “Companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weak omni-channel strategies.” – Aberdeen
- “Customers who are fully engaged represent 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer.” – Gallup
- “58% of executives reported not having a formal customer engagement program in place, and 60% didn’t know how many customers they’d lost over the past year.” – Convero
- “70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.” – McKinsey
- “Only 25% of Millennials are fully engaged customers, and their engagement is highly dependent on technology. In order to attain their attention brands much achieve excellence in every channel.” – Gallup
Here are seven customer engagement strategies that can build a loyal customer following:
- Listen to Your Customers
Mobile apps give companies amazing opportunities to learn more about their customers. Using surveys consistently will allow you to get feedback from your customers, which you can then use to improve your offerings. And though you might not like to hear it, negative feedback is the most valuable because it shows you where you can make changes to better engage your customers. The key is not to just gather the data. You have to act on it.
- Embrace the Omni-Channel Concept
Customers connect with companies via different channels. They have a wide range of channels to choose from and few use just one channel. For example, a customer might start with the brand’s print catalogue, graduate to the brick-and-mortar shop and make the final purchase online. This is the way the consumer operates today and you need to align with their needs, which means offering them multiple channels and an excellent experience across all of them.
- Get Involved
Regardless of the platform you use, you need to get involved. Don’t just talk at people, bombarding them with promotional messages all the time. Actually engage in conversations with them. Listen to their problems and learn from those issues. And respond. By responding, you show your customers you care, which can go a long way towards building that ever-important loyalty. Looming over your customers like a faceless corporation will not win you any brownie points, so get involved in the conversation.
- Engage them on social media and other online platforms
What’s the best way to get up close and personal with a customer? It’s on social media. Tag them, call them out, thank them, or offer them something to catch their attention. Not just on social media, use other online platforms and communities like Yelp.
But wait, don’t stop there! Share customer reviews and testimonials on your own social media pages to give attention to them.
- Use a Rewards or Loyalty Program to Charm Your Audience
There’s one thing everyone wants to get in on – rewards! Just the mention of the word lightens up the mood. And, people love it if they get something in return for their actions. Why not supplement your efforts by having a rewards or loyalty program in place? It’s a sure-fire way to increase engagement!
Host an Event and Invite Your Audience for Exciting Activities
Most companies perform some level of market research about their audience, mostly for marketing campaigns. Why not use that to host your own little event with only your audience as the attendees? It will make them feel special, and show them that you really care about them. Give your VIP customers personalized passes they can use to enter the venue, and then have someone greet them to offer them a taste of royalty.
- Invest in Employees
Your staff is your most important asset. The more qualified and experienced they are, the better they will be at engaging with your customers. And you need to promote a culture of engagement that focuses on creating an outstanding customer experience so that everyone in your organisation is on the same page.
- Use Customer Data Effectively
Relevant customer information is vital because you can use it to develop other strategies to engage your customers – ones that are tailored to your target market, which will make them even more effective. You should analyse customer behaviour and demographics. Don’t assume you know your customer because the reality might be starkly different to your perception. If you don’t conduct an analysis, you will end up making mistakes that will cost you in the long run.
Use all the tools at your disposal, from customer engagement measuring software to customer satisfaction survey tools, to get an accurate picture of your customers and what they want or need. The more information you have, including customer engagement metrics, the better able you will be to craft and implement effective customer engagement strategies.
Engaging customers is not as easy as it sounds. You have to connect with your audience on a much deeper level emotionally and build trust. Most importantly, it’s about going out of the way for them. We at Prana hope the above customer engagement ideas and strategies help your brand engage audiences of all sizes.