Whether you’re selling gourmet dog biscuits or low-interest home loans, the customer engagement process should always be a top priority. All good relationships are built on meaningful engagement and the connections you share with your customers are no exception. At 3radical, we specialize in helping brands build better relationships with their customers using a carefully vetted, step-by-step process.
We’ve outlined the five key customer engagement steps below, followed by some tips on how to boost customer engagement and create a process that resonates with your target audience.
Defining Customer Engagement
So, what exactly is customer engagement? It refers to the process of interacting with customers and building stronger relationships. This can be done through a variety of channels and platforms, including face-to-face interactions, social media, email, websites, and digital engagement portals.
Research suggests it’s not a one-way street, with 29% of consumers using engagement to better connect with their favorite brands, outpacing the 23% of consumers who engage with brands only to unlock discounts and incentives.
For a business to succeed a well-crafted customer engagement process is a must. You need to have a deep understanding of every step of the process and its relationship with other stages of the customer journey. Here’s how:
A step-by-step guide to the customer engagement process
- Invite Engagement
The customer engagement process always begins with an invitation. As a brand, business, or organization you need to reach out to passive customers, both existing and potential, to capture their attention. Targeted Facebook ads are a great example of how to drive traffic to your website and connect with customers. Once you’ve initiated the conversation with a passive customer it’s time to dig a little deeper.
Gaining first-party data is one of the core goals of inviting engagement. Don’t be afraid to ask for it as most consumers are willing to share information under the right circumstances. Transparency is key so be sure to use plain, easy to understand language. You should also be offering a fair exchange of value when requesting data, for example, asking a customer to leave their email address in exchange for the chance to spin a virtual wheel and unlock a discount code for your website. We call this Earned Data.
- Be Memorable
Once you have the attention of an audience, the next step is to make an impact. You need to ensure customers remember your brand message and can differentiate you from your competitors. Encouraging two-way conversation is an effective way to connect with your audience and make them feel like they’re contributing to the relationship. This could involve maintaining an active presence on social media by replying to tags, comments, and DMs.
You should also be aiming to create an emotional response, using exciting imagery, engaging content, and inspiring calls to action to really make your customers feel positively towards your brand.
- Motivating Occasional Buyers
Stage three of the customer engagement process is understanding the difference between occasional buyers and frequent buyers. The first category requires a tailored approach, with content only presented when contextually relevant. You’ll need to ensure you’re providing distinctive engagement opportunities and offering content that reflects the consumer’s lifestyle. For example, offering first-time diners a free dessert in exchange for downloading your app is a great way to encourage a repeat visit.
- Motivating Frequent Buyers
Frequent buyers are customers that repeatedly purchase your products or use your services. This increased engagement means you have an opportunity to upsell and cross-sell. Frequent buyers are also prime candidates for boosting your retention rates.
The same restaurant offering free desserts to first-time customers may use a different approach for regulars. For example, a points system to earn free meals taps into the power of reward-driven behavior. Another example is the digital boardgame we developed for Zizzi. It allowed the restaurant to gain valuable data about its patrons, while simultaneously offering customers the chance to win big-ticket prizes.
- Empowering Advocacy
The ultimate goal of any engagement campaign is to convert customers into advocates. This can be done in two ways – prompted or proactively. Prompted advocacy is based on a rewards model and includes things like family and friend referral programs and entries into competitions for tagging contacts on social media. Proactive advocacy is organic and powered entirely by positive experiences. For example, when an engaged customer loves your product or service so much they’re inclined to share it with others or post about it on a social platform.
Tips for Boosting Customer Engagement
At 3radical we’re passionate about helping organizations dive deep into their customer relationships and improve brand engagement. Here’s a look at how we do it:
Diversify Your Mediums
To strengthen relationships with customers you need to empower them with the tools to engage where, when, and how they desire. A recent report we conducted reveals 53% of customers interact with their favorite brands using three or more methods, suggesting diversification is essential.
Realize the Value of Non-Incentive Engagement
While offering customers rewards and incentives is a powerful way to boost engagement, it’s important not to underestimate the value of non-promotional interactions. Our research suggests newsletters, informative content, and other non-incentive related brand engagement can produce higher life-time value than promotional material.
Be a Good Listener
Being a good listener is one of the best qualities a friend can offer, and you should take this to heart as it’s just as applicable when it comes to your customers. Everyone wants to be heard; actively seeking feedback, advice, and opinions from your customers is a great way to create a two-way dialogue. Quizzes, polls, and prompts to leave reviews are all good ways to listen to your customers. Remember, as well as listening to customers, it’s important to act on what you’re told and follow through on any promises.
Customizing your engagement process
Every business is different which means a one-size-fits-all approach won’t cut it when it comes to developing customer engagement processes. At 3radical, we use a holistic approach to drive deeper brand engagement at every step of the customer journey. The goal? To convert everyday customers into high-value advocates. Want to know more about how to develop a bespoke customer engagement process that matches the needs of your business and target audience? To find out more, don’t hesitate to contact our team or request a demo of our audience engagement platform.