There’s 24 hours in a day.
With customer engagement as your priority, it can seem like an impossible feat to connect with your audience on a daily basis. Tara Walpert Levy, managing director at Google, writes:
“In the accelerating swirl of chaos, excitement, and yes, sometimes fear, the brands that win will prioritize engagement over exposure. They will flip the traditional approach of using mass reach to connect with the subset of people who matter on its head.”
To scale engagement, your business must focus on executing strategies that boost customer satisfaction while saving your team time.
Let’s think differently about expanding engagement to build quality customer relationships. Here are five ways you can scale up your efforts.
We live in a very competitive market. Businesses, large and small, are all competing to garner the attention of their ideal consumer base.
In order to differentiate themselves, companies will develop wild brand promises. They vary from guaranteeing low prices to taglines saying that the customer is always right.
While that may attract new customers, it can become a burden in the long-term. Most companies learn the hard way that a brand promise isn’t a catchy phrase, rather an action a business must live by every single day.
Even big box retailer Walmart had to shelve its nearly two-decade-old slogan, “Always Low Prices.” Now, it’s goal is to help their customers “Save Money. Live Better.”
If you’re attempting to scale your engagement, delivering on your brand promise is one of the best options. Happy customers will become recurring patrons who tell their family and friends.
But delivering on your promise isn’t easy. It involves meeting (and exceeding) your customers’ expectations. You must provide product value along with superb customer support.
For example, you may have to offer free shipping to an irate customer. Or you may need to budget for a customer appreciation sale.
Building a genuine connection with your customers helps your business. Sticking to your promises is worthwhile for boosting engagement.
All human relationships are pretty much built on the same foundation. It centers around how we communicate with each other.
Communication is a major factor in whether a customer continues to shop with your brand. If their needs aren’t met after constant interactions, they may decide your company isn’t worth their time.
To improve how you interact with customers, start by listening to their concerns and answering their questions. For your sales team, this may look like a representative paying attention to the customer’s needs before pitching a product. Your support team may give more specific responses instead of canned answers.
Then, there’s customer feedback. When a customer offers ideas on how to polish your product, be open to their suggestions and willing to take action.
“The direct relationship between customers and support teams holds a rich source of feedback through which customers can be better served. Support teams and representatives can be trained to probe for information while responding to complaints and inquiries,” says Pius Boachie, a marketing consultant and founder of Digitimatic.
Productivity tool Trello created a Slack community with a channel dedicated to product feedback. It’s a chance for customers to offer their input and get notices about new features.
Implementing feedback is an opportunity to grow your business, while showing customers that you actually listen to their ideas. So do whatever it takes to address customer feedback.
Several decades ago, businesses controlled communications with their customers. Major companies decided what, when, where, and how to deliver consumer messages. It was a lopsided relationship where businesses had the upper hand.
Now, with advances in technology, the customer is at the center of the conversation. Not only do consumers choose when to connect with brands, but they also control where those interactions take place. For instance, consumers can opt-in to receive your emails and then decide to read it on their own schedules.
For businesses, this means generic messaging isn’t enough to make a connection with a consumer. Your online ad or email will get ignored, and there’s a possibility that you will lose another potential customer.
Email segmentation is an effective strategy to help your team send personalized messages. With Kissmetrics Campaigns, you can deliver emails based on certain subscriber criteria.
Let’s say a subscriber doesn’t purchase after 10 days. You can automatically send a special offer to entice them to come back and purchase.
You also may want to send customers specific information as it relates to your product. Mint emails subscribers personalized data from their accounts.
Don’t miss the chance to strengthen the consumer relationship with personalized communications. It’s a necessity to scale your engagement.
Every business is flocking to social media to tell their stories. Some are buying scammy ads to increase leads and purchasing followers to fake influence.
Here’s the truth: it’s not working. And even if they get a few interested consumers, they probably don’t close the sale because the buyer learns about their deception.
Most businesses approach social media with the goal to broadcast their products and news. However, we know it doesn’t work that way.
Social media is an open forum for people to share ideas and talk about the latest trends in a casual setting. That’s why it’s fertile ground for boosting your engagement levels.
To connect with more customers, educate and entertain them. You want to post lighthearted messages that humanize your brand.
For example, you can host live broadcasts on Facebook or Periscope featuring your customers. Or you could post silly GIFs during special days, like National Pancake Day.
You want to be part of your audience’s community. So, you also must be willing to give and not just take.
In the example below, HubSpot is giving its Facebook fans a chance to win two tickets to a concert. The company earned more than 160 shares, 500 reactions, and 62,000 views on this post.
Are you just broadcasting your message on social media? If so, try giving back to your followers to gain more engagement.
You’ll learn quickly that your best customers hold the key to spreading the word about your business. These customers act as advocates on a mission to give your brand praise.
So why not make it official? You can start a pilot advocacy program by recruiting your most loyal customers. It gives the selected few another reason to connect with your team.
Also, research shows that it’s a win-win situation. A report by Standard Charters states:
“Successful online companies make users feel excited enough to share the products with their networks. Referrals from friends are still the most powerful way to gain customers, whether for a tiny startup or a multinational corporation.”
Brand advocacy programs are also incubators to experiment with retention strategies. You can monitor customer behavior to learn what keeps them excited about your brand.
For instance, you may offer your program participants a special coupon to redeem a new product. Their reaction can provide insight on how a subset of your customer base will respond.
Do your research and learn how to start your own advocacy program. It’s your next step to increasing customer engagement.
Engagement without a strategy is misguided action. Instead, your goal is to create a memorable customer experience.
Exceed your audience’s expectations and use their feedback to improve your product. Send personalized messages that speak directly to your customers. Plus, there’s nothing better than starting an advocacy program that expands your relationships.
Connect with your customers. Scale your engagement today.
About the Author: Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter @shaylaprice.