Every business is founded on a relationship with its clients, and the key to that is customer engagement. This engagement involves actively fostering a relationship with your clients to increase brand recognition, enhance loyalty and differentiate your business from competitors.
So how do you improve that client engagement and where do you start when it comes to creating a customer engagement strategy for your business?
The importance of customer engagement
In broad terms, customer engagement is the way a business goes about building a relationship with a client that goes far beyond a transaction.
It’s how they communicate with them, interact with them and differentiate themselves in a bid to create brand recognition and foster customer loyalty.
And while some may think this relationship simply evolves naturally as part of the business process, the reality is it often involves creating a clear customer engagement strategy to define that relationship, enhance it and nurture it.
Done well, this engagement strategy engenders customer loyalty, creating an ongoing conversation between you and your client.
With that in mind here are the seven steps involved in creating a customer engagement strategy…
Who is your ideal customer?
Before you even begin to create a customer engagement strategy, you need to clearly understand who your customer is and where they ‘hang out’.
If your business is established, bear in mind this customer may have altered over time. If your business is new, identifying this client will be key to your success.
Regardless, one of the most effective ways to identify your ideal customer and commence engaging with them is to create a customer persona.
Akin to having an imaginary friend in the room when making marketing or business decisions, a customer persona incorporates details of how your specific customer thinks, what they like to do, how much income they have at hand and where they like to go.
A customer persona includes:
- How they spend most of an average day
- Their disposable income
- Brands they are attracted to
- Their position on a specific issue
- Their priorities in life
- Sources of information they trust
- Keywords that indicate who they are
- A quote that sums up their frame of thinking
- Goals they strive to meet
Understand your current performance
To work out how you will take your client engagement to the next level, you need to determine where you are now, and this involves looking at a series of metrics across your business.
Depending on what your business does, these might include looking at your:
- Net promoter score
- Website bounce rate
- Pitch-to-sales ratios
- Foot traffic to sales ratios
- Session time on site
- Social media analytics
- Reviews and referrals
- General customer feedback
- And more…
Each of these determines how and where your customer currently engages with your business and how effective that engagement is at driving sales and loyalty.
Know your customer journey
Every customer who interacts with your business embarks on a journey with your brand, and it’s important to map this journey out.
This journey includes every touchpoint with your business that they have along the way, and it’s likely to take a number of forms.
It might commence with social media, a referral, an advertisement or an internet search that finds your website.
This is the first interaction with your business which then sets out the expectation of what your ideal customer will encounter if they continue their journey with your brand.
From there, the journey should be tailored to maximise every touchpoint the customer has with your business and meet their expectations as they venture down the path to a possible sale.
To map your customer journey, consider how your customers typically hear about your business and what ideally happens from there in order to attain a sale.
Improve the overall experience
Once you know the current state of your customer engagement and the journeys that typically lead to a sale, it’s time to focus on the areas which have potential for improvement.
This involves looking at each touchpoint and identifying what could be done better.
Is it customer service from your frontline staff? Could it be improved calls to action on your website or a frequently asked questions page that alleviates customer concerns? Perhaps it’s cart reminders for e-commerce businesses, or maybe it’s ensuring you have the stock on hand that the customer seeks.
Whatever it might be, the aim here is to remove friction and improve interaction with your ideal client at every touchpoint on the customer journey.
Build a brand voice
A brand voice is a key component of customer engagement. This voice helps you stand out from the crowd and allows the customer to instantly recognise who you are and what your business stands for.
This brand voice encompasses how your business sounds and looks. It extends from the words your business uses to how your business looks including the colours and fonts it favours.
When creating your brand voice, consider how your business would sound if it were a person. What words and tone would it use? How would it make people feel? Is it warm and friendly? Casual and irreverent? Knowledgeable and authoritative?
What words would your business use, and what would it avoid?
Meet customers where they are
To really engage with customers and drive a customer journey that meets their needs, you need to meet customers where they are.
This involves having a clear understanding of where your customers ‘hang out’ and how they like to interact with your brand.
For some businesses this will be social media, for others, it will be their website or in person. In many cases, it will be a combination of a few channels.
But regardless, when you know where your ideal customer ‘hangs out’, you can start tailoring the customer journey to suit their needs and actively engage with them in their preferred space.
Reward customer loyalty
If you have an established relationship with your client which sees them loyal to your brand, this loyalty should be recognised and rewarded.
And this recognition can take a number of forms. Perhaps it’s through loyalty discounts or special offers. Maybe it’s through personalised messaging and giveaways.
However you choose to reward loyalty, it’s about recognising the two-way relationship you have with clients and the value they add to your business.
Close the loop and seek feedback
Once you know your ideal customer, their journey and the ways you can better engage with your clientele, it’s time to close the loop by implementing the strategies that will foster increased customer engagement.
And this might involve working with different members of your team across multiple points in the customer journey.
It could include creating improved social media practices, ironing out friction points in the journey or improving the customer experience that your client enjoys in person with your business.
Once these engagement strategies have been implemented, it’s time to continue seeking feedback in the knowledge there’s always room for improvement in any business when it comes to engaging with and serving your ideal clientele.
If you’re looking to plan for your better future and achieve better customer engagement, I’m available to assist, and you can reach out to me directly to book a discovery call here.