In our last post, we talked about incorporating customer engagement into your marketing strategy. This post will dive deeper into that to help your customers feel a personalized experience for better engagement.
Have you ever watched basketball? Initially, you try to put the ball in your team’s basket as many times as you can in order to score as many points as possible. Compare this with your business while your customers are your points. Each time you make a sale you win a point.
Let’s take it further. In order to win the game, you need to maintain a consistent lead. In basketball, you continue maintaining the lead by continuing to score points while preventing your opponent from scoring.
Basketball and Business
In your business, you must run an effective offense by landing new customers. You must also run a good defense by being careful not to lose your existing customers. The longer a customer has been with you, the greater will be his Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). That means more customers, more business and more revenue. So to retain your old customers you have to plan and execute the game strategy of customer engagement.
What is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement means sincerely connecting with them by personalizing their experiences. The goal is to develop genuine relationships with them. This involves getting to know more about them beyond the sale. Mining through past purchase patterns, demographic information and buying patterns to gather a small bit of information can help you attain surprising “Suggestive” or “Predictive Sales”. The organization should be in a position to make recommendations that the customer will find useful.
Once created, relationships must be nourished and handled with care. So customer engagement is all about creating, developing and managing relationships with customers. It also means building trust between you and the client.
Why is Customer Engagement necessary?
- Wide penetration of the internet and increasing use of social media has empowered the customer like never before.
- Customers can easily compare prices and other features of a product among different brands.
- They are more likely to trust opinions and experiences of their friends and relatives who may have used a particular brand than the advertisement of a company highlighting the important features of its product.
- They take for granted that companies will provide them products/services they want according to their whims and fancies.
- Customers are looking for some kind of understanding of who they are. Customers are diverse from different backgrounds, needs, and attitudes. So a company can’t apply the one size fits all principle anymore. Customers expect personalized treatment.
- Consumers are more likely to listen to their heart than use their brains while making purchasing decisions. So emotions and relationships play a bigger role while buying a product or service.
Benefits of Personalized Experience
You must satisfy the target customer to keep them coming back to you. Both new and repeat customers contribute to your company’s sales. Efforts to attract new customers are always more expensive than trying to retain current customers. Consequently, focusing on customer retention is more important and cost effective than trying to get new ones.
There is no better advertisement than a satisfied customer. Word of mouth referrals will carry more weight than a slick commercial.
Loyal customers will buy items more frequently and in greater quantity. They will also purchase additional products introduced by your company in future. Price and actions of competitors will not be a factor for these guys.
Spot Confused or Unhappy Consumers
Timely identification enables you to address their grievances and prevent them from defecting to the competitors.
May Become Involved
Engaged customers who have developed a personal rapport with the company may offer ideas on how to improve the product or service. Coming from an end user, this can be a great benefit to the organization.
Improved Customer Lifetime Value
(Profit from all the purchases by a customer in a given time) – (Costs in acquiring the customer and managing the relationship). It depends on various factors like life expectancy and annual expenditure of an average customer. But the concept here is that the longer your customers continue to purchase from you, the more valuable they become.
Ways To Promote Personalized Experience to Customers
Defined as “the extraction of hidden information from large databases”, it can help you categorize high-value customers and predict future behaviors. By studying past data, you get an idea of your customer’s shopping patterns and improve their overall shopping experience. For example, through a technique called basket analysis, a department store finds that customers who buy Product ‘A’ are also likely to buy Product ‘B’, then it will place them near each other for the convenience of customers. By knowing which items customers usually purchase together, it can upgrade the store inventory and layout.
Use the data to segment your market under different headings like age, income, gender or occupation. For example, a buyer in the age group of 18-25 usually buys t-shirts, jeans, and tennis shoes.
Companies can cross-sell to better engage with customers. It is when you sell an additional product or service when the customer makes a purchase. Let’s say you make an online purchase at Amazon. You come across a feature: “Customers who bought this item also bought X”. You may not have been aware of item X. If you find item X to be useful and buy it, it’s a win – win situation for both. Amazon has estimated that 35% of its sales come from cross selling.
Your customer service should stand out among the competition. In Holland, the mobile operator, Vodafone charges consumers on a per-call basis instead of per-minute. They take the responsibility to address customer problems promptly and efficiently.
Know Them Better
Collect personal data such as Birthdays, Anniversaries and wish them on those occasions. Offer your loyal customers an extra discount, gift-wrap their packages. Give surprise hampers.
Customer Experience should not be simply controlled by marketing. All employees should be involved. Their roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined to ensure maximum customer satisfaction. The cleaning staff members at Disneyland, for example, are given training on “Interpersonal Skills”. So if any visitor asks them a question, he or she will get a correct and polite reply.
Try to think out of the box. A telecom company, Belgacom, based in Belgium came up with an innovative idea. When it sees new customers trying to use the self-service app to go online, it calls them and offers technical support.
Put out high-quality content to educate customers about your product or service on Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Twitter etc. Buyers get the impression that you are directly interacting with them. A good example of a company using social media for better Personalized Experience is Zappos.
Personalized Experience Leads to Better Customer Engagement
Experience can be personalized if the communications with customers are pertinent, precise and timely. If this is not followed there is less chance that you will retain your customers. In the online era, consumers frequently visit discussion forums, blogs, and corporate websites and use different social media. A negative comment can have a damaging effect while a positive one is free advertising. The consumer is indeed the king and customer engagement has become more important than ever before.