Most everyone who’s had a childhood should know how to engage with customers. Our childhood is a fierce battlefield that preconditioned us to implement customer engagement flawlessly.
In so many ways, engaging a customer for the first time is reminiscent of approaching your middle school crush who didn’t know you existed:
- You want to facilitate a conversation, but at the same time want it to feel natural, sincere, and unforced.
- If you come off a little bit too eager and focus the attention on yourself, they’ll probably ditch you for other suitors.
- But if you manage to focus on your crush and understand their needs, they’ll likely enjoy your company.
The same principles apply to customer engagement.
Knowing how to effectively engage your customers will help your business consistently leverage your relationship in each step of the customer journey. For residential home service business owners, this means developing tailor-cut, positive, and memorable interactions with each prospect. Doing so leaves a positive impression on customers, and sets you apart from the competition.
Read on to learn more about customer engagement and how you can legitimately engage with customers. Then we’ll take a quick peek at how to rekindle old engagements and review a sample to give you insight.
The More you Engage with Customers, the Clearer Things Become
If there’s one thing I want you to remember before we head-on, it’s this: “Attention is not the same as engagement.” It’s relatively easy to get someone’s attention. It is considerably more challenging to keep their eyes on you.
When we talk about customer engagement, we’re dealing with the process of interacting with customers through various channels to DEVELOP and STRENGTHEN a relationship with them.
Notice how we used two strong verbs?
- Develop — initiate the relationship
- Strengthen — enrich the relationship
Customer engagement begins with the first interaction with your business and extends beyond the point of sale. You’ll know that you engage with customers if they maintain ongoing interactions with your brand. So whether they read your blogs, open your emails, or like your social media posts — these are examples of customer engagement in action.
Think of it this way: Attention is the initial eye contact from across the room. Engagement is more than a first date.
In the service industry, we want more than our clients’ long, luscious, and lingering stares. We want to engage with them further. And when we’ve made a sale, we want to do it again and again for years to come. This is what we’d call the Life Time Value (LTV) of a client.
If you need a hand in deeply engaging your customers, Wizard of Sales™ is willing to help. Book a demo now and turn those glances into advances!
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how to engage with customers, let’s take a quick detour to better understand the customer journey first.
The customer journey is the process of how a customer interacts with a brand in order to achieve a goal. Given that each customer is an independent entity, you cannot predict their journey from your internal perspective. Their customer journey will be specific to your customer’s physical, emotional, and virtual experiences.
On this journey, your customers may see your installation ads, speak to a customer service representative on your plumbing costs, or even attempt to finalize a contract. All these stops throughout their journey affect their actions, and 4 out of 5 customers consider their experience equally important as the offer. So understanding how the process works and the fallbacks of each customer interaction, you can recalibrate your strategy to better drive customers towards a sale.
To accurately illustrate your customer’s experience with your company, developing a customer journey map can give you a visual representation. The map basically compiles every customer’s experiences as they interact with your business and consolidates the information into a visual map — this can be a spreadsheet, a stack of post-it notes, or an infographic, so long as you can interpret them.
Customer journey maps will let you understand your customers’ needs and concerns that either motivate or inhibit their actions. You can then use this information to revamp your customer experience, leading to better conversion rates and increased customer retention.
How to Legitimately Approach & Engage with Customers?
Different customers mean different engagement tactics. Your brand may sneak up to customers via a paid ad on Facebook, or with a high-powered message on the radio. Here are 8 legitimate, tried-and-tested ways to approach and engage with customers in 2022:
1. Participate in the Community
Make the most out of local events by bringing your team along. Not everything has to be up to your marketing manager or salespeople. THe nice people you work with every day can be great assets to attract new customers and be good citizens. People want to do business with people they like.
It may not seem like it, but community events are some of the best ways to engage with customers. For example, residential home service businesses can build networks with prospective customers (including other companies) in events like the Fire Department Fundraiser or a little league baseball game.
Of course, it goes without saying that selling is a distant second to simply being human at these events. Even the faint sniff of salesy stuff will taint your intent. This is where non-selling personnel shines as they can keep the conversation to non-sales activities. Done with sincerity, you will generate loads of leads that no other competitor will ever even meet.
You can pull off promotional branding if you have paid for the right to align your brand with a local event or cause. Again, steer away from selling, and focus on making those you sponsor the star of the show. Gratitude and shared love will do more than any sales pitch will achieve.
You have a short moment of interaction, so make sure you leave a brief yet compelling impression of hope and encouragement.
2. Create A Community
There are many merits in creating a dedicated microcosm for your loyal customers. Some benefits include:
- Increasing your brand awareness
- Cultivating a deeper sense of trust in your market
- Fostering a positive culture
All of the above-mentioned are instrumental in increasing your profits and helping you succeed. For this reason, we always recommend creating a community for residential home service companies.
There are many fun ways to build a community, one is through social media, like Facebook groups as this offers a space where like-minded people who are passionate about your business can connect. In the residential home service space, you’re selling an externally triggered, grudge purchase. Your only hope in creating a successful online community and engaging with customers is entertainment.
“Entertainment is the currency of a too busy public.”
– Roy H. Williams
Alternatively, community forums are also excellent ways to communicate with customers and prospects. Not only can you leverage the forum as a customer service resource, but faithful customers can share what they love about your brand. Forums are recommended for residential home service businesses as your reps answer questions from prospects that are not yet your customers.
3. Ask Common Ground Questions
Quickly finding common ground is perhaps one of the simplest yet effective ways to personalize how you engage with customers. This is especially relevant for customer service reps working with customers over the phone or in a chat thread, or even in person.
The idea is to build rapport by asking questions unrelated to their inquiry. For example:
- How is your day going so far?
- Any big plans for the holidays?
- Did you watch the game last night?
Asking common ground questions are big leaps you can take to build rapport with your clients. However, the key to implementing this strategy is good timing, so situational awareness is imperative.
If you’re dealing with an aggravated customer that’s eager to have the issue resolved ASAP, then steer clear from these questions as they will be inappropriate. Irate customers will assume that you’re not concentrating on the issue at hand or are not interested in resolving their problem.
The best course of action is to wait for a lull in the process. If neither part is engaged in much talking and keeping up the conversation is appropriate. This is when you can insert questions that uncover common ground.
4. Reply to Comments and Feedback
The turn of the century has cemented social media, Google reviews, and directories as a powerful feedback tools that businesses can leverage. According to Statista, 47% of US customers favor brands that respond to customer concerns or queries voiced out on social media. So if you’re looking for real-time, up-to-date insight into how customers are feeling about your brand or industry, social media is super helpful.
Social media presents a great opportunity for your brand to attract any frustrated or curious customers. By simply responding to tweets, replying to comments, or answering direct messages (or DMs, as the kids like to call it), you can exhibit your brand’s commitment to customer service.
Once you successfully address and (ideally) satisfy their concern, you boost your social media presence as other prospects will witness it too. You might just generate new leads and get some free word-of-mouth marketing.
While we’re on the subject, you may want to expand your cross-channel experience if it applies to your market. Don’t limit your business to Facebook, nowadays, you can TikTok too!
5. Create a Customer Loyalty Program
Customer loyalty is when customers repurchase your services repeatedly because you’re the best in their mind — in service, experience, and value.
Customers aren’t loyal because of your loyalty program.
Customers are loyal because of your loyalty to your loyal customers.
When you give your most loyal clients the actual better deals, and actual priority services, you are engaging in authentic customer engagement.
When your club membership is just a bunch of platitudes and hot air, a value that every other person can get (or better), you are letting your most loyal customers down.
When you offer better deals for “first-time customers”, you’re telling your loyal customers how worthless they really are.
That said, research demonstrates that 84% of customers are likely to stick with brands offering loyalty programs. Another 66% say that the chance to earn rewards influences their spending behavior. Needless to say, customer loyalty programs are a fantastic solution to engage with customers better.
There are 4 ways you may go about creating a loyalty program:
- Point-based where customers may earn points, say, by following your social accounts, placing orders, or telling their friends about you. They can use the points to redeem exclusive merch, get discounts, etc.
- Tier-based where customers obtain exclusive privileges based on how their tier. Once they sign-up for the program, the more customers spend, the higher their tier goes, and the better perks they receive.
- Paid loyalty where customers may choose to pay a fee to join your paid programs. This is more appropriate for contractors with solid proof of value to boast. For example, you may offer an exclusive 10-year, no-fuss, non-prorated warranty for paid members.
- Value loyalty where customers are not rewarded directly, but they get to be a part of something more meaningful by purchasing from you. Say, if you partner with a local charity or welfare program, and then a certain percentage of the sale gets forwarded to them.
6. Make Customer Self-Service Resources Available
Many view customer self-service tools as post-sale retention resources but honestly they are a fine way to engage with customers too.
The best example of this customer engagement service is Hyundai which developed an augmented reality manual where customers can explore a vehicle’s features from a tablet’s screen. In this regard, customers know how things work without any customer service rep support, reducing friction in the customer experience.
Customer self-service is a concept geared towards problem solvers. Research indicates that 67% prefer self-service options than calling up company reps. So establishing your residential home service business’ customer self-service assets is important.
It can be as simple as providing a detailed, comprehensive repository for FAQs to treading the same path as Hyundai. For an HVAC company, you may offer a product walk-through to show them how to quickly set up their programmable smart thermostat.
7. Offer Real Value
Undoubtedly, one of the best customer engagement tactics is to offer them real, genuine, and unrivaled value.
Offering impeccable value to customers means selling useful products or services that your market deems worthy of their MONEY, ENERGY, and TIME. For your customers to find value in your products or services, the perceived benefits and advantages must outweigh the price. Your solution must provide advantages that make life easier for them more than the value of their money.
One strategy to offer customers real value is to reinforce your brand image. Remember that clients are likely to hire your services if you share the same principles, values, and morals. So companies that pay it forward or give back to the community can help customers feel good about choosing your business.
Consider defining your principles and purpose that elevate your business from the Sea of Sameness. Authenticity is a real value that customers respect.
Alternatively, you may choose to create your Perfectly Fair Competitive Advantage which means creating the staggering value that your competitors struggle to do. All things being equal, customers will gravitate toward customer engagement offers like “cheaper prices,” but developing unique selling propositions that set you above the rest is a superior method to engage customers.
8. Create an Emotional Bond to Engage with Customers
There’s more to businesses than just getting the job done. Yet, too many companies presume that customers will be happy once the job is done.
I’ve been in sales for many years, and most customers view results and outcomes as a mere commodity. Developing an emotional bond with your customers at key touchpoints is the experience they’re looking for.
One way to do this is by focusing on belonging signals — the little things. Ensuring that your team expresses empathy, patience, knowledge, and passion in every customer engagement is key. This gives people a sense of comfort and assures them they’re linked with the right tribe.
Another way is to give them a buying experience like no other. Look for ways to be creative in strategically delighting your customers. What are ways you can overdeliver above and beyond their expectations?
An amazing, thoughtful, and memorable customer experience is one of the biggest advantages in today’s competitive climate, so always look for ways to connect on a relational level.
How To Re-engage With Previous Customers via Email?
Post-sale customer retention is just as important as customer satisfaction for businesses. A study conducted by Harvard Business School found that companies’ profits went up by 25% to 95% with an improved customer retention rate of 5%. Plus, ROI is greater in repeat customers as your client acquisition cost (CAC) drops by 5 to 25 times. It’s simply a no-brainer that you must strive to optimize in your residential home service business.
Retaining paying customers doesn’t just happen. Customer retention is a product of effort and periodic re-engagement. But reconnecting with them after months may feel awkward and uncomfy, which is precisely why many businesses fail to re-engage.
Here are some ways you could employ to re-engage previous clients:
- Send them snail mail. Most clients are desensitized to the sheer amounts of emails they get daily, that’s why a letter can pack a big punch to re-engage them.
- Ask for feedback. Adults want to feel valued and heard. This may rekindle their appreciation of being valued as loyal customers.
- Ping them with a personalized, non-salesy email. This might include your favorite recipe they may be interested in or a must-watch movie you want to share.
- Call them with an exclusive offer. A limited-quantity special deal for previous customers only is a great way to stir up the dust.
Sample Email Template for Re-engaging Customers
Hey [Customer First Name],
I was thinking about you today.
I was making Mi Mamita’s favorite dish for the first time in 15 years and it turned out SO GOOD!
I thought it would be a crime if I didn’t share it with you, so I’ve made you a copy of the recipe (see attached).
Pair this with a Cabernet Sauvignon, and thank me later. It was delicious.
Anyhoo. I don’t want to take up too much of your time, but I’d love to hear what you think if you make it.
Until then, have a superb day.
PS – Don’t forget to change your air conditioner’s filter today. Give us a call if you want us to do it for you.
Both engaging and re-engaging previous customers matter so much for the success of your business. When properly executed, you can build unrivaled customer loyalty in your industry and be the home service champion in your community.
If you need expert assistance to engage new customers or rekindle previous customers’ loyalty, Wizard of Sales™ can make that happen. Book a demo.