What is Customer Engagement?
By definition it is the process of proactively building, nurturing, and managing relationships with customers or end users.
In the past, the concept of engaging with customers didn’t extend much beyond call center agents who dealt with product issues and answered basic customer questions. These employees were expected to provide basic support, and remedy any problems that customers brought to their attention — but not much more than that.
Fortunately, things have changed.
Today, successful businesses know that client and customer engagement is essential for success. As a result, the importance of a strong customer support team is taken much more seriously.
Still, customer engagement involves more than merely having a few employees dedicated to answering questions. For the best results, you should have a clear customer engagement strategy.
Why You Need a Customer Engagement Strategy
If you’re not sure what a customer engagement strategy is, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, many businesses still see customer support as an expense. But with the right approach, it can actually help your business grow.
That’s because customer interactions can be extremely valuable for acquisition and retention. In one survey, 68% of customers said they’d stopped using a service because they believed the company did not care about them.
This means that engaging with your customers on a regular basis is essential for retention. And if you take a proactive, growth-focused approach, your customer service efforts can even have a positive ROI.
But achieving these goals requires a bit of planning — and that’s where a customer engagement strategy comes into play.
This is primarily an outline of the strategies you want to use to boost your engagement levels, as well as concrete guidelines your team can use to shape their interactions with your customers.
How to Increase Customer Engagement
These 4 tips can help you increase your customer engagement and maximize this channel’s ability to contribute to your overall goals.
1. Ask for Feedback
One of the easiest ways to boost engagement is to take the time to have conversations with your customers. This is especially valuable if you ask for feedback on different aspects of your company.
This approach not only shows that you value their opinions and needs but can also result in helpful insight. The most straightforward approach to asking for feedback is sending surveys.
You can use surveys to gauge how satisfied customers are with any aspect of your business — but if you’re focused on boosting customer engagement, you can use them to see what users think of your service and support.
For example, you might send automated surveys via email, asking customers who reached out to your team to rate the customer support they received.
The answers to these surveys can serve as a baseline as you work towards boosting customer engagement. And while multiple-choice questions are a solid starting point, it’s also a good idea to include open-ended questions.
Ask customers what your team could be doing better, and for suggestions as to how you can improve their experience with your business as a whole. When you use these suggestions to shape your customer engagement strategy, you can be confident that the steps you’re taking are steps in the right direction.
2. Build a Culture of Empathy
If customers don’t believe that your company cares, they’re unlikely to remain loyal to your brand. In this sense, the way you treat your customers is just as critical as the products and services you provide. And one of the most important elements of this is empathy.
While many businesses focus primarily on the technical aspects of providing excellent customer service, it’s essential to remember that empathy is one of the most important skills in a customer support team.
In fact, one study showed that customers rated “empathetic support” as the most influential factor in their interactions with customer service teams. So as you work toward improving your customer engagement levels, encourage your team to bring a sense of empathy to each of their customer interactions.
Instead of focusing solely on speed, it’s worth their time to engage with each customer and let them know how much they’re valued. When your customers feel heard and understood, they’ll be much more satisfied with your company — even if you can’t always provide the exact resolution they want.
3. Aim to Provide a Superior Experience
Customer service is a challenging industry. When support requests pile up, and each customer seems to have something to complain about, it can be difficult to focus on anything beyond merely working through the queue.
But it’s important to see each ticket as more than just a task to be completed. Instead, you should aim to provide a superior experience. Being willing to go above and beyond standard expectations can make all the difference in how customers perceive your brand and how much you value them.
In fact, 80% of U.S. consumers say they’d pay more to ensure a superior customer experience. Plus, 78% of customers say they recommend brands to their friends and other contacts after great customer experiences.
So if you’re looking to maximize your customer engagement levels, “adequate” isn’t going to cut it. Establish a reputation for superior service, and you’ll be much more successful in building a loyal customer base.
And when you consider that the customers you impress will be more likely to recommend you to their peers, investing in superior service is essentially an investment in word-of-mouth marketing.
So while exceeding expectations might take a little extra work, it’s worth it — and can pay off in a significant way for your business.
4. Give Your Agents the Tools They Need to Succeed
Even the most talented customer service agents need tools and resources to succeed. After all, a dedication to customer engagement won’t do them any good if they don’t have efficient means for engaging with your customers and clients.
Unfortunately, many businesses are lacking in this area. In one Calabrio study, 44% of customer service agents cited a lack of tools as their biggest problem.
So before you put your customer engagement strategy in place, or set any new goals, make sure that your team has the tools they need to do their jobs well. And to be clear, that doesn’t necessarily mean investing in top-of-the-line software.
Ask the employees who spend the most time engaging with customers what kinds of tools would help them work more efficiently, and you’ll get a much clearer picture of what to provide.
It’s also worth noting that in the same Calabrio study, 33% of respondents said they wanted better technology that provides a single view of the customer. This shows that while many customer support teams are satisfied with the communication tools at their disposal, they’re looking for more data.
Tools that maximize agent’s understanding of the customer they’re working with can help them more effectively assist each one and tailor their approach accordingly.
But again, that’s not to say that every team needs this type of tool. So before you invest in any new helpdesk software, ask your team what they need — so that you can enable them to engage with your customers more efficiently.