In order to keep your customers coming back, you need to engage them on a personal level.
This involves more than just providing excellent customer service; you need to create a strategy that will ensure customers remain interested and invested in your business.
Luckily, there are a number of customer engagement strategies you can employ to keep your customers coming back for more.
In this post, we'll define customer engagement, we'll explore the top 10 customer engagement strategies, and we'll provide some customer service tips on how to get started.
Customer engagement is the process of establishing a relationship with a customer, typically through interaction.
This interaction can take many forms, such as providing customer service, developing marketing campaigns, using social media to interact with customers, or even simply sending out customer satisfaction surveys.
The goal of customer engagement is to establish a connection with the customer so that they remain interested in your business and continue to do business with you.
There are many benefits to establishing strong customer engagement, including improved customer loyalty, increased customer retention, and higher levels of customer satisfaction.
For example, a customer who feels valued and respected is more likely to continue using a company's products or services, even if they encounter problems.
On the other hand, a customer who feels ignored or unimportant is more likely to take their business elsewhere.
The short answer is yes. The long answer is that customer engagement should be a key component of any small business's marketing strategy.
In today's competitive landscape, it's not enough to simply offer a great product or service; you need to go the extra mile to ensure your customers are happy and engaged.
For small businesses, this can be a challenge, as you may not have the same resources as larger businesses.
However, there are a number of customer engagement strategies that can be employed on a small scale, and we'll explore some of them in this post.
When you do create a customer engagement plan, especially as a small business, you have the opportunity to stand out without needing to spend money on disrupting the market. Instead, it's more of a long-term play that can have seriously positive outcomes for your business when employed correctly.
Customer engagement drives measurable business outcomes. In fact, businesses that prioritize engagement are rewarded with 86% higher customer loyalty.
And as we all know, it's cheaper to keep a customer than it is to acquire a new one. In fact, it costs 6-7 times more.
Loyal customers also spend 67% more than new customers, so there's a direct correlation between customer engagement and revenue.
In other words, if you're not focusing on engagement, you're leaving money on the table.
But even more than hard numbers, a focus on the customer experience can also create better, stronger business culture. This is because happy employees lead to happy customers, and vice versa.
It's a virtuous cycle that begins with customer engagement. When you focus on making your customers happy, and building a business with individuals that are constantly rewarded for helping others, you create a culture of customer service excellence.
The best customer engagement strategy is one that builds on the strengths of your company and employees, so it's important to focus on building customer engagement into the core of who you are as a company.
A customer engagement framework is a system that defines how a company will interact with its customers.
It's designed to create consistent, repeatable processes for customer engagement across the organization, so that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals.
The framework should be tailored to your specific business and needs, but there are a few key elements that should be included in any customer engagement strategy.
Let's take a closer look at each of these elements in turn.
This is the sum total of all interactions a customer has with your company, from their first visit to your website to post-purchase follow-up.
It's important to take a holistic view of everything, as each touchpoint leaves an impression on the customer.
A bad experience at any stage of the customer journey can lead to customers taking their business elsewhere.
On the other hand, a focus on delivering an excellent experience for customers can result in increased loyalty and customer lifetime value.
This is why it's so important to make sure that every interaction a customer has with your company is a positive one.
Before you can start to improve the experience for your customers, you need to understand what your customers want and need from your business throughout the customer journey.
The best way to do this is to talk to them directly. This can be done through surveys, interviews, focus groups, or any other method of customer research.
It's also important to keep track of customer feedback, whether it's positive or negative. This can be done through online reviews, social media, or any other customer-facing channels.
This feedback can give you valuable insights into what your customers want and need from your business. In turn, it can help build customer loyalty.
Once you have a clear understanding of customer needs and wants, you need to start tracking customer engagement metrics. In other words, you need to measure customer engagement across the entire customer journey.
Each of these metrics can give you valuable insights into how well your customer engagement strategy is performing, your customer loyalty levels and what you need to do to improve.
It's important to regularly review your customer engagement strategy to make sure it's still relevant and effective.
This can be done through customer feedback, surveys, interviews, focus groups, or any other method of customer research.
It's also important to keep track of customer engagement metrics, and to make changes to your strategy based on the results.
Making even small changes to your customer engagement strategy can have a big impact on the overall customer experience.
Customer engagement is an important part of any business, but it's especially important for small businesses who want to build customer loyalty.
This is because small businesses often have limited resources, so they need to make sure that every interaction with a customer is a positive one.
Now that we've gone over some of the key elements of a customer engagement strategy, let's take a look at how you can create one for your small business.
The customer experience should be at the heart of your customer engagement strategy.
Start by taking a holistic view of the customer journey, and identify any pain points or areas where the customer experience can be improved.
Conducting customer research is a vital part of understanding your customers and their needs.
There are a number of different methods you can use, such as surveys, interviews, focus groups, or online reviews.
There are a number of different channels you can use to engage with your customers.
Some of the most popular channels to include in engagement strategies are social media, email, and phone.
It's important to choose the channels that are most relevant to your customers and your business goals.
We've covered some of the key elements of a customer engagement strategy, and how you can create one for your small business.
Now let's take a look at 10 customer engagement strategies you can implement right away to improve the customer experience.
Omnichannel is an approach to customer engagement that involves using multiple channels to reach and engage customers.
This could include channels such as social media, email, phone calls, live chat, or even in-person interactions.
The goal of an omnichannel approach is to provide a consistent experience for the customer no matter how they choose to engage with your business.
If you're looking for tips on how to implement an omnichannel approach, start by creating guiding documentation for your internal team that explains what consistency across channels looks like.
For example, make sure your customer service team has access to the same information as your sales team.
You should also consider using a shared inbox, like DoneDone, to help you keep track of customer interactions across channels.
That way, everyone is using the same tool, has visibility into the customer's history, and can work more collaboratively with one another to create consistency.
Customer segmentation is the process of dividing customers into groups based on shared characteristics.
This could include factors such as age, gender, location, or even purchase history.
The goal of customer segmentation is to create targeted engagement campaigns that are more likely to resonate with each individual customer.
For example, say you're an eCommerce retailer who sells non-toxic, organic home goods, you'd want to tailor your product communications to the different segments of customers you have based on their engagement or interests in your product suite.
I.e. you may have a segment of customers who primarily engage with your line of non-toxic baby-friendly products.
Your engagement strategy should focus on communications to this segment around educating them on this product line, calling out the importance of using these products as parents, and then giving them delightful bonuses like early access to new product drops so they feel special.
Then, if you have another segment of customers who aren't as engaged with the baby line, but are more engaged with another category of products, you'll send them a completely different style of message.
You'll create a unique strategy based around what they are actually interested in.
Customer segmentation can be a valuable tool for personalizing the customer experience and increasing engagement.
Gamification is the process of using game mechanics to encourage specific behaviors from customers.
This could include anything from providing points or rewards like loyalty programs to create an affiliate strategy.
The goal of gamification is to increase customer engagement and loyalty by making it more fun and engaging to interact with your brand.
Here's a quick overview of how to create both a loyalty program and an affiliate strategy.
A loyalty program is a great way to increase customer engagement by giving customers an incentive to keep coming back. Generally speaking, loyalty programs offer points or incentives that can be redeemed for further store purchases.
Implementing a loyalty program is actually not super difficult. You can use a third-party tool to manage the program, then you simply need to focus your marketing on promoting the program and growing your loyalty base.
An affiliate program is a great way to get customers engaged with your brand by giving them a commission for referring new customers.
This type of system generally works by giving customers a unique link to share with their network. When someone clicks on the link and makes a purchase, the customer who shared the link gets a commission.
Affiliate programs are a great way to increase customer engagement because they provide customers with an incentive to spread the word about your brand.
Once you've chosen a platform, you'll need to set up your account and promote the program to your customers.
Giving customers an easy way to provide feedback is a great way to increase customer engagement.
The goal here is to make it as easy as possible for customers to leave feedback so that they're more likely to do it.
There are a few different ways you can make this happen.
The first is to include a link to a feedback form in your email signature.
You can also add a link to your website or social media accounts.
Another way to make it easy for customers to give feedback is to use a tool which allows you to add a survey to your website.
This is a great way to collect feedback from customers who are already engaged with your website.
Finally, you can use a tool to create a survey which can be embedded on your website or sent out via email.
Making it easy for customers to give feedback is a great way to increase customer engagement and get valuable insights into the customer experience.
Social media is a great way to improve customer engagement.
The goal here is to use social media to create a two-way conversation with your customers as one of your customer engagement strategies.
This means that you should be actively listening to what your customers are saying about your brand, and responding to their concerns.
You should also be using social media to share valuable content with your customers.
This could include blog posts, infographics, or even just helpful tips. But don't just link off to other content, you need to repurpose it for the channel specifically.
That can be a bit of a lift, admittedly, because it requires creating a constant stream of valuable content. But, isn't that the goal of customer engagement? To provide value?
Finally, you should be using social media to run contests and giveaways.
This is a great way to increase customer engagement and get people talking about your brand. An example giveaway might be to have customers share their favorite product on social media, and then you randomly select a winner.
If you're not already using social media as part of your customer engagement strategy, now is the time to start.
Email marketing is a great way to increase customer engagement. As mentioned, personalization and segmentation are critical pieces of your customer engagement strategies, and frankly, email is one of the best channels to implement a segmented, personalized engagement plan.
There are a few different ways you can personalize your email marketing. The first is to segment your list based on certain criteria.
This could include things like location, purchase history, or even just engagement level.
Once you've segmented your list, you can then start to send out more targeted email campaigns.
Another way to personalize your email marketing is to use dynamic content.
This is a great way to increase customer engagement because it allows you to show different content to different people based on their interests.
For example, if you know that someone is interested in a certain product, you can show them relevant content about that product in their email.
Another great point to make about customer engagement is that it goes a long way when you provide your customers with constant (and free!) value.
Guides, presentations, infographics, articles, all of this content is fodder for a solid email engagement strategy.
If you're not already using email marketing as part of your customer engagement strategy, now is the time to start. It's a great way to increase customer engagement and keep your customers coming back for more.
In-app messaging is a great way to engage customers who are already using your product. It's one of the best customer engagement strategies a small business can use, especially in SaaS or the technology field.
With in-app messaging, you can send messages directly to customers while they're using your app.
This is a great way to get their attention and deliver timely and relevant messages.
In-app messaging is also a great way to increase customer engagement because it allows you to track customer behaviour.
You can use this data to segment your existing customers and send them more targeted messages.
For example, if you see that a customer is using a certain feature of your app regularly, you could send them a message about how to get the most out of that feature.
Being helpful not only builds loyal customers, it also helps you increase customer engagement and customer retention.
While this isn't exactly what you think of when you think of "strategy" we can't stress enough how important internal culture is to creating a customer-first business and strengthening customer relationships.
Friendly customer service representatives are the key to a solid customer engagement strategy.
Your customer service reps are the face of your company, and they play a vital role in engagement.
They're the ones who are on the front lines, dealing with customers day in and day out.
It's important to train your customer service representatives to put the customer first. They should be friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about your product or service.
They should be able to quickly resolve customer issues and, if they can't, they should know how to escalate the issue to someone who can.
Your customer service reps are key to maintaining engagement and keeping customers happy.
Sales and marketing teams are usually focused on getting the initial sale. Customer service teams are usually focused on making sure that post-purchase experience runs smoothly.
But what about cross-sell and up-sell opportunities?
To really improve engagement, you need to connect your sales and service teams.
Your sales team should hand off customers to your service team with all the information they need to provide a great post-purchase experience.
And your service team should be trained to identify cross-sell and upsell opportunities that they can flag for your sales and marketing teams to leverage in their campaigns.
The goal is to have a smooth, cohesive customer journey from beginning to end.
When your sales, marketing, and service teams are working together, it's much easier to provide a great experience and increase engagement.
While you've asked for feedback and you've encouraged your internal teams to put their experience first, it's important to also give your customers a voice.
The Voice of the Customer is a new term that's making headway in the customer service world for good reason.
The Voice of the Customer (VoC) is the collective feedback of your customers.
It's what they're saying about your company, product, or service - both good and bad.
And it's important to listen to the Voice of the Customer if you want to improve engagement.
One way, beyond customer surveys and one-off requests for customer feedback, to leverage the VoC is to invite a small group of your most loyal customers to participate in co-creating your products or services. In SaaS, this usually transpires in the form of beta or MVP releases.
This is a great way to get feedback early on in the product development process so that you can make changes before release that satisfy customer needs and improve the overall experience.
It's also a great way to build loyalty and engagement as your customers feel like they're part of the process.
In eCommerce, businesses use a similar strategy by creating secondary or complimentary products to their existing product line based on customer feedback.
For example, if a company sells eye shadow, naturally they may find customers ask for the best lipstick color to pair with that particular shade.
By taking the customer feedback and turning it into an additional product, the company has not only increased engagement but also added a new product to their lineup.
Customer engagement is vital to the success of any business.
But it's not always easy to keep customers engaged.
There are a lot of moving parts to engagement - from marketing and sales to customer service and product development.
It's important to have strategies in place that address all these different areas if you want to improve engagement.
By following the tips and strategies in this article, you can start to improve engagement and create a better experience for your customers.
We talked about a lot of different customer engagement strategies and the overall gist is that engagement should be a holistic, company-wide initiative.
There's no one perfect solution for every business. But by trying out different strategies and seeing what works best for your company, you can start to improve engagement and create loyalty among your customer base and improve customer satisfaction.
What strategies have you used to improve engagement? We'd love to know!