Customer engagement is rather like audience participation, in so much that they both encourage people to “get involved”.
The open gateway to achieving the highest levels of customer engagement is through a focus on customer service and attention to the details. You can bet your pension that the levels of customer engagement that your business is aspiring to won’t occur without input.
Gone are the days when customers were happy to be held at arm’s length from the business while they eagerly snapped up whatever companies and brands dealt out to them. It could even be argued that the massive explosion in online business and the internet have actually become victims of their own success.
In the business environment that has been created out of this huge technological leap, customers have been encouraged to expect so much more from brands and businesses. It is no longer just about sales and everything is now expected to happen instantly including answers to questions, issue resolution, and customer engagement.
So what exactly is customer engagement?
In many ways, customer engagement is rather like audience participation, in so much that they both encourage people to “get involved” in or with the ethos of the business or brand in question. The principle actually works at a completely different level to conventional marketing methods because its primary focus is shifted from extracting business revenue to a fuller and more method of improving customer experience.
One of the really exciting things about this new way of doing business is that it forms more real business relationships between the prospective buyer and the business. Customer engagement further aims to foster loyalty and brand appreciation through a range of engagement strategies such as:
- Prioritising a positive customer experience
- Creating a human feel for the brand or activities of the business
- Creating a presence on and making the best use of social media
- Remaining aware of current trends and being sensitive to client perceptions
- Making communications to the customer personal
- Providing information or products that really solve the customer's problem (pain points)
- Welcoming, really listening too, and acting on what the customer has to say to you.
Why customer engagement is so important to your business
One of the many snippets of information that many successful businesses may share when prompted to do so is that it is both easier and vastly more cost effective to sell to an existing customer than it is to gain a new one.
Common sense dictates, therefore, that your customers really are one of your business’s most valuable assets. After all; no customers equals no sales and ultimately no business either. The great news is that when customer engagement is done right, your business will be turning both your existing and new clients into the type of buyers who are more likely to be loyal and stick around a lot longer too.
Who benefits from customer engagement?
At Clickthrough, we know that a great business deal is one that benefits all the parties involved. Your customers will buy from you and remain loyal to your business or brand while they perceive that they are benefiting from doing so. Customer engagement builds that perception and if done correctly it will also sustain it and form long-term buying/business relationships.
It goes almost without mention, of course, that you are in business to make a profit and that is the ultimate aim of any customer engagement strategy that you instigate. Once again, when done right, there are several benefits to your business including:
- Enhanced customer retention and loyalty to the business and/or brand
- Improved efficiency of your business time and effort releasing valuable resources
- Increased referrals to friends, family, work colleagues, and social media networks (free advertising)
- The creation of a vibe and passion for your products or services and brand through a shared passion with those you are engaging with.
So how do you get your business there?
The open gateway to achieving the highest levels of customer engagement is through a focus on customer service and attention to the details. You can bet your pension that the levels of customer engagement that your business is aspiring to won’t occur without input. It has a great deal to do with getting alongside your existing customers and listening to what they have to say about how they relate to your business.
You can be confident of one thing, however, if you don’t start engaging with your customers very soon, your competitors more than likely will.
Fred Wilson is an SEO expert at Clickthrough Search & Social in New Zealand and specializes in helping companies reach their online potential. He has a keen interest in digital marketing and exploring the latest trends that will help businesses of any size achieve their goals.