When it comes to customer engagement, your business might have different strengths and weaknesses depending on its size. You might be more focused on keeping your existing customers than getting new ones, depending on how far along your business is.
You need to focus on the right kinds of customer engagement at the right points as your business scales if you’re going to maximize growth.
Luckily, it’s reasonably easy to adapt your customer engagement once you know what you need to do.
In this article, you’ll learn some major customer engagement strategies to focus on as your business is scaling. I’m going to show you how to use customer engagement to maximize outreach and engagement with customers early on. Then we’ll look at how to retain those customers and keep them coming back for more!
Kickstart your small business with customer engagement
In the early stages of your business, a good customer engagement strategy can be the difference between the failure or success of your business. If you aren’t able to get prospective customers, then your company isn’t going to be around for long.
A big part of that is really humanizing your brand and providing more one on one customer communications that really personalize the customer experience.
As a small business, you can really play up and romanticize the ideas surrounding your business. Let customers know all about your unique story.
When consumers are considering making a purchase, 79% of them want to see that brands care! Your customers will love to see the real face behind your business and get an opportunity to engage with you directly, whether that’s through social media or some other platform.
Set up a blog to track your business journey. Create Youtube videos about the daily struggles and successes in your business. Present free webinars or give away a free ebook to people who visit your website. All of these things will help to really get your customers invested in you as a persona rather than just a business looking to sell them stuff.
You might choose to take a more serious approach and present customers with the story behind your business. You might go a totally different route and use humor to lure in new customers and relate to them on a more personal level.
Take Wendy’s Twitter account for example. By talking with their followers about Game of Thrones, they are riding on the hottest topics and keeping their customers engaged.
For a smaller business, your customer engagement should mainly focus on getting new customers. To do that, you’ll need to do some outreach to find out about your audience and what their needs are. Then you can use that information to create specific marketing campaigns to reach them. Ask around on forums related to your industry. Use surveys and other methods to get to know them better.
When it comes to winning over customers, try to think about the “why.” Why would a customer choose to buy from you? For almost all customers you’re going to be trying to solve some kind of problem or pain point for them.
When you’re early in the life of your business, you have a lot more freedom when it comes to customizing your product or service to meet the needs of your customers. 64% of millennials say they value “anticipation and customization of the experience.” So really engage with them and deliver the kind of experience they won’t get from your competitors!
Marketing automation and CRM (customer relationship management) software can help your business stay on top of your social media and other platforms where you engage with customers.
Stoking the fire behind your medium-sized business with customer engagement
For medium-sized businesses, you’ll want to start shifting your customer engagement focus from acquisition and more toward maintaining the customers that you already have.
It’s all about keeping your customers interested in your brand and maintaining that relationship with them. At this point, you may want to think about hiring a customer relationship manager or account managers.
Initially converting visitors and prospects into paying customers seems like the hard part. But retaining customers and making them loyal toward your brand is just as important, and arguably even harder. The big thing that turns a one-time customer into a loyal fan for life is delivering value. After someone has bought your product, send them follow-up tips on how to best use it. Be on the lookout for chances to further engage with customers and continue to build those relationships. This is called action-based or trigger-based marketing.
Send your customers news about the latest events surrounding your particular product or service. Let them know about your company’s achievements. Provide them with helpful guides for free. Create a reward program where customers can get other people interested in your product for something in return.
All of these will deliver extra value to your customers and really help further build up their loyalty to your brand.You might think that brand loyalty is only a thing to worry about for brand consumers. But it’s increasingly important for B2B as well.
Review sites like Capterra, G2Crowd, and other B2B apps are completely altering the way B2B customers look for products. Now companies can compare business services in pretty much the same way that they’d go online to pick which restaurant to visit for dinner!
Source: Sample review from g2.com
54% of UK consumers say they feel more loyal toward brands that show a deeper understanding of their priorities and preferences. That means that engaging with customers is more important than ever. One bad review could really hurt the impression people get about your company.
You need to improve your customer’s experience and keep them satisfied so that they’re giving positive reviews and ratings of your company and product. Ideally, you should be reaching out to see if your customers have any issues and make things right before they even get the chance to write a negative review.
Customer engagement at this stage of your business should be all about building trust. 34% of consumers say they’re comfortable sharing credit card information for future convenience. You want to get that number even higher, because the easier it is for customers to go through the process, the more they are likely to buy.
Check out this case study about Decathlon, the world’s largest sports good retailer. They used Freshdesk to achieve an 82% customer satisfaction rating. By using the right technology, they were able to engage better with their customers and create a better experience for them. First response call time dropped from 87 minutes to 61 minutes. The number of tickets they were able to resolve for customers went from 79% to 92%, despite their average ticket volume increasing by 1700% in the span of four years!
Implementing tools like Freshdesk and other technology into your business will help increase customer engagement.
Using customer engagement to simultaneously nurture your existing client base while also growing market share
Once your business has been scaling, you’ll need to learn how to juggle engaging with your existing customers while also reaching out to new ones.
For more mature businesses, it’s all about growing and nurturing. You want to continue improving the relationship that your brand has with your customer.
There are all sorts of things you can do to stay at the forefront of your customer’s minds.
Send them incentives to peak their interest. 28% of millennials agree that getting personalized offers based on their purchase history is appealing.
You can also start small and send them appreciation letters, postcards, or emails. Send out surveys to understand what they want, and learn how you can serve them better in the future and try to match their expectations. A well-crafted customer service approach is shown to result in a retention rate of 92%!
Engage with them on social media. Answer questions that your customers have, do giveaways, or just keep your social media updated with funny quips once and a while to remind people that you exist.
Always be on the lookout for opportunities to upsell and cross-sell, in case of multiple offerings. You don’t want to blur the fine line between being helpful and pushy, but try to genuinely help solve for customer problems.
Interactions drive engagement, so the more you’re able to engage with your customers the better. Companies that do this really well almost become like friends to their customers on social media. People look forward to reading their updates and appreciate what they have to say. That’s an amazing spot to be in for your business, and a good goal to aim for!
Try to offer consistent customer experiences across different platforms as much as possible. You want your business to have a similar “voice” no matter how customers are communicating with you.
Don’t forget to focus on the communication channels that suit your audience. For example, 70% of millennials prefer mobile marketing, but older generations still prefer voice interaction. The important thing is that you’re working to improve your customer experience and levels of engagement. Most organizations that are working to improve their customer experience will see an increase in revenue.
How your business decides to split its time between retaining existing customers and reaching out to new ones will depend on your specific product or industry. If you’re selling products then you might want to focus more on getting new customers. But if you’re providing an expensive piece of software with a recurring monthly or annual fee, it might be worth putting most of your effort into retaining a handful of large customers.
For other businesses it may fall somewhere in between, so you need to figure out what types of customer engagement will work for you, and how much emphasis to put on each.
The methods and techniques that you use to engage with your customers will be different depending on the specifics of your business, where you are in terms of scaling up, and your reasons for wanting to engage.
Newer companies should focus on using customer engagement for acquisition. They’re in a prime position to humanize their business and deliver a personal one-on-one experience to their customers.
More established companies that have scaled up a bit may want to shift their focus to maintaining, nurturing, and growing their existing client base. How much your business will want to change from acquisition to retention will depend on your industry and your specific situation.
Without an engaged customer base, you don’t have a business! So ensuring that your customers know about you, love your products, and are thinking about you, needs to be your top priorities.