The Definitive Guide to Customer Engagement

A comprehensive customer engagement strategy is the most strategic competitive differentiator for organizations today. To successfully compete in the ever-evolving digital marketplace, brands must commit to being customer-centric in everything they do. 

Customer engagement is no longer limited to the customer service department. Instead, it is an ongoing, cross-departmental process of anticipating and satisfying the needs of customers at each stage of their customer lifecycle. Personalized content, delivered to the right person at the right time, is the key to organizational success. 

In the end, sound customer engagement will lead to lasting customer relationships, increased customer loyalty, maximized revenue, and significant business growth. 

Keep reading this comprehensive guide to learn:

  • What is a Customer Engagement Strategy 
  • 6 Strategies to Achieve Effective Customer Engagement
  • Types of Customer Engagement Platforms and Tools
  • The Benefits of Customer Engagement Strategies 
  • Customer Engagement Case Studies
  • How Does Earley Information Science Help with Customer Engagement?

What is a Customer Engagement Strategy? 

A customer engagement strategy is all about optimized, two-way interactions between your brand and your customer. It involves understanding the needs of your customers, curating and deploying content that speaks to those needs, and actively engaging with your audience in a personalized way. 

The customer engagement process involves: 

  • Defining your customer personas and the stages of their buying journey.    
  • Identifying all touchpoints where your brand could interact—or already interacts—with customers.    
  • Analyzing the data behind these touchpoints to determine where customers become uninterested or unsatisfied with their experience.   
  • Building a roadmap to transform your existing customer service processes into successful, personalized ones.   
  • Implementing customer engagement tools, platforms and technologies that align with your strategic roadmap. 

A well-developed customer engagement strategy should ultimately create an emotional connection between your audience and your brand. An engaged customer will buy more and promote your brand to others.

There are several strategies that your organization can leverage when creating an effective customer engagement plan. 

6 Strategies to Achieve Effective Customer Engagement

In today’s digital landscape, organizations can no longer afford to operate without a customer engagement strategy. As previously mentioned, your customer engagement strategy should include personalized interactions between your brand and your customer with the goal of increasing brand loyalty, and ultimately revenue.

Does your company have a high-performing customer engagement process in place? If not, here are six effective ways to improve your customer’s experience. 

1. Understand your customer’s lifecycle and buying journey. 

The customer lifecycle typically involves the following stages: awareness, consideration, evaluation, purchase, re-engagement, and referral. To effectively engage with your customers, you must understand how your relevant buyer personas interact with your brand during every step of the customer experience lifecycle. This can be achieved through a customer journey map.

2. Avoid fragmented customer engagement tools. 

Oftentimes, organizations buy technologies without a clear understanding of their role in the overall business strategy. Evaluate customer engagement platforms and tools carefully, and only adopt ones that align with your predetermined roadmap

3. Create a customer-focused content marketing strategy. 

If your goal is to increase engagement between your brand and your customers, then your content should be clearly targeted towards your customers’ interests and needs. Align your content with the different stages of your customer lifecycle to gain the most traction among your target audience. 

4. Use analytics properly.

Data from customer engagement platforms and tools is only useful if you analyze and understand the meaning behind the metrics. Pay attention to engagement levels on social media (shares, comments), email campaigns (open rates, click-through rates) and your website (content downloads, chat interaction) to paint a clear picture of your overall customer engagement performance. 

5. Collect and implement customer feedback. 

Customer engagement involves both your brand and your customers. As you publish content and interact with your customers, listen to their feedback. When necessary, adjust your strategy to better align with the needs your customers express. 

6. Adjust your strategy as needed.

Customers’ needs and expectations constantly evolve, and so should your customer engagement strategy. Recognize processes and tools that aren’t working, learn from those experiences, and adjust your strategy to better meet the needs of your customers. 

These customer engagement strategies act as a great starting point for your organization. However, to truly accelerate and personalize your organization’s interactions with customers, consider implementing the right customer engagement platforms and tools.  

Types of Customer Engagement Platforms and Tools

An increasing number of customer engagement platforms and tools are aimed at helping organizations deliver personalized customer experiences at moments that matter. However, these recommended technologies will only improve the customer experience if a proper information architecture exists first. Without investing in the development of frameworks like customer event models and product merchandising attributes, it is impossible to extract maximum value from these technologies. 

So, what are these customer engagement tools and platforms? Here are a few common types of tools designed to enhance your brand’s customer engagement process. 

  • Customer data platform. A customer data platform is a software that centralizes all customer information, tracks customer engagement and allows your team to identify meaningful data and patterns. 
  • Social media channels. Identify the social media platforms most relevant to your customers and engage with them frequently. 
  • Email marketing. Email can be an incredibly powerful customer engagement tool when combined with personalization. Consider including your customer’s name in the opening line or offering your customers the opportunity to provide feedback through a CTA link. 
  • Online chat. Implement a live or semi-automated chat system on Facebook and your website to directly answer customer inquiries. Tip: Implement an AI-powered chatbot to save your team time. 
  • Customer surveys. Incorporating surveys throughout your marketing materials shows that your organization listens, and provides you with actionable feedback straight for your customers. 
  • Visual search. Visual search, the ability to search a product catalog based on a photo, is an emerging technology for both B2C and B2B brands. It has the potential to improve the customer experience by providing more intuitive search options for your audience. 
  • Product information management (PIM) system. A correctly implemented PIM system means organized product data for both your internal teams and your customers. When deployed correctly, a PIM system can both simplify and enhance a customer’s shopping experience.

With the appropriate customer engagement strategies and the right tools, your organization will begin to see insurmountable benefits. 

The Benefits of Customer Engagement Strategies

There’s no question that a customer engagement strategy is critical for both B2B and B2C companies today. However, you may still be wondering, how does customer engagement translate to value? 

An effective customer engagement strategy has the potential to yield a wide range of benefits for your organization and your customers. Benefits of customer engagement strategies include: 

  • Stronger and more personalized customer relationships. A customer-centric approach allows your organization to establish and cultivate personal relationships with your customers at each stage of the customer experience lifecycle.
  • Increased brand loyalty and reduced churn. The more positive, seamless experiences you can provide your customers, the more likely they will be to return to your brand. 
  • More brand advocates. Ideally, your customer engagement strategy will turn shoppers into customers, and customers into brand advocates that not only stay loyal to your company, but also promote it to their networks. 
  • Increase in qualified customers. Both your brand advocates and optimized content will allow your organization to reach even more qualified customers. 
  • Increase in ROI. Information from tools like a customer data platform allows you to see what’s working best for your customers. This insight then allows you to adjust your processes to better serve and sell to customers in the future. 
  • Enhanced customer experience. For most customers, engagement from brands is a sign of excellent customer service. Most customers today prefer to interact with brands through digital channels as much as possible. Provide multiple digital touchpoints, such as social media, live chat, and highly intelligent bots to allow customers to raise concerns with minimal effort on their part.  

You can see the benefits of an effective customer engagement strategy across a variety of brands. Think: Wendy’s witty social media strategy, Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign and Best Buy’s transformed ecommerce site.  

Customer Engagement Case Study

Best Buy, the global consumer electronics retailer, desperately needed to improve its ecommerce site. With a confusing navigation and unhelpful search platform, the company’s site was ranked in the bottom 30% of a “top ten ecommerce sites” list.   

To improve Best Buy’s ecommerce site and customer experience overall, Earley Information Science analyzed customer and key user personas, and developed a roadmap to improve online customer engagement. 

After implementing the recommended customer engagement strategy and making serious adjustments to their site’s search functionality, Best Buy ranked first in top ecommerce sites—ultimately leading to greater customer satisfaction

How Does Earley Information Science Help with Customer Engagement?

At Earley Information Science, organizing information to drive measurable business outcomes—including improved customer engagement—is all we do. Our approach to customer engagement includes:

  • Conducting an analysis on your customer lifecycles, shopper journeys and existing customer touchpoints.
  • Developing a customer attribute framework that aligns relevant offers and key marketing messages with the appropriate stage of your customer lifecycle. 
  • Transforming search as a digital merchandising tool by enabling you to make ‘next-right-product’, assortment and optimization, and custom recommendations based on the customer journey stage. 
  • Equipping your user experience team with the playbook and tools they need to continue to successfully deliver optimized engagement. 

Ready to develop a profitable customer engagement strategy? Lay the foundation for effective customer interactions with our Digital Transformation Roadmap. In this whitepaper, you’ll have access to four critical tracks that pave the way for sustainable customer engagement processes.

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Earley Information Science Team

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