The rise of customer engagement

The rise of customer engagement

Customer engagement has become a top priority for marketers. Businesses should think beyond conversion and seek meaningful interactions with customers.

Digital technology has complicated the process of communicating your message to customers and prospects. Consumers are now browsing products and seeking information on social, web, and mobile platforms at all times of day.

And, while there’s more opportunity to start a conversation with your customers, digital channels have become saturated by businesses competing for attention. Meanwhile, the rise of ad-blocking is clear evidence of consumer apathy to traditional online advertising; and simply boosting social media impressions is not a guaranteed route to engagement.  

So, how can marketers engage the disengaged?

Engagement never stops in the always-on era

Traditional campaigns that take place over a set period ignore the realities of digital culture. We are living in the always-on era of marketing where the practice of engagement can and should be ongoing.

Marketers have begun to target specific customer ‘moments’. The rationale is that successful engagement depends on timing; that a customer will be receptive to a piece of content at a certain moment – but at other times may find it downright invasive.

For a content strategy to be efficient and effective, it needs to take into account a customer’s journey, from which the best moment to reach them can be derived.

Use listening tools to understand fragmented customer journeys

The issue is that customer journeys – often crossing social, digital and offline channels – are fragmented and hard to map. It’s difficult to tell where your audience is coming from and, therefore, how ‘warm’ they are to your product.

Tools designed to ‘listen’ to social media conversations and interactions can give you an insight into what your customers are discussing and their sentiment towards your brand. The more interactions you can measure, the more accurate and reliable your customer map is likely to be.

Bridge data silos to make the customer experience seamless

Collating these sources of data into a meaningful customer picture is a key challenge facing marketers today. However, it’s all too easy to end up with separate data ‘silos’, which are virtually meaningless when viewed independently. Only when these silos are bridged can businesses begin to draw useful insights. 

A data platform, for example, can help to draw these streams together and help you unlock insights on a specific audience, or audience cluster, and identify where customers are on their journey.

Equally, from a customer point of view, a seamless experience is all-important. It’s frighteningly easy to disengage customers – if they hit a boundary created by your data management practices, or when moving between devices, for instance. Customers can easily become frustrated if they have to re-enter their data or begin an order from scratch.

More online choice means customer expectations are high

Customer expectations are higher than ever, and patience and loyalty are in short supply due to the abundance of online options. In essence, businesses that fail to create seamless transitions across platforms, channels and devices will lose customers to their competitors. With many retailers selling the same products, and some offering a one-click purchase route, customers won’t hesitate to go elsewhere.

Engagement continues after the point of conversion

Moreover, engagement doesn’t stop at the point of conversion. Consumers expect updates on the status of their order, when it will be delivered and at what time. The importance of this aspect of engagement shouldn’t be underestimated. Misplace a customer order, or fail to keep them informed on its status, and you risk a withering online review and negative social media posts. Not only will the customer be less likely to shop with you again, their experience may put off other potential customers too.

The quick read:
  • More channels means more ways to start a conversation
  • Engagement never stops in the always-on era
  • Listening tools can help understand fragmented journeys
  • Bridge data silos to make a seamless customer journey
  • Engagement continues after the conversion

Looking to learn more on this topic? Take a look at our Customer Experience  Management course,  designed for those wishing to develop their understanding of best practice disciplines, tools, techniques and methods in the field of Customer Experience.

James Richards Freelance Journalist
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