Personalization and two-way communication are key to engage and build loyalty among your customer base.
Have you ever said a word or phrase so many times that it starts to lose its meaning? For many businesses, that’s what’s happening with the term “customer engagement.” We all know this is an important part of the business world, but when it’s used so frequently, it becomes blurry and almost meaningless.
That’s why Karen Eisen, senior vice president of customer success at Alida, and Chelsea Legendre, customer marketing manager at Rybbon, teamed up to share valuable insights in our webinar on customer engagement. Together, Karen and Chelsea help put the focus back on what this term really means and how you can make the most of it.
Let’s dive in!
Why customer engagement is more important than ever
“There’s no denying that the last decade has seen a really big shift in how customers think and act,” says Karen. She’s right: modern customers don’t just want to buy from brands that can deliver instant gratification—they demand it. Services like Netflix and Amazon have broken out of their respective industries to become competitors across the board, introducing the new options and opportunities that customers have come to expect from every buying experience.
Worse yet, if those expectations aren’t met, consumers have no problem walking away. In fact, in a recent study, researchers found that about one-third of customers will leave a brand after one bad experience.
So how can you keep up when competition comes from every direction?
According to Karen Eisen, it’s simple: “Loyalty is fleeting. The key to building that loyalty is engagement.”
Here’s a tip
The good news is that customer engagement can be improved. Just try these six ideas proposed by Karen Eisen and Chelsea Legendre:
1. Start with personalization
We’ve all been customers at one point or another, so we remember how it feels to be treated like a tiny fish in a big pond. As Chelsea puts it, “people want you to know who they are.”
The easiest way to start is by creating customer personas.
A persona is an example representing certain members of your audience. You might have one persona for new customers and a different one for long-standing clients. To build these representations, Karen recommends looking at all your data sources and integrating social channels, customer feedback, app or website usage habits to create a 360-degree view of your audience.
2. Utilize key motivators
There are four key motivators for customers:
- Status: Customers want to feel special. For example, member spotlights—including social media handles—put individuals on a well-earned pedestal.
- Access: Exclusive access is a significant motivator. To leverage this, offer chances to meet your executive team or get early access to new features.
- Power: The ability to influence your brand’s direction makes clients feel important. Make it clear that their feedback shapes products and helps frame policies.
- Stuff: Gifts aren’t a bribe—they’re an easy way to surprise and delight your audience. Discounts, rewards, and gifts are excellent rewards for survey completion or other engagements.
3. Don’t waste your customers’ time
When it comes to gathering feedback, it’s important to keep things simple. Don’t repeat yourself, ask overly similar questions, or look for data your internal system should already have. Instead, work on information that customers care about. “Make sure you’re balancing what you need to know with what they want to tell you,” Karen suggests.
Chelsea also recommends basing incentives on the length of your survey, as she does at Rybbon. A longer survey leads to a longer reward—for example, more points that can be exchanged for discounts or items. As customers see those points build up, they’ll be excited to take more surveys.
4. Show your work
“The more you tell customers their voice matters,” says Karen, “the more feedback you’ll get.”
That means you need to acknowledge the meaning behind client feedback and take clear, visible action. As Chelsea says, “What’s good for the business should also be good for the customer.”
For example, say you spend a lot of money with a specific airline. They ask for your preferences and you tell them you prefer aisle seats. On one flight, you get bumped to a middle seat—but before you can even complain, the airline sends a meal voucher to make up for your discomfort. This way, brands like yours can prove that you remember client feedback and act on it whenever possible.
You can also show your work by providing sharebacks and progress status based on your customers’ feedback. It demonstrates you’re listening and are willing to take action to close the loop.
5. Keep things fun
“Your customers are humans,” says Chelsea. “They want to have fun!”
There are plenty of ways to engage customers in brand interactions, but gamification is perhaps the most effective. “Gamification” is what happens when you take a process and turn it into a game and encourage users to enjoy the experience on a whole new level. You might assign badges for certain activities, create daily challenges, or offer points for different interactions with your company.
6. Build a community
A community of engaged customers appeals to the accessibility and status motivators. It’s an exclusive space that gives you the chance to celebrate successes and let users know you’re listening. The key is to build a brand around this hub to make people feel like they’re part of something special.
A community of customers would commit to your success and become more engaged the more they offer their feedback and share their ideas. A forum like this, in which members can express their opinion over a product or service, is bound to boost your customers’ engagement and loyalty.
Karen’s advice for community-building is simple: “Don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Improve engagement by making connections
What do all of these tips have in common? They’re all about making real connections with your audience. This means you need to focus on building relationships.
Stream our webinar with Rybbon to learn more about customer engagement and how to make it happen in your business.