Strategies for engaging customers
Customer engagement methods are diverse and far-ranging, but many experts suggest companies begin with «active listening» — this means scanning for feedback left on websites, sent via email, phoned or mailed in, and posted to social media channels. Answers to questions are expected, with a 2012 study by Gartner finding a 15% increase in customer churn rates due to failure to respond via social media.
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Experts also advise companies view social media as not just a broadcast platform. Improve online customer engagement with regularly posted content and contests launched through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other sites. Responsive brands that exhibit «fun» and «sassy» personalities catch customers’ attention and can result in valuable retweets and likes, as fast food chain Wendy’s experienced when a customer launched a campaign in 2017 to earn free nuggets for a year and set a world record for the most retweeted tweet.
Personalization is key in meeting customer expectations.
Customers can also be engaged via messages sent to smartphones or wearable devices. Internet of things sensor technology can capture customers’ attention by helping them to proactively schedule maintenance on a product, buy new products or demonstrate loyalty through connected devices. Customer service agents can also use mobile data to approach customers and engage them by highlighting products they may be interested in.
Another customer engagement method is to improve customer support and activity by creating new ways to interact with consumers. Slackchannels, customer support help desks and forums, and mobile apps can not only be new avenues for feedback, but also foster communities of users.
Measuring customer engagement
While there is debate about how to truly determine engagement, companies can determine the return on investment (ROI) of their customer engagement efforts by taking related metrics into account. Examples include:
- Website traffic
- Interaction with certain links on websites
- Likes and shares of content on social media
- Text analytics of customer sentiment
- Response times
- Time to resolution
- Click-through rates in email campaigns
- Facebook and Twitter analytics
- Audience growth
Companies can derive data about their customers and products from observing customer engagement patterns. A/B testing of certain website presentations or marketing campaigns may be conducted to determine which methods are more effective in closing a purchase. Testing and data analytics enable companies to better determine which of their efforts they can correlate with higher sales, greater membership or other measures of customer success.
Customer engagement trends
With new form factors such as iBeacon technology and wearables, the digital experience of customer engagement is now combining with physical experiences. So, for example, a company may use beacons to identify that a customer is in a store and send that customer messages about items in an abandoned shopping cart online or discounts based on his presence in-store.
Customer engagement is also moving beyond the realm of retail or traditional product sales. Industries like healthcare are using technologies such as customer portals to engage patients in their health regimen and communication with doctors; and new healthcare platforms are emerging with the express purpose of facilitating this communication and patient engagement. Wearables have also been identified as a key tool in patient engagement, enabling patients to measure various health indicators and track their health regimens.