The right customer engagement strategies can have a massive effect on your business outcomes. They will result in a better customer experience, higher retention, and will eventually help you attract more customers.
If you’re wondering what the best strategies are, check out our list and give them all a try to create a truly engaged (and loyal) customer base.
A customer engagement strategy is a plan to capture the attention of existing and prospective customers and make sure they have the best experience possible when interacting with your brand.
Customer engagement today should be omnichannel. This means that you should consider how and where your customers interact with you, across the digital world (and the physical world if you’re in retail). Your strategies to engage customers should be consistent across all channels and mediums they use.
And of course, remember that your customers are the ones who will determine how they want to be engaged eventually. Even if you want to have a particular strategy, you still need to make sure it’s what your customers want.
With all that in mind, here’s our list of the best customer engagement strategies you can try.
You can't start developing or implementing any 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.
Your website is the centerpiece of your customers’ digital experience. Nothing can ruin your chances of engaging customers other than a website that doesn’t meet their needs.
One thing that can be very helpful for this customer engagement strategy is to try to go through the buyer’s journey yourself, stepping into the shoes of your customers.
With that knowledge, there are a number of ways you can go to optimize the website experience, such as:
Personalization is quickly becoming one of the most popular customer engagement strategies. It makes sense – customers want services and products that are tailored to them and their needs.
There are many ways you can apply the principles of personalized 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.
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 customer engagement 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.
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 data can you answer these questions.
You can gather data and analyze them from different sources — CSAT surveys 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.
Of course, you still need to track a few KPIs to report the success of your strategies. If you're wondering what to measure, check out four customer engagement metrics you can use.
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 customer houses.
Of course, there are many other visual engagement tools available — take a look at digital customer engagement trends, like AR/VR, to get ahead of the curve.
Mind map software helps visualize ideas by creating structure and visibility. It let's 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:
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.
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.
Happy customer service teams result in happy customers. 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 customer engagement strategies: 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.
The strategies we mentioned will eventually feed into one big overall customer engagement strategy. So, it’s useful to have a plan for implementing and finetuning that strategy.
Here’s a template of steps you can take (note that each stage and step may be different across companies and industries):
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.
What customer engagement strategies have you found successful? Which ones will you implement for your business?
Let us know in the comments.
Nikoletta is a Content Specialist at Acquire. She's a writer and editor with an avid interest in data, tech, communication, and the customer journey.