The right customer engagement strategies can have a massive effect on your business outcomes. These strategies will result in a better customer experience, higher customer retention rates, and eventually help you attract more potential customers.
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What is a customer engagement strategy?
A customer engagement strategy is a plan to capture the attention of existing customers and make sure they have the best experience possible when interacting with your brand throughout their journey.
Customer engagement strategies
- Know your customer journey
- Customer loyalty programs
- Offer personalized service
- Implement a chatbot
- Use analytics
- Use visual engagement tools
- Offer conversational service
- Support your team
1. Know your customer journey
You can't start developing or implementing an effective customer engagement strategy without knowing who your customers are and how they interact with your brand.
A good way to start is to map your customer journey and find all important touchpoints, bottlenecks and challenges your customers may meet. This will help you find out more about their needs and behavior as well as identify opportunities for engagement.
By analyzing your customer behavior and attributes, you can start constructing customer profiles or personas. You can look at signals that matter to your business, like location, income, motivations, interaction history, and more.
Using this knowledge, you may come up with ideas to specifically engage each persona in a way they prefer.
2. Create a customer loyalty program
One of the most effective ways to improve customer engagement is to create a customer loyalty program.
These act as incentives to reward loyal customers who continually engage with your brand through points, discounts, special gifts, and more.
Customer loyalty programs are a fantastic engagement strategy that not only encourages repeat business but boosts brand loyalty.
3. Offer personalized service
Personalization is quickly becoming one of the most popular and effective customer engagement strategies. It makes sense – customers want products or services that are tailored to them and their needs.
There are many ways you can apply the principles of personalized customer service. It could be simple, like showing them a location-based ad or using their first name in an email. It could also be much more complex, taking advantage of machine learning and AI to offer hyper-relevant services.
For example, a person who usually buys ski clothes during the winter can be served recommendations on ski equipment.
If you're still at the beginning, start small: a pre-chat survey is an excellent way of gathering some information about the user, so your team will know who they're talking to. This can be the starting point of more personable service.
4. Implement a chatbot
If you implement an AI-powered chatbot that analyzes data and can speak to users, it’s easy to program it to make recommendations to site visitors — or help them choose the products they like. That’s one of the smarter customer engagement strategies because it feels natural — chatbots will work based on what the user needs.
Chatbots can also use "triggers" to send relevant messages based on criteria such as location, time on page, or the number of pages viewed.
Another benefit of chatbots when it comes to a customer engagement strategy is that they help you offer smooth service even after hours. This means that, even when human agents aren’t around, you don’t lose the chance to grab the attention of customers, collect contact details so humans can reach out later, or just handle routine questions faster.
5. Capture business analytics
Analytics is the backbone of customer engagement strategies. How do you know what works and what doesn't? What exactly do your customers like or dislike? Only with customer feedback data can you answer these questions.You can gather customer data and analyze them from different sources — customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT) or NPS, for example. For more long-term insights collected from your customer interactions, a customer experience platform can be the answer.
For example, which pages of your website result in the most live chat inquiries? Or, how is your support team performing when interacting with customers? This data can be at your fingertips whenever you need it.
6. Use visual engagement tools
Any tool that uses visual means to engage customers can help you create a more human experience. There are two tools to consider:
Cobrowsing is a technology that allows support agents to view and interact with a customer’s web browser in real time.
For example, a customer has trouble filling out a form, the support agent can initiate a cobrowsing session and take control of the customer’s screen, pointing and writing to help them complete the form.
Cobrowsing is secure, easy to implement and use, and it’s a great opportunity to engage customers who may otherwise have given up on completing a task such as reducing cart abandonment rate.
Stats show some businesses have seen an 18 percent improvement in first call resolution and a 14 percent reduction in call handling times by using an integrated cobrowsing solution.
Video chat can make up for the lack of personable connection on the internet, where most interactions are text-based. Live video communication with customers provides tons of value and businesses should take advantage of this feature.
For example, furniture retailer The Dufresne Group used video chat to assess furniture repairs from afar without having technicians go to customers houses.
Mind map software helps visualize ideas by creating structure and visibility. It lets you create a visual diagram from your ideas and easily illustrates the relationship and hierarchy between different concepts.
The average mind map software falls under one (or more) of these categories:
- Diagramming: create a technical diagram like engineering flowcharts, architectural designs, network diagrams, etc.
- Brainstorming: best for problem-solving sessions as you can organize and present an idea visually
- Business intelligence: visualize data as charts by importing it from business applications
- Software development: prepare site map diagrams, software wireframes, etc.
7. Offer conversational service
How can you make the customer service process more efficient or pleasant for both customers and agents?
One way is to turn your attention to conversations instead of interactions. It’s not enough to treat customer issues as support tickets, or their purchasing inquiries as nothing more but a stage in their customer journey.
Shifting the focus to conversations means that each time you talk to a customer, you build on the same long-term relationship.
This will also create a customer centric culture for your organization.
How can you do all that? The key is in keeping and using interaction history across channels. No matter what channels your customer has used in the past, every team member is always aware of past conversations and goes into every interaction with context.
For example, if a customer has sent an email about an issue they have, then used live chat, and then social media to complain, it’s still the same customer relationship.
With conversational customer experience, each agent can see all that and further the conversation: “How can I help you?” becomes “I see you’ve been having this issue with the item you bought, let me help.”
This is a customer engagement strategy that helps your business stand out from the competition.
8. Support your team
Happy customer service teams result in a happy customer base. For example, 73 percent of customers fall in love with a brand because of friendly customer service representatives.
It’s true, customer-facing staff plays a massive role in engaging customers. Yet, many companies forget to support their employees like they support their customers, and that may have an impact on customer engagement.
So, try to employ one of the most forgotten strategies for customer engagement: take care of your team. Equip them with the right technology and training, motivate them, and reward results. Only when your team is taken care of can you deliver the best possible customer experience and engage customers for life.
Customer engagement plan template
The strategies we mentioned will eventually feed into one big overall effective customer engagement strategy. So, it’s useful to have a plan for implementing and fine-tuning that strategy.
Here’s a customer engagement plan template (note that each stage and step may be different across companies and industries):
Stage 1: Preparation
- Assess current situation
- Set engagement goals
- Map customer journey
- Create customer personas
- Build a business case
Stage 2: Planning
- Do market/competitor research
- Select strategies and tactics
- Create rollout and budget plans
- Align teams and operations
Stage 3: Implementation
- Assess technologies (e.g. send RFPs)
- Choose providers
- Launch systems and plans
- Test and refine
Stage 4: Tracking
- Report on KPIs / metrics
- Get feedback from customers
- Conduct new experiments
- Follow digital engagement trends
Engage with customers strategically
Based on how developed your customer engagement strategy is, each stage may have different levels of complexity. For example, if you’re just starting out building engagement strategies deliberately, your metrics dashboard will not be in-depth or your various departments may not be fully aligned.
As you pursue this process in the long term though, everything will start falling into place — and customer engagement will drive massive business value.
Ready to put these strategies for better customer engagement to the test? Schedule a demo today to see how Acquire can help you build stronger customer relationships and drive business growth.