Increasing Customer Engagement During Covid-19 Times
You are probably familiar with the old saying, “the customer is always right.” Well, it’s commonly known for a reason- because it is true. Customers are the lifeblood of any good business. It is one thing to get a customer, but it is an entirely different thing to impress that customer, continuously engage with that customer, and essentially make them a lifelong customer.
That is why now, more than ever, customer engagement is the key to a successful, long-lasting business. But what exactly is customer engagement? Why is customer engagement important? And how should your business aim to increase customer engagement, especially in troubling business times like the current COVID-19 pandemic? These are all important questions that will be answered today!
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is a complex concept, but can be boiled down to one idea. At its core, customer engagement is the interactions had between the customer and a brand throughout the lifecycle of the relationship between the two. Beyond that, there are different factors, levels, and types of customer engagement that are all important to understand. Here are some important factors to consider when answering the question, “what is customer engagement.”
Different Levels of Engagement
It is important to understand that there are different levels of engagement when it comes to customer engagement. When a customer walks into your business and makes a purchase, that is a form of customer engagement. On the other hand, when a customer is a life-long, repeat customer that actively promotes your brand, that is an entirely different level of customer engagement. Both of these interactions are important for your business, but it is even more important to understand why and how these interactions differ, and how you can work to increase the level of engagement.
Quality & Quantity Matter
When dealing with customer engagement, quantity and quality matter. It is important to understand and appreciate every interaction that a customer may have with your business- quantity. It is equally important to understand the level at which they are interacting with your business- quality. At the end of the day, the goal should be to increase both quality and quantity, but it is important to remember that both matter for your brand.
Connection over Conversion
Customer engagement, in its simplest form, is building connections with customers so that they are more likely to do continued business with you time and time again. It’s no longer about creating transactional relationships with customers that end after a purchase is made. Now, it is so much more important to build long-lasting connections rather than a one-time conversion.
The New Customer Engagement
The last thing to note when seeking to understand customer engagement is that it has evolved significantly over the past few decades, years, and even months. While customer engagement used to be all about having good customer service channels or personable salespeople, that is no longer the case. Customer engagement has evolved into so much more and is now about ongoing listening, interaction management, and relationship fostering between customers and your business.
Importance of Increasing Customer Engagement
There is truly an endless number of benefits that come with increasing and strengthening your customer engagement. Here are just a few of the reasons why your business should strongly consider pursuing this ongoing initiative.
- Increasing customer engagement strengthens the emotional connection between your brand and your customers.
- Increasing customer engagement helps you to retain customers which allows you to grow better in the long-term.
- Studies show that improved customer engagement increases sales, revenue, and order sizes.
- Increasing customer engagement increases loyalty- which is one of the most important connections a brand can make with customers.
- Strengthening customer engagement increases up-sell opportunities and ultimately ups the life-time value of a customer.
- Very notably, increasing customer engagement can create brand activists, customers who don’t just make purchases, but also actively advertise and verbalize support for your brand.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of increased customer engagement, but it should hopefully put into perspective how monumentally impactful it can be on your business. Now that you understand the weight and power of this concept, it is time to understand how to increase customer engagement.
How to Increase Customer Engagement
One of the great things about increasing customer engagement is that there are a number of different ways to do it. It is all about finding which methods work best for your business and your customers. Here are some common, effective methods used for increasing customer engagement.
Humanize Your Brand
The first step in any good strategy to increase your customer engagement is to humanize the brand. Customer engagement is all about building connection, and it is a lot more likely that customers will build a connection with a personal, intentional brand than what they perceive to be just another untouchable corporate group. Use your brand voice and brand story to show that your business is made of real people trying to make a real difference, just like your customers.
Implement Loyalty Programs
Everyone wants to feel like they are a part of something special. Loyalty programs are a great way to offer that to your customers while driving continued interaction with them. Your customers will win by getting special deals, being in the know, or feeling more connected to your brand, and you will win because you have a simple and effective means of repeatedly checking in with them and reminding them of your brand.
Celebrate & Award Purchases
Rewarding engagement is a great way of encouraging engagement to happen again! If your customers feel that their purchases are valued and celebrated, they are more likely to remember that and feel inclined to do it again. It is the perfect personal touch to say thanks to your customers for supporting your brand time and time again.
Encourage Social Connection
Increasing customer engagement doesn’t equate to increasing customer purchases, in fact, it is so much more than that! Encouraging your customers to engage with your company’s social presence can be just as impactful as a purchase can be. Bettering the social connection between your business and your customers is an easy and effective way to better your connection in general- which is what customer engagement is all about!
Consider Referral Incentives
Another commonly used method for increasing customer engagement is to implement referral incentives. This is a practice that is more frequently used in businesses today than it ever has been. Driving business doesn’t have to be between you and your customers exclusively. It can also be customer to customer! Empower your customers to share your brand- this will increase customer engagement with both current, and new customers!
Increasing Customer Engagement in Today’s Business Environment
The methods above are effective, commonly used practices for a reason. It is no secret, however, that the recent pandemic has greatly impacted the way that we can do business and how we communicate with our customers. Here are six additional unique ways to increase customer engagement that are more applicable and possible in today’s business landscape.
1. Create Strong Content
People are at home and online more than ever before- so give them something to engage with and enjoy! Creating strong, interesting content is a great way to connect with your audience at any time, in any place. It could be informational, a business update, or something just for fun. If done right, good content will keep your customers coming back for more.
2. Be Creative with Social
The world is a serious place lately, and there are some serious hardships being faced. Take time to address these struggles, but also find ways to make your customers smile! Being creative with social media is a great way to do this. Creating humorous or engaging posts can bring joy to your customers- something everyone could use right now!
3. Make Engagements Easy & Safe
Whether it is in-person or online, customer engagement safety should be a priority right now. You want your customers to feel comfortable and at ease when they engage with your business, so make sure that however they choose to interact with you, it is done safely.
4. Customize Communication
In today’s world, personalization is key. Customers don’t want to feel like just another number with constant email blasts and impersonal outreach tactics. Try connecting with your customers on a deeper level by creating customized forms of communication to show them you care. Whether it is a personalized happy birthday message, or suggested offerings you know they will love- your customers will appreciate the extra effort and attention.
5. Promote Social Causes
Promoting social causes is an effective and important way to reach and connect with customers today. This all boils down to creating an authentic relationship with your customers and humanizing your brand. Your company should promote the causes that matter to it. You will likely find that your customers care too!
Last, but certainly not least, one of the most important (but underutilized) methods of increasing customer engagement is to simply listen. Listening to your customer’s wants, needs, questions, and concerns will teach you more about your business than nearly anything else. So next time you are looking to increase and strengthen your customer engagement- try going directly to the source, your customers, to make a real impact on your business.
1Q is the new face of customer engagement. Now, you can interact with and reach your customers like never before. There are so many different ways to increase customer engagement, but with 1Q, you can easily and efficiently do them all. Learn how 1Q can have an instant impact on your business’s customer engagement today!