Communicating with your customers isn’t always easy. How often should you get in touch with them? How should you be interacting with them? What do you say? Knowing the answers to these questions is important, as they all play a role in defining, and measuring, the relationship with your customers, also known as customer engagement.
But customer engagement is about so much more than just how many times you’ve sent out customer emails this month or how many comments you get on your social posts. Let’s take a look at what customer engagement really means, why it’s important and how to create an effective customer engagement strategy.
Customer engagement is all about the interactions you have with your customers and the way they interact with you. These ‘interactions’ (or engagements), can range anywhere from messaging a company via live chat, to making a purchase on a website.
It’s up to you what engagements you believe are valuable and meaningful to the relationship with your customers. Visiting a website could be counted as an engagement, but it’s not necessarily meaningful, unless they fill in a form or make an enquiry.
Measuring customer engagement is vital if you want to:
Now that you know how important customer engagement is for your business, it’s time to create a strategy. Here are some things you need to consider, and include, in your customer engagement strategy.
Your customer experience has a huge impact on your engagement, so it’s important to get it right. To do this, you need to start by defining what your customer journey looks like with a customer experience map, which plots how your customers engage with your business and how they feel at each stage.
This allows you to see where the positive engagements are happening and when your customers are happiest, as well as the areas which need improvement. Good customer experience maps are highly detailed and cover every channel and touchpoint where a customer may come into contact with your brand. You can find out more about how to create a customer experience map here.
Another key part of improving your customer experience is understanding who your key customers are – to do this, you need to create customer profiles (also known as buyer personas). Customer profiles help you identify who your ideal customers are and how you can attract and retain them. You can find out how to build customer profiles here.
To fully understand every interaction a customer (or potential customer) has with your brand, you need to ask them what they thought at each stage of their journey. There are lots of different ways to collect feedback, but the two main methods are customer reviews and surveys.
Customer reviews are ideal for understanding which of your engagements are working, where customers are most engaged and which touchpoints are most important to them. Tools like Feefo’s Campaign Manager Tool allow you to collect feedback at every stage of the customer journey, as well as tailor feedback campaigns to your different buyer personas.
“Feefo has been a crucial tool in helping to encourage reviews from our customers, whilst also giving greater insight into what our customers really think about our agency, track key trends and better report on branch performance across the entire business.”Nick Moir, Head of Marketing
Most businesses only collect feedback on the buying experience and the product/service, but what about the after sales service? If they had to contact your support team, why not ask them for feedback on the assistance they received? That way, you can understand just how helpful your support staff are, and if they need further training. If you don’t ask, you won’t know!
But what about those people who decide against doing business with you? You need to know when, and why, they chose not to click the ‘buy’ button or fill in that enquiry form. Surveys are a great way to get insight from anyone, whether they’ve bought your products or not. They’re completely private and anonymous too, so you can collect more detailed and more honest feedback. For example, you could survey customers that have recently churned, to find out why they decided to stop using your service or buying your products.
Engagement won’t be meaningful to your customers if it isn’t personal. Customers want to be treated as individuals, so it’s important to tailor your messaging in each communication with them as much as possible.
This is where your customer profiles come in handy, as personalisation is about a lot more than simply emailing a customer a discount code on their birthday. 50% of consumers are more likely to engage with a brand when they receive an interesting offer, while just 7% say the same about a happy birthday email. Your customers don’t care that you know their name and when they were born, after all, they gave you that information! What they want you to do, is to understand what they want and need from your business.
Use the information gathered for your customer profiles to tailor every engagement a consumer has with your brand, from when they browse your website, to when your customer service team are replying their review. Find out more about how to personalise your customer experience here.
Make your brand, and the interactions you have with your customers, more human. Even if you belong to a serious industry, such as banking or property, there are real people behind your business and brand, so make that clear! Perhaps you have someone in your business who’s really passionate and knowledgeable about your brand that could become a spokesperson or the face of your business.
Alternatively, it could be as simple as striking a balance between automation and human interaction. For example, if you use chatbots on your website or social media pages, you may want to automate straight-forward questions, such as ‘how do I change my password?’ or ‘What time are you open until today?’, as small engagements can be handled by a bot and save your customer service team valuable time. However, you still need to make sure you have enough customer service agents available so they can jump in and take over these conversations when the question is a lot more complicated or someone is trying to make a complaint about your business.
Think about your brand’s ethics and beliefs, too. 71% of consumers prefer buying from brands that align to their values. What does your brand stand for? Perhaps you’re trying to improve your carbon footprint, or you want to be a key part of your local community? Whatever your passion is, tell people about it and give them a way to get involved. This will help create more opportunities for people to have meaningful engagements with your brand and could be the key difference between someone choosing your business over another.
You want consumers to encounter your brand as much as possible before, during and after they’ve purchased something from you. This can help to:
Your customer touchpoints will vary depending on your business, but here’s a list of the different ways people could encounter your brand, depending on what each stage of the buying journey they’re in.
Are there any touchpoints you haven’t considered before? Is it worth taking advantage of these opportunities to engage with your customers by adding them to your customer journey map? Use this list to analyse where your business is falling short when it comes to communicating with your customers, so you can make improvements to your customer engagement strategy.
We’ve already briefly mentioned the importance of collecting feedback as part of your customer engagement strategy, and Feefo offers lots of tools that can help! Let’s dive a bit deeper into what tools you can use to improve your customer engagement.
Your website is one of the most important parts of your customer journey, especially if you’re an ecommerce business. Once someone is on your website, you want to keep them there until they make a purchase, booking or enquiry.
That’s where Smart Themes can help. Using artificial intelligence technology, it automatically identifies themes in your feedback so browsers can easily find the reviews they’re looking for. So, when shoppers are looking at your products or services, instead of having to sift through hundreds or even thousands of reviews to find out more information about what the battery life of a smartphone is like or how great your customer service is, they can select just the feedback about the topics they care about at the click of a button.
Not only does this save consumers valuable time, Smart Themes helps to keep them onsite, engaged, and ultimately, converting. The Perfume Shop started using Smart Themes to better understand their customer journey so they could create a more engaging customer experience and increase online sales. In just six weeks, the retailer saw overall conversions grow by 13.5%.
"We have been so impressed by the success of Smart Themes. By giving our customers the opportunity to read only the reviews that are relevant to them, we make it easy for them to access other customers’ feedback and make their buying decision.”Laura Croucher, Head of Digital
Another AI-powered tool, Performance Profiling is perfect for businesses who need to identify issues and successes quickly. Like Smart Themes, it identifies popular themes in your feedback and the emotion surrounding them, but instead of being consumer-facing, Performance Profiling allows you to analyse your feedback internally, by automatically identifying topics and grouping them into four categories.
These categories advise you how to act on these topics – for example, if terms like ‘delivery’ and ‘customer support’ fall into the ‘Focus’ category, you know these topics are regularly being mentioned in a negative context, which means you need to fix any related issues quickly! This allows you to quickly and easily see which engagements are positive for customers, and which need improvements.
If you know exactly what you want to track across your feedback, whether it’s particular members of staff or an aspect of your service, such as delivery, Feefo’s Insight Tags tool allows you to do exactly that.
For example, if you tag reviews left after customers have been in touch with your customer service team with the staff member’s name, you can track who’s getting the most positive feedback, and therefore should be rewarded, and who’s getting the most negative, so you know who needs additional support or training.
You may already know that collecting trusted, third-party customer reviews can help you earn organic stars and seller ratings, but other than displaying your star rating, how else can you get your PPC ads to stand out from the rest?
Use the emotional power of your reviews! Tools like Feefo’s Review Enhanced Ads automatically highlights your best review snippets, so you can place them straight into your Google ads. Our tool also allows you to continually A/B test your best performing review content, so you’re always running the most effective ads.
Hopefully we’ve given you a snapshot into how customer feedback, and our tools, can help you measure, understand and improve the way you interact with your customers. If you want to find out more, get in touch with our friendly team today – just fill out the form below!