While building your brand and growing your business is your goal as a business owner, it is imperative that you engage your customer — both before and after they purchase your product or service. The biggest rule in customer engagement is that you sell solutions, not products or services.
Customer engagement is the emotional connection nurtured between you and your customer. When this connection is high, solid, and strong, your customers will buy more, promote your business more, and be more loyal to your business.
When reviewing your business’s customer engagement strategies, some of the questions you can ask yourself are:
- Am I solving my customers’ problems?
- Are my customers happy with my product/service?
- Would my customers recommend my business to others?
- Are my customers coming back for more solutions or do I lose them after their first purchase?
The rise of the internet, especially social media, has greatly modified customer behavior. Today, a customer can do or get just about anything on social media. Social media has not only become an essential marketing tool, it has also become a medium for initiating and completing a purchase. A potential customer can learn about your product or service and get feedback from those who already sampled it before they contact you directly.
How to improve customer engagement
Customers today expect their relationship with brands to go beyond the value of the products they buy. Your relationship with your customer begins when you are working to attract their patronage, all the way through their buying cycle, and continues after they have purchased your product — as explained in our tip It’s not just one sale!.
It’s essential that you know your customers inside and out and to engage with them, i.e., build a relationship with them. Research has found that, in some cases, customers would rather buy an inferior (though good) product/service that comes with a superior relationship than a better product/service that does not.
So how do you improve customer engagement for your business? Here are some key tips:
Find out where your customers hang out online
Customer engagement begins with finding out as much as possible about your customer and understanding their unique character, needs, and desires. As a business selling solutions, knowing your customers’ pain points intimately is the best bet at coming up with an effective solution.
For you to engage your customers effectively, you need to figure out where they spend most of their time, whether it is on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn. Once you are clear on where your customers hang out the most you can capitalize on that by communicating to them on their preferred social media channels.
Build a community
According to Mohan Sawhney, A key part of engagement marketing is giving customers an opportunity for dialogue – not only with your brand, but with each other. Once you know where your audience hangs, you can get the conversation going by asking thought-provoking questions and providing helpful answers when they ask. What this does is build a continuous conversation with your customers and, in turn, builds a great foundation on which you can leverage your product or service to them when the time comes and enhance their customer experience in the long run.
Apart from getting information about your products and services, your customers love content that inspires them. Let your customers understand that you also care about other causes with social impact such as climate change, environmental degradation, health, and wellness, etc. This creates a sense of familiarity and belonging with your customers, making them feel like you are a household name and one of them. People like to know that there is a human face behind all the marketing and advertising, a face they can recognize and trust.
Provide entertainment value
In a world where everything seems so serious, it is refreshing to get something that lightens up the mood and makes us smile, even just for a short while. Picture a long day at work punctuated by a short break where you can relax and take your mind off work for a few minutes. Sometimes that break is exactly what your audience needs. In addition to being informed or inspired, customers like to be entertained by the brand they engage with. Include some fun information or activities for customers within your marketing plan to help get the message home in a way your customers enjoy.
Keep the conversation going
It is not enough to find out where your customers hang out online and start a conversation with them; you’ve got to keep the fire burning! It is important to create more avenues and topics of discussion for your customers. You want to repeatedly “touch” them. It also means you remain responsive to your customers’ concerns by working quickly to dispel any concerns they may have.
Sustaining the relationship between your brand and your customers builds an emotional connection with them; making them feel like they have a genuine relationship with your business.
Maintain great customer experience
Everybody loves to feel appreciated. Have you shown your customers lately how much you value their patronage? The best way to validate your customers is to maintain excellent service when they buy from you and make each of them feel like they are your only customer. There are many avenues of ensuring this, including:
- Fast processing of orders
- Offering free services, e.g. transport or installation
- Offering after-sale services
- Making customer support simple, easy, and painless
- Quick response to queries, complaints, or recommendations
It is important to couple customer engagement with a great customer experience. Going out of your way to make a customer happy, even if it doesn’t make money at the moment, can reap significant rewards for you in the long run. Your customers will definitely feel special, a fact that builds a reputation for honesty and integrity for your business.
Your Online Partner… for Success
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