The increase in awareness in today’s world means customers have come to expect more from businesses. The spread of the internet has brought about another major change in the business scenario—you’re no longer competing with companies offering similar products or services. Rather, the competition is now with every business interaction your customers have, as noted by Dan Gingiss, customer experience expert, keynote speaker, author, and podcaster.
That means that along with excelling in terms of product/service quality, you also need to ensure that every interaction or experience your customers have with your business sets a new standard. That’s where customer engagement comes into the picture.
What is customer engagement and why is it important?
Customer engagement is the process of proactively or reactively nurturing and guiding your prospects and customers throughout the customer lifecycle using different channels, all while consistently ensuring a positive brand experience.
Customer engagement or user engagement is critical to business sustenance as today’s economy is customer-centered, and customers are very vocal about the experience they have with businesses. People trust the reviews of their friends and family, influencers, and industry experts. Especially in a world where negative publicity spreads faster than positive, your customer engagement strategy can literally make or break your business.
The right customer engagement model, when executed well, will not only help you retain existing customers, thereby giving you more revenue at a lower cost, but will also give you new customers at no additional effort through word of mouth. In addition, customer engagement throughout the customer journey will give you valuable up-to-date insight into what your prospects and customers feel about your brand, product/service, and what more they need in a product/service like yours so you can continuously improve it. Engaged customers proactively try to stay updated on the product or brand, so you don’t have to redundantly throw the same updates in the dark in hopes of catching their attention.
What is a customer engagement strategy?
Now that we know what customer engagement is and its importance in today's business scenario, let's look at what a customer engagement strategy is.
A customer engagement strategy is a plan of action involving rightly timed interactions with customers to capture their attention, keep them interested in your brand, and ensure they have the best possible experience.
What are the key elements of a solid customer engagement strategy?
Before venturing out to build a customer engagement process, it’s imperative to know the essential elements of a successful one. They are:
Value addition at each interaction
Alignment with your brand values
Multiple, easily accessible communication channels
Clearly defined and measurable KPIs
How can you build an effective customer engagement strategy?
There’s no one right customer/client engagement strategy. What works amazingly for one business need not work for another. You can only approach customer engagement with the idea of giving your customers the best possible experience every time and fixing gaps between their expectations and experience.
Here’s a step-by-step approach that can help you build a customer engagement process that works for you and your customers:
Understand your customers and their demographics, buying habits, preferences, and typical spending, as well as how they’re interacting with your brand
Check if you’re meeting their needs and expectations at every point of contact
Understand their sentiments towards your brand and what it stands for
Project the right brand image to your audience and establish a genuine connection
Always showcase the human and moral side of your brand as customers favor brands whose values align with their own
Ensure consistency between your brand identity, value proposition, and customer experience
Make your customer onboarding intuitive and interesting
Regularly scan for and remove existing or potential bottlenecks in the customer journey
Always keep the line of communication between your business and prospects/customers open and consistent across channels and devices
Proactively reach out for feedback from your quiet customers, as not all customers vocalize their concerns or problems with your offering. Most simply churn
Regularly monitor the talk on social media about your brand, leverage the positives, and control the damage done by negative news/reviews
Improve communication and data sharing between your internal teams so they all have a 360-degree view of the customer and so your customers get a consistent experience
Ensure all your employees believe in your brand’s vision and mission and are enthused about your business
Measure your results and iterate your user engagement strategy regularly
Top customer engagement strategies you should try
Let's take a look at some top customer engagement strategies that are sure to work.
Share your story
Create some intrigue and develop a deeper connection in your customers' minds by sharing your business's/product's story in a memorable and relatable way. Help customers understand why and how you reached where you are. If it resonates with them, they'll join you the rest of the way.
Encourage customers to share ideas
Give customers a platform to voice their ideas/suggestions to improve your product/service. Encourage your customers to participate by announcing the ones you implement and give a shout-out to customers who suggested these changes. When customers play a part in improving your offering and get recognition, they'll be more invested in your brand, leading to customer loyalty and advocacy.
Gamify your customer onboarding/product tour
This user engagement strategy works particularly well if you have an online product/service. Make your customers' first encounter with your product a fun and rewarding experience. This can be in the form of unlocked additional features, badges, or freebies. Gamifying the onboarding process works because it incentivizes users to go through the key phase of the customer lifecycle where they understand the value of your product or you lose them forever. You can also use this for your user community building. If community building is something you need some pointers for, check out our free webinar recording on nurturing a community and how they can improve your business.
Zoho SalesIQ—your customer engagement aide
All the knowledge you can get is of no use if you can’t translate it into action. Now that we’ve run you through how to create an effective customer engagement strategy, it’s time to introduce an accomplice for your customer engagement journey—Zoho SalesIQ, a complete customer engagement platform.
Here’s how SalesIQ can help you execute your client engagement strategy:
Gives you a list of all your website and mobile app visitors sorted by criteria like location, actions, and time spent on your site
Categorizes your visitors as leads and contacts based on the availability of their email addresses, and further organizes B2B contacts based on their company
Helps prioritize your most valuable leads with rule-based automatic lead scoring
Facilitates proactive lead and customer engagement with automated chat invites
Helps you deliver consistent customer experience regardless of when they contact you via website live chat with translation, audio calling and screen sharing, mobile SDK, or IM channels like Whatsapp, Telegram, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger
Automates a major part of your customer engagement with the AI and codeless chatbot builder
Connects customers with the right agents via smart chat routing
Provides you a 360-degree view of the customer, including their support tickets, purchase and interaction history, stage in the customer lifecycle, previous interactions with your customer facing teams, and more
Alerts you when high value customers visit you
Aids customer re-engagement with push notifications
Helps you collect regular customer feedback on their interactions with you
Gives you all the metrics and insights needed to improve your customer engagement
Switch from business transactions to continuous customer engagement
Customers have the power to decide the fate of your business, and if customers like you, they’ll do business with you. So, get started with your customer engagement strategy and run it with Zoho SalesIQ to form better customer relationships.
Do you have any other customer engagement best practices or strategies that have worked wonders? Let us know in the comments below.