Organizations do want to optimize their customer engagement efforts and make them effective, but either because of lack of skills and expertise or because of the lack of tools and resources; they may not be able to do so. Customer engagement is a complex concept, and it is not just one or two things but a combination of many things tied together to get the best results. This post covers 8 tips for organizations to optimize customer engagement and make it effective:
Invest in content marketing
With the increasing proliferation of the internet and mobile technology, more and more customers are getting adept at gaining information online. Customers today don’t go to the vendor with zero knowledge hoping to learn everything from the vendor – in fact, they go through the information available including reviews and testimonials before they even visit the vendor. Also, there is an increasing preference for unobtrusive inbound marketing instead of the more in-your-face aggression of direct marketing.
Content ties together all the content marketing efforts, and organizations should invest in great content that offers information as well as engages the customers. This content should be distributed through multiple sources such as social media, emails, widgets, and so on. Also, marketers should treat content as an asset and measure the return on investment and look to optimize it.
Test multiple approaches
There are no guarantees in customer engagement. The same approaches that worked for a similar organization operating in similar conditions might provide you with very bad results, and approaches that are completely new for your industry might yield the best of results. Also, in such a dynamic field, there are no real experts, and therefore, there are no sure ways to approach the problem. Therefore, it is essential for organizations to test multiple approaches to find the best combination that works for them. There is no set ideal combination of content marketing and social media marketing for example – after implementing the approaches, they need to be measured and tweaked till things are optimized. Whatever be the case, one way to ensure customer engagement success is to test multiple approaches till the right combination is reached.
Take advantage of technology
From chatting applications to CRM solutions to email marketing automation software, there are a number of solutions in the market that help organizations with customer engagement. This technology helps standardize and streamline all the customer engagement efforts, and allows organizations to scale up their efforts with very little investments. By taking advantage of technology in engagement, organizations can make it more meaningful for both parties, and thereby gain more from interactions. There are a lot of CRM and related technology vendors in the market today, and organizations should look to employ the solution that suits their needs the best.
Sometimes, prospects or leads might not be ready to complete the transaction but might be interested in starting it. This usually starts with a website visit and showing of interest and intent by offering contact details. When this happens, it might be a good idea to offer them some giveaways in terms of content or software so as to help their decision-making. Say you are a chat application vendor, and a prospect wants to look at your product before taking any decision, you could offer a free trial for a given period so that they would evaluate the product and be more comfortable with it. Or, you can offer them a do-it-yourself guide on a particular task. The giveaway has to be meaningful and make the customer think that he or she has gotten something of value from the organization as a sign of goodwill.
Listen and involve
Customer engagement is not all about what you do for your customers/prospects; it is also about what they can do for you, and how effectively you manage this interaction. Instead of always being in the hurry to inform the customer and get something from them, it is a good idea to give them something and let them start the conversation. Also, organizations should be great listeners and allow their clients to give them feedback that they can incorporate into their offerings. Many customers are more than willing to give feedback, and digitization has made it easier to gain feedback. Therefore, it is a god idea to periodically collect information on what the customers and prospects are thinking about you.
Also, you could take the extra step and involve the customer more in your production and marketing efforts. You can bring a bunch of customers from diverse backgrounds together, and make them interact with you and with one another to gain insights on how your offering impacted them, and how you can do better in the future. Such involvement also motivates the customers to become ambassadors for the organization, and market your products reliably at no cost.
James Maron is an author at SutiSoft, Inc. He shares his views on SaaS and Cloud-based business management solutions.