In this competitive world Customer Engagement is the secret formula to keeping customer relationships going well with your organization and maintaining a long-term relationship with them. Organizations investing in customer engagement strategies tend to increase the satisfaction levels of their customers by constructively engaging in discussions with them. Such productive interactions with customers can happen face-to-face or online by leveraging social media channels. It’s imperative for Small Businesses working with a limited budget to also think of creative ways to actively engage with their customer base keeping in mind the benefits of Customer Engagement. Customer Engagement leads to positive word of mouth and recommendation which proves to be a vital source of referral for small businesses.
Some strategies for customer engagement
It’s pertinent to actively use social media channels to be present in the places where customers are spending their time. Many small businesses are beautifully leveraging these channels to post content on their offering, new arrivals, and Sales. An efficient, effective, and cost-effective way to pull customer engagement is the Tag-a-friend campaign on social media. It’s a campaign that involves posting a picture on Facebook or Instagram of the prize the organization is giving away to its followers. And asking the follower to Tag-a-friend in the comments to win a raffle. It’s important to plan for a goal the organization would like to reach in a week’s time, to keep the contest fresh in the customer’s mind. This is a great campaign even when an organization is on the stage of setting up a social media platform. Kopra Beauty is a great example that generated 100,000 of followers by running this campaign.
Customers are naturally inclined to be socially responsible and do an act of kindness that they can share in their broader network. Baking social responsibility as an important ingredient in your business plan and harnessing ways of including customers to participate in the process work as an important method to increase brand excitement. TOMS shoes started their business on the foundation stone of social responsibility. Their mission of donating a pair of shoes for every pair they sold took off, and now they can do so much more than just shoe donations with the help of their follower base. In fact, they promote an important page dedicated as “Your Impact,” which showcases all the causes that one can engage in as a TOMS customer.
Making data backed decisions to connect with customers is also an effective way to generate engagement. With digital having its strong interplay in organizations’ business models in terms of websites, and applications as the face of the company, organizations are surfing in the sea of data points. Focusing customer engagement strategies on the cornerstone of data help organizations craft personalized engagement plan. Many customers would recommend their exceptional experience with organizations like Netflix and Amazon on their next product recommendation based on their purchase history.
Chances are that organizations know who their best and most excited customers are. But to take the relationship to the next level organizations should think of creative ways to get their fan club involved in spreading their enthusiasm as brand ambassadors. When customers are ready to sing the praises for the organization, it should be ready to reward them to propel their satisfaction levels to a delightful state.
To understand the impact of strategic decision taken to maintain long term relationship with customers its important to measure the impact. A spike in social interactions, more likes and comments on social media pages is one measurable way that customers are liking what you are offering. All popular social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat come with a free insights section which should be closely monitored against the set goals. Keeping an eye on Yelp, Google, Facebook, and other sources for customer reviews is a good practice to follow. Customer survey to measure satisfaction levels is a great key performance index to track by taking simple and strong surveys on how likely customers are to recommend your offerings to friends and family. Such surveys are really very significant indicator to keep tag of as nothing can more precious than customer taking time out to fill a survey for the organization. This is an important indicator to track things over time and get a hold of response rate too.
With so many businesses leading the way on customer engagement, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Choose the elements discussed here that seem manageable and put them to work for you. Be sure to set some reasonable goals and define how you’ll measure progress.
(Dr Priyanka Shrivastava is Professor of Marketing and Analytics with Hult International Business School, San Francisco, USA; Dr Srinivasan R Iyengar, Director at JBIMS, University of Mumbai)