What is Customer Engagement?
Contrary to popular opinion, customer engagement is not just a way to measure how connected customers are with your brand. Instead, customer engagement is an umbrella term for the different processes used to create, build, and maintain customer relationships.
A business that increases customer engagement focuses on creating value from a great product or service, offering excellent after-sales support, and devising effective communications that solidify the consumer’s experience.
Every business needs a customer who will act as an expert ambassador for your brand: one so engaged with their company that they’ll want other people to share that experience.
If you can create this type of emotional connection with your customers, then you’ve cracked it. Let’s take a closer look at some ways companies like yours can do exactly that.
Why is Customer Engagement Important?
Keeping customers engaged at each step of the buyer’s lifecycle allows companies to build brand loyalty and improve a host of key sales metrics. These include up-selling and cross-selling, as well as CLV (Customer Lifetime Value).
Ultimately, an actively engaged customer will buy a brand’s product more frequently and with greater longevity. Individual customers are just the tip of the iceberg, however; true customer engagement creates brand experts who can attract new customers, rekindle lost relationships, and build upon existing ones.
Beyond just the bottom line, engagement serves as a valuable data-driven activity. Engaged customers interact more often with brands, providing you and your company with valuable information about the individual, as well as the wider market. Using these insights effectively can lead to better decision-making for your marketing teams and further developed customer engagement - a self-fulfilling strategy.
Ways To Increase Customer Engagement
Create Superior Customer Experiences
Customer engagement starts with improving the CX (Customer Experience). Your product or service can be the best thing since sliced bread, but without positive engagement, it will fall short of the mark.
One great way to improve CX is to improve your customer service. No matter the type of business you are running, customers will interact with your company on some level, whether that is in person, over the phone, or by a chat window. These interactions will shape your customer’s perspective towards both the individual product and the brand as a whole; the quality of these experiences must not be overlooked.
For example, when your sales representatives are asking potential customers to establish their requirements, make sure they’re framing their questions with context. Rather than just asking “So what’s your budget?”, try instead “We have a range of solutions that are tailored to different budgets, did you have a price in mind?”.
While both examples lead to the same answer, the latter provides context for your question, as well as a more comfortable introduction to discussing budgets. The change in phrasing and framing of the question elevates the conversation from invasive and direct to inviting and collaborative. With just a few changes in wording, the entire interaction becomes more genuine, leading to an overall greater experience.
It’s easy to think that because you are trying to sell something you can’t genuinely connect with your customers. However, this simply is not true and this mindset is why many companies struggle to relate to their customers.
The legitimacy of your customer relationships starts with you and your teams. Elevated customer experiences come not only from exemplary service but the feeling that the interaction was sincere. To help improve these interactions, encourage your team members to act as their real selves - people who value helping solve problems and see your products as solutions.
When learning about the customer, listen and engage; the best way to solve a customer’s problem is to understand it. In order to make them feel valued, your team members must then demonstrate their understanding through genuine and relevant responses. While scripts and rehearsed lines are convenient, most consumers can tell the difference. Like most things, building personable relationships with customers requires time and effort, but leads to better results.
Find Effective Ways To Communicate
Effective communication is all about understanding your customer. How do they like to be communicated with? When are the most available? What is the best way to reach them with the budget you have for brand communication?
Regular communication with a client is going to provide more effective levels of customer engagement. In order to maintain existing customers, as well as attract new ones, you must find effective methods of communication for your specific brand.
There is no shortage of examples of effective engagement, but below are four proven methods to consider:
- Newsletters – Give customers updates about your business and your products through targeted and relevant newsletters.
- Surveys – Make your customers feel their opinion is valued by asking for their feedback through relevant questionnaires.
- Reward Programs – Encourage and reward loyalty through early access offers, discounts, and more.
- Workshops – Train your customers on how to get the most of your products or services so that they are more invested in them.
Use Conversational Marketing
Conversational marketing is another key aspect of good communication. Simply put, it means avoiding one-sided interactions between your business and your customers.
In recent years, chatbots have risen in popularity as a way of actively engaging in conversation with a customer when team members are unavailable or assistance is needed after hours. A HubSpot survey found that 82% of consumers rated an ‘immediate’ response as important/very important when they have a marketing or sales question, a demand chatbots meet.
For even more engaging conversational marketing, look to video chats. Your customers can hop on a quick video call with a sales rep, providing them with a face-to-face interaction – which is always better than a phone call.
Regardless of your form of communication, immediate conversational interactions elevate the customer’s experience and overall engagement.
Emphasize Customer Retention
According to a study by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, an increase in retention of just 5% increases profitability by between 25% to 95%. Simply put, higher engagement leads to higher profits.
There are a variety of ways that you can increase retention, but a great place to start is with investment from customers themselves – an investment of their time, that is. If you can develop a custom app that helps customers get more from your products or services, then you’re empowering them to develop their relationship with your company.
Building on the idea of genuine interactions, showing your customers that you care goes a long way in boosting retention. Shortly after purchase, encourage the consumer to share their experiences with your product and brand. This will not only increase retention but provide potential data points to better improve your product and brand.
Fine-tune Your Social Media Marketing
Social media has been a mainstay of digital marketing for years now. Getting the most from your social media starts with refining your message and the avenues you use to deliver it - including the platform and type of media. Social platforms provide customers the ability to engage directly with your brand, which you are able to tailor for their wants and needs. The better you tune your channels to your customers, the better engagement you can get.
As an outward-facing element of your business, make sure that your social media interactions are timely and consistent. This will help build engagement with the individual who interacted with you, as well as act as a public forum to show others that you are quick to resolve issues and your brand is committed to good customer service.
Personalize Your Service
Personalization is exactly what you think it is: offering products, services, and communications that are tailored to an individual or group of individuals. Simple and effective, an Experian study found that personalized emails generated 6 times the transaction rates of generic ones. The idea is simple: a customer is more than a number in a database and they want to be treated as such.
Beyond traditional emails, gamification offers a fantastic way to improve engagement through a personalized space. A customer can rank up, seek achievements, and boast to their peers about what they’ve accomplished; all while investing further in your brand and giving you more individualized consumer information. This data, of course, can be used to further develop your marketing strategies.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does increasing engagement mean?
Strengthening the relationship a customer has with your brand. It can be impacted by the number and the quality of interactions they have with your business. Building your brand's relationship with a customer can lead to higher revenue and profit while also reducing costs.
What are customer engagement activities?
Any activity that seeks to improve the relationship your business has with your customers. It can be any type of interaction that you have with a customer whether that is a social media conversation, an email survey, or your customer service.
We cannot understate the importance of customer engagement and how building it will have a positive impact on your business. Regular, quality communication is the key to building better interactions, regardless of the platform. Achieving better engagement can be done in a plethora of ways, including creating superior customer experiences, genuine communication efforts, finding effective ways to connect, using conversational marketing, emphasizing retention, and personalizing your service.
Whether it is retail stores, a call center, or an online marketplace, every interaction you have with your customer is going to impact engagement. Making those interactions genuine and positive is everything. Think of it this way: being engaged is an active state. You have to engage to get engagement.