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Establishing Top-Shelf Customer Engagement

November 13, 2013

CustEngagement

If you’ve ever read one of my blogs, you may know that one of my passions is client relationships.  It’s the one thing in my job that makes everyday worth working.  At Status Not Quo, we are proud to have worked with several companies since the ’90s and love the relationships that we’ve built along the way.  I wholeheartedly believe that the main reason that these companies are still clients is because of these relationships and when employees move to other companies, the new companies sometimes become our new clients.  It’s such a huge compliment!

All that being said, it is important to remember that even customers that would rate their experience with your company as “satisfied” may not remain loyal to your brand.  This is why there is an increased focus on Customer Engagement.  So what exactly is Customer Engagement?  According to a Smart Insights interview with Richard Sedley of cScape the best definition of Customer Engagement is “Repeated interactions that strengthen the emotional, psychological or physical investment a customer has in a brand”.  He also says

Customer engagement places the strategic emphasis on the creation of valuable relationships and encourages both parties to see mutual advantage in that relationship. Frequently this will mean that your tactics require a multi-channel approach incorporating the best of digital and traditional media.

I love this quote.  “Strategic emphasis on the creation of valuable relationships” is my mantra and fortunately having a technology consulting firm makes it easier to “incorporate the best of digital and traditional media”.

So let’s briefly discuss some some ways to incorporate the best of digital media.  In the early days of the Internet, marketing was all about driving customers to your website so they could find out more information about your company, but there has been a shift and now and you need to engage current and potential new clients where they are at, not where you want them to be.  Here’s a few ways to do that:

  • Stop just trying to sell your product – begin to create an active, passionate online community around your product.  You can do this by being part of the conversation.  Listen to the customers that are already having conversations about the brands – both yours and your competitors.  Then if you can, jump into these conversations in a very genuine way and begin building trust, respect and relationships with the people who are talking about these brands.
  • Stop talking for the sake of talking – focus on the reason you are engaging customers.  Are you trying to figure out ways to improve your offering, or is your main objective in the conversation to make a sale.  If it is, make sure your objectives are clear, and provide your audience with a clear and easy path for accomplishing those goals.
  • Take advantage of the situation you are in – if you meet someone and they express a need that your company is able to help fulfill, don’t hesitate to mention that it may be something you could help with and offer to buy that person a cup of coffee or lunch and discuss further.  But stop there.  Don’t try to sell them on the spot unless they continue the conversation.  Remember, you want to build a relationship not be a pushy salesperson.
  • When your customer wants to engage with you, make sure the tools you provide are easy to use and intuitive to use.  They should be easy to use, highly accessible, and relevant to them – offering the ability to engage in different types of conversations.  Do they have a question they need answered?  Do they want to give your company a great review?  Are they looking for technical or customer support?  Are the tools you are providing giving them the opportunities to engage in a variety of ways?
  • Remember, customer engagement is a two way communication tool.  Not only do you hear what your customers are saying and are able to make adjustments/improvements based on their needs, but the customer is being heard and feels like their opinion matters to you and thus they will gain a respect for your brand.  This is one of the the most important aspect of engaging your customers.

I hope that this will give you a little guidance to start working on creating Top-Shelf relationships and building a brand that customers want to experience for decades to come.

Thanks for reading!

Pam

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