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A thoughtful customer engagement strategy is a must-have tool in any modern ecommerce brand’s arsenal. Sure, customers may be completing purchases on your website every day, but the moments when they interact with your business before, during, or after a purchase will all influence whether they decide to become a loyal buyer–or never return again. How can businesses come to understand and harness these crucial moments to ensure first-time customers become lifelong brand advocates?
In this article, you’ll find all the basics you need to put together a successful customer engagement strategy: from the building blocks to understanding customer engagement, to knowing how to engage with customers properly, to knowing the long-term benefits of positive customer engagement for your brand.
What Does Customer Engagement Mean?
Customer engagement is an umbrella term describing the creation and maintenance of a relationship between customers and brands. Companies present products or services to potential buyers who then choose to interact with the company.
Successful customer engagement encourages a sense of reciprocity between customer and company. That is, that the customer derives value from their relationship with your business to essentially the same degree that you do. While the value provided to brands comes in the forms of financial gain, brand recognition and consumer loyalty, the value for the customer comes in the form of product, service, and experiences which they trust and enjoy.
The end goal of customer engagement is a relationship with your customer which transcends the transactional. And this requires more than just a great product, clever marketing, and smooth customer service. Contemporary brands and retailers must actively participate in every aspect of interaction with their customers if they are to create a happy and long lasting rapport. (For ideas on how to make this happen, check out our other article — Creating Customer Loyalty.)
How to Engage Customers
Successful customer engagement requires more than just listing products and hoping customers will appear. To engage customers successfully, you must set goals, find chances for interaction, use a consistent tone, and ask for their feedback.
Set customer engagement goals.
It’s up to your company to define what successful customer engagement looks like, and what it will achieve for you. Of course, your customer engagement goals must always align with the broader goals of your business as a whole. Do you want your business to grow, and do you need more sales to do so? Are you trying to increase your brand awareness? Do you want all of your loyal customers to know about your unprecedented sustainability practices? Make a specific goal list, and go from there.
Identify touchpoints to interact with customers.
‘Touchpoint’ is a term defining landmarks throughout a customer journey during which the consumer has specific interactions with your brand. There are many touchpoints to leverage, including customer service contact lines, blog posts and other web content, social media marketing posts, and your online store. At each of these touchpoints, your business has an opportunity to shape the customer experience and create better engagement. Every touchpoint should be identified, leveraged to your advantage.
Use a consistent brand tone.
Every customer interaction at each touchpoint should authentically represent your brand, while catering to the needs and emotions of your customer at that touchpoint. Your tone will also shift depending on the goal of each interaction. For example, a Twitter-based marketing campaign, for example, might express a different sentiment than say, your customer service line, however, both will serve as a point of communication between yourself and the customer. Whatever the situation, it must be said with the same voice, backed by the same values. This can help foster a sense of trust in the customer and encourage them to return to your brand.
Ask for customer feedback.
One of the best ways to analyze, measure, and improve customer engagement is also one of the simplest — ask them what they think! Customer feedback, gathered through email surveys, post-payment or customer service reviews, etc., can give you a temperature reading on how your customers are interacting with you, as well as how they feel about it. They can tell you what they love, and what they think is lacking. This allows you to identify and fix potential problems quickly, and nurture the aspects of customer engagement that are working.
Why is Customer Engagement Important?
Over time, customer engagement works to grow and stabilize brands as they scale, increases user bases, and drives customer loyalty. Gallup research shows that “fully-engaged customers” contribute 23% more revenue than the average consumer.
Continuous, positive customer engagement can:
- Improve customer retention and loyalty
- Increase awareness and recognition of your brand
- Grow your brand identity
- Improve customer service, over the long term
- Maintain relationships through an ever-changing global landscape
Prioritizing Customer Engagement
Lifelong customers are the central bullseye of every businesses’ target. Not only do they drive repeat purchases, but they act as unofficial brand advocates by recommending your business or service to others while promoting their positive experiences with your brand. When implemented correctly, powerful customer engagement can forge relationships between businesses and customers which can last a lifetime. Gladly, a customer service platform with people at its center can help make this a reality. See a product overview to discover how Gladly can help you improve your customer engagement.