The Art and Science of Customer Engagement

It’s a no-brainer that we no longer interact with customers the same way we did face-to-face in brick and mortar. With customers increasingly using social media, apps and websites to shop and browse, they are being empowered with more information and more choice. With so much choice available to the customer, it really boils down to the quality of their customer experience with the company that ultimately wins a customer and gains their loyalty. For any company that wants to increase their conversion rates and retain their customers (which company doesn’t, really), you need to excel at customer engagement.

What is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is, in its simplest form, the interaction between a company and their customers. But it should not be mixed up with Customer Service. Customer Service is an interaction with a customer as a result of the customer reaching out to the company.  Customer engagement on the other hand, is an interaction between the company and customer where both parties are actively reaching out to each other. On social media, this takes form of companies posting engaging content such as quotes and discounts to delight their followers, as well as responding and reacting to customers who reach out to them.

I’ll break this down with an example:

A customer has a problem with a company’s product. He takes a picture and posts this on the company’s Facebook.

Scenario 1: The company sees this issue and replies with a solution to the customer. End of interaction. This is customer service.

Scenario 2: The company replies to this customer publicly with a solution; and privately messages him asking for his email address in order to send him a small token of appreciation for letting them know. This time, the customer posts up his satisfaction with how the company has handled the issue. In response, the company reply favourably to his post and reshares it to encourage other customers to also contact them about issues, because they are actively listening to their customers. This, is customer engagement.

How to do Customer Engagement and do it Right

So, customer engagement is a little more work than your traditional customer service. It might be a real pain, but with such widespread use of the internet, that is the level of customer experience you need to provide to attract, retain and engage customers to develop them into promoters. Whilst there are countless ways to engage with your customers, there are three crucial points you need to address in every customer engagement strategy.

1. Be Omnipresent

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Being omnipresent means that you’re everywhere at the same time. Meaning, you should be on social media, email, phone, chatbot and whatever other communication channel your company uses, all at the same time, around the clock. Customers expect a company to have presence on at least 3 to 4 social channels, as well as fast response times across all these channels. 32% of people who contact a company for customer support on social media expects a reply within 30 minutes. 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. Crazy right! If you’re anything like me, you’re a bit of a sloth replying to your friends on social media. Just imagine if you had hundreds messaging you every day expecting instant replies.

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Some ways companies are overcoming this hurdle is by outsourcing customer service, using social media management platforms, or just start slow by using social listening tools. Customers want to have their voice heard on a channel they use, and very importantly, want to know that you value their time.

2. Provide seamless omnichannel experiences

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Omnichannel experiences mean blending the touchpoints a company has with its customers to provide a wholesome, integrated experience. Not only will this improve customer satisfaction, but the reduction of customer effort has been proven to be a huge contributor to customer loyalty.

Disney and Tomorrowland are amongst the top in providing an omnichannel experience to their customers. Customers start from mobile optimised websites, to online itinerary planning, to a mobile app that can be used to find locations at the venue. They have made it easier for customers to transition from platform to platform and from online to offline, making these entertainment giants some of the most successful in the world.

3. Be Personal

Nothing better than having human touch, really. In a Genesys Global Survey, 40% of 9000 consumers say better human service mattered to them the most in customer support, much more than other options such as integration of more channels and enriched content.

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Being personal goes beyond using their name when interacting with them or showing a picture of your face on the chatbot screen; it also encompasses being responsive to their emotions and knowing their history with the company. The end goal is for the customer to develop feelings of personal connection to a company or brand. Once they are in this comfortable stage, it’s much more likely they will end up becoming evangelists of the company.

A fantastic example of online personalization is Hubspot’s smart content. Smart content intelligently personalizes content to the user’s need. Using information such as their job title, average page views or stage in the buying process, smart content changes the content the user sees on the website. A regular visitor would for example, see different call-to-actions or forms compared to a new user. The result? Personalized content did 42% better.

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Whilst there is no one right way to do customer engagement, being omnipresent, omnichannel and personalized (even to some degree) has reaped many benefits for all companies that have implemented it. What are you doing in your business to engage with your customers? Share with us in the comments below!

Why is Multi Channel Customer Service Important?

We live in a time of plentiful choices. Making the most of it, many organisations or start-ups in Australia are creating their impact, in the shortest possible time, by means of integrating multiple channels of customer service in their businesses.

Nowadays, integration of multi-channel customer services is one of the most important factors for a business to consider, due to many reasons. By providing a range of options to the customer, businesses in Australia are attracting and growing their loyal customer base significantly. They build high value by affecting the way in which people are making purchase decisions nowadays.

In addition, offering abundant choices to your customers is a forerunner for a business to maintain its presence, meet the customer needs round the clock irrespective of their location, and empower customers to take the right decision. To assist you further, let’s have a detailed look at the concept of multi-channel customer service in Australia.

Business Efficiency through Multi Channel Integration

Multi channel customer service holds huge potential in delivering business efficiency and excellent customer experiences. The customer experience offered by integrating a multi channel strategy creates a more personalised, optimised and responsive outlook of a business in Australia’s competitive and transforming industries.

As per the Fifth Quadrant’s research;

The primary channels that attract the maximum investment of various small or big organisations are 83% online or self-service – digital, 62% mobile apps, 34% email and surprisingly, 57% of investment is focused on the phone or voice channel while 18% towards face to face channels.

This clearly emphasises on the potential that opens up for a business with the integration of multi channel customer service. Along with that, the level of exposure of the customer base to your business improves, as you cater to the needs of your customers by all means, and without falling short of their expectations.

Are you increasing the investment in multi channel customer service this year, to attain higher business value in your particular industry?

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If you too, plan to join the forces of digital transformation and differentiate your business from the existing competitors, then you must make the most of these consumer channel preferences, and make only the right decisions, most importantly in the right direction, to optimise your customer service experience.

The top most channels utilised by Australian consumers, to avail customer service, are through phone conversation – 62%, via self-service website – 41% and in person – 45%.

The Prospective Channels of Customer Service and their Importance

Organisations that believe in delivering exceptional customer support, reach out to their consumers through all of those channels where their customers are present. Thus:

  • If your existing customer base includes avid user of emails, opt for an instant email support.
  • If they like to reach your business on Twitter, make this platform as your potential channel of customer support to access your customers efficiently.

In continuation of the above stated Fifth Quadrant research, keeping a strong grip on all the available channels of customer support will be the only key factor in differentiating your business and moving it along to a true market leader.

Email: This is undoubtedly the most non negotiable channel for all types of businesses. Almost 91% of consumers utilise an email service, everyday. This is the easiest means of building instant rapport with your customer base.

Social Media: Social networks are now the most excellent means of accessing your customer and to grow your business. Companies who use social networks as customer support channels have 15% lower churn rates than the ones who don’t.

Self-service Knowledge Base: As the name depicts, the self-service knowledge base is extremely useful to help your customers get to know you better, without being present for their assistance, through a live channel of customer support. You can deliver exceptional assistance 24/7 with just a small team.

Voice or live Chat:Phone support is old-fashioned but considered as the fastest means of communication between your business and the customer base. In fact, phone assistance accounts for almost 68% of the speediest interactions. Similarly, 44% of customers say that having a live chat support during an online purchase creates a trustworthy relationship with the service providers and is accounted for, as the top feature a website could offer.

See also: How to Do Customer Service The Right Way

Multi Channel Customer Service – A mean of seamless consumer experience

Your customer wants to be able to contact you with whatever device they hold in their hands and that is what your business needs to do – make itself accessible, by all possible means, for your customer’s satisfaction.

Integrate many digital platforms and provide seamless consumer experience through different channels. If you manage to reach out to your consumer base through numerous channels, your business will be providing fantastic experience to its customers, which is hard to give up.

Gain more loyalty and trust with your instant customer service. Stay responsive to your customers and effectively provide them with updated information and flawless support.

In today’s fast paced and transforming world, a business that shows itself invested in providing exceptional support to its customers, by making the most of the multi channel customer service, will go a long way in building long lasting relationships with its customers and successfully make its mark.