When considering customer relations, your thoughts are likely to go straight to customer support. While servicing your clients in time of need is an important part of brand experience, successful customer retention requires more, especially in the new normal. To strengthen customer loyalty and improve their experience you need a solid customer engagement strategy.
Smiling and encouraging consumers to spend more money is hardly enough. In fact, it might come across as cold and transactional. To win over customer attention, loyalty, and even affection, you need to engage with them consistently. You need to demonstrate your capacity to cater to their needs even if it means going the extra mile.
In this article, we will cover all you need to know about customer engagement from the whats and whys to measuring techniques and strategies!
Customer engagement is all about the interaction between your brand and customers to strengthen the relationship using a variety of channels.
It stirs away from the purely transactional nature of the customer-brand connection, pursuing the emotional one instead. As a result, the interactions you qualify as an engagement are likely to be unique to your business.
Highly engaged, emotionally involved customers purchase more, promote more, and showcase more loyalty. Hence, the main goal of customer engagement is to provide an uncontested customer experience.
No-code platforms make it extremely easy for just about anyone to launch a business. After the pandemic, more and more businesses took to digital space not just to survive but thrive in the new normal. As a result, the digital market is more saturated than ever and the competition for clicks, conversions, and lowest acquisition costs is fierce.
However, every good marketer knows that fighting for clicks and conversions alone isn’t enough to grow a business sustainably.
If you want customers to remember you, to think of your brand first, you need to establish an emotional connection.
This is where creating ways to engage with your audience in-between purchases comes in
A recent Engager study by Hall and Partners showed that up to two-thirds of a brand’s profits may rely on effective customer engagement.
Furthermore, Constellation Research found that brands that improve their engagement increase:
- Cross-sell revenue by 22%;
- Up-sell revenue from 13% to 51%;
- Order sizes from 5% to 85%.
The only way to entice customer satisfaction and continual engagement is to offer a pleasant experience. According to Gartner, customer experience drives over two-thirds of customer loyalty which amounts to more than ‘brand’ and ‘price’ combined.
In fact, Walker’s Customers 2020 progress report found that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. This trend is likely to continue post-pandemic as great experience is what resonated with consumers throughout the crisis.
Even before the pandemic, companies, and brands leading in CX outperformed laggards by nearly 80%.
Keeping these statistics in mind, the correlation between the level of customer engagement your profit is hard to miss.
A customer engagement strategy is a thought-out plan to increase satisfaction through more positive interactions. It can be done through a number of channels, though the aim remains the same: engage customers to the point of becoming your advocates.
While customer engagement strategy should be unique to your business mission, values, and overall image. However, there are several steps to guide you as you create your unique approach:
- Outline customer journey map – Define your customer journey first, learn who your customers are, and do they come from.
- Define points of interaction – Knowing which are the interaction touchpoints helps identify customer engagement channels and approach
- Observe customer behavior – Rely on analytics and data, not trends, to understand your customers and make decisions.
- Introducing personalization – Good interactions are all about personalization. Whatever channels or strategies you settle on, make sure they have a degree of personalization.
- Test, measure, analyze – No customer engagement strategy was created perfect. Testing, measuring, and analyzing your results to make adjustments is the only solid way to succeed.
- Collect feedback – Despite analytics, make an effort to collect direct feedback from customers. It will help you make sense of the quantitative data you already collected and make it easier to identify points of friction.
As we have already established above, customer engagement can have a significant positive impact on your brand. Thus, defining your strategy, before jumping right in, matters. Here is a selection of potent strategy examples.
Just selling a product is no longer enough. Consumers crave to engage with brands that boast personalities. Brands that feel more human than transactional.
Therefore, you have probably spied many companies differentiating themselves through the use of a unique, personable brand voice. This strategy makes the business more relatable and memorable.
For example, the power of Slack lies in peer adoption. To encourage widespread adoption, the in-product copy (or should we call it banter?) makes for a fun and distinctively offbeat water-cooler atmosphere. In other words, instead of being another sterile enterprise chat tool, Slack is like a superhero sidekick set to add whimsy to your days.
The Slack brand voice is cheery, fond of emoji, and a bit of spunk.
The same kind of playful voice resonates through Slack’s forums and social media profiles, making it relatable and familiar whatever channel user decides to use for engagement.
Besides making your brand memorable, creating a brand voice has the capacity to establish your brand as a thought-leader in your industry. It gives you the power to define, not just follow, and set yourself apart from the rest.
There is no need for having a brand voice if no one can hear it. The best place to start building your personality is, of course, on social media.
Share post content and messages that reflect your business values using the type of voice you decided to adopt. If you are aiming for showing a more humor-embracing type of personality, check out brands like ClickUp or Mailchimp for inspiration.
Social media is perhaps the easiest way to engage with customers who may not be familiar with your brand yet. If you are looking for a more serious approach check out communication by brands like Sales
Besides sharing clever copies and content, there are plenty of different ways to engage on social media. Some common engagement examples include:
- Contests (Tag a friend, share post, Follow us, etc)
- Quizzes & polls
- Messaging bots
- Engagement rewards
- Social causes involvement
One of the most proven strategies to increase engagement lies in leveraging interactive content experience. Using content that turns visitors into active participants can feed into other positives such as improved data collection, brand loyalty, increased conversion rates, and favorable CSAT scores.
According to The State of Interactive Content Report, interactive experiences often receive twice the engagement as opposed to static content.
A research compilation by Go-Gulf revealed that 81% of marketers agree this type of content is the most effective way to grab attention right from the start. 93% of marketers claimed that interactive content is also very effective in educating buyers – versus 70% for static content. Last but not least 79% of marketers agree interactive content is highly reusable making repeat visitors and multiple exposures easier to achieve.
Common types of interactive content include quizzes, surveys, polls, online calculators, and various types of chatbots.
It’s not enough to create engagement opportunities, you must also make sure they are customized to the needs and preferences. With each passing year and advancing tech, personalization is becoming ever more important.
One way to personalize is by leveraging your website’s user behavior analytics. Though, it’s not always necessary to rely on complex technology. Sometimes, it’s enough to entice a conversation or just, quite straightforwardly, ask for feedback. You can ask customers to review your product and service post-experience or ask for some information upfront with a quiz (traditional or conversational).
More and more companies are using automated chatbots to collect data through the most natural engagement method – conversation.
Behavior analytics and feedback can help you beyond personalizing fleeting experiences. They are a great source of inspiration for creating compelling content. Asking your customer about what they need and what it is you are still missing is the most straightforward road to offering what’s truly needed and so boosting engagement.
Taking these suggestions into account doesn’t have a direct impact on your customer experience. However, they can complement your customer engagement strategy and add a special touch that exceeds customers’ expectations.
There are a hundred different options to engage with your customers, but when you look beyond the frills, it all boils down to two main types:
Reactive customer engagement happens when your customers come to you looking for help. In other words, it’s an engagement interaction that happens in response to the initial nudge from the customer to your brand.
It can be anything from customer tagging your brand in a social post, getting in touch with you via Facebook Messenger, visiting your blog to find inspiration, contacting a sales or support representative, etc.
The best way to encourage reactive interactions is making it as convenient as possible for consumers to reach out to you. Hence, you better be available on channels your customers seem to favor.
Proactive engagement makes up the heart of customer engagement marketing. As the name suggested, instead of waiting for the customer to come to you, you make the first step and reach out to engage with the customer.
In the hyper-competitive digital landscape of today, this is the type of engagement that sets leaders from their mediocre competitors. Proactive engagement can be anything from a paid ad, WhatsApp message, email with a CTA, shared quiz, etc.
Besides classifying engagement as proactive or reactive, you can also find the following types of categorization:
- Social Engagement: Engagement that takes place in social settings such as social media platforms, online forums, hackathons, review websites, crowdsourcing platforms, charity runs, trade events, etc.
- Emotional Engagement: Engagement events and activities organized specifically to elicit an emotional response from your audience.
- Engagement of Convenience: Actions and activities created to make the customer experience more convenient. The main incentive for engagement here is simply the ease of it.
The 2020 pandemic has inspired a wave of digitalization and technological advancement by exposing major gaps in organizational workflows:
Chatbots, in particular, surfaced as one of the most useful solutions, allowing brands and businesses to attend to the crisis with much-needed efficiency. They proved to be helpful in the realm of customer support as well as marketing and engagement with a direct impact on NPS:
Furthermore, one of the most pressing consumer demands at the height of the pandemia was the need for speed and personalization as they both reap significant benefits.
Chatbots’ growing popularity stems from their capacity to provide both speed and personalization without sacrificing the level of automation and human touch.
In the face of the new normal, chatbots offer several advantages that bode positively for customer engagement strategies:
- Immediate reciprocal interaction: Chatbots require active participation and hence encourages engagement from the first point of contact. The turn-taking nature of conversation not only offers the sense of instant gratification but often provides it as bots are often capable of answering questions and delivering data/content on demand.
- Data collection: Chatbots are also quite famous for their ability to collect data on the go. Unlike with the traditional forms, you don’t need to wait for the users to click “Submit” to gather and export the data you need.
- In-depth behavioral data: Automated conversations enable you to gather essential behavioral data based on the way customers move through conversations: what questions they ask; in what order; what UI elements and rich media engage them most; when do they drop off etc.
- Real-time personalization: Real-time data collection is not the only advantage, bots are quite skilled and immediately use the collected data (or retrieving past data from a database) and use them in a conversation to personalize the experience for each and every user – instantly. If they can’t answer a question, they are extremely helpful in organizing queries and sending them to the right people and departments.
- Speedy resolutions: While most people prefer to talk to a live agent when they have a query, in reality, it’s impossible. While FAQ pages are essential, most people still don’t bother Bots help to keep your service quick and efficient.
- Bot personality as an extension of your brand voice: Chatbots are a natural vessel to carry and highlight any traits and characteristics of your brand voice. They can be fun, playful, professional, knowledgeable, serious, emotional, passionate, etc.
- Quick creation & launch: In the past chatbot tech used to be too complex and too expensive to have any major impact on medium or small businesses. No-code builders like Landbot changed that.
All in all, chatbots are proving themselves to be one of the most powerful tools of customer engagement. They meet the demand for interaction, immediacy, and personalization as well as ease of deployment and management.
One cannot improve customer engagement without having a way to measure it. How you go about it depends on your engagement strategy. Here is a list of several common customer engagement metrics and KPIs:
- Conversion Rate – The percentage of people who complete an action that’s tied to your campaign goal;
- Purchase Frequency – The frequency with which your customers make a purchase on your site;
- Average Order Value – The average amount spent per customer per purchase;
- Repeat Purchase Rate – The percentage of customers who’ve made repeated purchases within a specific period of time;
- Social Media Likes, Comments, and Shares – Average amount of social media interaction within a specific period;
- Reviews and Comments – The number of comments/reviews and their sentiment of comments automatically;
- NPS Score – How likely your customers are to recommend your brand to others (best measured through surveys);
- Conversations Frequency – How many users engage with your chatbot during a specific period considering the total amount of conversations against the total number of visitors (Learn more about chatbot-related metrics here!).
Customer engagement is taking ever more central role in business developments and success. In order to maintain a competitive advantage in the new normal, you need to adopt a strategic approach to interacting with your customers.
With personalization and speed being the main drivers of engagement, chatbots have taken the spotlight as one of the top strategies not just in terms of customer support but every stage of customer journeys.
Don’t miss your chance to engage and stand out. Build your first chatbot today!