Keeping your customers engaged might seem like a neverending and vicious cycle, but it is an important strategy to implement and keep track of. Your customers need to feel supported and satisfied in order to remain loyal to your business. There are so many ways to encourage offline and online customer engagement. Customer engagement starts with providing unique and personalised experiences that leave a positive impression on every person you’re targetting.
Let’s unpack that.
Simply satisfying a customer is not enough in today’s world. You need to truly immerse them and keep them engaged. Customers who are completely engaged show a 23% higher share in profitability, relationship growth and revenue when compared to the average customer. This is a huge asset to any company, and shows the importance of prioritising the customer experience. Also, unengaged customers are more likely to jump ship to your competitors, meaning your company missing out on revenue.
When done right, customer engagement can benefit both sides - the customers themselves and the company they’re engaging with. Engaged customers are happy customers, and happy customers turn into loyal ones. Customer engagement provides an emotional connection between the brand and your audience, and entices them to spend more, promote your business and come back again. This ensures that your customers’ lifespan is much longer, giving more value to your business. Engaged customers also remember your brand more easily, solving their needs quicker and satisfying their wants earlier.
As a business, you need to focus on keeping your existing customers engaged, because it can cost you five times more to attract a new one than to retain an existing customer. So if you’re trying to keep expenses low, improve conversions and retain clientele, implementing a customer engagement strategy is key.
Let’s look at 7 customer engagement techniques to get you started.
There are over 53 million active social media users in the UK today, and the number is increasing rapidly. So, there’s a very good chance that a majority of your customer base is among them. People love voicing their opinions, especially grievances, on public forums like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram so keep a regular eye on them. Engage customers by responding to them immediately and offering solutions that would satisfy them. This shows existing customers that you value their opinion, and lets future customers witness your engagement and conflict resolution skills as well.
Social media isn’t going anywhere, so any customer engagement you create on these platforms will stay for the long-term. This is crucial for building a strategy around social proof. Social media provides you with a cost-effective method of marketing your brand while keeping your customer engaged on a platform they’re already active on. In today’s digital world you are able to engage customers by building a relationship with them on social media, something that was lacking in traditional media of yesteryear!
If there’s one thing everybody loves, it’s free gifts and discounts. And that’s a surefire way to get your customer engaged. Offer customers rewards and incentives in exchange for feedback, participation in an event or to refer your brand to their network. Essentially, you need to reward your customers for engaging with you, in turn boosting even more engagement and loyalty.
Look at starting a referral scheme or appointing brand advocates from your existing customer base. Customers will be made to feel special as they represent your brand to others while doing it for the incentives you offer. It can be as simple as leveraging user-generated content. Apple does this quite effectively with their #ShotOniPhone hashtag and campaign. Customers simply need to create content with their Apple device and use the hashtag. Apple gets content curated on their customer’s feeds, and the users get featured on Apple’s media in return.
If provided with excellent customer service, 78% of customers will return to a company even after they make a mistake. There is huge potential here, and one that can easily be rectified to your advantage. Top-notch customer service starts by making your customers feel like you truly care about them. This is a mission that needs to be communicated across every team in your business, and not just the ones facing customers - from finance to marketing, every member should be dedicated to providing the best customer service they can.
Offer customer service that not only provides what the customer is looking for but actively anticipates what they need before they know themselves. Provide high-quality customer service that is consistent with your brand’s mission and voice. Prioritising your customer service will ensure that customers trust you and will approach you first with any resentment before taking external action. This is essential as it allows you to have control over the situation before it gets out of hand.
We’ve seen this work really well with coffee shops over the last few years. They hand you a card to get stamped every time you buy a drink, and after paying for nine drinks you get your tenth coffee for free. You can make a loyalty scheme work for almost any kind of business today. Whether it’s pushing them towards buying in bulk for a discount or upselling in areas that are slow-moving – customers get rewarded for their loyalty and you get guaranteed business.
Loyalty programs will keep customers engaged as they pay attention to your activity so they don’t miss out on any upcoming deals. This will also push them to go through with a transaction at a time they would have otherwise not considered.
Ways of introducing a loyalty program:
- Annual birthday or anniversary discount
- Email-only discounts
- Free delivery over a minimum order limit
- Themed and limited-time programs during the festive season
- Creating a ‘VIP’ group of customers and treating them to pre-sales and exclusive discounts.
Keeping a customer engaged is an ongoing process, and is like maintaining a friendship. If you make no effort to stay in touch, the relationship is not going to last very long. Set up regular touchpoints throughout the customer’s buying journey to establish your brand and messaging along the way. The customer will engage with you if they see you more often.
Send regular emails, SMS campaigns and post often on social media. Even after a successful transaction is complete, there is plenty of potential to touch base and remind the customer of your existence. Send a nice ‘thank you’ note showing them that you appreciate their patronage, and encourage them to come back again. Send them company news and update them on the latest development of new products they would be interested in.
Providing a complete customer experience is key to maintaining customer engagement for the long run. Never go for more than six months without connecting with your customer. Use their first name, remember their birthday and remind them of their last purchase to truly personalise their shopping experience and make them feel special.
Customers love sharing their opinion, so simply ask and engage with what they have to say. Actively request every customer to leave reviews and testimonials for your company. This can be in the form of Google reviews, on social media or independent review websites. Go where your customers are looking for you. Feefo is one o the top reviewing platforms alongside TripAdvisor, Yelp and Agoda for travel and tourism. You can also consider embedding reviews into your own website and alongside each product offering, to display social proof to new customers.
Make reviewing your business a fun experience. Not all businesses need in-depth ratings. A scale of between 1 to 5 stars will look nice and is easy to use and understand by all.
An important aspect to remember when dealing with reviews: Pay attention to the negative ones. Never leave a negative comment unattended for long, and this means you need to be monitoring all mentions of your brand at all times. Be professional in all communication and offer a solution immediately. A negative review is still a customer attempting to engage with you, so don’t let this opportunity slip.
Over 25 years ago Bill Gates said ‘Content is king’, and this statement is even more relevant today. Everything you post and create from your company is content, and should be used to engage your customer. Play around with different mediums to see what works best for your business. Some common forms of engaging content include:
There are plenty more types of engaging content you can adopt, but whatever you choose make sure it is share-worthy, relevant and engaging.
No business can master customer engagement immediately. You will need to undertake at least two or three of the ideas mentioned here and monitor their results over time to see which ones work best for your business. Whichever techniques you do apply, do so with the intention of delivering products and services that your customer truly needs and wants. Segment your customers to see which idea is working best for which demographic. Not all customers are the same, so you need to engage them in a voice that they understand and on a platform they use.
Utilising a mix of these customer engagement ideas will help boost engagement and establish a long-term connection with your customer.
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