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. Let's ask the most difficult question - how does a brand go about engaging a modern consumer?
For a moment, let's step into the eyes of the customer by stepping into his shoes as he begins his customer journey. Let's say most of the time of this person was spent dealing with customers, and he landed on your blog searching for customer experience quotes. He thought the article was well-researched and written, and he signed up on your email list. Not too much time later, one of your sales rep is giving him a product demo. And, he ends up buying the product.
Now, the company might think the job is done. But, there's more to it than that. The most difficult part is to keep the customer once he's bought the product. Once your brand name starts to speak for itself, products might sell like wildfire, but keeping the customer engaged throughout the entirety of the process is a whole different story.
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer Engagement is the process of building, nurturing and managing relationships with customers in order to foster brand loyalty & awareness about a brand, product or service. Some say it is the emotional connection between a customer and the company.
Why Customer Engagement is Important?
Not too long ago, businesses realized that loyal customers are often more positively engaged. You can use every trick in the book to capture a lead and turn him into a customer, but it is just the start when it comes to keeping him engaged well enough to make him stay.
And, why would you want to do that, you might ask? Well, engaged customers are more loyal than disengaged customers, are easier to satisfy, and are better for business revenue.
Market leaders of the modern business age use all sorts of weird and whacky campaigns to engage audiences and build a relationship with them with each interaction. They give their customers a reason to remember them - it can be a funny cartoon, video gone viral, cute baby picture, or quote to inspire them.
Customers don't get suddenly engaged overnight. It is essential to have a customer engagement strategy to proactively engage customers across the entirety of the customer journey.
Customer Engagement Statistics
Let's take a look at 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
The Four Types of Engaged Customers
Engaged customers fall into one of four categories:
- The Buyers: Buyers are the ones you want - the ones who will pay money for your products or services.
- The Advocates: Advocates tell others about their opinions on the product or service, and routinely share/retweet your content to their followers.
- Active Engagers: These people will take out time to talk with you and provide valuable feedback.
- Loyal Followers: This type of audience does not buy, rather they simply follow the company and their updates.
Interesting, isn't it? Let's talk about some techniques you can use to engage your audience.
Customer Engagement Ideas and 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. Here are some of the best customer engagement ideas and strategies that companies can use to engage audiences of all sizes:
- 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 Email Marketing to Bring Your Subscribers Back to Life
There's one thing that haunts email marketing people - dead email lists. It's a phenomenon that occurs pretty often and the scenario goes something like this - user likes something, subscribes, but goes under the radar never to return again.
To counter dead email list subscribers and bring them back to life, first try to figure out they your subscribers have gone inactive, and really get to know your intended audience. Then, try giving something away to capture their attention once again. Once they take action - WHAM! - you overdeliver by offering something of value.
- Use a Rewards or Loyalty Program to Woo 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, then have someone greet them to offer them a taste of royalty.
- Deliver Personalized Content to WOW their Personality
Customers get 'pitched' a lot of generalized content during the course of the day. It can be in the form of emails, social media posts, or blog articles. What you can do to stand out is to segment customers and offer personalized micro-content, or short bursts of content that is extremely personalized and highly relevant. Not only will this WOW the recipient, it will also make you stand out from the rest.
- Use Multi-Channel Marketing to Catch them at the Right Time
Why are you resorting to using just one channel? Why not mix them up? Customers don't use one channel when they engage with your business, they use multiple channels - they might be browsing your website while receiving a notification about a social media post you just made. If you catch them at the right time, you'll definitely impress them with your technical prowess.
- Use In-Product Messaging to Keep Them Engaged While They Use Your Product
Why use emails to send payment reminders when you can send a notification straight to their smartphone? In-product messaging is one of the best ways to increase engagement because customers are highly relevant and targeted. Whenever a user completes an action, or misses an opportunity to do so - send an in-product message reminding him why he should. Don't limit yourself - you can use in-product messages for pretty much anything.
Need more ways to engage customers? Don’t miss our read outlining 4 customer engagement strategies you need to succeed!
How to Build a Customer Engagement Plan
If you're going to engage customers, you need a plan. Here's how you can start building a customer engagement plan to engage the modern consumer:
- Measure: Analyze which interactions are increasing engagement, and what is impacting it negatively. Check critical KPIs such as customer satisfaction scores, NPS scores, etc. If you're using a dedicated customer engagement platform, use analytics in combination with AI & Big Data to analyze each interaction across all touchpoints.
- Plan: Plan your customer engagement strategy and work on each stage of the customer journey. Track key KPIs, lay out the initial roadmap and remove any obstacles that come in the customer's way. Make it easy for them to engage with your company.
- Engage: First start with your organization. Build a culture that fosters engagement. Use some of the strategies we outlined above. Interview experts and other market leaders and blog about them. Do whatever it takes to let your customers know you are willing to talk to them.
- Scale: Your efforts should be working by now. Once you're at this stage, try scaling it across the entire customer journey in each single interaction. Use it to create a ripple effect across the entire organization.
- Improve: Monitor and improve along the way. Don't miss a single interaction. Use your KPIs as a guideline for performance, but don't lose track of your overall business goals.
A well defined customer engagement strategy takes into account all factors, and is highly segmented, personalized, spread across a variety of channels.
In the modern business age, companies are increasingly looking to build everlasting relationships with their customers. This is because customers who are more engaged actually end up spending more with the business, and are more loyal and satisfied with their experience.
This is the sole reason many companies are beginning to implement customer engagement centers (CEC) in their organization to improve customer engagement. Customer Engagement Centers refers to the full set of business tools that provide customer service & customer support, and help in building relationships with customers. CECs assist the company in keeping the customer engaged as they move across various channels.
All in all, if you aren't engaging customers well enough, you're missing a lot of potential opportunities to build long lasting relationships with customers. Ameyo offers a Customer Engagement Hub that helps companies build personalized engagements with customers across the entire lifecycle. Subscribe to Ameyo to witness the new breed of customer engagement technology!