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How to Master the Art of Customer Engagement

Mastering the art of customer engagement requires focusing on building strong, long-lasting customer relationships. Businesses that have cracked the code make it look easy, but as with any artform, looks can be deceiving. 

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Creating unique experiences that convert customers into loyal brand advocates is no easy feat — but it’s essential for the health and prosperity of your business

In reality, it takes building out and executing upon a solid strategy, developing expertise, and investing in innovative tools to attract new customers, deliver personalized experiences, foster trust, cultivate brand loyalty, and actively grow relationships over time — then create a consistent,  transformative customer experience over and over again. 

What Is Customer Engagement?

So, what is customer engagement? Transcending generic, transactional consumer relationships, customer engagement is an ongoing series of actions that nurture deep, trust-based connections.

Customer engagement strategies that rely on one-size-fits-all methods, canned communication, and passive customer experiences aren’t likely to resonate and usually fall short of the current standards and customer expectations. 

The Importance of Customer Engagement

Consider that customers have more power than ever before. Endless choices are a mere click away. Countless brands are vying for their attention across several channels and touchpoints. Poor experiences are easily documented and discussed online. Creating unique experiences that convert customers into loyal brand advocates is no easy feat — but it’s essential for the health and prosperity of your business. Here’s why. 

Customer Satisfaction Enhances Retention

A top-tier offering is not enough to ensure customer satisfaction. Data shows that the overwhelming majority of customers consider the experience a company provides just as important as its offering. If you’re investing in the products and services your company offers and neglecting customer engagement, you’re overlooking a big element of customer retention and success.

Brand Loyalty Turns into Brand Advocacy

Businesses that invest in creating positive, relationship-driven experiences not only enjoy higher retention; they transform customer loyalty into brand advocacy. Data shows that 88% of consumers trust recommendations from people they know above all other sources. Technology makes it easier than ever for your customers to become your biggest promoters — or detractors. 

Engaged Relationships Drive Revenue

Satisfied customers develop trust with your business and continue to purchase, making it easier to cross-sell or upsell. Then, as loyal customers become advocates, they attract new business through reviews and recommendations. The self-sustaining cycle of growth gains momentum over time, fueling a huge ROI for your business.

To achieve all these benefits, you’ll need a clearly-defined and actionable customer engagement strategy.

13 Strategies for Improving Customer Engagement

Understanding and optimizing the customer journey are two of the most powerful customer engagement strategies there are. Equip your business to deliver experiences based on customer preferences and ensure your actions, communications, and services are aligned to consistently meet their needs with the following strategies.

1. Conduct Market Research

  • Going beyond basic demographics like age, gender, and location is essential for competitive market research. Effective digital customer engagement should be fueled by real-time market research insights using tools that offer a 360-view of customer behavior, such as by automate surveys for immediate feedback that scales and using AI to uncover insights from large amounts of quantitative and qualitative data.

2. Conduct Surveys/Interviews to Capture the Voice of the Customer

It’s time to update your survey tactics, as we’ve come a long way simply asking customers to fill out generic questions and forms.

Create personalized surveys using intuitive automation tools that help you get the relevance, timing, and delivery just right for more meaningful insights. Your customers are using multiple channels, so engage with them where they’re most active will yield better results. Whether it’s through a combination of email, SMS, or social media, a multichannel approach to feedback management is a best practice more closely aligned with the modern customer journey.

Asking the right questions unlocks meaningful engagement and creates a two-way conversation. Make sure you design survey questions that measure emotional connection, along with priorities. 

3. Monitor the Digital Experience

A large part of a customer’s experience of your brand will take place digitally. Brick-and-mortar companies need a digital customer engagement plan just as much as any online brand.

Digital experience analytics play a crucial role in experience monitoring by measuring customer interactions on websites and apps to uncover pain points in their online journeys. 

For example, slow-loading pages or a confusing website layout can lead to a frustrating experience. The first step to resolving these issues is about knowing about them so you can take action. 

4. Implement Social Listening Best Practices

Social listening involves tuning into and tracking conversations about your brand on social media, including direct mentions and interactions, while also keeping up with competitors, industry patterns, and more.To implement social listening strategies as part of overall customer engagement:

  • Define clear objectives, like reputation management or detecting trends

  • Track KPIs, like engagement levels and sentiment scores

  • Focus on social channels where your target audience is most active

  • Keep a current list of brand-related keywords for monitoring and update regularly

  • Use tools for real-time alerts and analysis of brand and industry chatter

5. Gather Customer Data and Insights (Signals) from Across All Other Channels and Interactions

While surveys are important, there are other ways customers make their preferences and experiences known. Different customer signals can provide a deeper, more holistic understanding of how customers engage.

Signals can include chat logs, call center phone calls, social media mentions, online reviews, point of sale (POS) data, visit patterns, and more. Armed with comprehensive customer experience signals, businesses can:

  • Respond to customer needs in real time

  • Understand behavior across touchpoints

  • Predict trends and preferences

  • Deliver personalized, proactive engagement

6. Analyze and Act Upon Customer Data and Insights

After doing the legwork to understand your customers, it’s time to take action using AI-powered analytics.

Powerful tools like Medallia’s Text Analytics transform the unstructured text-based data you’ve captured into action-oriented insights to drive your strategy. Similarly, Speech Analytics offers real-time, multilingual analysis, revealing customer pain points and agent performance, freeing up time to focus on refining processes and coaching agents.

Demonstrate to customers that their feedback is heard and valued by using it to fuel strategic decision-making at scale.

7. Create Smarter Customer Segments

Take advantage of your key learnings from the market research you’ve conducted, social listening practices you’ve implemented, and other steps you’ve taken from the list above, to be precise about forming customer segments.

More nuanced segments allow you to be more effective and efficient with personalized customer engagement strategies. For example, if you identify a segment that often fills their cart and abandons it, you can trigger a targeted follow-up campaign offering a discount code or tailored product recommendations. 

8. Map the Customer Journey

Since you’re tailoring your customer engagement efforts to the customer journey, you will want to map out each step from first contact to post-purchase. Customer journey mapping is used to pinpoint exactly where customers are most engaged and where they face blockers. 

Visualizing the highs and lows of the journey will help your business take action to ensure that the way customers experience your brand is positive and consistent. Put your customer segmentation to good use and center your customer journey analysis on specific segments for a more detailed, useful snapshot. 

9. Optimize All Channels and Touchpoints

An effective digital customer engagement strategy recognizes that customers interact and communicate with your business across several channels and devices. 

A great ecommerce experience can be canceled out by an awful POS system in store. A desktop-optimized website falls short if it’s not also mobile friendly. The goal is to deliver a consistent, smooth, and satisfying experience across the board — both in person and online. 

10. Deliver Personalized Experiences

There’s a reason why personalization is a necessary aspect of elevating your customer engagement strategy. Custom (and customer-centric) experiences are a powerful driver of loyalty and spending — and this fact is backed by data. 

According to Medallia research, most consumers are willing to spend more with companies that tailor their experiences (61%), with a whopping 82% reporting that personalization influences which brand they choose when shopping. Given these findings, there’s no excuse to be delivering one-size-fits-all experiences and expecting to increase retention and grow. 

11. Offer Exceptional Customer Support

Medallia research finds that 97% of consumers across the US and UK are more likely to continue doing business with a company that assists with resolving issues fast. On the flip side, 67% will stop doing business with a brand after 2-3 negative interactions.

Don’t risk it. Invest in contact center solutions, such as omnichannel platforms and AI-powered analytics, to greatly enhance agent speed and performance. 

12. Leverage Technology to Improve Customer Engagement

Embracing the latest tools and platforms is essential for improving customer engagement in the current market. While relationship building and customer satisfaction are the bedrock of your strategy, leveraging technology amplifies your impact and results. 

Market Research Intelligence

Go beyond basic demographic information. Use in-depth market research intelligence to stay ahead of ongoing, evolving needs and trends to shape more informed strategies. 

AI-Powered Text and Speech Analytics

AI-analytics can deepen your understanding of customer conversations and feedback to make future interactions more targeted, personalized, and relevant. 

Customer Journey Orchestration

Put your customers first by transforming customer data into actionable insights — making decisions based on what you know about them and where they’re at in their journey leveraging experience orchestration to customize the customer journey. 

Social Listening

Don’t only listen — lead. Use tools that monitor social media platforms and other channels to gain insight into customer sentiments and trends, so you can start setting them.

Real-Time Customer Feedback

Leverage a platform or tool that allows you to capture, gather, and act on immediate feedback from multiple sources so you can stay agile and responsive. 

Customer Experience Management Systems

Look for a customer experience management (CEM) software that integrates with all your tools and provides a seamless, connected approach to managing and improving experiences. Prioritize factors like security and privacy, scalability, and user-friendliness.

Digital Behavior Intelligence

Use multiple behavior signals to gain insight into the full story behind every interaction and experience — even without direct feedback. Digital behavior intelligence technology allows you to zero in on the best and worst moments in the customer journey and improve them proactively.

13. Test and Iterate

What worked yesterday won’t always work tomorrow. Build iteration in your customer engagement strategy so that you’re regularly testing elements of the customer journey. Leverage A/B testing, customer feedback, the results of your customer sentiment analysis, and more to continue improving and optimizing. Enjoy the process! 

Elevate Your Customer Engagement Strategy with Medallia

Businesses that make customer engagement look easy have a secret weapon: They’re using innovative tools and technology to make it simple and scalable.

To truly excel in today’s saturated market where customer-centricity is an expectation, not a nice to have, you’ll need to embrace a transformative customer experience platform like Medallia.

Source: Medallia


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