Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Customer Engagement Strategies that Businesses can’t Ignore in 2015

This is the age of the customer! Businesses have to reach out to customers rather than the other way round. It’s also the age of social networking; a single customer’s positive experience with a business can reach to hundreds of potential customers. So maintaining personal relationships with customers proves to be immensely beneficial for any business. This is where customer engagement comes in. It is the art of effectively connecting with customers and making them feel like they matter in ways that go beyond goods and services. It is about providing exceptional end-to-end customer experience, superior content and excellent after-sale service and support which goes way beyond than a traditional sale. So, businesses in this decade should emphasize more on value creation than on revenue extraction.

Following are some customer engagement strategies to improve brand loyalty and customer experience:-

1.  Increase presence on online channels and social media
Customer engagement is no longer a series of one-off experiences; it’s an ongoing dialogue. This dialogue can be achieved via social media. Businesses need to ensure that they are being talked about on online channels or social networking platforms. For this they should focus on developing a passionate online community. Social media presence is an absolute necessity for any business today. News about new products, versions, campaigns, offers, etc. spreads almost instantly on social channels which can bring about huge footfalls for a business.
2.   Humanize your brand
A customer would remain loyal, only if she can relate to the brand emotionally. This emotional touch can be brought in by understanding her needs and providing her a truly personal experience. It’s these kinds of emotions that shape their attitude towards a business and also influence their buying behavior. So, it is extremely necessary to give a voice to the brand. A group of people can be charged with the responsibility of promoting the brand. They could interact with customers on forums, write blogs, publish white-papers and present seminars to actively engage with their target audience.
3.   Stay customer-driven
Gone are the days of cold-calling when businesses used to approach random unknown people and advertise their products or services to them, today customers decide if and when to communicate. A business’s job is simply to provide them the tools for easy communication. These tools should be easily accessible and highly visible. They should also offer options for different types of communication, viz., do they have a question, do they want to post a rave review, are they facing any technical difficulty. Giving such control to the customers results in better understanding of their needs, which eventually leads to building a loyal customer base.
4.   Remain available 24x7
We are living in an “always-on” world driven by mobile experience. Mobile apps have made buying experience more convenient for the customers. Customers want availability in the palm of their hands and that too anytime and anywhere. So businesses need to engage and interact with their customers in the context of their daily lives through mobile environment. This not only ensures better, more immediate service but also boosts brand loyalty.
5.   Use great content to deliver value
Many businesses have started using content to educate customers about their products and also to help them understand market trends, best practices and ‘How-to’ guides. This greatly enhances the customer’s buying experience and increases customer retention. Businesses need to use quality content to educate customers not only about their products and services but also provide insights into working and analytics. This can be achieved via blog posts, email updates, newsletters, webinars, updates and posts on social platforms.  

- By Jaskirath Singh Makol

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