Customer Engagement Strategy Guide
Effective customer engagement is all about building long-term customer relationships. Successful customer engagement is proactive and personalized, anticipating the needs and wants of your customers to provide a fantastic experience.
One of the best ways to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction is by creating a customer engagement strategy for your products and brand. Customer engagement aims to create a better experience for customers who are using your products and makes sure they are happy with the service they have received.
If customers aren’t engaged, they are unlikely to stick around with your business and may start looking at your competitors who offer a better customer experience. When businesses build better relationships with their customers, this results in positive emotions towards your brand which ultimately contribute to more loyalty.
We all want our customers to be engaged because it means they are benefiting from great service and enjoying using our products. But customer engagement can often feel slightly intangible – which is why we are offering some practical strategies for how you can build and boost engagement among your customers.
More engaged customers are better for the business and better for revenue – you can’t go wrong when you have customers who are pleased to interact with your brand.
What is a customer engagement strategy?
Businesses use customer engagement strategies as a way of capturing the attention of their customers and ensuring that they have positive, low-effort experiences with their brand. Customer engagement is a holistic approach to retaining customers that takes proactive steps to ensuring customers remain loyal and happy.
Customer engagement means treating customers as a whole person – in short, as you would like to be treated. The customer experience should be so great that customers want to come back for more and tell all their friends.
Think of engagement as a two-way street. As much as offering enticing messages and experiences to customers, you have to be open to how they feel about you and listen to what customers have to say. How you communicate with customers before, during and after the sale matters.
Customer engagement strategies involve thinking deeply about how you approach your customers and build experiences with your brand.
The benefits of a customer engagement strategy
Impacts customer loyalty
When customers are engaged with your products and brand, they feel more loyal to your business. They understand that your business cares about them and is invested in providing a positive experience. Customers are loyal to people, not products, and if you offer amazing service experiences then customers will keep coming back for more.
Customers who are happy with your brand spend more. They make higher value purchases and purchase more frequently. The majority of revenue comes from your existing customers so it makes sense to spend time making them happy. Therefore, customer engagement is directly tied to revenue.
Results in positive reviews
Great experiences are often shared by customers, and likely to be posted on public review sites where other potential customers can learn about your brand from trusted sources. When businesses provide better customer experiences, this makes you more memorable and makes customers more likely to share the good news about you.
What are the five steps for customer engagement?
1. Streamline the onboarding process
A customer’s first interaction with your product should be easy and memorable. Customers who are new to your products and services need to learn why they should care and how your product will benefit them.
Improving the onboarding process results in better customer engagement because it drives product adoption, helping customers to realize value and feel like the money they spent was worth it.
Businesses should be focusing on differentiating themselves at this stage and ensuring customers are successful. Engagement could mean a number of different things such as trying on your product, logging into a platform, or setting up hardware.
Onboarding is the prime time to begin engaging customers and ensuring they are satisfied with their experience.
2. Track metrics for engagement
You’ll never know whether or not engagement has been successful if you don’t track key metrics. Net Promoter Score is a powerful metric that gives you insight into customer loyalty, and tells you how likely customers are to share their experience with your brand.
Certain metrics can give you insight into whether you need to take action with regards to particular customers. If engagement is high, for example, it could tell you that this customer is open to providing a testimonial or maybe leaving a positive review about your company.
Another metric that you could track is customer lifetime value, which tells you how much customers spend with your company during the entire relationship they have with your company. Many high-value customers will also be very engaged and deserve special treatment to ensure they stick around.
Choosing the right metrics for your business will ensure that you can measure customer engagement and define progress towards success.
3. Adopt the right tools to track engagement
There are many tools out there to help you track engagement, such as data collection tools which give you insight into the behavior of your customers. Analytics tools may tell you how customers are engaging with the website or your email marketing campaigns.
When you know the metrics you want to track, you can adopt the right tools that will give you insights into customers. Customer relationship management (CRM) systems help you track relationships with customers and log their behaviors so you can make more informed decisions.
Engagement software gives you a more holistic view into the status of your customers and helps you decide if you need to take action.
4. Level up your customer support
Customers often need help and this can be your big chance to deliver a highly personal and engaging experience. The experience often starts with offering the right channels for customers to engage with you and ensuring they are staffed with competent and friendly agents who can deliver effective assistance.
There is no engagement without customer support. The best customer support tools provide a better experience for both customers and agents, with software like Keeping making it easy for agents to engage with customers and track conversation history. If you don’t make the effort to help your customers, this can result in a high risk of churn.
Instead of viewing customer support as a cost-center, focus on it as an opportunity to help customers and create loyalty. Customers are more forgiving of mistakes or errors if they feel like your brand takes responsibility and makes the effort to fix it. This then results in higher engagement.
As engagement is at least half about listening, customer support is an important way to engage your customers.
5. Proactively reach out to customers about updates
Customers who are engaged with your company want to hear about news and new products. Never spam your customers, but take the time to occasionally send them thoughtful communications that demonstrate exciting things are happening with your company.
When a customer likes a brand, they will feel more engaged if you are helping them uncover new products that may bring benefits to them. Your messages should never be purely about the transaction, but focusing on ways that your company can bring even more value to your customer base.
Engaged customers are open to hearing about your company and hopefully believe that you make a difference to their lives, even in small ways. Brands who come across more human are more likely to engage customers and establish a dialogue.
The best communication makes customers who are at best passive about your company become committed fans.
What are customer engagement strategies?
Develop a personalized approach to customers
There is very little customer engagement without personalization. Each customer is unique, and past behavior often informs future wants and needs. If you’ve followed the steps to achieve customer engagement, you can then move onto approaches that create personalized experiences for customers.
For example, even the basic technique of using a customer’s name when you communicate with them results in a better experience. Show your customers you know who they are and that you value their business. They are more than just a number to you.
Technologies are evolving that are able to help businesses deliver a more personalized service even on a large scale, such as machine learning. You can automate much of the work that goes on behind the scenes for recommended related products or services, or helping customers get more out of your products.
A blend of technology and the human touch results in more engaged customers.
Build a customer loyalty program
If you want to engage customers, one of the best strategies is building a customer loyalty program. Customer loyalty programs reward customers for their continued business through points, discounts, or free products – just think of a Starbucks loyalty card.
If customers feel like they are getting something for free or more value for money, they become more engaged. It gives them a reason to keep choosing your business over others and spend time and effort earning their rewards.
Loyalty is directly tied to engagement, which in turn increases revenue. Offering small gifts to customers in return for loyalty raises revenue in the long-term, as you cultivate your existing customer base.
Too many businesses make the mistake of only offering promotions to new customers, when existing customers deserve just as much attention.
Set customers up for success
A massive part of engaging customers is ensuring they are successful with your products. If you deliver a home entertainment system, but customers don’t know how to use it, they will soon be sending it back. You will lose revenue and gain some angry customers.
Customer success is important for any business, so if there is any question mark over how to use your products make sure you address it in how you present products to customers. Spend time crafting the user experience to make it more intuitive and pleasant to interact with.
Customers who are engaged are successful with your products, so customer success is an important strategy. It means anticipating customer concerns and problems, and removing roadblocks in the journey.
Success is different for every business, and every company needs to spend time crafting their definition of success so they can engage customers.
Conduct regular surveys to gather customer feedback
We’ve already talked about customer engagement being a two-way street. While it’s possible to passively observe customers using behavior and analytics, sometimes the quickest way to engage with customers is to simply ask them what they want.
Different types of surveys work best in different situations. You may want to ask customers directly about what you could do better, or you may want to find out what they already like about your brand.
Surveys are useful because it means you can often take action before it is too late. A low Net Promoter Score may indicate customers who require more attention from your support team, which means that you could potentially intervene to stop them leaving.
Even the simple act of asking for feedback can often make customers more engaged with your brand.
Make it easy to buy from you
All too often companies make it difficult to buy from them, possibly requiring too much information or forcing customers to create accounts. When companies are selling products, completing the purchase should be almost easier than not. That’s one of the reasons why companies like Amazon are so successful. With such stiff competition out there, streamlining the buying process is vital to customer engagement.
Making a return should be just as easy as making a purchase. Customers will appreciate you taking their experience into account and be more likely to buy from you again if the process is easy.
Companies who create a lot of red tape in the buying process make it look like they are prioritizing profits over people, and jeopardizes the goodwill of your customers. Taking into account the needs of your customers results in a better experience and more engaged customers.
Even though many transactions are now automated, you would do well to spend enough time streamlining the experience to make it more engaging.
What is a good example of engagement?
Against stiff competition, Netflix offers superior customer engagement by enabling customers to add content to their lists and recommending new content based on what customers have already watched. The experience is highly personalized and encourages binge-watching, where customers spend more time engaging with the platform. Regularly offering new and exclusive content helps keep customers engaged and using the app.
Spotify uses powerful strategies to engage with its user base. Recommended playlists based on past listening history draws users in and gives them a reason to keep using the app to discover new music. Spotify collects all sorts of data on customer behavior to provide a better, more personalized experience for customers using the app. Customers can easily pick up where they left off and create their own unique playlists to use or share. Spotify feels personal and tailored for you.
Customer engagement strategies are important for creating loyal customers and increasing revenue. Engaged customers are paying attention and actively interacting with your products and brand. Although somewhat intangible, customer engagement is directly tied to the future success of your business, since it helps you retain more customers as well as grow your existing customer base.
Effective customer engagement is all about building long-term customer relationships.
Successful customer engagement is proactive and personalized, anticipating the needs and wants of your customers to provide an amazing experience. Even more than price and product, experiences are what differentiates you from your competitors and have customers raving about you.
Remember, engagement goes both ways – it’s about listening as well as talking. Customers will very often provide you with clues or hints about the best way to interact with them, and you must strike up a conversation.
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