In a previous post, we noted that a 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%. Sounds like a great way to generate sales without increasing costs! Instead of thinking of your customers as short-term acquaintances, take a more strategic approach and consider them long-term colleagues with the potential to become lifelong friends. After all, it is more cost-effective to keep existing customers than to acquire new ones. Incorporating customer engagement into your existing strategy will not only increase your rate of retention, but will also increase customer loyalty and advocacy through word-of-mouth. Here are some of the best ways to incorporate customer engagement into your strategy.
Use Your Employees
With the right training, your employees can be your biggest brand ambassadors, and are one of the best ways to encourage customer engagement. With their extensive brand and product knowledge, they are your strongest tool to help cross-sell, up-sell, grow relationships and foster customer loyalty. Just remember a happy & engaged employee is going to be far more effective than a disengaged or disgruntled employee. Consequently, your customer’s experience will be much better with an employee who is excited and passionate about your brand, leading to improved customer engagement and loyalty. Give your sales staff the right incentive and reward your employees for their efforts. It will pay off in the end.
It’s no secret. The internet is taking over the world. And supporting your strongest brand ambassadors with digital components is becoming a necessity. Online customer engagement offers a different platform for the customer to interact with the company and brand, and even converse with other customers. Implement forums or blogs to give your customers a way to communicate and socialise in the digital space. Increase brand awareness with display ads, contribute to product development with user generated product reviews, and improve customer service with FAQs; all perfectly digital ways to engage your customers and help your business. Listening to your customers’ feedback can even be a key component in gaining a competitive advantage in your industry.
Customer engagement is not a one way street. Providing your customers with the platform to engage and communicate with your business is the first step, but it isn’t enough. You need to respond to their reviews or questions, while also adding that “personal touch” that makes them feel heard and appreciated. It may seem obvious, but if you’re going to give customers the option to interact digitally (and you should), then your digital presence should appear responsive. If a customer writes a review or comments on your Facebook page, write a short response thanking them for their feedback. If a customer asks a question, answer it. These are also great ways to engage in conversation with potential and existing clients, while building brand awareness and recognition.
Use Your Data
If your customer database is well-structured and robust, there could be hundreds of metrics at your disposal that can be used in targeted campaigns to encourage customer engagement. Do your customers like to buy shoes? Let them know when your next shoe sale is on. Do some of your customers only shop once a year? Encourage that next visit with a targeted direct mail piece or email including their own exclusive offer. Pay attention to trends in frequency and spend. You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about your customers, and how those leanings can be used to influence their behaviour. In the over-cluttered mailboxes and inboxes of today’s consumers, seeing a product, service, or offer that is relevant to them will give them that extra push to engage in your communications instead of binning them. If data’s not your strong point, no need to fear, there are customer engagement companies dedicated to housing, analyzing and segmenting your data to develop customer journeys and provide recommendations for targeted communications. Learn More >
Give them a Reason to Engage
Exclusive promotions, offers, competitions, and prizes are powerful ways to influence behaviour and increase both new and existing customer engagement. Is there an “elite” group of customers that you want to thank? Send them a special gift to show you care. Looking to increase the value of your more frugal customers? Start a competition with a juicy prize and give them the incentive to purchase. There are plenty of reasons you can give customers to engage with your brand. If you’re still looking for that perfect promotional tool, check out our post on using eftpos gifts cards in your next promotion.