Gray just got a cookie from his favorite store and as he paid at the counter, he noticed that the packaging had changed, and he wasn’t sure it was the same old one.
Who would he talk to?
The counter was buzzing with people paying and receiving their goods, there was no staff to ask or speak to about his concerns. He walked out shrugging. He probably would never return.
A lot of times, customers leave your brand without having to express their feelings, give reviews, or talk about how you can serve them better.
But this shouldn’t be so. Customer interaction bridges that gap. It is important for both physical stores and digital businesses.
Contrary to popular opinion, customer interaction isn’t just for present customers. Current customers and former customers are also included.
Customer engagement is done with the purpose of fostering a healthy relationship between a brand and its customers. It can happen through various media, from print to digital and even physical formats.
But before you take giant strides in this direction, you need to know what customer interaction is and how it can help your business. Let’s get right into it.
What is Customer Interaction?
Customer interaction refers to the processes that enable brands to listen to customers, speak to them, and translate these conversations into better purchasing experiences and increase brand loyalty.
Up to 86% of consumers say that they’ll pay more for better customer service. That just goes to say that consumers value interaction a lot more than some brands know.
Customer interaction and customer engagement are two sides of a coin. Customer interaction sponsors customer engagement.
Creating a customer engagement strategy involves leveraging the interaction initiatives to build a relationship with customers at every point of the buyer journey. Before, during, and after their purchase. The process involves an omnichannel approach to communication, relationship building, and two-way customer interaction.
The results of a successful strategy are measurable customer engagement, improved feedback, and customer data.
But why is this important? What significant benefits can that have on your company?
Importance of Customer Engagement
There are lots of benefits for customer engagement, these benefits are more than just incentives to get the ball rolling. They are also metrics you could focus on improving as you build your customer engagement strategy.
- It boosts conversion: Many customers buy from you when you interact with them and see them as people rather than numbers.
- It improves the customer experience: Positive customer experience is the drive for customer satisfaction.
- It increases referrals: When people are happy about your service, they can’t help but tell everyone they know.
- It increases customer loyalty: It makes customers ambassadors of your brand.
- It increases brand awareness: Imagine what happens when lots of customers talk about your brand.
Exciting benefits, right? Now let’s see some strategies that can help you achieve these.
10 Strategies for Enhanced Customer Engagement
While these strategies are tested and sure, you have to choose which is the best for your business considering your current budget, work ethic, and the experience of your staff.
You can combine strategies, tweak them to suit already existing processes in your team, and implement them to see it work.
You also have to decide what works best for your specific customer base.
1. Tailored Lead Generation
The best way to engage potential customers is by using tailored lead generation strategies. Many customers want to buy from or engage with brands that see them truly and appeal to their individual needs.
Lead classification solves the problem of tailoring your interaction. You can classify the customers you intend to have, currently have, or those who have already bought from you. After classifying them, the next step would be to offer them services that are peculiar to their interests.
Tailoring your lead generation process would also ensure that you get only customers who would naturally engage with your products and interact with you because that’s what they’re interested in.
2. Prioritize Customer Support
Nothing sucks as much as wanting to talk to a staff member about a bad experience or difficulty in navigating a product and having no one to talk to. Customer support can never be looked down on. There are many ways to provide 24/7 customer support for your customers.
They need to be involved in all the processes, so you should start by giving them a product tour guide and then go ahead to guide them through the process, answer questions, assist with needs, and help them understand the product.
Many customers are even willing to pay for round-the-clock customer service. Giving them that on a platter would definitely set your brand apart.
3. Personalize Customer Experiences
It’s the age of customization, and more than just including names and leaving notes, personalization means listening to customer’s personal needs and using that information to curate experiences that suit them to the latter.
This will involve noting their purchasing history, and site preferences and using that information to decide how to serve them in a more suitable way. You can also ask for their opinions on how personalized they want their services to be.
4. Create Engaging Content
This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s been proven that the best way to engage with customers is by putting up content that customers love.
Create content that your audience actually cares about and not content you think they love. The best way to find out what content they love is by asking them.
Most of these people love content that appeals to their needs and suits their interests. Ask questions, and post trivia, memes, and videos they can relate to. Use social media to garner their already existing content interests and use that to guide your content creation.
5. Encourage User-generated Content
User-generated content is any kind of content posted by users of your product or service about your brand without you sponsoring it. User generated content ranges from reviews to customer feedback, videos, vlogs, and everything else.
User generated content is very essential for customer engagement. One way to encourage UGC is through UGC contests. Brands like Coke’s ‘Share a Coke’ campaign and Starbucks’s ‘Red Cup’ contest are great ways to encourage your customers to create UGC contests. You can also provide an incentive to inspire them to participate in the UGC contest.
You can also reward customers who leave honest reviews, and that brings us to the next strategy.
6. Respond to All Feedback
Feedback left by customers whether positive or negative is very important in building customer interaction. Responding to feedback is a skill and all customer support officials must learn this skill to ensure better customer relationships.
After customers leave feedback, the first step is to acknowledge and thank them for the feedback. The next is to address the feedback especially if it’s negative. Take full responsibility for the issue, address it in the most appropriate manner, and promise to do better.
Lastly, and this is something lots of brands forget to do, you should suggest an appropriate solution or compensation to salvage the situation.
If a customer got a bad product, offer to send a new one, replace or refund them. You can offer a different package if it’s a service or invite them to try out other features for better results.
7. Build a Community
Lots of brands forget that a community speaks for itself and thrives on its own when done properly.
Creating a community that works will involve ensuring that customers speak and help themselves.
You can create a group where customers can be directed to. There, a good community manager should work to ensure that customers interact with each other, and share experiences, ideas, and complaints.
This in turn makes these customers ambassadors for your brand as they now take on the role of answering questions, meeting others’ needs, and connecting with like-minded people.
8. Analyze Data Efficiently
Tracking your engagement metrics is the sure way to improve on what works and stop what doesn’t work.
Engagement metrics are different depending on your business. It may be the number of comments, saves, and shares on your social media posts. It may also be website visits or specific website page visits. Focus on what you need to improve and invest more resources into engaging customers in that direction.
9. Train Employees
Employees are the lifeline of your business and customer interaction and engagement begins with them.
Employees should work together with the administration to speak to customers in a cordial manner and nurture relationships with them.
They can do this by making sure that each customer is satisfied at the end of their purchase. They can ask for feedback, recommend better products or services, and listen to them rather than just speaking.
10. Use Artificial Intelligence and Gamification Tools
Artificial intelligence has come to stay and with lots of AI tools and software, there are many ways to make customer experience more interesting.
Customers can win challenges, score points, and find the process fun and entertaining.
You can also use AI to add features like live chats, chatbots, and product tour guides, especially for SaaS brands.
We’ve looked through ten strategies. Now, let’s wrap this up.
Build a Healthy Relationship with Your Customers
Finally, remember that customer engagement starts with a proper understanding of your customer. Their needs, preferences, and expectations are paramount to developing a strategy that suits them as well as is feasible for your brand.
Remember to adopt a sustainable strategy that will work even in the long run. You don’t want to get started and stop halfway leaving your customers behind.
You’re building a two-way relationship, and it starts with you reaching out to them and making sure they reciprocate that gesture. Start creating your strategy today.