Wouldn't it be nice to be able to read your customers' minds? While mind-reading may not be doable, knowing exactly what your customers think of your service or product is a way. Not to mention, it's a bit more accurate than mind reading.
We're talking about customer engagement, which is how brands build lasting relationships with customers across multiple communication channels. Engaging customers in the ongoing dialogue is one of the best ways to get to know your customers and learn about where you can improve.
Below, we dive into why customer engagement is important for understanding today's customers and offer examples of metrics you can use to track the effectiveness of your customer engagement strategy.
Why is customer engagement important?
Customer engagement is one of the best ways to take the guesswork out of your customers' thinking. While many customers like to approach the online purchase process on their own or by referencing self-service information, many would like the opportunity to chat with someone from your organization to answer their questions and steer them in the right direction.
Adding multiple touchpoints and communication channels between your team and your customers can help nurture customer relationships and create a more fulfilling customer service experience.
Listening to your customers and gauging areas for improvement can also help you develop loyal customers who can become brand evangelists, bringing other customers your way via word of mouth.
5 steps to create a customer engagement strategy
Now that you know why customer engagement is important, you're probably wondering where to start with or improve your own customer engagement strategy.
Below, we discuss five steps you can take to gather data and engage with your customers.
- Find the right technology. Look for a customer engagement platform that allows you to engage with customers across various channels and touchpoints. A few platforms to look into include: Omnichannel customer service, conversational marketing, and conversational commerce.
- Locate the channels your customers prefer. Different generations prefer to connect with brands in different ways. By identifying your target audience(s), you can better understand your target demographic and use research to map out the channels your customers prefer.
- Offer personalized experiences. Rather than sticking to a strict script, giving your representatives a little freedom to have more personalized conversations with customers can pave the way for exceptional customer experiences.
- Invite customer feedback. Not all customers will share their insights with a company. Some need a little enticing. You can do so by offering incentives for giving a review or feedback in the form of discounts on a future purchase, free shipping, or other customer loyalty reward strategies.
- Collect data from customer interactions. A mix of leading and lagging customer engagement indicators are crucial to knowing how your customer engagement strategy is benefiting your overall business and customer service goals.
Key metrics to track the success of your customer engagement strategy
While your business goals may vary, these KPIs will help you measure the success of your customer engagement efforts through customer-driven data.
Leading indicators fall into the “soft KPIs” category, meaning they focus on qualitative measurements rather than hard KPIs' objective, measurable data nature. These help pinpoint areas of improvement to focus on.
Leading indicators include:
- Email open and response rates
- Text read and reply rates
- Social media engagement
- Repeat visits to your website or monthly active users (MAU)
- Time spent on your website and on specific pages
- Conversion rates
- Call talk time with customer service
Lagging indicators take a retroactive look at what's already happened within your organization and can be used to show progress over time.
These metrics include:
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT)
- Net Promoter Score (NPS)
- Customer effort score (CES)
- Customer churn and retention rates
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)
Customer engagement is key to nurturing and developing in today's competitive market. For even more inspiration on creating a lasting customer engagement strategy, this infographic from Sinch outlines examples of brands that are knocking customer engagement out of the park and shares lessons learned from successful brands.