In today’s always-on, always-connected world, the expectations of the average customer have changed quite a lot. Consumers today expect a higher level of service as standard, and they expect businesses to be able to answer their queries promptly and effectively. As the barrier between customer service and marketing continues to fade, both businesses and consumers are having to reconsider how they engage with one another.
Customer engagement is all about encouraging your customers to spread the word about your business. This is most effectively achieved by offering your customers experiences that they want to share with those around them. A focus on customer engagement can help to lift your sales figures in the short term, while providing you with a loyal customer base in the long term.
Here are five customer engagement strategies which will put the customer at the heart of everything your business does.
Put the Customer Experience First
The businesses that naturally encourage the most customer engagement are those that strive to put the customer at the heart of everything they do. When you put the customer experience at the very heart of your corporate culture, many of the most effective means of encouraging their engagement occur automatically. As we mentioned in the intro, customer service is practically part of the marketing strategy for many businesses today.
You will want to be able to measure in some way, the view that your customers hold of your business. Seeking feedback from your customers serves two purposes. First of all, it will let the customer know that you value their input and that you, as a business owner, are grateful for their custom. The other function of feedback is, of course, to get an idea of where you are doing well, and where you could stand to make improvements.
Make Your Brand More Friendly
Customers have always shown a greater affinity for those businesses that are the most approachable and friendly in their practices. Humanising your brand is an effective strategy for encouraging engagement from your customers. There a number of ways that you can go about making your brand more human and friendly.
However you decide to go about it, this is going to be just as much about marketing as it is about your customer service policies. For any big corporation, the obvious way of doing this is to find a beloved celebrity to endorse their brand. However, most businesses can’t afford to hire a celebrity for their marketing campaign. That doesn’t mean you can’t do something similar though!
If you can identify an individual within your organisation who you think is friendly and approachable, consider whether putting them front and centre of your efforts could bolster them. You might even want to make them the face of your whole business.
Social Media Savvy
Social media is a platform that has enormous potential for businesses, provided it is used in the right way. Encouraging customers to engage with your business is much easier when they have such an easy way of interacting with you. The biggest strength of social media is the way that it facilitates communications between businesses and customers.
If you are going to use social media effectively, however, you will need to remain mindful of the nuances and particulars of each of the different platforms. For example, a platform like Twitter with its strict character limit favours fast-paced communications. On this platform, small and regular updates won’t seem amiss. By contrast, Facebook is a platform that allows longer posts, and supports a variety of other media. On Facebook, less frequent and more detailed updates are more appropriate.
Newsletters are one of the oldest and most effective means of keeping your most loyal customers up to date with news about your business. However, with the advent of e-mail, and the ease and low cost with which we can now send mass communications, newsletters have become even more effective. Considering this, it’s a shame that more businesses aren’t using them to improve customer engagement.
If you have been deterred from starting a newsletter because you aren’t sure how to best go about putting one together, you can see here for some newsletter examples. There is no mystical art to newsletter writing, but it is much easier with a little guidance to get you started.
Customers place much more value on personalised experiences which are in some way tailored to their specific tastes and interests. This doesn’t have to be anything overly dramatic or complex, even just using their first name in communications will make a difference. Customers will feel more positively towards businesses that display this kind of behaviour.
Improving customer engagement should be an ongoing goal for any business. It is never a disadvantage to have a customer base that is engaged with your business. In fact, the better a business does at their customer engagement, the easier they will find it to grow and attract new business.