March 22, 2021

14 Great Customer Engagement Ideas for 2021

By Patrick Wolf

What are your business goals for 2021 (and beyond)? Does it include implementing great customer engagement ideas? If you’re like most businesses, you’re likely searching for ways to scale your business. This means finding methods to increase your revenue, growth, and expansion. But getting here is another story.

You can take various steps to make this happen, but you’ll find it’s impossible to achieve if your focal point isn’t on your customers. And right now, they’re demanding a great customer experience.

For instance, did you know 43% of buyers are more likely to buy if it means getting a better customer experience? We also find that fully-engaged customers represent a 23% higher share in profitability, revenue, and relationship growth.

So if you’re not already prioritizing improving your customer engagement, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to develop customer relationships and grow your business.

Let’s explore this further and then jump into great customer engagement ideas.

What is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is the interaction customers have with brands via various channels. It’s an intentional goal (on behalf of the business) to grow relationships with its customers with the hopes of retaining them. Customer engagement starts with the first interaction and continues even after they’ve made a purchase (through ongoing communication, such as email marketing).

Why is Customer Engagement Important?

Customer engagement can benefit your business, no matter how large or small it is. And what makes it great is how accessible it is (thanks to the digital world we live in). You can use multiple online channels and methods to connect with and engage your customers.

When you use these channels properly and boost customer engagement, you can see benefits like:

  • Enhanced customer loyalty: Engaging your customers means you’re building meaningful relationships with them. And in doing so, you’re creating a group of loyal fans and brand advocates.
  • A competitive edge: With a well-oiled customer engagement plan, you can ensure you’re consistently delivering a great experience. And it helps to differentiate your brand from the others who don’t prioritize the customer experience.
  • Increased revenue: When you have loyal customers, it’s easier and faster to grow your business profits.

What Makes Up a Good Customer Engagement?

So you may be wondering what good customer engagement looks like. It can differ based on the type of business you have and how your brand interacts with its customers.

For example, the customer engagement you’ll find at a brick and mortar isn’t the same as what you’ll find as with an online SaaS company. However, you’ll find there are key elements that make up customer engagements. This includes the following:

Customer Touchpoint Engagement

When a customer interacts with your business website, calls your center, or even uses your live chat feature, these are all forms of brand engagement. So it consists of all the methods a customer would use to directly engage with your business and its employees and assets (website, chatbot, etc.).

Product Engagement

This consists of all interactions customers have with your products. Some may engage with your product after purchasing or via a free trial or demo.

Agent Engagement

Customer support and salespeople are customer-facing teams, which means you need the right people in these positions. The engagement they have with customers can potentially help or hurt the chances of closing deals (or retaining customers).

Brand Engagement

Now, this is more of a process than a single interaction. Brand engagement is the process of creating an emotional or rational attachment between a customer and brand. In other words, it’s what turns customers into loyal brand advocates.

Real Examples Showing Great Customer Engagement Ideas

Before we delve into our list of great customer engagement ideas, we wanted to showcase real-world examples. These are brands you may be familiar with and how they use customer engagement to grow their businesses.

Coca-Cola

The infamous soda company did something remarkable with its customer engagement strategy. It decided to make the customer the face of the brand. It did this with its #ShareACoke campaign, which removed the Coca-Cola logo on the 20-ounce bottles and replaced it with 250 common guy and gal names. It promoted customers to buy the soda with the hopes of either getting their own name or that of someone they could give it to.

Starbucks

Another favorite beverage brand, Starbucks, decided to also find a customer engagement strategy to make its customers feel special. But rather than mess around with its branding, the company decided to start a campaign called the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room.

And as you’d guess, it involved customers getting the chance to taste test different varieties of rare coffees. At the same time, they were also able to speak with coffee specialists and ask questions.

Gravity Payments

We couldn’t make this list without adding at least one online SaaS brand. Gravity Payments’ CEO Dan Price indirectly boosted customer engagement by performing an extreme act of kindness. After Price heard about his employees’ struggles, he decided to raise everyone’s salaries to $70K. This boosted employee satisfaction and productivity, which almost always translates to happier customers.

After this initiative, word got out, and it led to a burst in new leads each month — from 30 inquiries monthly to a whopping 2,000 monthly. And it increased customer retention rates from 91% to 95%.

What Are the Best Examples of Using Technology for Customer Engagement?

The web made it so businesses can better enhance customer engagement (and experiences) from wherever they are. So it’s no surprise that technologies would emerge to help engage customers.

But what are effective tools that create great customer engagement?

Let’s take a look at some of them:

  • Email marketing tools: These are used to nurture leads into customers and then maintain communication with them after they convert.
  • Popup tools: These platforms help to capture leads and customers before they leave your website.
  • Social media: Starting and joining conversations with your audience can help to build relationships and your authority in the industry.
  • SMS marketing tools: Just about everyone’s on their smartphones these days. So reaching out to them there is a smart move for brands.
  • Desktop push notifications: Enabling customers to allow your site to alert them about deals, messages, and other notifications can keep your brand engaged with customers.

These are just some of the ways technologies are used to boost customer engagement.

What Are Some Good Customer Engagement Platforms?

Now, we’re not going to delve into the specific platforms you can use for customer engagement. However, we’ll browse through some of the more general options you can use so you can do your due diligence to find the best fit.

With the right customer engagement platforms, you’ll be able to drive revenue and conversions. This is possible because you’ll be able to measure the right metrics and attribute outcomes to each of your campaigns.

Here’s a look at some of the methods you can use today:

Surveys

Using analytics tools to try and understand your customers can be time-consuming and challenging. And in some cases, you may miss the mark by a long shot. Occasionally, the best way to learn about your target audience is to simply ask them. You can do this with survey platforms like SurveyMonkey and Typeform.

Live Chat

What better way to engage customers than with a live chat feature? A lot of today’s consumers prefer to communicate via digital channels for convenience and speed. With live chat, you can offer this feature to your customers.

Chatbots

But what about when you close for the day, weekend, or holiday and still want to provide communication options for customers? Chatbots are getting smarter and better, making it a must-have for brands. These can help customers resolve problems and schedule appointments with live agents.

Sending Platforms

Sending messages to your customers regularly is essential to maintaining relationships. But what if you could spice things up by sending something a bit more memorable? You can do that with corporate gifting. You can use Sending Platforms like Sendoso to personalize and brand your gifts to make a great first (or lasting) impression on new customers (and existing clients).

Customer Churn Tracking

One of the top reasons to use customer engagement strategies is to help reduce churn rates. But to do this, you need a way to track customer churn. This will enable you to see patterns in data so you can potentially stop the issue and prevent it from recurring.

A/B Testing

You need this strategy for your website, marketing campaigns (i.e., emails), and advertising efforts. A/B testing will help you understand how customers engage with your online assets (and improve them to get better results).

What Are Engagement Strategies?

Customer engagement strategies are what brands use to plan how, when, where, and what will be used to engage their customer base. The goal is to boost customer satisfaction by offering positive interactions with customers across all channels — online and offline.

Engagement strategies include which channels to adopt to better connect with their audience. It also covers your brand messaging (which should be tailored to each persona), and methods to capture attention (ads, gifting, contests, etc.).

If you’re not already using customer engagement strategies, then make 2021 the year you start. Here’s a list of 14 of the most effective customer engagement strategies.

What is the Best Way to Plan Customer Engagement?

Putting together a plan for customer engagement is simple. You just need the right data and insights to make it work. Here’s an overview of the steps to take to build a customer engagement strategy:

  • Develop a profile for your ideal customer(s)
  • Create a professional website that looks trustworthy and attractive
  • Get to know your customers using a pre-chat survey
  • Understand what drives your customers
  • Make mistakes and learn from them
  • Use co-browsing to aid customers (allows agents to help customers find what they need)
  • Learn from your teams (sales, customer service, and marketing) and align them to build a customer-centric strategy and culture
  • Monitor your results and tweak your strategy as needed

Next, let’s review what customer engagement strategies you can use to enhance your business’s customer experience.

Customer Engagement Strategy #1: Build Your Brand Voice

Customers want to identify with the brands they do business with. One way to do this is to create the personality of your company. Your brand voice personifies your business, making it relatable and memorable. For example, maybe your persona is quirky, elegant, snarky, intelligent, and/or modern. Whatever you choose, make sure to “stay in character,” or you’ll lose credibility and trust.

Customer Engagement Strategy #2: Create a "Tag a Friend" Contest On Social

If you want to gain attention for your business, then social media is the channel to use. But if you’re not using the right strategy, you could easily be drowned out by all the noise there. So to help you stand out, you can use “tag a friend” contests to get your followers doing the work of building visibility for you. Make a contest or giveaway that resonates with your brand and audience.

Customer Engagement Strategy #3: Personalize All Customer Communications

You built one or more personas for your customers. Now’s the time to use them to guide your content and messaging. Be sure what you’re creating resonates with one or more personas, so it feels relatable and personalized. This goes for blog topics, emails, and so on.

Customer Engagement Strategy #4: Deliver an Omnichannel Customer Experience

Your customers are engaging with brands on more than one channel. So they expect it to be seamless. You can deliver on this by connecting all of your channels, so you know where customers are interacting with your brand. This will enable you to see every touchpoint so your people can continue the conversation wherever the customer chooses to reach out.

Customer Engagement Strategy #5: Use Live Chat for Real-Time Engagement

Customers are looking for fast communications. So if the best you can offer is long wait times on the phone, then you’ll lose plenty of leads at the gate. With live chat, you can capture more prospects and maybe even convert a few.

Customer Engagement Strategy #6: Reward Your Most Engaged Customers

Loyalty programs are still thriving, and for a good reason — it promotes customers to stay engaged with brands. You can do the same by incentivizing customers who renew their subscriptions, purchase more products, and/pr share your social posts.

Customer Engagement Strategy #7: Send Customers a Personalized Gift

Corporate gifts are growing in popularity because they help to engage prospects and customers alike. You can use them to entice leads to return or schedule a call. And it can show customers you care — increasing the odds of them sticking with your brand long-term.

Customer Engagement Strategy #8: Conduct Customer Surveys

Getting feedback from your customers is an excellent way to learn what they like and dislike. It’s also an opportunity to improve your brand and its strategies. The best times to send a survey is after a purchase, after receiving customer service, and after subscribing to a loyalty program or email newsletter.

Customer Engagement Strategy #9: Establish Your Presence On Social Media

Social channels are for more than sharing your latest products and blog posts. Use it as a platform to also share your brand voice and thoughts. You can start conversations to engage your audience and answer questions, establishing yourself as a thought leader.

Customer Engagement Strategy #10: Re-Engage Your Quiet Customers

Haven’t heard from a customer for a while (aka no recent purchases, email opens or clicks. or contacts)? Then you may have a stale customer. You can reignite your relationship with them by reaching out via email, SMS, or social media. Offer a discount or other incentive to get them to come back.

Customer Engagement Strategy #11: Create Content that's Useful and Valuable

Your content should always provide value to your target customers. Otherwise, they won’t take the time to view, read, or listen to it. Make sure all the content you develop speaks on their particular pain points, problems, and needs.

Customer Engagement Strategy #12: Make Sure to Regularly Communicate with Customers

Open a communication pathway early on (preferably two-way), so you can nurture leads into customers and customers in long-term advocates. Email is the prime channel used to do this. However, you can also implement SMS and social media into the mix. You can use these channels to share personalized content, such as blog posts they’ll like and upcoming contests they’d want to join.

Customer Engagement Strategy #13: Measure Customer Engagement

It’s difficult to develop a successful customer engagement strategy if you’re not following the metrics. Use analytics to determine which method, channels, and content to continue (or scrap).

Customer Engagement Strategy #14: Adopt the Right Tools for Customer Engagement

There are several platforms and tools you can use to aid your customer engagement strategy. This includes email, content, social, CRM, sales platforms, and survey tools. Identify which ones will best suit your strategy based on the techniques you implement.

Start Building a Winning Customer Engagement Plan

Building a great customer experience is no longer an option — if you continue to ignore this, you’ll hurt your chances of winning new customers (and keeping them). So the best thing to do now is to start planning and implementing strategies focused on improving customer engagement for 2021.

Hopefully, this guide gives you the jumpstart you need to brainstorm the approach you’ll take with your customer engagement plan.

For more ideas on how to engage customers, schedule your free Sendoso demo today.

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