The difference between a friend and an acquaintance is the regularity and depth of your communication. A friend is part of your day-to-day life. You speak often, and you’re familiar with each other’s lives. An acquaintance, on the other hand, is someone you might only encounter occasionally when your paths cross.
In business, customers should be more like friends than acquaintances. You want to stay in close contact to remain relevant to their day-to-day success. This deeper relationship is created using customer engagement. In a nutshell, customer engagement is the connection between an enterprise and the customer forged through communications.
So, why is customer engagement important? Because it forms a bond between you and your customers that encourages long-term loyalty based on mutual growth.
Why is Customer Engagement Important in the Customer-Centered Economy?
The digital marketplace offers customers a greater range of options than they’ve previously experienced. Now, the majority of value is gathered over time through a continuing cycle of commitment and recommitment. Customer loyalty has, therefore, become paramount to long-term growth and success; nurturing existing customers sets your enterprise up for success well into the future.
To maintain a customer’s interest, enterprises need to be responsive to change, alert to a customer’s day-to-day needs, and in frequent contact. Customer engagement helps to continually demonstrate your commitment to the customer and allows you to deliver value in every phase of the customer journey.
Customer engagement is the use of communication to demonstrate how much you value your customer’s business and how you are trying to help them meet their goals. It is made up of several key tenets:
- Their success is your success.
- Proactive and personalized communication.
- Sharing customer data across teams.
- Continuously grow and improve.
Their Success is Your Success
Customer success is the two-fold process of understanding the customer and then using that knowledge to take action and deliver value throughout the customer journey. Your success as an enterprise depends on your ability to nurture the growth of your customers so that they continue the relationship.
Encouraging this kind of mutual growth requires you to have a deep understanding of your customers. Be sure you know their business goals so you can provide engagements centered around these objectives. Gather and analyze customer data to keep a close eye on how the customer is progressing through their journey. Using this information, you can engage the customer with timely, targeted messaging that helps them see new value.
Proactive and Personalized Communication
With a working understanding of the customer experience, customer engagement messaging becomes a personalized, relevant intervention into the customer’s daily business life.
If, for example, you see that a customer is not accessing a product feature you know to be of potential value, you can proactively reach out to improve their understanding of its usefulness. Messaging around a theme of, “Did you know X can help you to better track Y” creates the potential for new value and lets the customer know that you are monitoring their progress. It’s also important to be sure you’re having intelligent interactions, not just generic, periodic check-ins. This means being results-oriented, keeping goals in mind, and tailoring your communication to the specific situation. By demonstrating your commitment to improving their daily reality, you make customers feel valued and boost loyalty.
Sharing Customer Data Across Teams
Customer data is relevant to every team within your enterprise. Removing any barriers to accessing and sharing customer data creates informed customer interactions at every level and allows everyone to contribute to the overall customer experience.
During cases of escalation, for example, this enterprise-wide customer understanding allows for personalized messaging about how the problem is being handled and what the steps are in finding that solution. If a customer feels they are being heard, they are more likely to feel valued. Customer success teams can provide value by making sure internal teams are all on the same team and providing follow-up or additional training if needed.
The more often you can relate customer engagement to a customer’s concept of value, the more likely you are to remain relevant to their long-term operations. In addition, shared customer understanding encourages cross-functional problem solving and prevents miscommunication that could cause a customer to feel like your enterprise doesn’t understand their goals.
When detailed customer data is shared across an enterprise, you can give the customer the feeling that they are surrounded by an informed and committed team at every interaction.
Continuously Grow and Improve
Focusing engagements on how the customer can better use the product to realize their unique business goals keeps the relationship relevant. Define and track metrics that closely correlate to the customer’s experience of value, then focus your efforts on improving your performance in these areas.
For example, you might track user adoption metrics that accurately measure how often and how effectively a customer accesses the product in their daily workflows. By setting up automated alerts that report fluctuations in this usage, you can engage with the customer in a timely and personalized manner that positively influences their product experience.
When your team understands what drives your customer’s success and then focuses on improving the product and service around those factors, you can boost a customer’s ROI and generate long-term mutual growth. Customer engagement is the effective expression of that desire for growth.
Customer Engagement is Important for Customer Growth
Effective customer engagement deepens and strengthens the relationship with the customer. It is the way you express your commitment to their success and the way you demonstrate your attention to their day-to-day journey.
Providing regular, targeted customer engagements is much easier when you use the right software. Customer success software helps you gather, analyze, and share customer data across teams so you will have a rich understanding of their goals and where they are in their journey. With such software, you can even automate certain engagements to make sure no customer falls through the cracks.
Customer engagement is the proof you provide to your customers that you value their success and are always working to deliver more. Remember, friendships endure while acquaintances come and go. With the right engagement strategy, you can foster long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with all your customers.