When a customer is engaged with a brand, they are more likely to have a positive experience with the brand overall. Here are six ways to further engage your consumers.
These days, brand marketing leaders are directed to focus on customer experience (CX). Customer experience is moving from an idealized strategy to a tactical, operational mandate, centering as it does on how a customer experiences a brand at all touch points, from awareness to post-purchase loyalty.
And why should companies care? Because customer experience measures something extremely important — how customers perceive and value a brand. Indeed, improved CX can directly impact corporate revenue, according to Forrester.
So how can customer engagement help improve customer experience?
While customer experience focuses on the emotional connection a customer has with a brand whenever, and wherever, they encounter that brand’s products and services, customer engagement involves a focus on the actions that customer takes with that brand.
What kinds of actions? Everything from a customer actively providing feedback to their digital network, through browsing and reviewing new products and services, participating in promotions and campaigns, sharing product-related photos, videos, and stories, to tweeting, liking, and sharing across social channels.
Today’s customers are socially trained. They are empowered. They expect, indeed demand, the chance to participate with a brand actively and positively. Customer engagement actions, done right, generate positive feelings that impact the overall customer experience.
Luckily, there are many digital options to trigger valuable “that’s great!” engagement moments, not only through social newsfeeds, but also on social pages, websites, and across mobile devices. Here are six of our favorites:
1. Personalize the Matching of Customers With Products and Services
Pose questions proactively to customers that get them to reveal interests, preferences, and needs, and then show them products and services that “match” their personality; these personality/preference quizzes not only give a company marketing insight into audiences, but they can be fun and quick to deliver, with an actionable result
2. Help Customers to Learn Something About Themselves
When making an “emotional” connection to a brand’s products or services, it is possible to ask customers to reveal something of themselves that may not be directly related to a product, but that offers something shareable at the end. Reebok asks audiences what it means to them to “be more human” with a series of informative, interactive experiences.
3. Challenge Customer Knowledge
Challenge customers to share their knowledge of a brand’s products and services, potentially in exchange for promotional favors; customers will take pride in knowing answers, and sharing that knowledge, and are always motivated by rewards. Campbell’s Soup found this a great way to engage its own employees, whileNational Geographic challenges readers’ knowledge of energy issues.
4. Invite the Best Customers to the Inside Track
Include some customers in special pilot programs that allow them to vote on future products, or product ideas; or, for a lighter touch experience, allow all customers to vote up and down products, to deliver “customer powered” product and service catalogs. SmartWool does this with its Fan Field Tester program, giving those customer special access to new products they can test in the outdoors.
5. Ask Customers for Testimonials
Invite customers to provide testimonials on how they use products and services; of course, on the high end, customer testimonial systems can be integrated into an entire e-commerce workflow, but on the lighter touch end, a simple application experience can encourage the submission of testimonials, with photos, for the chance to get featured or for a specific monetary reward.
6. Ask Customers for Content
Ask for stories — something beyond just a testimonial — with photos and/or videos that show how customers use or interact with a product or service. GoPro does this better than almost any brand, with their GoPro channel of user content.
In all these examples, brands are asking for proactive involvement from their customers — resulting in the customer spending more time with the brand, and potentially learning something in the process.