65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, so investing in increasing the engagement of those customers should be every marketer's goal. And considering it costs more to acquire new customers than it does to retain existing ones, can you really afford not to?
In this blog we will give you ideas about how to boost customer engagement by implementing customer engagement strategies that will work behind the scenes to continually ensure your customers are satisfied.
A customer engagement strategy is a plan consisting of interactions and activities that aim to nurture your existing customer base and improve engagement satisfaction to lower the risk of churn and drive customer advocacy
Below are eight simple and effective customer engagement strategies you can sink your teeth into. You can also set goals around customer engagement and track engagement scores - read our blog to learn about tracking customer engagement scores.
1. Personalize interactions
Perhaps the most important rule when it comes to engaging customers is to talk to them directly. This means personalizing interactions wherever you can.
Personalizing your content is the key to engagement. In fact, 72%say they will only engage with personalized messaging. Personalization isn’t only about using their name in the emails you send them – although that is important – it’s also about delivering them messages that they want to see; messages that are relevant and make sense to them, based on what you know about them.
For example, if you know that your customer has been browsing shoes on your website, there is a good chance that shoes are what they are after. Therefore, it makes sense to send them messages about shoes, through email, ad retargeting, website pop-ups, and so on.
2. Determine your intention when building customer journeys
Automating customer journeys is a sure-fire way to boost customer engagement, but a journey without a clear purpose is redundant. Design each customer journey with one goal in mind, whether that be to encourage one-time buyers to make a second purchase or prevent at-risk customers from churning.
Say you’re a SaaS company, and you discover that users who don’t log into their accounts for 30 days often churn. Using this insight, you can build a customer journey that notifies your customer success team via a Slack alert when a user is ‘at-risk’, which could prompt them to the relevant actions to win back their engagement before they churn.
Or, an ecommerce business may create a win-back email campaign to re-engage inactive customers (i.e. customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while), by offering certain discounts, showing them new products, etc. To learn how to create the best win-back email campaigns, read our blog.
3. Use customer lifecycle stages to guide your marketing
To help you deliver the right message at the right time, think about your customer engagement efforts within the context of your customer lifecycle stages. These vary from business to business and across industries.
Ecommerce businesses, for example, typically have five customer journey stages: awareness, consideration, conversion, retention and advocacy. Find out more about the ecommerce customer journey here. A B2B or SaaS company, on the other hand, may have seven customer journey stages: awareness, consideration, evaluation, purchase, adoption, expansion, and advocacy. Read more about the SaaS customer journey here.
Whatever your business type, breaking the customer journey down into stages will allow you to identify what messaging is appropriate and effective for your audience at different times. For example, offering discounts may be appropriate if your goal is to encourage a one-time buyer to make a repeat purchase, but not for loyal customers who are already buying regularly. Similarly, educating a customer in the ‘advocacy’ stage about what your product can do is not necessary (except in the case of new features or product updates), while it is incredibly important for a prospect in the ‘awareness’ stage.
4. Set your customers up for success with quality customer support
Customer engagement efforts are more effective when they are proactive rather than reactive. In other words, it’s much easier to set customers up for success than it is to frantically re-engage them.
Proactive customer support involves providing your customers with the necessary resources to succeed from the very beginning, not when things go wrong. For example, a SaaS company may send new customers a welcome/onboarding email with clear instructions on how to get started and find what they need. This email could include:
Direction to a product demo where they can ask questions in real-time
A step-by-step guide to taking their first steps in your product and/or service, either using a template or starting from scratch
Access to customer support and links to support documentation
The sooner the user has a good understanding of your product and/or service and where they can go for help, the sooner they will reach that all-important value realization moment.
It’s also important to set clear expectations. Customer satisfaction (which significantly impacts engagement and vice versa) ultimately comes down to how well you perform in comparison to how well the customer expects you to perform. By setting expectations early, you will gain control over how your brand and your product or service will be perceived. Don’t promise the world – promise what you know is realistic, and you will have happy customers.
Not to mention, when/if issues do arise, your customer support team must be on-hand to promptly answer any queries and fix any problems.
5. Ask your customers to provide feedback
Asking customers to provide feedback on your product or service will help you to identify opportunities for improvement. It also helps to increase engagement because it shows them that, a) you care about what your customers think, and b) you are taking their lead when it comes to improvements and updates. As a result, your customers will feel a part of the journey and will become invested in the outcome.
If you listen to your customers and help them to reach a goal (either by fixing a bug or creating a new product feature), they will be more engaged and will likely give you their business for longer.
There are multiple types of feedback you can gather from customers to improve engagement, including:
A customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey is a popular way to learn how satisfied a customer is with the service they have just been given. Often, CSATs involve five smiley faces: very sad face (very dissatisfied); sad face (dissatisfied); neutral face (neutral); smiley face (satisfied); very smiley face (very satisfied).
CSATs can be easily embedded within emails or on your website as a pop-up, and enable you to take a quick pulse check of your customers’ engagement.
Customer Effort Score (CES) surveys are used to measure the amount of effort a customer had to exert to use a product or service, find the information they needed, or get an issue resolved. This is an important metric for customer support teams.
The Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey is a popular customer feedback mechanism to measure customer sentiment and identify areas needing improvement. It asks the question: “On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend our company/product to a friend or colleague?” The scoring is split across three segments: promoters (scoring 9-10), passives (7-8), and detractors (0-6).
Depending on the response, you can then reach out to the customer accordingly to boost their engagement (if they were a passive or detractor) or maintain their brand advocacy (if they were a promoter). Ortto users can create NPS journeys to tag promoters, passives and detractors and send them on relevant customer journeys based on their responses.
You can find out what your customers are interested in, what pain points they have, and what products and/or services they would like to see in the future. If you’re a SaaS company, for example, you may involve your users in your product roadmap so that they have transparency and input about what features you are developing.
You could even create a features request form and include it in your public roadmap so that your users can see and add to product updates.
User testing/bug fixing
Another valuable feedback type is user testing – where users can flag whenever they encounter an issue or a bug when using the product and/or service. SaaS businesses in particular benefit hugely by leveraging this type of feedback, because it means they can quickly identify and address issues that are inhibiting users from completing key tasks and from using the product/service in the desired way, and can ultimately improve the overall product experience.
The type of feedback you gain from customers depends on your business and offering, but any feedback is good feedback, so be sure to implement feedback gathering as a customer engagement strategy. Read Ortto’s blog to learn about the best customer feedback tools.
6. Segment your audience to enable better targeting
Effective customer engagement efforts are highly targeted, which is why it’s important to divide your customer base into meaningful segments.
Segmentation is the process of organizing your customers into groups depending on their demographic, firmographic, behavior, transactional history, engagement score, and more, to enable more meaningful interactions. By tailoring and personalizing marketing and sales communications based on what you know about your customers, you will improve engagement and boost conversions.
The benefits of customer segmentation are tenfold. Below are just a few:
Organizing your customers/leads means you can curate tailored, relevant messaging. It can help to determine the type of content you send to users, the intention of the content, and the channel through which the content is delivered.
Tailoring content to suit customers’ needs and pain points will resonate with them more and improve engagement.
Better understanding your customer base will help you to identify opportunities in terms of upgrading/upselling/cross-selling and in regards to refining your product/service offering.
Better communication with your customers will reduce your unsubscribe rate.
Being able to determine which customers are valuable, engaged, or at risk of churning.
Read more about audience segmentation and 10 use cases for segmentation in our blog.
You can also segment audiences based on their responses to NPS surveys. Ortto users can integrate their CDP with Slack to set up alerts for when a customer scores as a ‘detractor’ so that customer support can reach out and address any concerns. They can also follow up with ‘passives’ to ask if there is anything that would help them become more satisfied. And if a customer scores highly and is a ‘promoter’, perhaps the marketing team can be notified about reaching out to them for a case study, review, or testimonial.
7. Build a customer loyalty program
The purpose of a customer loyalty program is to reward loyal customers to maintain advocacy. Customers/users with high CLV or MRR should be made aware that they are highly valued and perhaps be offered special discounts, early access to sales, gifts/merch, etc. as a thank-you for their business. Not only does this encourage repeat business, but it increases engagement so that you can hold onto your best customers.
8. Implement live chat
Live chat or chatbots are incredibly effective at engaging customers. They are AI-powered so they can analyze data and use criteria such as location, time scrolling, pages visited, etc., to allow them to interact with customers, prospects, and site visitors in a personalized and timely manner.
Live chat can offer site visitors recommendations and show them products they might like, handle routine customer service queries, gather feedback, and redirect more technical issues to a customer support team.
There isn’t a magic formula to engaging customers – a lot of it depends on who your customers are, what they want, and what they respond to. However, the strategies listed above are a good place to start, and you can implement them using Ortto. Sign up to Ortto for free today to get started.