How to Drive Meaningful Customer Engagements and Better Marketing Outcomes
Customer engagement is defined as all the interactions a customer has with your brand. It’s the ongoing relationship a brand orchestrates, and a customer chooses to engage with, in order to boost retention and loyalty. An engaged customer spends more and is often a band’s most loyal ambassador.
In the age of digital connectivity and precise journey management, brands have more options to engage customers and provide meaningful experiences. However, while engaging customers at mass scale is easy, finding those specific moments that are most meaningful to individual consumers is more of a challenge.
The Value of Meaningful Customer Engagement
Consumers have many options today when choosing a product or service including how they purchase and which brand they purchase from. Consumers expect to be treated like a person before handing over their business. In fact, 84% of consumers have stated that being treated like a person, not a person, is very important to winning their business.
Additional research reveals similar findings:
- 79% of consumers only consider brands that show they understand and care about them individually (Wunderman)
- 70% of buying experiences are based on how customers feel they’re being understood (McKinsey)
- 79% of customer expect their interactions with brands to be personalized (Marketo)
Companies with a well-executed customer engagement strategy also see higher share of wallet, higher referrals and lower churn:
While good customer engagement can boost revenues, reputation and retention, poor engagement can be costly:
- 52% of customers are less likely to engage with the company because of bad mobile experience (Zoominfo)
- 22% of consumers would leave for other brands after a creepy experience (Zoominfo)
- In the U.S., the estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service is $1.6 Trillion (Accenture)
- Companies lose more than $62 billion due to poor customer service (New Voice Media)
- 95% of consumers talk about poor customer service experiences with other people (American Express)
- Consumers are 2x more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences (American Express)
- 61% of customers have not been able to easily switch from one channel to another when interacting with customer service (Aspects)
When Do Consumers Want to Engage with Your Company?
According to research by Zoovu, consumers seek to engage with brands at three distinct stages along the customer journey:
- Exploration: 64% of consumers engage with a company to learn about its products and services.
- Purchase: 74% of consumers engage with brands in order to purchase.
- Support: 51% of consumers seek to engage with companies for support after the purchase.
What Do Consumers Expect When They Engage with Your Company?
- Trust: 72% of online shoppers in the US, UK and Germany said that being able to trust their favorite retailer or brand is their highest-ranking concern.
- Assistance and Support: 86% of consumers said it was important for brands to provide expert advice and personalized recommendations about their products and services.
- Frictionless Experiences: 56% of US shoppers have abandoned a purchase because it was too difficult to find or decide on a product.
Customer Engagement Best Practices
In order to implement a successful customer engagement strategy, here are some best practices your brand should be following.
- Transform Your Data
Data is truly at the foundation of marketing – and customer engagement is no exception. Consumers are interacting with your brand through social media, point of sale systems, customer service, email inquiries and so forth. If this data is sitting in separate silos, you have no way to access a single point of reference and insight into who your customers are. Data must be integrated into one system so you have a complete view of each interaction a consumer is having with your brand.
- Clean and Enhance Your Data
Make sure you have the best possible insights into your customers. This means using a third-party data source to correct or append missing data such as wrong or missing emails and other contact details. Also consider appending demographics and behavioral data such as hobbies, in-market shopping indicators, life events such as a recent move or new baby, household income and so forth.
- Engage Consistently and Across Channels
Consumers want the same experience on every channel they use to engage with your brand. They don’t see channels as separate entities but rather as all being interconnected. For example, as a consumer, I have placed items in a shopping cart while shopping on a particular site. I later received an email with the option to continue with my purchase, which opened the store application directly in my email. However, the items I had placed in my cart were not visible in the email version until I went back to the original browser I had been using. The disruption in my journey was frustrating and happened on more than one occasion. I later used a different site to purchase my products which gave me a much better experience.
With so many options, consumers would rather pay more for the convenience of a great experience than have to deal with the hassle of a mediocre engagement. Make sure that you have the technology in place to consistently integrate each of these touchpoints and update consumer profiles in near real-time.
- Put Your Customers First
At the end of the day, your customers want to feel important and know that you value their time and business. Be sure that you are creating a customer-first culture that each and every employee is willing to adopt. This includes friendly customer service, rapid social media responses, technology to automate journeys, and an understanding of how the processes you have in place are helping or harming engagement strategies. Continually ask yourself questions such as, “what do my customers struggle with most?”, or “what stops a customer from making a purchase?” With a better understanding of what your customers are looking for, you can continually optimize your processes with the right technologies and tools to create meaningful engagements and truly great results.