May 22, 2020

Customer Engagement: Best Practices for Increasing Satisfaction

Customer engagement is a top objective for any customer-facing team, including marketing, sales, and customer success. It’s an important topic, and opinions on the practice and priorities in customer engagement may vary depending on the channels you use, and the outcomes you’re striving for in your campaign.

What does it mean for revenue when customers become engaged? What are the potential outcomes of better engagement? How can you analyze your engagement, and tailor your strategies around the results? Here, we’ll explore the basics of customer engagement, its importance to your overall customer acquisition and retention strategy, best practices on building a successful customer engagement program, and examples of well-executed customer engagement strategies.

What is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is the process of offering your customers and prospects something of value—be it education, entertainment, or excitement—outside of your products and services.  This type of multi-channel outreach through the customer lifecycle strengthens the relationship with the brand, encouraging loyalty and a two-way communication.

For instance, you may want your customers to read a piece of content, share a post, enter a contest, leave a review, or continue to use an app or service. Engagement activities are geared toward not conversion, but connection (though ultimately, it serves that outcome). Engagement as a long-tail strategy opens the door to repeat sales or even referrals to their friends and family.

Customer Engagement Marketing 

This continual strengthening of the brand relationship is achieved through customer engagement marketing, a strategy that delivers timely and personalized messages, offers, and incentives to a customer throughout their journey.

The marketing approach can be tracked, analyzed, and improved through the use of a Customer Engagement Management platform, which allows teams to plan and deliver great customer experiences, track response rates, and tailor marketing messaging based on response insights and market data.

Why is Customer Engagement Important?

While acquiring new customers is part of a healthy pipeline for any business, keeping the customers you’ve already got is equally (if not more) important. Building a good customer engagement and retention strategy can create more predictable monthly revenue, reduce churn, and increase referral-based business. There are many important reasons.

Cost Reduction

Acquiring new business is expensive—up to 25 times more expensive than retaining a customer. When you commit a budget to a solid customer engagement strategy, you can save a considerable amount of money over the long-term by reducing the need for aggressive spending in customer acquisition.

Better Lifetime Value

Customers that stick by you are likely to spend more money over time. In fact, customers with an emotional connection to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value. The money and time you invest in your retention efforts will be returned in multiples when you create loyalty.

Reduced Churn

Just because they love you, doesn’t mean you’re the only one. Up to half of your best customers are also shopping with your competitors. If you want to keep them, brand engagement is the way to go.

More Referrals

Customers that are thrilled with your product or service are highly likely to recommend it to their friends and family. Not only does this reduce the cost of acquiring new customers, creating brand evangelists improves new customer conversion by building in rapport.

Improved Brand Reputation

Customers who feel appreciated and engaged are likely to leave positive feedback, increasing your brand reputation. This can translate directly to revenue, with 69% US consumers being willing to spend more with a company that has good customer service.

Building a Successful Customer Engagement Strategy

While every engagement strategy looks different, and while your overall strategy is driven by factors specific to your business, industry, and audience, the best customer engagement strategies have a few key characteristics. These core best practices can help you collect the information you need to build rapport with your customers for the long term, even when market conditions, trends, or needs change. “

  1. Ask Questions: The best way to understand your customers and what motivates them? Ask! Tools such as customer profiles and satisfaction and loyalty surveys can help you understand customers’ needs and desires, beyond the information collected by your CRM or CEM platforms.
  2. Create Customer Personas: If you’re going to create good content, it’s important to know who your customers are. Creating detailed, data-based customer personas, based on educated assumptions about your different customers, can help you craft content most likely to catch tier attention and get them to engage. There are templates available online to help you ask the right questions and flesh out your personas to get as close as possible to your ideal customer.
  3. Create Great, Diverse Content: With your personas fully developed, you are ready to create content that will engage, entertain, and delight your audience. Building content based on a well-formulated buyer’s journey and the right data can help you time communications and offers effectively. Be sure to develop content across all channels indicated by your persona.
  4. Create an Omnichannel Strategy: Your buyer personas don’t just live in one place. Most people engage with an average of seven social media channels, according to a study by the GlobalWebIndex. Take advantage of this statistic by creating a wide variety of touchpoints with different types of content, including long and short-form written content and thought leadership, social media campaigns, video, traditional advertising, and direct mail. Each of these offers a chance to reach your audience in a place where they are likely to spend time and engage with your brand.
  5. Be Personable: Brand personality is a big part of getting your customers to engage with your content. Corporations like Coca-cola, Jetblue, Apple, and Purple Mattress have built followings on the emotional connections they’ve built with their audience. Develop a distinct brand voice and standards that permeate every communication and advertisement you send.
  6. Personalize the Customer Experience: The emotional connection you’re looking for is all about customer-focused communication. It makes the recipient feel as though a communication or experience is tailor-made just for them. Using data to create personalized experiences, timing communications effectively, responding to changing needs, and creating the feel of one-to-one interactions at scale are essential to creating loyalty and improving conversion rates.

Examples of Engaging Customers

To understand the power of customer engagement, it helps to examine some real-world examples of engagement in action, and see the results businesses are realizing as a result of their engagement efforts. Here are some great examples of using the power of customer experience to create engagement and results:

Alleyoop

Strategic outbound marketing company Alleyoop wanted to use customer engagement to differentiate themselves from the competition. The company began sending eGifts to their prospects. As a result of this new strategy, the company has experienced a 20% increase in both its meeting completion rates and phone connect rates, as well as an overall 40% response rate. The use of this engagement marketing strategy was so successful for their own outbound sales efforts, the company started sending eGifts on behalf of its clients, as well.

SmartRecruiters

This talent acquisition platform was looking to improve conversion rates in order to hit quarterly targets. SmartRecruiters decided to use direct mail and sending as a means to secure more meetings. The team sent cupcakes to recipients as a way to create a widespread impact. The shareable treat increased their conversion rate to 60-70%, decreased closed-won time by half, and increased pipeline by nearly $6M in just eight months.

RollWorks

To increase its pipeline performance, RollWorks sent target accounts a multi-touch direct mail campaign to get the conversation started—a fresh bag of coffee as the ice-breaker and the bonus of a Yeti mug sent as a relationship-builder once a meeting was set. This multi-touch strategy allowed Rollworks’ SDRs to realize a 22% increase in net new opportunities and increased their response rate by over 50%. The increased engagement from these efforts was a hit with the sales team as well, with 100% adoption of direct sending to improve engagement.

Customer Engagement Made Easy

Reaping the rewards of good customer engagement doesn’t have to be difficult if you adopt a customer-focused approach, observe a few best practices, and integrate the right tools. The benefits of increased engagement, reduced churn, better messaging, and reduced customer acquisition costs are well within reach.

Sending direct mail, gifts, and branded swag is an effective customer engagement strategy that can increase your response rates and revenue at an excellent ROI. Using a Sending Platform can further improve your results and reduce costs by making it easy for teams to plan and implement campaigns, connect with customers on a highly personalized level, and use the insights collected from sending to improve future performance and response.

If you’d like to learn more about how the right gift can create engagement and loyalty for your customers schedule a demo with a Sending Specialist today.

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Peter Tarrant, Account Based Marketer, Tipalti

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