Businesses are becoming more aware that frequent positive engagement results in customer loyalty. Therefore, customer satisfaction and engagement is necessary for the success of all business industries, whether they are a brick and mortar or an online store. With every interaction, whether that’s purchasing an item, joining a loyalty program, reading a Tweet, reading an online review or billboard, or receiving an email, customer engagement is either built or damaged, requiring rebuilding.
Positive customer engagement means improved business success, as engaged customers have beneficial characteristics. These characteristics or behaviors include:
- Reliable Purchasers – Engaged customers will continue to pay only for a specific brands products or services.
- Promoters – These customers refer their family and friends to their trusted brand. They also follow the brand on social networks, taking in new information and creating positive brand posts.
- Responders – Engaged customers tend to feel invested, so they engage both online and offline with a brand and provide frequent feedback. Customer feedback is valued by businesses as a key component of product and brand development.
- Loyal – Unlike the infrequent or random purchaser, engaged customers tend to stick with the same brand they’ve grown to trust.
Importance of Online and Offline Customer Engagement
Businesses that understand the value of customer satisfaction with their brand, both online and offline, succeed in customer engagement. These businesses understand that how a product is managed both online and offline attracts customers as they become interested in the business’s physical and virtual presence. Business success isn’t related to a brands online or physical presence only, a combination is necessary. With that being said, it’s also important to point out how offline promotion cannot be successful without online support and vice versa.
Offline interactions require online support for the following reasons:
- Events taking place offline can provide quality content for online discussions. Articles, containing pictures and event details, can be geared towards your target audience to promote more customers to your business.
- Online campaigns including promotions, ads, blog posts, and social sharing help attract more customers to offline events.
- The live streaming of offline events via social media and Instagram pics can increase attraction to your business by customers who were present and those that didn’t come.
- Without a blog, social media page, or company Twitter, customers wouldn’t be aware of your business’s events and what you have to offer customers.
Online interactions also require offline support for these reasons:
- Although customers may be interested in what they see online, many still prefer to actually see and touch products in your traditional store.
- Many times customers may not know the exact product they are looking for and want to have the ability to speak with a customer representative in person or by telephone.
- When customers are shopping online they still deserve individual customer service attention as not every customer wants the same thing or has the same questions. Therefore, having an offline presence is necessary when online pages, such as the FAQs, are unable to give the customer the answer he/she is looking for.
- Customers also need to know that, if necessary, the business can be reached offline should technical errors occur or the customer isn’t savvy with e-mails or contact forms offered online.
Drivers for Customer Engagement
With technological advances, customers are able to control their shopping experience, requiring the taking of new actions for successful customer engagement. For businesses to be successful they need to provide customers with real-time, personalized experiences. This requires businesses to use various methods to ensure customer engagement. Businesses who promote consistent and relevant communication throughout a customer’s experience are afforded the opportunity to enhance customer engagement.
A previous study, “Customer Engagement: The Best of the Best,” businesses were highlighted that altered their marketing strategies to focus on the customer only. The following are practices businesses can incorporate to enhance customer engagement and keep customers returning for future services or products:
Increase Customer Excitement by Offering Real-Time Promotions
Customers traveling by public transportation can make their travel more exciting by using innovative apps. Based on the customer’s location, he/she can look up promotional offers in their location. Offering these promotions to customers can increase foot traffic into the store and make traveling more exciting for the customer.
Analyze Social Media Data
Businesses can discover new customer trends before other competitors by analyzing data obtained from social media. This can aid businesses in the development and marketing of relevant and useful products to customers.
Increase Customer Satisfaction and Retention by Simplifying Their Experience
Businesses can make the lives of their customers easier by focusing their attention on ways which promote customer engagement with their business, such as the use of a mobile app.
Embrace Customer Feedback
Surveys have revealed that the most loyal customers were those that made a complaint about a business’s product or service and it had been successfully resolved. Negative feedback shouldn’t be ignored as dissatisfied customers initiate process improvements and may become a vocal and loyal advocate for a business.
Proactively Act On Anticipated Customer Needs
When a product is delivered to a customer, businesses should anticipate that he/she would appreciate timely delivery updates. Providing customers with the availability to see their delivery status or to receive updates via text or email enhances the customer’s satisfaction with a business’s speed and reliability. Some businesses have developed a mobile app which allows customers to see the exact location of the truck delivering their order.
How to Engage Online and Offline to Enhance Customer Satisfaction
As mentioned previously, both online and offline customer interaction is necessary for customer engagement and satisfaction. The following are a few tips for the integration of online and offline interactions:
- Whether customers make an inquiry by letter, e-mail, or phone, responding to each inquiry will enhance customer loyalty.
- Increase traffic to your offline events by promoting them with online campaigns.
- Respond to all customer communications personally, meaning avoid sending a response that appears automated, as this can dissatisfy customers.
- Offer customers the ability to live chat with a representative while on your website, this provides customers with immediate responses and is more attractive than the use of e-mails.
- Stream the activities of your offline events to your blog or website, share photos, videos etc. You can use these social channels to connect with those who attended your event.
- Perform live surveys with your customers and write an article or blog to share customer interactions and feedback online.
Customer Relationship Examples
Customer relationships can be driven by the motivation to acquire and retain customers and increase sales. Relationships can vary from personal to automated and include the following:
Personal Assistance – Based on interaction between the customer and a customer service representative during or after a sale via e-mail, call center, or in person.
Dedicated Personal Assistance – Involves the dedication of a customer service representative to an individual customer.
Self-Service – A relationship where a business provides customers with all the means necessary to help themselves and involves no direct relationships.
Automated Services – This relationship somewhat simulates a personal relationship as the automated service can recognize a customer and offer them various account information. A customer’s personal online profile allows them access to this customized service.
Communities – In this relationship, businesses maintain online communities for their customers to join, which can facilitate connections among members, allowing users to share knowledge in an attempt to solve each other’s problems. An online community is also an excellent way for businesses to become more involved with their customers.
Co-Creation – Various businesses have improved customer relationships by allowing customers to write online reviews, assist with the design of new products, and create content for public use.
How to Enhance Customer Experience
With the right tools in place, businesses can enhance customer experiences, improve customer retention, increase sales and business growth, and lower operating costs. These key tools include the following:
Omni-channel Support – Provides businesses with the necessary data to refine and improve customer experiences.
Self-Service – Provides customers with online resources that can save them time and effort.
Live Chat – When customers are in need of assistance, they can easily connect with a live representative using live chat.
Mobile Support – This allows customers to use their platform of choice to get the support they need.
Social Support – This tools allows companies to assist customers and demonstrate great service.
Above are the most recent trends associated with business success and customer satisfaction enhancement. The goal for every business is to be successful, whether it offers cleaning services, transportation services, retail services, food and entertainment etc. By introducing various types of customer relationships and outlining what drives engagement, businesses can choose how they will best relate to customers and develop a customer engagement model individualized for their goals.
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