Customer engagement represents an unspoken contract between companies and customers, and their commitment towards one another. If a company is committed to satisfying its customers, they will respond by being committed to the company (or brand). Improving customer engagement enhances customer experience during company interactions and increases brand loyalty of customers and increases long term profits of companies.
Ian Golding defines customer engagement as “the representation of the relationship between your brand and your customer. A fully engaged customer should be engaged to the point of advocacy – i.e. they become a ‘fan’ of your brand (Source).” Companies need to build fans and keep them engaged for long term loyalty and profitability. We suggest an A.P.P.R.I.C.E approach to build an improved relationship with your customers by keeping them engaged.
Always be available to serve your customers in-person and virtually. Provide them an outlet to share their queries, make complaints or vent out a little steam. Be their punching bag if that’s what it takes at times, as moments like theses can help build a rapport. Be there when the sun shines and when the rain falls. Your availability and presence counts.
Spend a little time and money to understand your customers’ behavior because engagement is a psychological process. Find out what your customers like and do not like through your knowledgebase to design a personalized experience. 78% of consumers believe organizations providing customized content are interested in building good relationships.
Be patient and consistent. It is important to be patient because engagement takes time to build and demands consistency. It may take a week, a month, a year or a decade but engagement is rewarded with long term loyalty and profits so companies need to be patient and consistent with their customer service.
Work on brand recognition strategies. Build multiple contact points and always be visible to your customers. Do whatever it takes. Use advertising, personal selling, direct marketing, sales promotion, public relations and all other opportunities to become a brand customers recognize and remember.
Work towards a cause. Engage in social initiatives that show your dedication towards a cause. Customers value integrity over other factors like price, physical attributes and aesthetics of a brand. Let your customers know that you are committed towards a value oriented vision. Become a brand your customers want to associate with proudly.
Build an emotional connection with your customers because they tend to associate more with companies they value emotionally rather than financially. 71% of buyers who see personal value will purchase a product and 68% of buyers who see personal value in a product will pay a higher price (Source). An emotional connection will build customer trust and create room for a continued association with a brand.
Make each encounter a great experience. Go the extra mile to keep your customers happy. Engagement is an outcome of a series of great experiences. Meet your customers’ expectations and make each encounter a great experience so that you customers keep coming back for more.
While good customer experience keeps the customers engaged, the perks of being advocated and promoted through positive word-of-mouth is a great incentive for companies to invest in customer engagement. Engagement will benefit a company financially through improved customer retention and brand loyalty. So, it is wise to start engaging your customers to build a happy and loyal customer base and ensure long term profitability and sustainability.