Here’s a surprising fact – one which anyone in today’s highly competitive, globally-connected economy should know:
80% of customers believe the experience provided by a company is just as important as its products and services.
That’s an eye-opening statement. It’s no longer enough to have the item someone needs and sell it at a reasonable price. These days, people prefer businesses that make them feel good, and this often comes down to customer engagement.
Customer engagement is created by the connection between a customer and a brand. It’s the relationship a customer has that keeps them coming back. In order to maximize an organization’s results, maximizing this relationship is key to sustained growth.
There are customer engagement best practices related to marketing, sales, and service, with plenty of nuance in each segment. But in a nutshell, the whole idea is to improve a customer’s experience through positive interactions.
In the old days, this was mostly done at the point of purchase. But now customer engagement also happens digitally with advertising, social media, blogs, surveys, and more. Remember, you are up against sellers on the other side of the planet, so a great experience can separate your business/non-profit from the pack.
Take a look at these two figures for more insight into why this matters:
The truth is that engaged customers are more valuable, so customer engagement is a powerful business driver which should be a priority. But maintaining this great experience is an ongoing process. It begins long before the first purchase and continues long after.
Today we’ll present eight tips to help improve customer satisfaction and loyalty–if you’re a small business operator or a super-sized organization. Remember: Great customer engagement doesn’t happen by accident, after all.
The best customer experiences start with a clear message. Build a strong brand voice for your organization, and strive to maintain it at all times. If you know who you are, customers will know, too. And when you feel like you know someone, it’s possible to build trust. For your customers, start with a Customer Journey map to clarify the steps customers take when engaging with your business or organization. Build your service and product to serve their realized needs.
Once people know who you are, it’s important to stay in front of them. Make the customer life cycle as long as possible – and you can do that with follow-up on social media, online ads, blogs, great email marketing for returning customers, and much more. Figure out where your customers are, and go to them.
In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s easier than ever to collect useful data that can help with decision-making later on. Things like Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, or even surveys are invaluable tools for learning what customers prefer. But even so, 39% of companies don’t regularly ask for feedback!
Another powerful use of data is to determine the “trigger” that convinced a customer to engage with your organization or buy that product. There’s often a reason, whether it was an advertisement, a social media post, or even word of mouth. Try to identify these triggers and put them into practice when possible.
Despite the power of data, there’s still no replacement for a personal touch. Almost 40% of customer interactions will be automated through AI and machine learning by 2023. But, 49% say that after getting a more personalized experience, they have splurged on an impulse buy.
No one is perfect – and even though businesses try hard to make themselves seem that way, they aren’t either. A big part of customer engagement is owning up to mistakes and making things right, with personal communications when possible. This is often easier for a small business, so take advantage!
Just like navigating the news, it’s best to never rely solely on one source of information. Be flexible in where and how you get customer engagement details, and then try hard not to cherry-pick data points that confirm what you already thought. Learn to be ok with learning.
Finally, outstanding customer engagement will often mean your little operation seems like a much bigger one. Using a combination of data, flexibility, and a personal touch, it’s possible to make decisions like a big business – and tailor the experience like a mom-and-pop shop.
Starting with a community engagement strategy is the secret to building a successful platform in the long term. Cause Machine helps customers build the plan of engaging a community well and then begin mapping out the technology to help support that strategy. We’re certain that you’ll find some great resources and powerful tools in Cause Machine to better engage your customers. Learn how it can work for you here.