Customer engagement entails so much more than comments on posts, customer service interactions, and social shares. True customer engagement represents a customer’s entire experience, interaction, and relationship with your business. Before we outline some strategies for better customer engagement, here’s how your customers (and business) can benefit from an exceptional customer engagement strategy.
The Benefits of Positive Customer Engagement
Enthusiastic, engaged customers provide incredible value for your brand. They become walking ambassadors, spreading their praises for your products to their professional and personal networks. They choose your brand over competitors’. They spend more money on your products and services. If your brand hasn’t emphasized customer engagement before, then it has the potential to transform your business. When brands focus on customer engagement, they see the following results.
Improved Customer Experience
Engaged customers feel appreciated, invested, and valued—leading to a better customer experience. According to research, over 70 percent of people say customer experience factors into their decision to buy—a close second to price tag and quality. Brands with good customer experience report seeing an 84 percent increase in revenue. Since just under half of American consumers say they receive good customer experience from companies, your brand has ample room to differentiate itself and attract more business.
Heightened Customer Loyalty
Engaged customers who have positive experiences with a brand develop a deep allegiance. Customer loyalty is the ultimate jackpot because it turns people into brand ambassadors. One study found 63 percent of consumers feel inclined to share more about a brand if it provides a great customer experience. They trust and recommend your company because of the positive emotions they associate with your brand. If you can make your customers happy, they will share that with others and keep coming back for more.
Greater Market Share
Customer engagement, experience, and loyalty all lead to greater market share. Why? Because if you offer the same product or service as a competitor, but you’re more enjoyable to follow on social media and communicate with, people will opt for your business every time.
7 Strategies for Better Customer Engagement
Now you know the high level-benefits of customer engagement, but do you know how to restructure your marketing to focus on meaningful interactions? Start off on the right foot with these seven tips.
1. Speak Like a Human
People want to engage with brands they feel connected to. That won’t happen if you speak like a robot or in an impersonal manner. Revisit your brand’s voice and tone. Use “you” instead of “we” in your marketing content. Update your messaging and emails to reflect that focus on the customer. Whether it’s customer service, social media, or another touchpoint where you speak directly with customers, imagine the customer as a friend or colleague.
2. Open More Lines of Communication
How do you engage your customers? The more avenues you open for communication, the more likely you’ll improve and grow customer engagement. Did you know that customers prefer texting, for example, 6x more than traditional live chat? That’s why Podium’s Webchat allows you to text with website visitors to get them what they need faster—and get closer to a sale. Better yet, our Messaging Platform makes it easier to talk to customers across platforms—merging text, Facebook Messenger, Google Click-to-Message, and Webchat, so you never miss a chance to engage.
3. Utilize Social Media
Social media is one of the best tools for customer engagement. Providing amazing customer service and communication in a public forum shows potential customers that you’re listening. Find social networks where your target audience is well represented, and create useful, compelling content to attract and engage with new customers.
No matter which tactics you choose, assign an employee to respond to comments and direct messages and ensure they respond quickly. Ask your staff to follow and engage with other users with likes, comments, and shares. As long as you have the manpower to communicate quickly and effectively on social media, it’ll serve as a great tool for customer engagement.
4. Put Customer Experience First
While positive customer experience can be a side effect of great customer engagement, it can also be the catalyst. Because 79 percent of people want brands to prove they care about their customers before they buy anything, your brand needs to focus on customer needs first. Then, your customers will be willing to engage with your brand more often, knowing it’s a positive experience
How do you achieve better customer experience and subsequent customer engagement? Train your staff and customer service professionals to be polite, courteous, and attentive to questions, comments, and feedback. Make your brand easy to get in touch with via email or phone. Whatever you can do to make life better and easier for your customer, do it.
5. Don’t Just Sell
The best marketers give, give, then get. It’s the 80/20 rule: provide information, usefulness, and entertainment 80 percent of the time and sell or promote 20 percent. Customers are more likely to engage with brands that post engaging content, so start there. Think fewer product photos and more images of your staff or customers enjoying your product in real-life situations; fewer promotions and more tips, tricks, and unique insights from your team.
6. Ask Customers for Feedback
Almost 70 percent of companies that deliver exceptional customer experience use some form of feedback. Whether it’s compiling comments from social media or a dedicated review management platform, feedback helps you better manage your online reputation. If your customers feel heard—even if they post a negative comment—they’ll most likely perceive the interaction as a positive customer service experience.
7. Learn from Your Customers
Customer engagement is a cycle. First, you ask customers for feedback. Then, you analyze what they said. Lastly, you implement changes or continue popular initiatives to show customers you value what they think. Showing customers you listen will encourage them to continue to engage with your brand.
We’re lucky to live in a time where it’s so easy to engage with customers. With the creation of a social media account or addition of Webchat, you have access to the wants, needs, ideas, and feedback of your most loyal and engaged audience. Use customer engagement to your advantage to enhance brand loyalty, customer experience, and your market share.