Boosting engagement is one of the most important ways to improve customer retention. A recent study from Aberdeen Group discovered that brands with strong omnichannel engagement strategies had customer retention rates of 89%. Brands that failed to develop strong engagement strategies had engagement rates of only 33%. If your customer service surveys indicate that customer satisfaction is waning or customer retention rates are too low, you should try to improve your customer engagement strategy. Here are some ways to accomplish this in 2018. Make Your Brand Less Abstract Your customers’ perception of your brand is not always going to be dominated by rational factors. You can emphasize the obvious selling points of your product and brand, but that will not necessarily guarantee higher engagement levels. The best way to improve customer engagement is to make your brand seem less abstract and more personal. Creating a humanized illustration of your company can make a huge difference. One of the easiest ways to humanize your brand is to find a trusted brand ambassador. You don’t need to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire an A-list celebrity to endorse your company to gain this appeal. In fact, comment, everyday people that your customers will relate to me be more relatable. Red Bull is one of the companies that has thrived by using everyday people as their brand ambassadors. Try to think of the type of personality that your brand would convey if it was a person. Then choose somebody that aligns with that image to represent you. Offer Customer Support Across Multiple Channels I was at a marketing and customer service conference a couple of years ago. One of the questions that the keynote speaker brought up was which mediums companies should use to engage with their customers. Email, phone, and social media were all popular answers. So, which is the best? The correct answer is all of them. Customers have different preferences, so you must give a variety of options for them to contact you. All of your communications must be properly managed to ensure there’s a smooth customer service experience, regardless of the medium they choose. Build Cyber Security Into the Customer Experience It seems that we constantly hear about retailers who get hacked and expose personal customer information. This inevitably creates distrust with that particular brand across current and prospective customers. As an eCommerce retailer, you need to deploy these strategies to keep both your business and customers safe from these fraudsters: Security codes and address verification – Make sure to require credit card security codes and address verification on all transactions. The three to four digit codes on credit cards add an additional layer of security. Couple that with address verification through your merchant processor and you can significantly reduce fraud. Use reverse email lookup – Fraudulent actors will use hacked emails or throw away accounts to make fraudulent transactions. Reverse email lookup is a method of analyzing an email address against social media profiles, public databases, blacklists and SMTP checks to ensure the email being used is legitimate. Fraud detection tools and strategies can help to check these things in the background before a transaction is allowed to go through. Require strong passwords – Customers who create accounts with weak passwords create easy access points for hackers to gain access to their personal information. When a new customer is creating an account, make sure to employ strong password requirements. Have an Engagement Goal Before Building an Email List Many customer engagement strategies hinge on their mailing list. Building a list of email subscribers can exponentially increase your brand reach and build a base or more loyal customers. However, building a list is not enough. You need a strong engagement strategy first. I made the mistake of taking an ad hoc approach to email engagement for my first couple of campaigns, which proved to be a disaster. Segmenting your list and creating custom designs and messages for your subscribers is one of the best ways to improve engagement. Strike a Careful Balance With Your Social Media Voice Finding the right voice on social media can be difficult. Coming across as too cut and dry will make you seem dull and unrelatable. On the other hand, you don’t want to come across as unprofessional or unwittingly offend your followers. The trick is to be colorful and witty, without compromising your professional edge. Finding the right balance between humor and professionalism is difficult when choosing your voice, but is key to being successful on social media. Do Your Research Before Jumping on Social Media Trends Using a trending hashtag can be a great way to boost engagement. However, if you don’t use it properly, you can end up hurting your brand instead. A couple of brands for this mistake the hard way. DiGiorno unwittingly used a hashtag about domestic violence awareness to promote their pizza. It was an unintentional mistake, but was a costly one nonetheless. You never want to make this mistake. Always do your due diligence and make sure that a social media trend is relevant and appropriate for your brand before jumping on the bandwagon.