It’s common knowledge that engaged customers account for a higher share of the pocket, spend more and are more loyal than unengaged ones (link). It’s no surprise then that businesses spend more resources in search of strategies that’ll keep them top of mind, as well as engage their customers.
Sometimes, these efforts don’t yield the intended results. This can be due to different reasons such as a weak strategy, wrong activities and bad timing. However, the knowledge of best practices protects you from these mistakes. It helps you to plan and execute a successful customer engagement activity. Below are five of these best practices.
While personalization involves thoughtful actions like addressing a customer by name, it goes beyond that. It requires tailoring all interactions based on the customer’s journey and purchase history. You have engaged a customer only if your offer was useful to them.
To make useful offers, scour through your customer data to uncover information about them that would otherwise go unnoticed. Customer insights help you to create an accurate engagement strategy that reflects your customer and eventually elicits the desired response.
When examining customer data, you uncover trends that can be used to segment customers into groups based on defined characteristics. For example, a digital bank is about to start a customer engagement campaign. The engagement effort targeted toward power users who perform daily transactions will be different from customers who only complete one transaction a month.
Top tip: Leverage insights from customer data to tailor offers and messages to customers’ journey and purchase history. Devote time to personalization. If the perfect message or offer is delivered to the wrong customer, it’ll yield zero results regardless of the efforts or resources spent in perfecting it.
2. Utilize two-way conversations.
Conversations power all customer relationships including engagement. If you want to elicit any response from your customers, you have to be relatable. The easiest way to be relatable is through conversations.
In conversations, you adjust your language to reflect that of your customers. Taking it further, you move these interactions into the platforms that your customers are active on. Given that conversations are not only informal but a core part of your customers’ life, adopting it during engagement makes the process less transactional and more relational.
If your engagement efforts in the past consist only of email and social media, you have to step up by taking advantage of the rise and dominance of messaging apps to bolster those efforts.
With the right customer engagement software, you can send periodic messages to your customers in places where they already hang out – in messaging apps. You can mirror their conversation style by sounding less like a business and more like a friend, effectively driving business outcomes.
Top tip: Look for current engagement efforts where conversation is a better substitute.
3. The use of social media.
Social media no doubt is a customer engagement tool. But most businesses use it to push their agenda alone. If you want to drive engagement on social media, then it’s time to rethink how you use the tool.
Social media offers you an opportunity to prove to your customers that you share the same interests as them. It is an effective tool for starting and joining conversations that appeal to your customers. When used correctly, It drives an emotional connection.
To understand how social media fosters emotional connection, think of the fast-food chain Wendy’s. Wendy’s is a fun and friendly brand. This is evident in how they interact with their customers on social media. This light and relatable communication style make Wendy’s more personable and less imposing.
Top tip: Social media offers you an incredible opportunity to humanize your brand. The first step to do this is to acknowledge comments and mentions, then start conversations.
4. Drive an emotional connection.
All engagement efforts shouldn’t be overly salesy. Sometimes, aim to build an emotional connection between you and your customers.
You might be a bit shocked at the thought of carrying out an engagement activity that isn’t directly or clearly bringing in more revenue. But research shows that customers who have an emotional connection to a business are more engaged and bring in more value over time.
Also, focusing solely on the transactional layer of a company’s offering can hamper its chances of finding success and attracting a passionate, enduring customer base. So think about this, are you out for a quick win or are you more concerned about building a customer base that’ll stick with you over time?
To drive the right engagement that emotionally connects with your customers, review your persona or customer base. Who are they? What societal causes or issues do they care about? Which one will resonate with them the most? Where are they in the customer journey?
Top tip: Refer to customer insights data. Find out their demographics as well as psychographics. This exercise will uncover the issues your customers feel strongly about, as well as help you to create the perfect engagement strategy and activities that address these issues.
6. Loyalty programmes.
Loyalty programmes are good for business. They encourage customers to perform a specified action for a reward. For loyalty programmes to be effective, they must add value to your customers. Again, you’ll have to rely on data to discover the kind of loyalty programmes that’ll be beneficial/appealing to your customers.
Imagine if you buy only casuals from a clothing store but when they offer an incentive, it is for business wear. This offer is clearly not tailored to your preferences therefore, it’ll not have the expected effect on you.
Make it very easy for customers to redeem their loyalties. Remove any friction that would make redemption strenuous.
Top tip: Look through your customer data once again. Armed with insights, segment customers into groups and come up with the perfect offer that will appeal to customers in each category.
Customer engagement undoubtedly boosts retention. But it only achieves this when done right. There are different engagement activities and strategies like utilizing social media and conversation, personalizing offerings, building emotional connections and offering loyalty programmes. These activities yield the right results when best practices are adhered to.