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7 simple ways to improve customer engagement

Customer engagement is more than being friendly to someone when they walk into your business. Customer engagement is a key performance indicator (KPI), a metric every successful business closely measures, and it ties in closely with customer experience (CX). The level of engagement can significantly influence the customer’s overall experience.

Companies that measure customer engagement map out every interaction the customer has during their buyer journey. Everything is taken into account, from how they first found the business to the sale. Customer engagement doesn’t stop at the sale. Nurturing customer relationships before and after the point of sale is crucial for retaining customers, which we’ll discuss in more detail a little later.

Measuring customer engagement can quickly become very complex. Most larger companies have teams of people that analyze their customer’s engagement levels through expensive software specifically designed for the task. Suppose your business isn’t ready to hire people to manage customer engagement. Still, you know it’s something that deserves attention. Here are seven easy suggestions on how to improve customer engagement.

online purchase with credit card.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to engage customers

Provide meaningful interactions

Now more than ever, brands understand that they have to connect with their customers on more than a buyer/seller level. Websites are becoming more interactive, email marketing is more personalized than promotional, and in-person interactions are more personal. To relate to your customers on these levels, you must have a deep knowledge of their values and how they tie into your brand’s values.

Also, be sure to measure metrics such as conversion rates, time on page, and video view completions. Having this data will give you a better understanding of the type of content your customers engage. This knowledge will help you create similar successful content which your customers will enjoy and give them a better experience—improving engagement.

Use social media as a tool

Suppose you don’t have the budget for expensive customer engagement software. In that case, social media is an excellent tool to engage your customers for free and provide them with a better overall experience. Great brands have social media teams that manage their content and engage with customers and ask them questions. You’d be surprised how far a direct response to a customer’s comment (or even just alike) will go in helping improve your customer engagement. When a busy brand takes the time to respond publicly to a customer, it shows that person and millions of others that you listen to your customers.

Segment your email list

Part of excellent customer engagement is crafting customized messaging so that people think you’re speaking directly to them. Email marketing is an effective way to market to your consumer base, but it’s even more effective if you segment your list. There’s a ton of email marketing software out there (free and paid versions) that let you segment your lists based on dozens of different criteria.

For example, one group could be prospects that download a guide; another could be customers who abandoned their online shopping cart. Every action a customer makes during their buying journey gives you insight into what they like and don’t. By segmenting your list based on criteria specific to these customer interests, you can send them content tailored to their needs and likes. In turn, you will have a much greater chance of moving them through the sales funnel.

banner that says we hear you.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Create custom content

Earlier, we mentioned that measuring customer engagement metrics such as conversion rates and time on page will give you a better understanding of what your customers like. But what they liked in the past isn’t the only thing to look at when creating custom content that improves customer engagement. By analyzing social media (your accounts and competitor accounts), you can also understand your customer’s concerns or objections about your product/service and create content that overcomes them.

Another excellent way to make your content more customized and engaging is online reviews and your customer service team. Making a log of customer complaints, returns, and negative/positive reviews that you can reference will provide a wealth of content ideas.

Be transparent

Transparency in customer engagement means all your consumer interactions must be ethical. That means no bait and switch tactics within your content and no spammy email marketing blasts. Trust is essential when it comes to a customer engaging with your company. The moment they feel like you have ulterior motives when providing content they believe to be valuable, there’s a good chance you’ll lose them forever.

Be immediate and convenient

According to Salesforce, 83% immediate engagement when they contact a company. This is true in all areas of customer interaction. It’s why having email autoresponders and stellar sales and customer service teams are critical.

If your company operates digitally, such as an e-commerce store, it has to provide convenience to the customer. Convenience means a user-friendly web platform (both for desktop and mobile) and responsive customer service. Many online businesses have turned to chatbots to help solve customer problems when shopping outside of regular business hours.

Rewards are the key to retention

Some of us may have a favorite neighborhood coffee shop, bar, or restaurant that we might frequent enough times per week to where the employees greet us by name and ask if we want “the regular.” There’s an unspoken exchange that happens in situations like these. The business knows you’re a valuable customer, so they go the extra mile to make sure you feel appreciated. The mere fact that the customer is remembered and feels appreciated is enough to bring them back again and again.

Many companies that might seem too large to track and remember every customer apply this old-school method of customer engagement. However, it isn’t as difficult as you might think. There’s excellent sales software out there that allows you to track customer spending and reward milestones. Many companies offer loyalty programs, a similar tactic that gives the customer some discount after so many purchases. Yet, companies that have excellent customer engagement go beyond that. They develop ways to provide the customer with more of a sense of value other than promotional discounts.

Steven Johnson
Steven Johnson is a chef-turned-content strategist. He now helps companies attract and retain more customers through content…
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