Is Your Company Missing the Mark for Customer Engagement?

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“Isolated data sources, which increase in number every day, make it difficult to get a complete view of the customer. The real-time nature of the customer journey makes adaptation difficult, and this leads to marketers missing the mark at times,” – Patrick Tripp

Marketing professionals consider customer engagement as the holy grail of their profession because such engagement can be undertaken in multiple forms and represents the first step towards a successful marketing outcome. Brands and businesses engage customers through a variety of channels that include websites, social media handles, online chat, blogs, email, online forums, text messaging, etc. However, brands and businesses need to assess the efficacy of their customer engagement campaigns and must examine whether their marketing budgets and marketing campaigns are actually achieving the desired business objectives. These exercises assume significant importance because gaps exist in perception. For instance, marketing professionals may consider their campaigns to be extremely innovative, but the majority of consumers would choose to differ. Hence, brands and businesses should probe the reasons the power such gaps in perception.

Relevance should comprise a cornerstone of customer engagement because relevant marketing messages stand a higher chance of gaining the customer’s attention. Contextually relevant messages boost the chances of engagement with individual customers. For instance, a private weather services information provider should send geographically accurate weather updates to its subscribers. This will enable the firm to gain credibility in the eyes of its subscribers and thereby boost the level of its customer engagement. However, if the service provider sends random updates to its subscribers, the information will likely confuse customers and result in certain levels of customer irritation. In light of the above, we must note that customer engagement should be part of a carefully calibrated marketing strategy that remains aware of the rewards and penalties that attend strategy execution.

The intense use of computing power in modern times should be harnessed by modern commerce and industry. Marketing professionals would be advised to use data-rich environments to create personalised customer interactions in the interests of boosting customer engagement. Information and data from multiple sources can be collated to create a unified view of the customer. The next step involves creating a personalised engagement campaign that is based on the customer’s tastes, preferences, choices, and requirements. This approach can help businesses to deliver to exacting customer expectations. That said, we must note that brands and businesses should encourage their marketing teams to respect the laws of the land and not to create an overtly intrusive presence in the lives of customers.

The popular perception of customer engagement widely differs based on different criteria. Certain consumers offer the feedback that their engagement with a brand or a business remains sub-par owing to the sheer volumes of marketing communication directed at such consumers. The targets of such communication delete many marketing messages because these are deemed irrelevant. We must note that marketers should note this feedback and must tweak their marketing strategy. In addition, they must work to boost customer engagement by sending appropriate marketing messages to the correct customer segments.

Personal choice has a certain impact in reducing the efficacy of customer engagement tactics. Some consumers may choose to engage with only a few brands and favourite products owing to their personal predilections. We must note that this form of latent resistance to marketing communications is a manifestation of customer choice and must be acknowledge as such. This kind of behaviour can be detected in every market, but counter measures are not available because personal choice is guided by intrinsic factors that operate inside a customer’s mind or may be shaped by personal experience. Therefore, businesses should acknowledge this limitation and recognise its power in terms of blunting the momentum of their marketing campaigns.

Interviews with customers and market surveys have indicated that sizeable numbers of consumers and customers feel they do not have enough choice in certain matters. For instance, wireless telecommunications service providers were told that unused mobile data from allotted quotas represented a problem because service providers did not offer enough choice in such matters. We must note that this situation offers scope for renewed customer engagement because clearly, the service providers can offer their customers a range of choices in terms of dealing with unused mobile data packets. Prima facie, this instance appears to be a matter of customer choice because telecommunications service providers can analyse the feedback, explore potential alternatives, and create significant scope for enhanced customer engagement.

Market surveys indicate that customer loyalty programs are undergoing a renewed span of corporate interest. More and more brands and businesses are working to implement customer loyalty programs in a bid to expand their customer base. However, a significant difference in perception levels arise when we note that large numbers of customers have switched from one brand to another even while they subscribe to a certain loyalty programme. Clearly, these findings indicate that customer engagement in its present form is less than perfect and that brands and businesses need to work harder to be accepted heartily by their customers. We may also state that businesses should overhaul the basic premise of a customer loyalty programme because gifts and preferential treatment are no longer guarantors of customer loyalty in modern times. In addition to creating a new and innovative blueprint for customer loyalty programmes, businesses should work to gauge the efficacy of the new design and feed the information into on-going design changes.

Customer grievances must be addressed within reasonable time frames in order to boost the efficacy of on-going customer engagement programmes. We must note that customer grievances represent an opportunity for a brand or a business to initiate a conversation with customers. The grievance essentially affords the enterprise a window into the mind of the customer(s) and this opportunity can be leveraged to boost customer engagement. Certain elements of market research indicate that these engagement strategies are ‘hamstrung’ by inadequate corporate response to customer complaints and suggestions. This attitude sends a signal that may be interpreted as ‘neglect’ by customers thereby leading to the flight of customer dollars to competing brands and businesses.

Brands and businesses must consider the fact that customer engagement strategies are degraded when customers refuse to share personal information with a business. For instance, company websites may present online forms to the average visitor or customer in an attempt to engage said customers. However, the customer chooses to protect his or her privacy and exits the form and the webpage. This instance clearly comprises a lost opportunity for customer engagement based on a certain choice made by the customer. Brands must take this behaviour in their stride because customers do have the choice of not sharing certain types of information with commercial entities.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the conflicts, scenarios, and possibilities inherent in customer engagement in the modern world. Some of the old paradigms of customer engagement have lost market traction and therefore, brands and businesses must explore alternative strategies to target and engage the customer. The best option in the implied overhaul would be to speak to customers in their own language and to decipher the complex sets of responses elicited thereof.

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