What Is Customer Engagement? The Ultimate Guide
When you search for Customer engagement, the internet is full of articles presenting a variety of information. But I feel that there is always something more I want to know.
In this article today I will try to explain everything that is essential in terms of customer engagement. Customer engagement is a comprehensive and elusive term that has a variety of definitions out of which some say that is the emotional connection between a brand and a customer. Others consider it as the process of interaction of a brand and a customer.
The interaction will eventually be unique as is your company, or, Customer engagement is the ongoing interactions between company and customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer.
Another one is, Customer engagement is an estimate of the degree and depth of visitor interaction against a clearly defined set of goals
.So, what is customer engagement? And why does it matter?
Let’s take a high level view and figure out what customer engagement really is and how to do it right.
Table of Content
- What is Customer Engagement?
- A Real-Life Customer Engagement Example
- Why is Customer Engagement So Important?
- What Exactly Are Customers Looking for With Engagement?
- How to Develop Customer Engagement Strategies Based on Customer Expectations
- Customer Engagement FAQs
- Exceeding Your Customers’ Expectations
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement can be defined as the interactions a customer has with your brand. It’s a process that begins the instant that a lead comes across your company and extends beyond the point of sale.
And this can include a lot of different types of interactions, including:
- Landing on your website
- Reading your blog posts
- Checking out your product demo
- Looking at your pricing information
- Subscribing to your newsletter
- Following your brand on social media
- Speaking with your sales reps
- Turning to your customer service reps for assistance
Interesting Read : Your Conversion rate can grow 2x more than it is currently: Here’s how
A Real-Life Customer Engagement Example
Lets walk you through the entire customer engagement process using Chili Piper as an example.
Let’s say that a company is looking for an inbound lead conversion and scheduling software to get the most out of their leads and move them through the sales cycle more efficiently.
They search for the same and reach the Chili Piper homepage and this would be considered as their first engagement. They scroll and reach the Chili Piper pricing page and check out the plans, which eventually hypes their interest but they still want to learn more about the ins and outs for which they request a demo.
While using Chili Piper they like it and decide to buy an ideal Chili Piper plan, this is considered the official sales. For updates, they follow us on Facebook and Twitter and keep pursuing the Chilib Piper resources section.
They even decide to download a free eBook on increasing speed to lead time. There is also the possibility that while using Chili Piper the customer has some query which is answered by our helpful customer reps.
As you can see, customer engagement takes a lot of different forms, but the overarching theme is that it involves interactions between the customer and the brand.
Why is Customer Engagement So Important?
Let’s begin by saying that customers now have immense power than ever before. This is mainly because of the ease with which information can be found on Google, social media, review sites etc. and there is all the more comeptition in the industry.
2019 shows 15500 SaaS companies in the world. It is very easy for anyone to start a new company today, but to make it successful you need customers and that is where customer engagement strategies and techniques come into play.
Currently, the most saturated SaaS markets are:
- CRM (23.9%)
- Human capital management (13.9%)
- ERP services and operations management (7.9%)
- Collaboration (7%)
- Procurement (4.6%)
A key ingredient of growth and longevity is creating positive interactions, where there’s a genuine emotional connection.
To illustrate how important this is, here are some stats that put things into perspective.
- “Up to two-thirds of a brand’s profits might rely on effective customer engagement.”
- “64% of customers expect tailored engagements that are based on past interactions.”
- “86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience.”
And here’s the kicker.
“54% of customers think companies need to fundamentally transform how they engage.”
Salesforce stats show that there are major flaws in the level of customer engagement in most of the brands, but, by knowing what customers expect and revving up your customer engagement strategy can instantly give you an edge 46% of your competitors.
What Exactly Are Customers Looking for With Engagement?
Salesforce breaks it down into three key points.
- Customers want a brand to figure out what they want before they ask. Creating proactive, personalized engagements and preventing potential issues from arising. When you are already prepared with the information regarding the needs of the customer, you also prepare how to talk and appeal to the customer, which attracts them.
- Customers want to engage with a brand that uses their preferred channel at a time convenient for them. “In fact, Omni-channel customer engagement is preferred by almost 78% of customers.”
- Customers want their engagements to be smooth and easy, where giving information is effortless. For example, if they have a conversation with a marketing rep, they expect the sales rep to have a record of what they talked about.
Besides that, B2B tech company Outgrow makes some other good points, saying:
- 64% of customers want personalized engagements based on prior interactions they had with a brand.
- 67% are keen to use self-service and actually prefer to do so rather than talking with a company rep.
- The willingness to engage further with a company drops for 52% of customers once they have a poor mobile experience.
How to Develop Customer Engagement Strategies Based on Customer Expectations
Here are some actionable steps you can take to improve customer engagement and keep your customers dialed in.
1. Personalize the Customer Experience
For starters, you’ll want to make the process as personalized as possible.There are a ton of ways to go about this, but here are a couple of ideas to get you started.
Use copywriting that appeals to your exact audience and caters to their specific needs, veering away from generic options to one-size-fits-all copy.
Another way could be to let the lead personalize their own plan that fits perfectly according to their needs and their unique budget. That’s what we did on the Chili Piper pricing page, where a lead can choose how many users they will have and choose if they want additional features like Concierge.
For more on SaaS personalization, I suggest reading this post from ChartMogul and this one from Baremetrics. They’ll get you up to speed.
2. Create an Omni-Channel Customer Experience
There is another huge part of the formula that is allowing the customers/leads to choose from the channels they want to use and also when they want to use them.
As I mentioned earlier, customer engagement can occur across a plethora of different channels — everything from blog posts to videos to social media to live chat to browsers.
So, it’s essential that you create an omni-channel experience, where customers can seamlessly shift between whatever works best for them. Ultimately it’s the customer that needs to be appealed and satisfied. I already provided examples of some of the channels we use at Chili Piper above, which you can reference.
And one other vital thing that needs to be pointed out is being open to new ideas, where you’re willing to try out new technologies to stay ahead of the game. You should always be ready and open to changes and improvements, also cope with the new technologies of the coming time.
Salesforce writes that “75% of customers expect companies to use new technologies to create better approachable experiences,” and “62% of customers are open to the use of AI to improve their experiences,” which is something to keep in mind when exploring different customer engagement options, as to increase the customer engagement you need to know what are the customer tendencies.
I’m not saying that you should force it just for the sake of being hip and cool. But as long as a new technology enhances the customer experience, why not use it? It will only end up being in your benefit.
3. Perfect Customer Handoffs
Next, there are handoffs. Handoffs are transferring the customer from one department to another in the process. Remember the handoffs process can make or break the customer experience.
Throughout the sales cycle and customer engagement process, a customer may interact with multiple members of your team.When this happens, you need to ensure that handoffs are silky smooth, where a customer encounters zero friction.
How do you do this?
It starts with lead routing, where marketing qualified leads (MQLs) seamlessly make the transition to becoming sales qualified leads (SQLs).
Chili Piper makes this possible with lead routing, where qualified leads are automatically routed to reps based on predefined criteria.
Here what happens is, a lead chooses whatever meeting time works best for them, and it’s scheduled into the calendar of the appropriate rep to make bookings a cinch. This also gives the customer the impression that you value their experience with this personalized rep system.
The other main part of the equation is creating a framework where information is never siloed. One of the easiest and most convenient ways to prevent this from happening is to use a lead conversion and scheduling app that integrates with your CRM.
That way the team member that’s dealing with a customer at the moment has instant access to critical information, like their:
- Company size
- Products they’re currently considering or using
- Prior engagements
Besides that, they can see whatever notes other team members have left in the past, so they can have a smoother conversation without asking needless questions. With proper updates and teamwork this system is very effective.
4. Have Self-Service Options
Like I mentioned before, over two-thirds of customers want to use self-service instead of having to speak with a company rep whenever they have a question or issue, as every time going to a sales rep with a problem can be tiring and time consuming and two/third is a big number, so this is a feature you’ll want to include in your site design.
For instance, Chili Piper has a robust support section where customers can quickly find answers for admins, users, events and conferences, and so on. Or, they can simply enter a custom search term and look through our knowledge base.
This is sufficient for answering a lot of questions, and we find that our customers love the convenience of having it. After all, it’s there 24/7. Otherwise, there is always an option to reach out to someone via the contact box.
5. Create a Killer Mobile Experience
Finally, there’s mobile. There is a mobile experience for everything. With engagement for more than half of customers basically ceasing once they have a bad mobile experience, this is obviously something you need to get right.
So, mobile optimization is insanely important.
Everything from easily browsing through your site on a mobile device to having it load quickly to being able to seamlessly use your SaaS product across multiple devices — it’s all essential.
I suggest starting by running a basic mobile-friendly test from Google, as this should help you work out many of the kinks on your site, this would surely give you the farsight that you will be needing.
And it’s also not a bad idea to have crowdtesting done on your site and SaaS product for an in-depth overview of specific improvements you can make. Crowd tests increase your credibility.
For a quick overview of what crowdtesting is, check out this post from Applause, it will help you understand the concept better.
Interesting Read : Unveiling the Top Secrets Of Creating A Successful Text Messaging Campaign
Customer Engagement FAQs
1. What is customer engagement?
It’s the interactions a customer has with your brand, also the emotional connection between the brand and the customer.
2. What are some examples of customer engagement?
- Landing on your website.
- Reading your blog posts.
- Checking out your product demo.
- Looking at your pricing information.
- Subscribing to your newsletter.
- Speaking with sales reps and customer service reps.
- Following your brand on social media.
3. Why is customer engagement important?
- Create a better overall customer experience.
- Increase profits.
- Result in higher customer retention and less churn.
4. What are some key customer engagement strategies?
- Personalize the customer experience.
- Create an omni-channel experience.
- Create smoother customer handoffs.
- Offer self-service solutions.
- Ensure your website and SaaS product are fully optimized for mobile.
Exceeding Your Customers’ Expectations
Customer engagement is an incredibly broad term with a boatload of different definitions that vary depending on who you ask.
Various critics have different definitions and meanings for Customer Engagement. But at the end of the day, it’s about one main thing — interactions.
Creating better, smoother, more satisfying interactions is your ticket to winning over customers, and more importantly, keeping them around for the long run.
The above mentioned techniques have proved to be very helpful in increasing the customer engagement, because these are some basic ways which encircle important key areas that require immense focus.
Originally published at https://limecall.com on December 10, 2020.