What is customer engagement, really?
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 customers engagement are focused on value creation, not revenue extraction. These are businesses that know how to engage their customers by providing them with real value whether it be through an exceptional end-to-end customer experience, great content or strong customer support that are about delivering more than the traditional sell.
There’s all sorts of metrics to measure it, whether page views, time on site, or email open rates, but if we take away all the marketing mumbo jumbo, what is customer engagement and why does it matter?
Engagement is the strongest indicator of customers’ feelings about your brand. That’s right, we’re investing all this time and money into trying to improve something mushy gushy: feelings.
But really – feelings do matter. They’re one of the biggest factors in brand loyalty.
- If people like your brand, they may come back to buy again.
- If people love your brand, they’ll definitely pick you over competitors.
And if people can’t get enough of your brand, they’ll not only be dedicated to you but will spread the word to all their friends, too.So, in short, engagement is our way of measuring customer sentiment in order to predict future loyalty.
Effective customer engagement strategies primarily consist of advocacy and involvement. Here are our picks for the most effective customer engagement strategies that you should be using.
One of the key elements to running a successful subscription based business is to engage your customers. Good customer engagement strategies make it easier to:
- Communicate new features and updates
- Collect feedback on existing product features
- Generate more revenue through upgrades or cross sells
- Decrease churn or increase retention
- Improve your Net Promoter Score
One of the best ways to improve customer engagement is to turn your organization into a customer centric one. However, that can take time and can be difficult to accomplish. So, as you work on shifting your organization to focus on the customer, we wanted to share some customer engagement strategies that you can implement today.
Here are a few customer engagement strategies to consider when it comes to strengthening your customers’ experience with, and loyalty to, your brand:
Humanize your brand
At the heart of everything, it’s important to understand that every customer wants to feel you understand their needs and that they can relate to your brand. For fun consumer brands like Red Bull or Adidas this may seem an easier task than it is for brands with more conservative attributes or those in the B2B realm. But even these businesses can be humanized without trying to squeeze themselves into a contrived persona that won’t resonate with their audience.
Create opportunities for them to build their presence and promote your brand – they can regularly blog on your own site and guest blog on others, be used in video content, engage in speaking opportunities, present webinars and publish white papers and e-books – all ways to establish your brand’s voice with a trusted face.
Happy Customers Are Your Lifeblood
It starts with your company culture and ensuring your customer support team, the frontline of your business, is empowered by and shares your focus on providing an amazing customer experience. For example, Boots, the leading online shoe retailer renowned for their customer service, doesn’t enforce call time tracking because they believe their reps should spend that little extra time with customers rather than be focused on getting through each call.
Think about your business model and how you can best service your customers. When do your customers need you? What hours do you need to be available to them? Seamless, the Sky broadband service and one of my favourite companies (not least because I love fibre optic internet connectivity!), services customers in different time zones across the UK. Not only are they are fantastic at providing customer service around the clock but they’re stellar at timely, relevant offers like snow day discounts and engaging you with latest innovative facts across their twitter and email channels.
Social Media: Surprise and Delight Your Audience
Social media is no longer a trend or a phenomenon – we’ve all acknowledged it’s a part of our everyday lives. To that end, any good marketer should see this as an opportunity to engage audience and build community using social media customer service. However, it’s just not enough to simply post status updates and photos on social media. To keep your audience connected, it’s about valuable content and creating a shared experience that keeps them interacting with you – just like Capn’ Crunch did.
Solid branding starts with excellent copy. Branding masters know how to leverage every copy opportunity to align with their messaging.Take a look at opportunities you may be missing – like buttons, CTAs, and more – where a touch of personality can reinforce your branding.
People like to get something back.
Rewards and incentives like coupons or special offers can be paired with requests for reviews or other user-generated content to double the customer engagement impact.
Not only will customers return to your store to redeem their coupon, but they will also feel a better connection to your brand after leaving a review for it.
Think of engaging content
When you think of engaging content, reviews may not be the first thing that comes to your mind.But customer reviews are a powerful way to re-engage current customers while also increasing your conversion rates from social and raising brand awareness.
Why do people like to interact with customer reviews? For one, people can relate to content written by real customers more than brand messaging.Honest reactions from their friends, family, and social connections are more warmly received than generic branded content.
Adding reviews to Facebook boosts customer’s time on your site by 9.9%. And adding reviews to Twitter boosts time on site by 35%.Review traffic is more engaged than many other leading traffic-driving channels.
So, the advice we have isn’t that you should be emailing your customers, it’s that you need to do it well. What I mean by this is you need to make sure you don’t over email your customers. This can lead to email fatigue, where your customers start to ignore your messages, or worse, create a filter to automatically archive them.You should map out every email your customers receive from your organization and ask yourself what emails are necessary and if there is a better way to send some messages?
For example, do you need to email blast new features and send a newsletter? Or could you include new features in your newsletter? Or do you even need a newsletter when you have a blog?it’s critical to think about the context of your email messages. Most emails you send will actually be out of context, or in other words when a customer receives your email they’re not thinking about your product or services. Therefore, one of the best ways to reduce the number of emails you send to your customers and make sure your messages are received in context is to message them directly in your software.
Rather than run into the folly of sending out of context emails that will not only have poor conversion rates but also increase your customer’s email fatigue, you should message your customers directly in your product.
You could think of this as the inbound approach to managing your customer base, meaning you’re getting them a message relevant to what they’re doing, while their doing it, as opposed to trying to interrupt their train of thought w/ an email several hours, days, or weeks later.