All You Need to Know About Customer Engagement
With a highly efficient and professional customer service and support team, improved customer engagement and relations is more or less a guarantee. While providing high-quality customer service is excellent, you will need much more to ensure your clients have the best possible customer experience. Consequently, you will be able to gain customer loyalty and boost your customer retention numbers.
Customer engagement will do that and much more for your brand. Being deliberate about engaging your customers makes the relationship feel less transactional. It communicates that you see your customers as the invaluable asset they are to your business. Besides, it shows how dedicated you are to anticipating, understanding, and meeting their specific needs.
This post will give you some insights into what customer engagement means for your business. You will also get some top strategies worth implementing in your business for real results.
Customer Engagement Defined
Another buzzword with so many definitions. Succinctly put, customer engagement measures the quantity and quality of a brand’s interactions with its customers across various channels. Right from the first interaction to beyond the point of purchase, customer engagement covers the whole lifecycle of customer interactions.
Customer engagement comes down to actively interacting with customers with messages that encourage two-way conversations with your brand. Such messages should be so crafted to interest, inform, and add real value to your intended audience.
You can engage with your customers across various channels, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and other social platforms. Other platforms include email, business websites, and various community forums. In fact, any channel where your customers and potential clients get to consume content from your brand is as good as any for customer engagement.
Consider this; Jill comes across your company’s advertisement for a product or service on Facebook. She likes what she sees. So, she goes ahead to follow the link to your company website for more information. As she’s looking around, she gets talking to your chatbot. This conversation gives her insight into the specifics of your product or service offerings. By the time she is done with that conversation, Jill is convinced she should add the product to her cart.
There is a simple illustration of the various levels of customer engagement, culminating in a sale. Engagement starts the moment a potential takes action. Other factors considered you may very well have added to your list of clients who will always show brand loyalty.
Why Does It Matter So Much?
With effective customer engagement strategies, your business will be on the right trajectory to achieving a 23% increase in revenue and profitability. For that reason, you can look forward to meeting your profitability and growth goals as a business. Accordingly, you will be on a better footing than any competitor.
Narrowing down to the specifics, here are some of the benefits of having a solid customer engagement strategy.
1. Better Customer Relationships for Improved Loyalty
Make your interactions customer-centric, that is, focusing on topics that are relevant to your customers and which meets their needs. It will communicate that you care. You need to go the extra mile, beyond just trying to get customers to buy your offerings. Then will you be able to build long-term and sustainable relationships driven by loyalty?
An effective customer engagement strategy will see you rally a community of loyal customers. These customers will be willing to choose you over any competitor. Because of this, you can confidently look forward to meeting and even exceeding your profitability and growth goals.
2. Improved Customer Retention
Research by Gallup Research shows that businesses, both B2B and B2C, which engage their customers have a 63% drop in customer attrition. As a business, you want to keep the new customers you attract. Nurturing your relationship through customer engagement is one way to go about it. Consequently, it becomes imperative to engage with customers even beyond the point of purchase.
These interactions beyond the point of purchase will help you help customers with key pain points encountered. Addressing these points will drive your customer retention. You can share information on making the most out of their purchases and informing them of new value-adding offerings.
3. Shorter Purchase Cycles
It is much easier and takes a shorter time to convert a fully engaged prospect. You have endless opportunities to engage with prospects that may result in faster conversions. For example, educating prospects on best practices and how to get the most of what you are offering will influence their purchase decisions.
Tailoring your message to suit where prospects are on their customer journey will have a positive impact. Not only will you draw the right prospects to your business, but these prospects will also be eager to close the deal.
4. More Opportunities for Up-Selling and Cross-Selling
Feedback is a crucial tool in any customer engagement campaign. As you interact with customers, you will get insights into their behavior, preferences, and a good idea of what works for them. In that case, you will have the information you need to tailor your message when making recommendations for up-selling and cross-selling.
You prove your value when you leverage feedback from customers to make such recommendations that promise customer satisfaction. Your customers will appreciate the recommendations and are more likely to go ahead and buy. According to Constellation Research’s Ray Wang study, businesses that have an effective customer engagement plan in place realize a 22% cross-sell increase.
5. Better Customer Service
No. Customer service and customer engagement are not synonymous. In reality, customer engagement is a part of excellent customer service. You stay connected to your customers all the time, as opposed to responding to a raised ticket.
Active customer engagement allows you to inform customers of best practices while using your products. Because you are always in touch, customers can raise concerns at any time, on any channel. This does away with the need to go to your customer support portal, write an email, or call. Customers are not limited to what may be your official channel for addressing such concerns.
6. Rallying Brand Ambassadors
Engaging your customers will earn your brand loyalty. Customer satisfaction will drive your client base to actively promote or recommend your business to others. Indeed, loyal clients will be more than glad to spread the word to friends and family through word-of-mouth. Moreover, satisfied clients will recommend you to perfect strangers on online forums and on any opportunity that may present itself.
If you are looking for positive reviews, solicited, or otherwise, ensure you have happy customers. They will be more than glad to review and recommend your business.
Calculating User Engagement
How well is your customer engagement strategy doing? What areas do you need to work on to improve customer interactions and achieve the desired results? Only by measuring your customer engagement can you gauge its performance and know if it needs improving.
Granted, there are several formulas or metrics to consider when measuring customer engagement. Analytics of a combination of these metrics will give you a clear picture of where you stand.
1. Average Time Spent on Page or Site
This is one of the fundamental and obvious customer engagement metrics. If you successfully capture the attention of prospects visiting your site, you can be sure they will stay around longer. Engaged prospects will do more than whatever brought them onto the page, be it to get a resource or shop. They will stick around to see what else your site has to offer.
2. Repeat Visit Frequency
Engaged customers will not only want to spend time on your site, but they are more likely to do so more frequently. You can be sure of a high repeat visit frequency if your page visitors are fully engaged. They will want to check in now and then to see what’s new.
Furthermore, the high traffic to your pages could be from engaged customers redirected from elsewhere. For example, those who have opened their emails and read your social media posts before being redirected.
3. Open and Click-Through Rates
Both metrics give a precise measure of how your target audience responds to the messages you are putting out there. Open rates quantifies the number of opens you get on Facebook messenger, email, and other communication channels. Similarly, click-through rates quantifies the number of clicks you get on the CTA in your message.
High open and click-through rates across your platforms are a pointer to your target audience being interested, or at the very least, curious about what you are sharing. In that case, you can be certain that you are doing well on the customer engagement front.
4. Guest Checkout Rates
This metric represents the number of customers who transact with you without creating an account or filling out a form. Engaged customers are more than likely to provide you with the information required to create an account with your business.
It communicates that the customer is willing and very likely to come back again. Again, it shows an interest in hearing about your product offerings and any other information you may share.
5. Social Media Interaction
Customers can engage with your brand in various ways across the different social media platforms. Think likes, comments, replies, tags, shares, tweets and retweets, and mentions. Customers that follow you on social media will get updates on your offerings. Similarly, social media is a convenient channel through which to raise any queries.
Social media is the biggest off-site platform on which to interact with customers. The level of activity and interaction on social media will paint a good picture of how engaged your customer base is.
6. Repeat Purchase Rate
Customer engagement will drive brand loyalty that will keep your customers coming back every time they need to make a purchase. Also, engaged customers are more likely to buy impulsively when you share updates on your latest offerings. As such, a high repeat purchase rate is a strong indicator of the effectiveness of your customer engagement and retention strategy.
7. Direct User Feedback
Feedback from your customers through online reviews will tell you what customers appreciate about your business, their pain points, and areas where they require some improvements. This is the feedback that you can only get from customers who are engaged with your business across different touchpoints.
8. Customer Referrals
Customer satisfaction among engaged customers will have them wanting to recommend your business to others. Therefore, it makes sense that referrals are one of the strongest indicators of customer engagement.
Apart from the value-added, engaged customers are more than likely to be aware of any loyalty program you may be running and referral bonuses offered to reward customer referrals.
Best Practices for Driving Customer Engagement Across Various Channels
Shaping customer experiences across all channels available to you communicates that you are concerned about every customer’s success. What goes into making brand interactions pleasant for your existing and potential customers varies across channels?
Here is a look at channel-specific best practices that will increase customer engagement and help you meet your business goals.
1. Company Website and Mobile App
Across both platforms, you want to ensure your messaging and the overall user experience are pleasant all round. A user-friendly, intuitive, and highly responsive web design and layout is the first thing you want to take care of. It will ensure customers have an easy time navigating through the site and app.
Now that exploring your site or app is hassle-free on the visitors keep them engaged in various ways. First is by curating content that customers will find interesting and will want to spend their time-consuming. Go for highly-quality and informative blog posts and videos.
Second, you can never go wrong with incentives. There is so much you can offer, from exclusive coupons to gifts or giveaways and referral bonuses. These incentives will make your customers want to spend more time on your digital properties.
2. Human and Bot Chats
Live chat is a crucial communication channel for any business. Customer satisfaction is higher with live chat compared to when customers use other channels. You should leverage this popularity and trust to make sure live chat works for your business.
Live chat offers real-time query resolution, which is a plus among customers who want to get their answers immediately. In addition, you can use this feature to increase your user engagement numbers. How? By offering personalized recommendations and driving traffic to specific pages and resources, the customer will find useful.
Given the apparent benefits of live chat, you want to make sure this feature is integrated across all your channels. Depart from the traditional norm of having a live chat on just your website and app. Integrate live chat on your messaging platforms and see your engagement metrics improve significantly.
Video continues to rank high in popularity when it comes to digital marketing. This type of content format is more compelling, entertaining, and easy to share. Therefore, you can never go wrong with video in driving your customer engagement metrics. Share relevant videos across your various platforms and realize the incredible results. The right content will see you build a community of fans for your videos.
There is so much you can do with your videos. For starters, create content around educating customers on your product offerings. You can also go for Q&As and other such interactive videos to focus on real questions asked by customers. Another popular and highly engaging format is User Generated Content (UGC) videos. Make the customers a part of the show through contests and similar campaigns to invite customers to send in their videos.
Similarly, you can have an expert host a webinar or create a vlog talking about specific topics. Put in the effort to make these interactive and exciting and establish yourself as an authority that customers will want to interact with again. Testimonials showing happy customers will also drive up your engagement numbers and are a useful marketing tool in their own right.
Old school and yet as highly effective today as they were back in the day. There is a lot of potential for customer engagement with emails. Maximize the level of engagement with every email you send out by doing the following:
- Maximize open rates by crafting persuasive subject lines
- Ensure every email is mobile friendly as more than 50% of the emails you send out will be opened on a smartphone and other mobile devices.
- Send targeted emails based on customer behavior and interest. Customers are likely to spam your emails if they are not relevant.
- Offer value in not so many words. Make every email interestingly informative and share resources without coming off as too promotional.
- Motivate the readers by sharing customer success stories to demonstrate value and build trust in your offerings.
5. Social Media
A good chunk of brand interactions happens on social media. You must leverage these platforms to ensure that your followers on social media platforms are highly engaged.
To help you do just that, here are a few surefire tips to consider:
- Stay consistent and post regularly to ensure you are always on the minds of your followers
- Create and share content that is relevant to your target audience.
- Humanize your brand, and build that connection by sharing real stories of your employees and customers
- Go for interactive posts that tell your target audience you care about their input. Polls, quizzes, and contests are highly interactive
- Stay connected with your followers by responding to mentions and comments, especially when a customer raises a legit concern.
From web push notifications to SMS, there are plenty more channels to leverage for customer engagement. Know your target audience, and you will have an easy time identifying what to do and what not to do. The right strategy will help you to maximize engagement on each of these channels.
Building A Winning Customer Engagement Strategy
Ultimately, it all comes down to this. How do you develop that winning customer engagement strategy? How did Amazon and other big brands do it? Follow these 3 steps to build a strategy that will set you apart from the competition.
1. Build Your Brand Voice
Your unique brand voice personifies you as a business and makes you relatable and memorable among customers. Create a personality around your business that your target audience can easily identify with. The brand voice you develop should compel customers to look at you as an industry leader.
2. Share your Brand Voice
Build an online presence and share your brand voice. Invest in a good business website, and create pages for your business on social media platforms. Share content that embodies your values as a brand and messages that add value to your target audience.
3. Personalize Customer Experience and Communications
Make all brand interactions personal. You can do this by asking users to create a user account or profile at the start of their customer journey. The information provided will help in personalizing their experience.
In addition, you will have plenty more to work with if you ask for customer feedback at the end of these interactions. Personalizing customer experience is made easier when you have the backing of powerful tools. For example, software that makes recommendations based on a customer’s past brand interactions is an excellent tool.
The same goes for all communications that you send out. Personalize that email you send to a customer, and you will pique their interest enough for them to not only read the content but also to act on it. The same goes for phone calls and other communication channels.
Customer Engagement Platforms
Staying on powerful tools, a customer engagement platform is certainly one worth investing in. This platform is a feature-rich software or automation tool that centralizes all customer communication. Additionally, the software is capable of tracking and analyzing customer behavior.
As a result, this platform improves customer service and support teams’ response rate, making them more efficient. This software will help your business to personalize your customer engagement and marketing campaigns by analyzing customer data and behavior.
A customer engagement platform is an invaluable asset for both B2B and B2C businesses. You get all the analytics you need to boost your customer engagement numbers. The platform will be doing the heavy lifting, helping you to streamline your workflow and improve collaboration among customer support teams.
Because your teams don’t have to worry about doing the repetitive tasks, they can focus their time and energies on developing other user engagement strategies. This will see you realize your long-term business goals.
As outlined, there’s always so much that you can do to improve customer engagement. Evaluate the success of your engagement and strategies and identify areas where you can improve. The best practices highlighted should serve as a useful guide.
Even more important and valuable is feedback from customers. Exit-intent pop-ups, for example, will help you know why users are leaving.
On the whole, developing and actively improving your customer engagement strategies can significantly impact your business. Your customer base remains one of your greatest assets, and you will do well to ensure they are well engaged and have excellent customer experiences.