Ways to Increase Customer Engagement Rates

“Persona-based content can increase customer engagement almost six-fold,” – DemandGen

Clients and customers represent the life blood of a business enterprise and therefore, every business must invest extensively in customer engagement strategies. This is equally valid for new age business start-ups and legacy business operators alike. Every customer engagement strategy must focus on creating an institutional mind-set that values the customer’s time and dollars premised on the belief that every customer presents repeat business opportunities. Senior management personnel, individuals, teams, and business executives must consistently work to increase customer engagement rates. Management personnel and shop-floor executives must invest a significant portion of their business energies to drive customer engagement strategies and practices. These must be cultivated so that they become standard procedures that operate during every business interaction.

Consider this: an online business that has recently commenced operations in a competitive marketplace should work to create a distinct identity of its own. The management team must realise that the business is competing with established operators that have captured significant swathes of the available market. Therefore, the said firm must discover a niche in order to create a competitive edge. Consequently, the said business could consider offering superb after-sales service as a tactic to increase customer engagement metrics. When consistently planned and executed over a period of time, this tactic can pay off in the form of online word-of-mouth publicity, which can help the business to expand its customer base and widen its operations. We note that competitors may seek to copy this tactic in their own operations, but the first mover advantage will always reside with the newcomer.

In the offline world, large retail business operators should consider methods to increase customer engagement in a bid to enhance their market share. The initiative always lies with the management cadre; therefore, they must brainstorm strategies to boost customer engagement. One such tactic can centre on training programs wherein, the customer-facing executives of the business enterprise can be rigorously trained in the soft skills that can lead to higher levels of customer engagement. The program can be designed to impress upon the executives the importance of various customer engagement tactics, such as initiating a conversation with customers visiting the business premises. This interaction can help the retail business operator to decipher the customer’s requirements, understand the customer’s mind, and fashion an appropriate selling strategy. We note that every customer may represent a different requirement; therefore, the one-size-fits-all approach should be jettisoned. Sales personnel should also be sensitised to allow the customer his or her own space so as not to burden the customer with an overbearing presence. Therefore, paying personal attention to the requirements of a shopper or customer should be finely balanced with a slightly stand-off sales attitude. When judiciously applied, these tactics may help an enterprise to increase customer engagement rates.

Online business enterprises can attempt to craft a similar experience to visiting customers on a website or an online app. We note that the principles to increase customer engagement remain the same in online businesses, only the modes of application tend to vary. The interested online business can offer an on-screen button to all online customers in an attempt to inform their customer experience. The customer may tap or click the said button to be instantly connected to a human customer service representative who is equipped to answer all the questions and concerns of the said customer. This button must be calibrated such that it can serve all visitors and must be device-agnostic. We could say that this mechanism is an attempt on the part of the business to augment the customer’s browsing or shopping experience. This approach could also be interpreted as a business initiative to hand-hold the customer as he or she cruises the online aisles of products and services.

The pursuit of business practices designed to increase customer engagement can be extended to special days when the entire management cadre of an enterprise is available at select locations to cater to the customer. In the case of a retail business enterprise, the top business managers and key management personnel can be showcased to visiting customers. The said members must be available in person to any and every customer that may have a query, a question, a suggestion, a complaint, or a word of appreciation. This date should be announced weeks ahead of the actual event, as must be the list of venues where the said events are slated to occur. This strategy represents a great opportunity for a retail business operation to meet the average customer. The event can also send a signal to all stakeholders that the top management is available and open to every form of customer feedback. These events can also help to reinforce business reputations, reinforce transparency standards, and instil confidence in every customer. In terms of the online enterprise, a special dialogue field can be instituted in the company’s website or online app and questions can be fielded by top management executives. These tactics represent business innovation at its best and should be deployed to increase customer engagement.

Excellence in business practices demands that modern business enterprises pay attention to back-end IT infrastructure. These investments can help to increase customer engagement by informing business executives about the preferences of regular customers in real time. A robust infrastructure support policy must be piloted, refined, and instituted firm-wide if this approach is to bear fruit. For instance, a brick-and-mortar enterprise can assign specific identification to regular customers and train its sales personnel in the preferences of a particular customer. This strategy promises to smoothen the process of customer interaction, can help to tailor bespoke marketing offers aimed at particular customers, and in the final analysis, can help the enterprise to earn customer accolades. These can be counted as significant business outcomes that proceed from a business decision to institute robust back-end IT infrastructure.

In the preceding paragraphs, we have examined some of the strategies that can help a business to consistently increase customer engagement rates. Businesses – both online and offline – must acknowledge that a competitive edge is very essential to succeed in modern markets that offer a plethora of choices to every customer. A successful customer engagement strategy can help the business enterprise to gain ground in terms of acquiring and retaining customer mind share. However, the business must work to refine such strategies keeping evolving business landscapes and the changing nature of customer requirements in mind. The various planks that inform a customer engagement strategy must be carefully brainstormed and whittled down to the essential elements that will power robust engagements. It is interesting to note that business enterprises that value customer dollars and work to acquire these consistently outperform their competitors. Budding entrepreneurs would be well advised to have a customer engagement strategy in place before they commence operations, whether online or offline. A business that operates without a clearly spelt out customer engagement strategy runs the risk of becoming a cruel parody in an unforgiving commercial environment. Therefore, businesses must accord as must importance to defining such strategies as they do to business plans, revenue models, and investor presentations. Persistence and the determination to succeed in the face of market forces should help every enterprise to taste success.

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