The rules of customer engagement changed in 2020. As digital engagement grows, customers expect companies to digitize their operations for multichannel, high-touch interactions. It doesn’t just mean sending a few more emails or follow-up surveys. It means considering how and where your customers are looking for more significant support, meaning, or interest from you.
So, no matter what the new rules are, here are some evergreen customer engagement strategies for creating a great customer experience and building a loyal following.
Create great customer experience
Research shows 73 percent of consumers say the experience they have with a brand is key to maintaining their loyalty to it, and 84 percent of companies that work on improving customer experiences see revenue growth.
The first step to creating a great customer experience is identifying your target audience. It has never been more important for businesses to understand their ideal target audience. With customer sentiments drastically changing and business landscapes transforming accordingly, it’s important for businesses to systematically update their customer profiles to adapt to the next normal.
Once you have identified your ideal customer profile, it becomes easier to create great experiences specifically tailored for them. Customer service becomes key at this stage. So whatever business you are in, focus on providing a great customer experience throughout the process. It’s not only easier to engage with a happy customer, but a happy customer can also be your biggest advocate in the market, leading to new customers.
Make your messaging relevant
For creating relevant content, the first thing we need to know is the psychology of the target audience – if they are a prospect or an existing customer. The two require different treatment, and hence different stories. And that means it affects the messages, the content, and the cadences we will put in place to break through and create engagement.
A lot of times it may happen that a particular piece of content, say an ebook or a webinar catches the attention of a prospect, and the next moment they are being badgered with calls or emails about a product demo. That kind of approach is simply a conversation killer. Be it the visual story, presentation, conversation, prompters or talk tracks, all of that must be consistent and aligned throughout all the touch points.
Be persistent enough
Persistence is an important part of the customer engagement process, and an automatic follow through step for compelling content. There needs to be a significant increase in the amount of persistence to get engagement.
Most salespeople usually stop reaching out after two to three touches, while the practice shows it takes minimum six to eight marketing touches to generate a viable sales lead. At the early stages of the buyer’s journey, a customer is often merely gathering information about a product or service, and in most cases these interactions or touch points aren’t in-depth enough to convince the customer enough to qualify them as a lead.
At this stage, a salesperson needs answers to questions like:
- What is a prospective customer looking for?
- How soon do they plan to make a decision to buy?
- What is their budget?
- Is the person they are talking to is the right decision-making authority?
This is not the kind of information that can be obtained over a web form, or even a single direct interaction. It takes multiple touch points with the prospect, starting with generating interest, to establishing trust, to setting the stage for the sales pitch. It’s possible to move a prospect into the qualified sales funnel only after getting responses to these questions.
Focus on retention
Acquiring a new customer is five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one. The chances of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent, while only 5 to 20 percent with a new prospect. Once you factor in the time and effort needed to prospect and close a deal with a new customer, it’s obvious why customer retention is important.
Retention involves continuous customer engagement. The primary focus with an existing customer should always be to deliver their ask first. This involves taking continuous feedback to ensure they are satisfied. The constant feedback loop also gives us insights into the existing customers’ other requirements. Once we get to know a client well, over time we begin to understand a lot of things about them.
It’s important to innovate with existing customers and adjust according to changing market conditions to offer them value.
Sharpen your social media messaging
Social Media is the number one channel used in marketing in 2021, and could be a great customer engagement tool. The primary tactic for social media marketing is social listening. By establishing a direct relationship with the social media audience, businesses can learn exactly how to support, engage with, and convert them into loyal brand advocates.
With over 70 percent of the eligible global population on social media, there is a huge opportunity for businesses to reach, engage with and convert your target audience.
Social media doesn’t only mean a post on Facebook or Twitter. The messaging platforms can be an excellent platform for conversation with a client or a prospect. The preference for platforms varies – while millennials prefer Instagram, a lot of very small businesses are on Facebook, while most professionals welcome conversations on LinkedIn. The preference also varies from country to country, so it’s important to dig deeper into the data to understand what’s happening at a local level.