The levels of customer engagement depend heavily on the size of the brand, the quality of the product or service and how often content is updated. The digital world is so fast-moving that often the competition is simply too much for some businesses to be seen. It takes a lot for a customer to change their shopping habits and move from a well-established, familiar brand to a new one. But, with the right engagement and implementation of advancements like product customisation, it can be done.
The important thing to remember about customer engagement is that it can’t be viewed as something to do to make money. It’s way more than that. Sales funnels and marketing techniques only go so far – they may attract new customers during a sale or campaign but will they stay and become loyal afterwards? That’s how a business sustains itself and grows their online and offline reputation. It’s no good trying to engage new customers but forgetting about the ones right in front of you, who may already be fed up of your customer service.
Having a successful strategy in place is the first step towards healthy customer engagement. As the CEO of Amazon put it, ‘being obsessed with your customers’ is the key, making sure that your company culture is strong and customer service staff are all about improving the experience. Understanding when and how your customers function is the first step, so you can align your opening hours, communication methods and troubleshooting skills.
Big brands engage their customers by sharing the human side to their business, with blogs, offers and a behind the scenes look at what the staff get up to. This doesn’t only engage customers, but prospective employees too. Many companies do this by selecting brand ambassadors who represent them at events and on social media.
Driving engagement isn’t just about learning about your customer’s needs, but also how they will respond to you in different contexts. The way you speak to them on the phone when dealing with a complaint will be different to how you shout about your new product on social – or should be! Platforms such as Twitter is the place for jokes and memes, the way email is reserved only for automated replies or formal communication. Brands have attracted a lot of attention through viral content shared on social. On the opposite side of the coin, such social posts have to be carefully thought out, as brands have had to apologise countless times for missing the mark.
Finally, the most forward-thinking and successful way to drive customer engagement is with personalisation. Whether this is by offering product configuration or a recommendation engine like the ones used by Amazon and Netflix, customers appreciate the little things. It’s becoming more common in the retail marketplace, powered by smart use of customer data and sophisticated algorithms. The majority of customers are familiar with personalised emails, but it’s the extra effort brands make with personalised offers and product recommendations that make the difference.
The road to achieving high levels of customer engagement requires trial and error to discover what customers want without making them feel like you’re trying to use their data in an unethical way. Simplifying your strategy and cutting out generic marketing speak will go along way with your customers and is another way to humanize your brand.