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    What is Customer Engagement?

    Photo of staff assessing customer engagement performance.

    Given the evidence from research which suggests that on average engaged customers deliver 23% more revenue and profitability for businesses than their less engaged counterparts, it makes good business sense to maintain strong engagement levels with your customers by providing them with a high-quality customer experience.

    So, what do we mean by customer engagement?

    Customer Engagement Definition:

    At its most basic level customer engagement is about the process of interacting with your customers through a variety of channels, in order to strengthen their relationship and emotional connection with your brand. The objective being that if you can turn your customers into highly engaged ones, they’ll be more likely to buy, promote and demonstrate greater loyalty to your company and brand.

    In this blog post we’ll explore everything you need to get to grips with customer engagement, including how to improve engagement and solutions to help with this, measuring customer engagement and a look at some customer engagement examples. But we’ll begin by outlining why customer engagement is so valuable to your business.

    Why is customer engagement important?

    There was a time when the quality of the sale, service and ongoing support were virtually the only factors a business needed to focus on to retain customers, but they are no longer sufficient on their own. You now need to demonstrate how much you value your customer relationships beyond just the money they spend with you, strengthening the customer experience that you deliver by consistently engaging them with positive interactions and other activities that prove how dedicated you are to their needs.

    It’s also worth pointing out that in today’s more competitive world, it’s much harder to acquire new customers, making it more important than ever to retain and keep your existing customers happy.

    From your face-to-face, telephone and email to your website and social media communications. Customer engagement theory can help you to examine the many ways that you interact with your customers, so you can develop strategies around these interactions, which will help keep customers happier and more engaged.

    Given that more than half of all companies admit to not having a customer engagement strategy in place, by creating a customer engagement plan for your business, you can gain a significant competitive advantage.

    How to improve customer engagement

    From your initial sale and onboarding of a new customer, to your ongoing support, retention and loyalty strategies. If you’re going to develop and strengthen your relationship with a customer, it’s vital that you’re engaging with them effectively across all key points of their customer journey with you.

    There are many customer engagement examples of strategies carried out by companies across a range of different channels to strengthen their customer’s relationship and emotional connection with their brand, with online customer engagement strategies proving particularly effective. Here are a couple of examples:

    Using personalised marketing techniques with its ‘Share a Coke’ campaign targeted at millennials in 2014, Coca-Cola were able to increase their total product sales in the US by 11%. This was achieved through two campaign elements, firstly by labelling each bottle with one of the most popular first names assigned to that generation, then encouraging those excited teens to take their picture with the bottle and share it via the #ShareaCoke hashtag to amplify the campaign.

    Similarly, creating content that helps solve some of your customers’ problems can also prove highly effective.

    Having witnessed that many of their customers were going to websites like YouTube, to find instructional videos for DIY projects, home improvement company, Home Depot, decided to create their own ‘how to’ collection of videos on the site, which quickly generated 1000s of subscribers and millions of views for their brand.

    While these engagement strategies worked extremely well for these companies, what’s effective for one business may not be for another, as there are many factors including your industry type and customer base that can affect this.

    However, one of the most crucial elements of any strategy is hearing directly from your customers about what they want, so you’re more able to meet their needs. That’s why whatever customer engagement strategy you’re looking to develop, it’s prudent to run regular customer surveys alongside it, as this will help you to gain a better understanding of how your customers are feeling, so you’ll have a better idea about what areas and tactics are most likely to drive up your levels of customer engagement.

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    How to measure customer engagement

    There are potentially a wide range of tools and metrics you can draw on to measure customer engagement.

    For example, if you’ve developed a customer referral program and have been actively promoting it through a wide range of traditional and digital channels, you can examine participation and share rate metrics to identify the most loyal advocates for your band.

    Similarly, through analysis of social media interactions including likes, shares and comments you can identify your most active promoters, while web analytics packages like Google Analytics, can enable you to spot your most active site visitors by the amount of time and types of content they’ve been consuming.

    However, you’ll only be able to get the most detailed feedback through a customer engagement survey, as this will give you the means to measure customer satisfaction and interest in your brand across as many channels as you need, from your service and support teams, to your sales and e-commerce channels and much more.

    Ultimately, the more tactics and tools you’re using to analyse your customer behaviour and engagement levels, the better able you’ll be to identify those that are ready to purchase, need more help or who are thinking about leaving you. You’ll then be able to take the actions you need through your sales, service and support teams, which are in the best interests of your business.

    Customer engagement solutions

    Facilitating a high-quality customer experience across all points of your customers’ journey is vital if you’re to deliver a strong and consistent engagement strategy. And given that many companies employ a mix of tactics, you will need the means of being able to capture and analyse that data from every customer touchpoint, so you can better understand which interactions are increasing and which are hurting your engagement levels.

    From reviewing interactions on live/web chat box applications or positive feedback left by customers on user review and social media sites, to examining the analytics of web content or your volume of customer referrals. With the right customer engagement software, APIs and integrations in place, you’ll be in a much better position to assess overall engagement levels throughout your business and take the necessary actions you need to maintain a consistent and high-quality customer experience. You can find out more about these solutions by visiting our customer engagement surveys page.

    How effective customer engagement can improve your long-term prospects

    If you’ve read this far it should be obvious to you by now how valuable happy and engaged customers are for you in terms of generating extra sales and promoting your business.

    But’s it’s not just short-term gains we’re talking about here. In fact, when you consider that happy customers are 87% more likely to purchase upgrades and new services from you than unhappy ones, there is also a strong evidence to support that an effective customer engagement program can improve your longer-term customer retention rates. So, if you’ve not already got an active customer engagement program in place, then there’s never been a better time to get started.

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    About Author

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    Phil Cleave

    Phil is part of the Content team at SmartSurvey and has over 20 years experience in the PR and Comms sector writing for Tech Companies.

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