5 Unfailing Customer Engagement Strategies to Grow Your Brand for 2019
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As per a recent revelation from Gartner, existing customers of organizations will account for close to 85% of their future revenues. At a surficial level, this information doesn’t seem to be earth-shattering.
But a deeper analysis would illuminate a point that is best deciphered by reading between the lines, particularly during times when people have developed the happy knack of sniffing inauthenticity from a distance.
With advertising and content marketing models struggling to cope with the vicissitudes of digital explosion, most customers have now become unsparingly intolerant of mediocrity – and rightly so.
Equality, they’re unwilling to settle for anything less than nuisance-free experience.
Inexorably, marketers are faced with a gargantuan challenge of finding customers that are a perfect match to their offerings and signify recurring revenue opportunities.
Beyond that they’re confronted with the following facts.
• Customer engagement strategies will continue to evolve. What will not change is the need to engage them in meaningful, relevant and actionable ways
• The more you manage to engage your audience with your brand, the more they’re likely to keep coming back to you – thus playing a pivotal role in your brand’s growth.
• There is a fine line between engagement and interruption which must be understood and respected at all times
Redefine Customer Experience
As per a survey by the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, 80% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if they’re guaranteed a better customer experience.
Not surprisingly, a lot is said and prevaricated about customer experience – what it is, what it isn’t and what it entails.
In marketing parlance, customer experience is basically the sum total of all interactions made between customers and the company.
It is NOT a one-time event; it’s an end-to-end journey punctuated by the following touch points.
• Discovering that your organization exists
• Getting in touch with you
• Making the transition from an audience to a paying customer
• Promoting your brand.
Against this backdrop, it is paramount that your organization is embedded in a culture of customer delight whenever they come face-to-face with you.
For example, one reason why international shoe retailer Zappos is so successful is due to their no-compromise attitude when engaging with their audience – which is why they don’t enforce or encourage call tracking.
In fact, customer support staff is specifically instructed to channel all their efforts in keeping customers happy, rather than getting the call right.
The bottom-line: rewire your business strategy to make customer satisfaction a non-negotiable priority, no matter what. When in doubt, ask yourself these questions.
• Is your audience able to find you when it needs you the most?
• When is it that they need you?
• Do your customers find it a hassle to ‘get the point across?’
• What can you do to make yourself more approachable?
• How proactive are you in offering relevant offers – such as a weekend bonanza or a Twitter contest?
Bring out your personality
When you sprinkle your own personality into your brand, you stand a much better chance of coming across as interesting and salubrious.
By making your audience feel that they’re speaking with a real human – and not a brand that is busy mouthing platitudes - they’re more likely to sit up and take notice, on an emotional level.
Intersperse your unique brand voice into your micro-content as even the smallest of details can make a massive difference to the end game of winning hearts.
Since the choice of vocabulary also makes a difference, you’d ideally want to use words that resonate with your audience.
Precisely for this reason, certain brands don’t think twice about using conversational, even provocative language because that’s a key component of their brand personality.
Their customers actually look forward to hearing more from them because that’s exactly the kind of language they’re use and are comfortable in.
According to Monetate, 83% of retailers who allocate a well-planned budget for personalization successfully surpass their revenue goals.
The reason is simple: when your communication gets personalized, your conversations begin to seem more credible and less forced.
Suddenly, you’re talking to a bunch of receptive people who are not all that worried about being viewed as money-making target. Instead, they see you as someone who’s genuinely interested in their lives.
This breakthrough approach has proven to be an incredibly profitable strategy time and again by branding giants such as subscription player Stitchfix, which has popularized personalized communication by merely offering quizzes to its members.
Based on the responses, it then dispatches tailored style recommendations for every single member.
Other effective ways of personalized communication includes
• Giving purchase recommendations based on their interest and past buying patterns
• Sending customized marketing messages at different stages of the purchase journey
• Automating emails upon the completion of milestones such as anniversaries, birthdays, etc.
A caveat: Make sure you stay on top of what you’ve previously told your customers, so that they don’t find your latest communication out of sync with what they’ve heard before. Any lapse could have you perceived as a brand that’s myopic with its promotions and deals -with little consideration for its audience.
The importance of adopting a direct approach when talking to your audience cannot be overstated. Ever.
The beauty of direct communication is that it makes you listen to things that you don’t necessarily want to hear, but definitely need to.
By enabling your customers to directly communicate with you without any unwanted interruption, you’ll be better equipped to understand their unspoken needs (that are often lost in translation) and gain first-hand insights about addressing them.
While this does give you a great chance of catapulting your engagement rate, the onus is on you to create opportunities to connect your audience with your brand whenever they feel the need to. Some practical ways of doing that include:
• Adding live chat feature on your website to readily answer queries and/or troubleshoot customer service problems
• Directly responding to direct messages and comments on social media.
• Hosting live video sessions involving Q&As and quick tips to your audience
• Inviting influencers and thought leaders into live sessions
The theory of reciprocity rarely fails. After all, it is centered on the timeless principle of give and take. When you provide people with something they’re interested in or like, they will generally be happy to do something for you as well.
Quite remarkably, Overstock has built a robust Rewards-for-Reviews system that rewards its customers for posting reviews on their recently bought items – a strategy that is already driving significant commercial impact.
Extending this concept to marketing, rewarding customers upon the completion of a certain action point with discounts, special deals, coupons etc. can drastically increase your engagement efforts.
This is because they will want to engage with you when they know they’re likely to get something in return. Moreover, by offering rewards and incentives, you are basically encouraging people to make repeat purchases involving your company.
As they keep coming back to you for redeeming their rewards, you can reinforce the positive connection they’ve established with your brand and take it from there.
History has proven that humanizing customer engagement is one of the surest ways of making your efforts count –digital advancements notwithstanding. Engaging people has always been and shall always remain a human pursuit, regardless of the end goal. Taking ‘human’ out of this equation could not only be unproductive, but also counterproductive to a process that is designed to harness the incredible power of emotions. That is something we can all agree upon.