- Do you know how many points you have accumulated in your favorite store's loyalty app? Do you know what you can spend them on?
- Can you remember the last time a product or service did not meet your expectations and you wanted to share the constructive feedback with the company? Was it easy and convenient to contact customer service? Did you receive confirmation that your message had reached the proper representatives and that your comments would be taken into account?
If the answer is no, then you have just highlighted a few examples of mistakes related to creating customer engagement. In this article, you will learn what exactly customer engagement is, why we need it, and how to achieve it.
What Is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is an active cooperation and a mutual relationship between a company and a customer that promotes long-term customer commitment and loyalty to a particular brand or service.
Engaging the customer is a complex process that aims to achieve much more than just generating a transaction. Above all, it is about making the customer feel connected to the brand, its history, and its values. The relationship between the customer and the brand should be based on more than just business.
Customer engagement is important when a brand builds a relationship with a customer. It is built on an emotional level. Online and offline engagement seek to combine the rational benefits of the product - such as quality and price - with an emotional attachment to the brand itself.
The benefit that the company offers to the customer is not just an affordable and available product of higher quality than the competition (although this is still important). Instead, it is crucial to respond to specific needs such as comfort, self-fulfillment, stability and a sense of security.
Is Achieving Customer Engagement Really That Important?
In fact, it is. According to Forbes, increasing customer engagement is the main objective of implementing campaigns and loyalty programs in most companies. As you can clearly see, the majority of companies on the market consider it a key issue and put a lot of effort into developing customer and engagement campaigns and strategies.
Why Is Customer Engagement Important?
Salesforce mentions that increasing customer engagement is one of the most important factors in a company's business success. The report shows that as many as 80% of customers say that the experiences they have with a company is as important to them as the product or service itself.
Creating a better customer relationship is a significant part of building customer loyalty. It will help your company gain a competitive advantage. This is especially important in today's society where competition is extremely intense and several similar companies may be competing for a single customer. This is why it is worth paying attention to the multichannel approach, using different platforms and looking for solutions that allow us to reach the right target group.
What are the benefits of increasing your customer engagement?
- Low customer acquisition costs compared with acquiring a new customer – Customer engagement leads to longer customer lifecycles and higher customer retention. It is 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. Isn't that a great way to save money?
- Increased brand awareness and brand advocacy – Engaged customers have higher brand awareness, but they also become brand ambassadors, advising friends and family and positively influencing potential new customers. As Emarsys points out in a report conducted by eMarketer, nearly half of all users of a brand's products are more likely to recommend it to others if they are members of the brand's loyalty program.
Are Customer Engagement And Customer Loyalty The Same?
While they are both important, there is a key difference between them. They are related, but refer to different stages of building customer relationships.
- Customer engagement refers to the brand's interaction with the customer, with the goal of maintaining active participation in the company's development. This can be achieved through various measures, such as customer engagement platforms providing constructive feedback, completing surveys, and sharing data on customer experiences on a voluntary basis.
- Customer loyalty is a measure of a customer's commitment and emotional attachment to a brand. It describes the impact of the brand's philosophy on the customers’ life and how it responds to their needs. It is also the result of the brand's efforts to ensure that the relationship with the most loyal customer is a "friendship" rather than a business and transactional one.
Customer loyalty and engagement need to be built in parallel, as many of the steps to building them are synergistic.
Customer Engagement vs. Customer Experience
Both customer experience and the customer engagement model can be actively developed by the brand. Customer experience is evoked and happens between the company (represented by the application, website, interface, but also live service) and the customer. Creating customer engagement also takes place between the company and the customer. However, it has to be initiated by the company and actively taken up by the customer, who has to be an active participant in the relationship.
Customer experience is the contact with the customer where each stage of the contact with the brand can be managed, for example the purchase process and payment on the website. This can be facilitated by customer experience management systems that optimize the process and reduce the attrition rate, which translates into higher profits for the company.
How to Increase Customer Engagement
Building a successful customer engagement campaign is a complex process that requires a number of steps. It is important to remember to tailor these steps to your business, using only those that are truly necessary and will help you achieve the desired results.
Therefore, while creating your own loyalty strategy, it is important to choose a loyalty strategy software provider that allows you to personalize the software and tailor it to your customer engagement tools to best suit your brand's needs.
Here are the best ways to increase customer engagement:
- Earlier access to products or sales - Special promotions for members will make engaged customers feel valued. They'll also allow customers to be more informed, what will result in creating excitement associated with waiting for a new product.
- Special offers for loyalty program members - These are not only special promotions, but also limited products. Special offers will reward loyalty program members and make other customers want to engage more to join them.
- Gathering customer feedback - A good way to gather feedback from customers is to use surveys, forms and feedback about products or services and the level of customer service. This data is useful because it comes from the customers themselves, but it also helps to activate and empower them so that they feel listened to and know that they have an impact on their brand.
- Personalize the user experience - Use the data from customers to deliver the best possible level of customer service and tailored messages, such as emails. This also translates into personalized promotions and special offers built around their needs.
- Improve customer service and responsive customer support - This is the customer's first point of contact with the brand, so it is very important to make it a smooth and pleasant experience. This is not just about improving service and contact with in-store staff, but also online sales. You can optimize contact forms, implement chat features on the website, optimize the shop and personalize mailings.
- Create valuable content - It is important to establish your brand as more than just a supplier of a product. It must also build the product environment: tell the story of a product-related lifestyle, create an interesting narrative and answer popular product-related questions. The content you create should be helpful and engaging.
- Gamification and Reward Programs - Create challenges and other activities that encourage customers to engage with the brand. Loyalty programs should also be designed to give customers a visible indicator of progress, which creates an emotional connection and makes them more likely to spend money.
- Tiers & Benefits – With the points collected, users should also be able to achieve certain tiers, for example silver, gold, platinum or even diamond membership status. It will allow them to unlock additional benefits and participate in the program on more favorable terms. Doing so will make customers even more loyal to the brand.
As Forbes points out, only 20.7% of existing customer loyalty programs are currently described as more emotional than rational. Meanwhile, more than half of companies renewing their loyalty programs are taking an emotional rather than rational approach to customer behavior. This shows a clear shift in attitude. It proves that customer loyalty efforts should be primarily emotional.
Customer Engagement Strategies
Knowing that the approach to customer engagement should be an emotional one, let us show you different strategies that allow you to combine individual steps of the customer journey into planned actions. Here are the best long-term approaches to building customer engagement.
- Set a brand mission - Your brand is not just the product or services you deliver. It's also a solution to a customer's specific problems. Its’ mission is to make a difference in your customer's life. When a customer asks, "What can you do for me?" don't just point to your product, point to your vision of a better, more comfortable, or safer life. Find out which of their problems you solve and make that your mission.
- Create a brand character - The first step is to build a narrative that allows people to identify with the brand. The second step is to use that narrative to create a unique character that makes people want to respond, comment, and engage.. This will help build organic reach and positive associations.
- Utilize user-generated content and customer stories - Authentic stories work best, so you need to use them. Reach out to your existing and potential customers, and use the stories they want to share with you. The main benefit is that they generate the greatest reach and build positive associations with the real product.
- Utilize an omnichannel approach and reach customers in the way that is the most convenient for them - Find the best ways to reach your target audience. This could be an app, a website, a newsletter, mailings, social media channels, or even Facebook groups - each audience navigates the digital environment differently and uses different types of communication. Remember, too, that actions taken in different channels do not add up; they multiply. That is why the effort you put into different communication methods will result in even greater recognition and brand awareness among your customers.
- Utilize customer feedback - Take the time and effort to get feedback on your products and services from your customers themselves. Remember that direct and ethical collection of customer data will help you build a deeper and friendlier relationship with your customers. Using zero and first party data is a great idea, especially in the coming era of the cookieless future.
How can Comarch help?
Customer engagement is one of the most important elements in building customer loyalty. Marketing automation and the use of modern software are becoming increasingly important in this area to help build,measure, and improve customer engagement. Strengthening loyalty and customer relationships.
There are many benefits of using the right loyalty software. It:
- Enables the personalization of customer interactions, - providing customers with personalized offers and recommendations and increasing the chances of converting them into loyal customers. Personalization is also useful for building customer relationships, such as mailing campaigns and other forms of contact. This makes customer relationships friendlier.
- Collects and analyzes customer data to better understand what they want and need – It also helps identify weaknesses in the entire sales process - from in-store customer contact and product placement to website design and the payment process.
- Allows you to implement loyalty programs - Rewarding customers for their activity and purchases is an effective way to engage customers and motivate them to return and buy again, which translates into increased profitability.
In today's competitive business environment, investing in loyalty software is key to maintaining customer loyalty and increasing customer retention. Interested in gaining a competitive advantage? Create more effective customer engagement with the Comarch Loyalty Marketing Platform!