Customer engagement plays a pivotal role in every business’s operations, and as such, it is a hot topic in today’s customer experience discourse. Heightening customer engagement involves tailoring your company’s services and products to more effectively fit the needs of your client base. To do this, it helps to have a good idea of where to start. In this article, you will find proven strategies others have employed to improve customer engagement as well as a variety of useful tips to enhance your efforts.
Engaging with customers on a deeper level promotes longer lasting brand loyalty and consistent profit growth. However, refining your organization’s customer engagement process can be a difficult process to handle.
There are numerous factors to take into consideration for improving customer engagement, but the best options for your business might not necessarily be the ones that you suspect. To boost your company’s customer engagement results, you should first understand just what the term refers to and how it differs from similar concepts.
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement can best be defined as the totality of interactions between your company and its clientele.
Some also attribute due importance to the actual depth of a customer’s interactions with your company when defining this term. Each time someone interacts with your business, they demonstrate their level of engagement and loyalty to your brand.
Engagement Versus Experience
Although customer engagement deals with the relationship your business has with each prospective and repeat client, the term is not interchangeable with customer experience. Customer experience serves as a more inclusive catch-all term for a given customer’s perception of a business’s entire offering and presentation, whereas customer engagement centers on interactions between the two.
Customer Engagement and Loyalty
Improving customer engagement can have a noticeable positive impact on brand loyalty, encouraging one-time purchasers and clients to become repeat customers by ensuring all interactions and touch points are managed smoothly.
Where basic consumer satisfaction ends, the cultivation of loyalty-building customer engagement habits begins.
Below, we’ve rounded up 25 valuable strategies and expert tips for improving customer engagement in your organization.
Expert Customer Engagement Strategies Worth Adopting
1. Implement a loyalty rewards program.
“Customers don’t want to feel like they’re missing out on something. When you add value to every engagement that a customer has with your brand, you’ll create a powerful switching barrier. They’ll be less likely to shop with a competitor, since they’ll miss out on additional value they could earn from your store.
“Loyalty program members not only make purchases more often, they also have an average order value that is 12% higher than their non-member counterparts which makes them a critical part of your growth strategy.” – Alex McEachern, What is Customer Engagement, and Why is it Important?, Smile.io; Twitter: @smilerewards
2. Become more customer-centric.
“Research tells us 73% of customers fall in love with a brand because of friendly customer service representatives. Furthermore, according to McKinsey, 70% of buying experiences are related to how the consumers feel they are being treated.
“Clearly, the staff plays a massive role in engaging customers. Maybe that’s why Amazon – that strives to be the most customer-centric company on earth – enjoys such massive success. Yet, according to the CMO Council, only 14% of marketers believe that customer centricity is ranked high within their organization.
“Improving customer engagement rate means adopting a customer-centric business model. Don’t simply focus on selling. Develop connections that go much deeper. Equip your customer-facing teams with the right technology and emotional intelligence training to do this. Only then can you deliver the best possible customer experience.” – Dhawani Shah, 8 Customer Engagement Strategies That Actually Work, Acquire; Twitter: @acquire_io
3. Keep customers in orbit with valuable expertise.
“Become an expert in the things your customers care about and help them learn about it. If you sell HR management software, provide job description templates and advice on how to recruit the best employees. If you provide email marketing software, create content that helps customers create beautiful emails (like templates or best practice guides). Helpful content will always find an audience and your customers will be keen to share it – they will boost their own visibility by sharing great content too!” – Customer Engagement: A Complete Guide, Freshdesk; Twitter: @freshdesk
4. Give your brand a human touch.
“At the heart of everything, it’s important to understand that every customer wants to feel you understand their needs and that they can relate to your brand. This is easier for fun consumer brands like Red Bull or Nike than for more conservative brands like banks or B2B companies. But even these businesses can be humanized without trying to squeeze themselves into a contrived persona that won’t resonate with their audience.
For example, find a personality within in your organization who is passionate about your brand and a natural communicator. Grow that person into a thought leader and give them a voice to humanize your brand and engage your audience.” – Audrey Ference, 7 Customer Engagement Strategies That Marketers Can’t Ignore, Outbrain; Twitter: @outbrain
5. Build engagement from the inside out.
“Sometimes, customer engagement can occur as a result of another initiative. After hearing about his employees’ struggles, Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, decided to implement a minimum annual salary of $70K. While the move was meant to improve employee satisfaction, productivity, and quality of life, the change also had a profound impact on customer engagement.
“Monthly leads grew from 30 to 2,000 inquiries, profits doubled, and customer retention increased from 91% to 95%. It was clear that customer engagement was directly tied to employee satisfaction. When employees are treated better, they want to work harder for their companies, which results in happier customers.” – Swetha Amaresan, The Ultimate Guide to Customer Engagement in 2019, Hubspot; Twitter: @HubSpot, @wethamaresan
6. Incorporate bold emotions and values into your brand image.
“Since emotion remains the driving force behind a customer engagement strategy, it’s necessary to define core values around which to structure your brand identity, and those values can’t be tentative. A hesitant and ill-defined brand identity precludes heartfelt customer engagement, since your identity won’t truly resonate with anyone.
“Be bold. Decide which qualities your brand wants to represent and uncompromisingly stand for what you embody. Being decisive might be intimidating; perhaps taking a clear stance could alienate certain people? It will, but that’s not a bad thing. For every person who decides you’re not their cup of tea, one might think, ‘this is the perfect brand for me.’” – Lola Barbier, How to Build a Successful Customer Engagement Strategy, Aircall.io; Twitter: @aircall
7. Incorporate analytics tools for deeper insight.
“Affordable and out-of-the-box analytics systems – like Mixpanel, Amplitude, and Heap – have made it easy to measure product engagement by customer.
“With analytics systems like these, you can get visibility into customer engagement through product usage. You can run reports and build dashboards on all kinds of metrics, like which features are being used by which personas, what cohorts are likely to churn and when, and how far a new user gets before dropping off.” – Jackson Noel, 10 user and customer engagement strategies for 2019, Appcues; Twitter: @appcues
8. Give your customers a voice.
“People will be more likely to engage with content involving consumers just like them, rather than with your brand’s messaging. That is because they can relate better to real people. Olapic found that user-generated content is the most trusted type of content among consumers. It is also the type of content that people engage with regularly.
“Use social media to share your customers’ stories. These stories can be in the form of reviews, testimonials, user-submitted photos, and more. You will be able to win the trust of potential customers and even drive them to convert when you share customer stories on social media.” – Shane Barker, 7 of the Best Customer Engagement Strategies to Foster Your Brand’s Growth, SEMRush; Twitter: @semrush
9. Try in-product messaging for more tailored interactions.
“You should segment your email list. Because if you don’t, you’ll blindly send the same message to everyone.
“Sadly, not everyone of your subscribers or ideal customers want your latest product or ebook.
“Sending out of context emails will likely increase your customer’s email fatigue.
“The ideal approach is to message a specific segment of your customer base with the exact product/offer which they’ve indicated interest.
“In-product messaging is a viable strategy to adopt, because there is a market fit, which is the direction correlation between product and market.” – Ian Blair, 13 Easy And Effective Customer Engagement Strategies, buildfire; Twitter: @BuildFire
10. Use customer reviews to your advantage.
“When you think of engaging content, reviews may not be the first thing that comes to your mind. But customer reviews are a powerful way to re-engage current customers while also increasing your conversion rates from social and raising brand awareness.
“Why do people like to interact with customer reviews? For one, people can relate to content written by real customers more than brand messaging. Honest reactions from their friends, family, and social connections are more warmly received than generic branded content.” – Maria Katosvich, 7 indispensable customer engagement strategies, MyCustomer.com; Twitter: @MyCustomer
11. Turn interactions into games.
“Gamification is one of the most useful ways to boost long-term engagement, and one of the best times to implement it is after customers sign up. This onboarding phase is a time ripe for establishing how customers will feel about your brand.
“Why we recommend this customer engagement strategy: In addition to boosting engagement, gamification also builds customer loyalty. By introducing gamification right when customers are introduced to you, you increase the chances they will be engaged, loyal customers.
“How to implement this strategy: Think of new, innovative ways to keep customers engaged with your brand or even fellow shoppers. The only thing shoppers like more than a challenge are the rewards at the end of it.” – Aimee Millwood, 10 Customer Engagement Strategies You Should Be Using, Yotpo; Twitter: @yotpo
12. Be consistent across all channels.
“Majority of customers start interacting with a brand on one channel but continue their conversations across other channels. Therefore, delivering consistent customer experience across all touch points is the key to customer engagement and loyalty.
“Omni channel customer support is all about providing consistent, personalized and seamless customer experience across multiple channels like website, social media, phone, apps or retail store.
“Regardless of the number of touch points involved, customer review their journey with a brand as an overall experience, and this is what determines the customer engagement.” – Smriti Singh, 8 Customer Engagement Strategies and Ideas to Implement in 2019, Revechat; Twitter: @REVEChat
13. Organize an event or summit in your sector.
“B2B companies most commonly use this strategy since they have high-value customers, and relationship with them needs to be developed and nurtured. This can be done in many forms like webinars, seminars, and conferences.
“This explains how beneficial summits can be, both for an organization and its customers. They can be instrumental in improving existing relationships with customers by helping them engage with the brand directly, put up questions, and provide suggestions. This makes them feel that they are an integral part of the brand.” – Brayn Wills, What is Customer Engagement: Strategy, Examples, and Tips, CustomerThink; Twitter: @customerthink
14. Seize opportunities quickly with warm clients.
“The chances for a user to convert from the status of ‘interested’ to the status of ‘partner’ significantly increase if the response to their action or request occurs as soon as possible.
“Harvard Business Review notes the surprisingly long response time of most US companies:
- 37% answered a potential client within an hour;
- 24% took more than a day;
- 23% ignore all requests.
“A callback or a chatbot on the website allow you to significantly increase the likelihood of a sale. Moreover, working with a ‘warm’ client is much more effective than ‘cold’ calls.” – Megan Ranger, Customer Engagement Strategies to Try in 2019-2020, Nimble; Twitter: @nimble
Pro Tips for Better Customer Engagement
15. Limit and streamline customer communication.
“Ask yourself which emails are necessary. Is there is a better way to send some messages? For example, do you need to email announcements of new features and then send a newsletter? Or could you include new feature announcements in your newsletter? Do you even need a newsletter when you have a blog?” – Brian Rogers, 5 Customer Engagement Strategies, Evergage; Twitter: @Evergage
16. Incorporate custom content into your customer interactions.
“Custom content is another great way to engage your customers. Just like we use content marketing to get leads and make new customers, custom content can be used to train and engage your existing customers. Many big companies create useful custom content for their customer engagement strategies to nurture their customers further and it also helps them effectively improve customer engagement.” – Romit Sharma, Customer Engagement Strategies – How to Improve Customer Engagement?, DotComPal; Twitter: @DotcomPal
17. Consolidate customer data for more efficient analytics.
“Nearly every marketing team experiences difficulty when it comes to unifying their customer data. We operate in a world where we are collecting more data than ever before and this data is held in more disparate silos than ever before, meaning marketers are relying heavily on IT or third parties to provide this data in a clean, readable manner. In turn this makes it difficult and time-consuming for marketers to act upon any insight they gain from their data – let alone creating data-driven customer engagement strategies!” – Anthony Botibol, Step-By-Step Guide for an Effective Customer Engagement Strategy, BlueVenn; Twitter: @bluevenn
18. Look into AI-empowered approaches to discounting and more.
“Customer engagement and proper expectation setting are critical considerations for any business. Customers typically respond more favorably to dynamic discounts than to dynamic pricing. That’s because everybody likes getting a deal, no matter how much. In a world where brands are touting personalized offers to customers via loyalty programs based on engagement history and AI technologies, there is a precedent set by marketers treating customers unequally. This is the window of opportunity for businesses to capitalize more effectively on customer engagement, and more specifically, dynamic discounting.” – Jonathan Treiber, How AI-driven discounting leads to more effective customer engagement, RetailCustomerExperience.com; Twitter: @retexperience
19. Inspire consumers with social/environmental leadership.
“The Edelman Trust Barometer for 2019 shows that the public is looking to business for leadership on big social issues: 76% of survey respondents said CEOs should take the lead on change, rather than waiting on governments to impose it. Issues like equal pay, discrimination, and the environment were among those areas that people thought CEOs could create positive change in.” – Loren Webb, The 3 defining C’s in the future of customer engagement, Dynamic Business; Twitter: @dynamicbusiness
20. Invest in a strong online presence.
“IDG Connect and Siteimprove conducted a survey of over 100 marketers worldwide, working at companies with at least 1,000 employees in various industries, and discovered a mixed picture: while modern marketers are committed to digital tools, many admit to having suboptimal online presences where budgets, team structures, infrastructure, and content quality and freshness are questionable.
“The results point to a desire for marketers to optimize the customer experience across every touchpoint. That aim is commendable but, as the research makes clear, there are serious obstacles along the way.” – Digital Marketing Depot, How marketers confront the obstacles of digital customer engagement, MarketingLand; Twitter: @marketingland
21. Simplify the disengagement process for your customers.
“Once brands have mapped their customer base more effectively, they need to re-imagine the processes that customers in different phases can take when wanting to end their brand relationship. Fundamentally, errors in mapping the customer journey are rooted in the process companies utilize to track their customer interactions.
“To address this, brands need to optimize their customer life cycle process by bringing together the people running the processes to collect their feelings and suggestions on things like customer service, sales, and marketing. Organizations should be checking the necessary supporting documents for the successful completion of the end-to-end leaving process. And lastly, brands should improve on the subscription process that already exists, using all the information collected, and under the control of a centralized process owner.” – Stefan Krumnow, Why Easy Disengagement is Your Best Long-Term Customer Engagement Strategy, MultichannelMerchant; Twitter: @mcmerchant
22. Hone your deflection skills for better customer interactions.
“Deflection is a particularly tricky term because, by definition, to deflect a customer means to turn them away. Further, it’s widely believed that deflecting customers to less expensive digital channels is the best way to cut costs.
“That said, when deflection is carefully designed and properly executed, it’s not about rebuffing customers, it’s about helping them optimize their time with the right channel. Referring customers to alternative mediums can be highly effective and result in a faster resolution.” – Priyanka Tiwari, Rewriting the Language of Customer Engagement, CMSWire; Twitter: @CMSWire
23. Use images and even emojis for better emotional connections with customers.
“So, far from being a formality fail, emojis enable customer engagement. Emails with an emoji in the subject line have better click-throughs, social media posts that have images have more responses. Words alone don’t cut it anymore as they don’t reflect the language changes of customers.
“That’s not to say you should go from zero to heavily emoji laden comms; there are some clear rules of thumb to get the best out of these modern day hieroglyphics. For example, start by using them in real-time – whether it be by chat, social media or on feedback buttons – by catching customers in the moment you can boost engagement.” – Lindsay Willott, Using emojis for business communications and boosting customer engagement: A guide, MarketingTech; Twitter: @MarketTechNews
24. Encourage customers to engage with others as well.
“Driving positive customer engagement doesn’t have to happen solely between a customer and a brand. Moreover, engagement is more authentic when it is happening between customers.
“Loyal and returning customers hold the opportunity to become a referral network to win over the hearts of new prospects. Empower your current customers to easily share your brand with friends and family, and help you attract new customers. While doing them, showcase the benefit they get with fun incentives.” – Nikolina Maškarić, Drive Better Customer Engagement, Paldesk; Twitter: @paldesk
25. Base your approach on concrete results.
“Communication between a brand and its customers is an ongoing process. You can’t follow one strategy or tool to increase the communication. You must apply various ways to increase the interaction. In the present scenario, customer engagement has become more important than any other business activity.
“Your engagement strategies should be result driven. You should know why you are doing it and how you are going to do it. Your customers will see, what you want to show them. The more they can understand your business the more opportunities you will get for revenue generation.” – Top Customer Engagement Strategies You Must Try, Apogaeis; Twitter: @apogaeis
How does your business nurture stronger engagement with customers?