7 Strategies To Customer Engagement
We are living in exciting times when the very nature of the business is very focused on the empowerment of customers. This paradigm shift to customer empowerment in the last decade is mainly fueled by the advances of technology and increased ease of access to information by customers. In this shifting landscape, businesses are increasingly embracing the concept of Customer Engagement and developing processes as well as strategies to engage customers at every stage of their customer journey.
DEFINING CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT
Customer engagement is broadly viewed as the emotional connection between your customer and your company. A more detailed understanding is more on how the company attracts and influences existing and potential customers to hold their attention while encouraging them to participate in a long term relationship. Companies must now provide exceptional customer journey experience at every stage of their engagement.
IMPLEMENTING CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT IN SME
With the limited resources of a typical SME, the first step to implementing is to evaluate their existing customer-facing processes and technology on how they can fulfil the needs of today’s empowered customer and how every interaction with a customer can be used as an opportunity to grow the organisation.
KEY STRATEGIES IN CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT INITIATIVES
Make it an organization-wide initiative
Customer engagement should be an organization-wide discipline. Transformational customer experience redesign cannot be accomplished without cross-functional inter-organisational collaboration. The cultural change of a company will directly affect how customers look at a business, thus influencing their trust and loyalty towards the business. Changes should be swept across the organisation rather than looking at customer engagement from an isolated ‘project’ perspective.
Businesses should thoroughly consider their processes for every customer support channel. They should be able to support existing and potential customers across any communication medium over which the customer chooses to interact.
Having a comprehensive view of the customer is critical for a smooth customer experience. Storage of customer data and increase of convenience will improve customer experience by preventing the customers from repeating the information that they have already provided. While a single customer may choose to interact over multiple channels, businesses have to be able to have a 360-degree data view of their customer and historical interaction data to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.
Automation of both internal and customer-directed processes is important in improving customer experience with the business. This may include triggering an internal alert based on an action taken by a customer or sending proactive notifications to customers based on changes that the customer needs to be aware of.
SMEs should evaluate their current technology in the light of whether it will be able to support customer engagement strategies. Due to limited resources, SMEs should evaluate technology that provides a majority of these solutions out of the box, rather than having to integrate multiple disapparated solutions into one.
Performance measuring metrics should be put in place right at the onset of the customer engagement initiative. Key Performance Indicators, KPIs should be tied to concrete business benefits such as increased sales, improvement of sales agent productivity, higher profitability, and reduction of customer support costs. Evidence of concrete benefits is important for SMEs to continuously support their long term commitment in customer engagement practices in the organisation.
With customer engagement strategies conflicting with the cost cutting practices and limited resources of majority SMEs, customer engagement practices have to be enforced by top organisation leaders with full commitment to ensure effective implementation. Given the right set of processes and technology, with the commitment from top leaders in the business, the organisational mindset will be able to shift towards Customer Engagement and nurturing it as a competitive advantage to gain momentum and growth over other competitors in the market.