Your current and prospective customers are inundated daily with contact from hundreds of businesses. How can you make your company stand out in a virtual storm of competition?
Proper customer engagement is the key to retention and acquisition for businesses. But how can this be achieved successfully?
What is Customer Engagement?
At its very core, customer engagement is an emotional bond between customer and company. Customers who are highly engaged tend to purchase and promote more often, demonstrating a higher level of loyalty. When planning a customer engagement strategy, providing incredible customer experiences should be at the top of your list.
Various Ways to Engage with Customers
With endless choices, extreme overload of content, and seriously deficient attention spans, in what ways can you expect to reach your current or prospective customers?
Customers have to tune out multiple sales pitches every day, and frankly – they’re tired. Prioritizing connections with people develops authentic relationships and authentic engagement.
Many marketers and reps alike treat engagement as though it were an accidental byproduct. Instead, consider strategies to engage your customers that translate to engagement automatically, such as:
- Asking questions
- Using educational content
- Experimenting with new mediums
- Humanizing your marketing tactics
- Personalizing customer experiences
- Keeping customers in the know
So, if these six strategies can increase engagement, what are some ways to raise brand loyalty?
How customer engagement helps brand loyalty
You can boost brand loyalty with the following customer engagement tactics:
- Connect with your customers – There are so many means available to business owners today to stay connected: in person at live events, social media platforms, email marketing, the company website, phone calls, and text messages.
- Always deliver quality products or services, and be honest with your current and prospective customers – Quality is one of a customer’s most important aspects when choosing which brands to give their loyalty. Don’t jump out of the gate with impressive products and cut back on quality as time goes on; continue to improve upon your existing products.
- Remember brand consistency’s importance – Every time a customer comes across your brand, whether on- or offline, it should be immediately recognizable.
- Keep actively listening and encourage current and prospective customers to give feedback – This is perhaps one of the most important customer engagement methods. You’re not just engaging with your customers, but you’re also giving them a voice.
How Important is Customer Experience?
As of 2019, it’s expected that nearly 90% of marketers will set their sights on customer experience as their main objective by 2020. That’s over 20% higher than in 2016.
You understand that customer experience is important – but just how important is it? And why is it so important?
Here are just a few reasons:
- Improves your customer satisfaction rate
- Converts brand new customers into loyal ones
- Increases your word-of-mouth advertising, or customer advocacy
- Makes you stand out amongst your competition
- Builds consumer trust and helps you create lasting relationships
With all the different types of touchpoints, how can you keep track?
SMS, phone, and email are still important engagement methods
You use email everyday for both personal and business correspondence. As useful as email can be, SMS (or text messaging) can be incredibly powerful for your business. When you combine text messaging and emails, your communication gets a super power-up. In fact, most consumers have a preference as to how they want to be contacted. Contact methods can include:
- Phone call
- Text message
- Online chat
- In-person at your business
Using these contact methods, you can send messages pertaining to just about anything – but customers respond most frequently to messages regarding:
- Other notifications
If you combine various types of communication, such as email and text messaging, your customers are rewarded with a much more touchless, seamless experience.
How a Fantastic Customer Experience Leads to Brand Loyalty
Finding new customers is always incredible – but keeping the ones you already have is even more important and rewarding. Why? Because you have a lot riding on existing relationships that you simply cannot afford to lose.
Recent studies show that the costs of acquiring new customers can be five to 25 times greater than retaining the customers you already have. What does that mean? If you develop loyalty amongst the customers you currently have, your marketing costs will be significantly lower.
So, what are some ways that you can increase brand loyalty?
- Exclusive access
- Authentic concern
- Active listening and fast response times
- Streamlined and simple experiences
Let’s look at these a bit closer.
The average consumer gets a bit giddy when they’re told they’re accessing something few people can. Why? Partly because who doesn’t like surprises? But also because it’s a reward for nothing more than being a customer.
Exclusive deals can be anything from percentage-off discounts and free shipping to coupons towards a future purchase. Do you have a new product coming out soon? Offer exclusive free samples prior to its release.
This is somewhat similar to exclusives, but rewards for being a customer, as well as those for referring new customers, allows you to keep current customers while continuing to build your share of the market.
It’s the best of both worlds – for you, because you’re gaining market share; for your customers, because they get a “thank you” every time they introduce someone new to your products. Even the smallest token of gratitude is received warmly by your customers.
How many times have you experienced a situation in which you didn’t feel that a company was hearing you? Or even if they were hearing you, they didn’t provide a level of concern that felt appropriate to your needs? Maybe their concern even felt faked. When your customers bring questions, suggestions, or complaints to your company, genuine concern for their feelings will show them they’re not just a number to your company.
Active listening and fast response times
Even if your entire brand’s focus is on customer experience, there are bound to be times when issues arise. Regardless of how these issues are handled, the fact they occurred in the first place can leave a less-than-perfect impression.
The best way to respond to issues as they occur is quickly. When you respond quickly and with a genuine nature, you leave the customer with a great impression – not to mention a memory of your company that will supersede any negative situation.
Streamlined and simple experiences
Your customers don’t need all the bells and whistles to feel as though they’ve had a great experience with your brand. In fact, anything that’s fast and simplified is a good experience for today’s customers. Of course, they want to feel good while they’re making their purchases – but the simplicity of checkout with exactly the products or services they needed is really all they’re looking for.
Monitoring Your Brand’s Engagement
While engagement is essential, it is also important to know if others are trying to use your brand to deceive customers.
Nothing can be quite as detrimental to your brand than to have your phone number spoofed. Today, it happens all too often. Scammers are able to make it look as though they’re calling your customers with your telephone number. Unsuspecting clients can end up giving away personal information and, before you know it, your brand is slumping.
Solutions to Manage Your Brand’s Reputation
Implementing Caller ID reputation software is your best defense against scammers spoofing your number. With this type of defense in place, you’ll receive notifications any time your business’ phone number is flagged on a carrier network or on a major call-blocking platform. This provides you the opportunity to see which of your company numbers has been flagged and why, and to alert the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the moment your number’s been reported.
You can also place information in your marketing materials and on your website that tells consumers what to do in the event they feel they’ve been duped. Let your customers know what your agents will and will not ask for when making telephone contact.
The more you instill trust in your current customers, the more likely they’ll be to repeat business and remain loyal to your brand. It also helps them identify occasions when your number has been used fraudulently. If you’d like to learn more about protecting your phone number and improving caller ID reputation, contact our team today.