Customer Engagement: How to Keep Your Customers Hooked Throughout the Sales Cycle

customer engagement

This is a guest post by Sawaram Suthar, the head of marketing at Acquire and also a founder of Jagat Media. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune.

Engaged customers are any business’s biggest asset.

Seeing as customers are what make or break a business, you should do everything in your power to keep them engaged at all times.

But customer engagement is a tough coup to pull off.

A study conducted by Hall and Partners revealed that almost two-thirds of a company’s profit depends upon how effective customer engagement is. Another study found that 84% of customers think the experience provided to them by a company is far more important than its products and services. In simple terms, the success of your brand is dependent upon the quality of customer experience you can deliver.

In this guest post for Process Street, I’ll tell you how you can level up your business’s customer experience, thereby engaging customers further.

Specifically, we’ll be looking at:

Let’s get started. ⬇️

What’s the definition of customer engagement?

what is customer engagement

To refresh your memory – or to explain to those who don’t yet know – I want to define what ‘customer engagement’ means.

Simply put, customer engagement is the interactive and emotional relationship a customer has with a brand. High levels of customer engagement can be fostered by providing customers with solid customer experience.

Let me illustrate this further by talking about the world’s richest man: Jeff Bezos.

Do you know what Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, said when he was asked about Amazon’s mission?

“Our mission is to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavor to offer its customers the lowest possible prices.”Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s Leadership Principles

Being customer-centric will take you incredibly far as an organization – just as it did for Amazon. And to get there, you need to follow in Amazon’s footsteps by providing a solid customer engagement strategy. This means you will need to give customers something more than a standard, transactional business relationship.

The importance of customer engagement

importance of customer engagement

By this point, I’m sure you’ve realized that bettering your levels of customer engagement must be useful (especially as I’ve written an entire post on it!).

But it’s more than useful. It’s crucial.

At its heart, customer engagement is more than just having repeat customers. It is the significance of an emotional connection formed between the consumer and you. A highly engaged customer places more belief in your products, spends more on them, promotes them, and also shows more loyalty. Data by Brand Keys shows that a loyalty increase of 7% can increase lifetime gains per customer by 85%, while a loyalty increase of 3% can bring down costs by 10%.

To boot, research by Gallup also shows that a fully-engaged customer represents a 23% higher premium in wallet shares, profitability, relationship growth, and revenue than the average one.

So if you, as a business, aren’t doing much to keep your customers engaged, you risk missing out on opportunities to build a profitable relationship with them.

Customer experience and engagement are interlinked since it is out of a satisfying experience that great engagement is born. But customer experience and engagement are also linked to loyalty, as loyalty stems from how emotionally the consumer identifies with your brand.

Loyal customers, to put it simply, are the best marketing assets. Not just because there’s free marketing but also because the effectiveness of genuine word-of-mouth publicity goes far beyond any other marketing strategy. According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust the advice of friends and family over most forms of advertising. Apart from that, 88% of people take online reviews by other consumers seriously, while 74% of customers consider word-of-mouth as a key influencer of their purchase decisions.

Do you get my point?

Businesses need to put a huge emphasis on their customers, ensuring their experience is the best it can be. Then, engagement and loyalty will follow.

5 ways to keep customers hooked & increase engagement

Want to begin setting the foundation of a customer engagement strategy, or want to improve your current strategy that’s in place, but uncertainty about how to go about it is stopping you in your tracks?

Then try out the five techniques below!

Customer engagement tip #1: Send triggered messages

triggered email

“Real-time triggered emails get good results because they respond to subscriber actions and are relevant to them, so they benefit from current high engagement. Whereas routine marketing emails can be more like interruptions and are sometimes rejected as irrelevant.”Mike Austin, Are You Taking Advantage of Triggered Messaging?

Communication plays a very important role in customer relationships. In the digital age, businesses are communicating all the time courtesy of product updates, notifications, launch news, welcome messages, subscriber emails, and thank you notes.

If you’re armed with data, then it’s all the better as you can send more relevant emails to prospects and customers. Triggered (otherwise known as automated) messaging has become a means to do so and leverages the benefits of customer behavior to provide a satisfying experience.

Did you know that triggered emails have 71% higher open rates and 102% higher click-through rates over non-triggered mails? Automated emails are not only easy for you, but they also make for quick, individualized interactions with businesses. Be it an instant receipt update sent immediately after a purchase or a request for a survey after downloading an app; the right email sent at the right time will make all the difference in the world.

A good example of a triggered message is how Buffer does it. Buffer’s system automatically emails you when a social media post of yours achieves a specific follower reach.

Customer engagement tip #2: Focus on customer support

customer support

Did you know that according to a study conducted by Walker, customer service will lead over price and product as the major brand-differentiating factor after 2020?

A satisfying customer experience encourages your customers to stay loyal to you. In fact, 77% of customers have been known to share positive experiences with their friends and family. And in the digital world where communication is key, support systems are its driving force. They help you efficiently correspond with users, and deliver the right level of support to them, increasing customer satisfaction as a result.

Support systems like live chat can help you resolve customer queries, whether they come from emails, websites, or social media. An eConsultancy report found out that live chat gives rise to the highest level of customer satisfaction at 73%. With the help of a live chat window, your support team can deliver prompt support to users and turn unhappy customers into loyal, repeating ones, resulting in an average of a 48% increase in revenue per chat hour.

Another way to fuel instant gratification among customers is to use a chatbot. By integrating a chatbot within your website, you can instantly answer 80% of routine questions by users, inordinately boosting customer experience in the process.

Customer engagement tip #3: Personalize customer interactions

customer experience

In an Epsilon survey, it was revealed that 80% of customers said they were more likely to shop with a company if it offered personalized experiences.

In this day and age, personalization can take on a host of forms. Be it an automated birthday email providing a discount to a customer or an algorithm suggesting products based on browsing preferences; personalization is the holy grail for businesses. So much so that consumers who like personalized experiences, as Epsilon also found, are 10x more likely to be a business’s most valuable customer and make more than 15 transactions in a year.

The online lingerie company, True&Co, leads the way in personalization. They use a quiz to customize suggestions for prospective users. This is not only a fantastic way to help people find what they are looking for, but it also gives them additional data on what kind of products they are missing that their customers like.

Customer engagement tip #4: Provide user incentives

customer incentives

User incentives are a great way to maximize engagement. The right incentive can massively optimize user behavior in favor of your brand.

However, many companies don’t take this seriously enough and often give customers superficial promises of incentives. Not only does this make customers hesitant to do business with you, but it also diminishes your credibility.

Depending upon your brand goals, you want to set the right incentives that drive the customers to take action that serves a real purpose for them.

It can be as simple as conducting a test for users to try out features and keeping those that work the best. For example, The Chicago Tribune experienced a 56% higher push notification open rate after an A/B testing result revealed that readers were more likely to do so when there was comparatively less information in the notification.

Other times, it can be as straightforward as running a Facebook group for users to ask questions and share tips, which is what CoSchedule did.

Customer engagement tip #5: Devise a well-crafted customer loyalty program

customer loyalty

Devising a balanced loyalty program for regular customers has become the most effective way to retain customers. In fact, 69% of consumers say their retailer choice is informed by where they can earn customer loyalty/reward points, while 46% said that they had already increased their dealings with companies that offered loyalty rewards.

As such, the importance of a business having a customer loyalty program to drive growth has grown immensely. And businesses are slowly making the shift too, with 64% of brands having reported a rise in loyalty program memberships in recent years.

There’s something to be made from these numbers. Customers enter these member-only programs because of the exclusivity they are made to feel in the form of special access to rewards and deals.

A brilliant example of this is Target’s REDCard. A customer loyalty program, REDCard rewards members with an additional discount of 5% whenever they shop. Members are also given exclusive access to rewards and special deals. This is a great way to increase loyalty, if I say so myself.

There you have it – my 5, solid tips for delivering great customer experience and increasing your business’s rates of customer engagement.

Do keep in mind that, when you come to it, be consistent in the customer engagement strategies that you deploy. Think about it as something that paints the brand’s big picture in the eyes of an existing user and a new prospect. This will define their overall customer journey starting from their first interaction all through to the end.

There’s just one final tip I want to give you: I know a tool that will massively help you with your customer engagement strategy. It’s state-of-the-art BPM software called Process Street.

Use Process Street to aid your customer engagement strategy!

Process Street is superpowered checklists.

As you document workflows, business processes, and integral procedures as templates, you can then launch an infinite number of checklists from those templates. Using and following checklists ensure you and your team go about processes correctly.

Let’s say, for example, your team has planned out a customer engagement strategy.

This strategy will be made up of a collection of processes and procedures – a newsletter-writing process, a customer support ticket process, and so on.

Process Street can be used to create processes like the above examples and take full control of them, while also making sure your team is going about them properly! Goodbye human error, hello positive results.

Speaking of processes, you’ll find several ready-made checklist templates related to customer engagement below.

Sign up for free and add them to your account today.

Customer Journey Map Template

Click here to get the Customer Journey Map Template!

Sales to Service Handoff Process Template

Click here to get the Sales to Service Handoff Process Template!

Creating a Newsletter Template

Click here to get the Creating a Newsletter Template!

Email Onboarding Sequence Process

Click here to get the Email Onboarding Sequence Process!

Asking Valuable Customers for Feedback Checklist

Click here to get the Asking Valuable Customers for Feedback Checklist!

What makes Process Street’s checklist templates – and any templates you’ll make from scratch – superpowered is the workflow automation features.

These include (but aren’t limited to):

To learn about some of these features in detail, watch the webinar below.

With all the information I’ve given you – plus the Process Street templates I’ve shared and a link to sign up to Process Street’s nifty business software – you’ve got everything you need to truly engage your customers.

Are you a pro when it comes to customer engagement? If so, share your tips and tricks with the rest of the Process Street community via the comment section below.

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Thom James Carter

Thom is one of Process Street’s content writers. He’s also contributed tech-related writing to The New Statesman, Insider, Atlassian, G2, The Content Marketing Institute, and more. Follow him on Twitter @thomjamescarter.

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