If you’re still hung up on merely satisfying customers, you’re making a colossal error.
Don’t get me wrong. Keeping customers happy is necessary, but more is needed to win your market successfully.
With the increasing number of competitors and a challenging market to crack, businesses are beginning to focus more on customer engagement. Companies transcend the buyer-seller relationship to pursue a deeper, more meaningful connection with clients.
Customer engagement strategies involve various tactics and approaches to connect with customers and build lasting relationships. A practical and positive engagement with customers precedes customer loyalty. Conversely, you risk losing a potential repeat buyer and brand ambassador when you don’t implement customer engagement steps.
If you want to build an army of loyal customers, start engaging your customers.
This definitive guide will explore everything there is to know about customer engagement. We’ll discuss what it is, why it matters, and how to keep customers engaged.
What Exactly is Customer Engagement?
Customer engagement is the continuous cultivation of an emotional connection between a business and its customers. Now there are a few crucial elements I would like to dissect from that definition.
First, customer engagement is continuous.
Despite being a common buzzword in today’s business landscape, many companies still overlook this aspect of customer engagement. Many think of customer engagement as an event or a one-off exchange rather than a state of being.
While traditional businesses interpreted engagements as interactions between customers and sales reps, all business touchpoints are avenues for customer engagement. Engagement channels include websites, social media pages, customer service, and in-person conversations. In customer engagement, you want to engage customers regardless of time, segment, or medium.
Ideally, relationships should last indefinitely. That means a clear starting point but no endpoint. Plus, no sensible individual starts a relationship and looks forward to its expiration. The same principle applies to customer engagement.
Second, customer engagement involves cultivating a relationship.
Bountiful harvest awaits crops that are grown with love and care. While you may be engaging with customers, are you also building a solid relationship with them? Having active customer service that responds right away is not necessarily customer engagement.
When we talk about engaging customers, we explore the quality of your company’s relationship with them. As such, you must take measures that allow your business to enhance a customer’s affinity with your brand.
Third, customer engagement focuses on creating an emotional connection.
Look at real-life relationships between lovers or friends. What binds their ties together is the level of emotional connection they have. An emotional connection transpires when people go through similar experiences, share common interests or enjoy each other’s company. Customer engagement follows the same suit.
At its core, customer engagement is about understanding your customers’ needs and interests. Businesses should leverage that knowledge to deliver tailored experiences that forge an emotional connection with customers. Some key strategies include listening to customer feedback, offering personalized recommendations and creating relevant, high-quality content.
You can build customer loyalty and drive customer retention by realizing customer expectations and meeting them.
4 Key Types of Customer Engagement
Aside from knowing what customer engagement is, it’s also important to explore the various types constituting it. This refines your understanding of customer engagement, allowing you to strengthen each category in your business.
“Without context, ‘engagement’ is just noise.” —Anthony O’Dell.
Every customer is different with their unique circumstances. That means no blanket solution collectively solves all of their problems at once. In the same way, you can only interact with customers with a single approach. You must understand their particular context to tailor your approach to engaging them.
This is where contextual engagement comes in.
Contextual engagement involves understanding your customer’s needs and preferences and then customizing the customer experience accordingly. This requires businesses to collect and analyze customer data to understand their customers better.
Doing so allows businesses to provide personalized recommendations and create relevant content that speaks directly to their customers. Ultimately, contextual engagement enables enterprises to build strong customer relationships.
Engagement of Convenience
A key element of customer engagement is providing the best possible service to your customers. When your offers don’t appeal to your audience, keeping them engaged is difficult even if you maintain an active interaction.
Remember that customers seek out businesses primarily to solve their problems, not to make friends. That’s why every company is responsible for giving their customers the best convenience possible. And this can happen across various channels and touchpoints.
For instance, engagement of convenience could take place when visitors view your website. Is it easy to navigate? Are there compelling copy and enough C.T.A.s to motivate visitors to take action?
Another area where customers can observe engagement of convenience is through your payment options. Do you accept credit or debit cards, or are you stuck in the 90s only taking cash or checks?
Finally, your list of offers is the most crucial element in the engagement of convenience. Customers visit you for your set of solutions and compare your level of comfort against the competition. Are your products and services for travel to Europe competitive enough for them to choose you over your competitors? Do you have an irresistible value proposition or a perfectly fair competitive advantage?
You support customer engagement when your solutions are convenient.
Did you know that customers make all their buying decisions from the area of the brain that exclusively feels? This area has no faculty for words or logic. You can nudge consumers into purchasing when you tug on the right emotional levers.
However, doing so is more complicated than it seems. Emotionally engaging customers is different from showing people tear-jerking drama flick. There are no switch buttons to make them emotionally connected to your brand.
This customer engagement strategy is a process.
Contextual engagement and engagement of convenience are precursors of emotional engagement. You must hit the right buttons before customers soften up to you.
Alternatively, emotional engagement could also occur in your advertising. Ads are potent channels to influence customers emotionally. With the right words and angle of approach, you can evoke feelings of trust and familiarity.
Finally, emotional engagement happens when customers talk with your sales reps or customer service. Deductive reasoning helps you understand customers’ underlying felt needs to frame the conversation accordingly. In other words, when you speak to the dog in the language of the dog, they become more engaged.
Social engagement is the culmination of all of the above. This is the litmus test that determines the success of your customer engagement approach.
Remember that your market is seen as active players rather than recipients in customer engagement. Social engagement is the part where engaged customers are the ones primarily participating. In this portion, your business becomes their social advocacy.
Thanks to your strong customer engagement strategies, social engagement means that customers are now your brand ambassadors. And they will spread the gospel of your business to their network and social channels.
Social engagement is the finish line of a long and winding road. Achieving such a feat happens when businesses have a strong customer engagement strategy. That’s where we come in.
At Wizard of Sales®, we help residential home service businesses transform their market into engaged customers. Using proven and tested strategies, we increase the levels of customer engagement to the maximum gauge. If you’re looking for expert consultants to help you, book a call with us and let’s talk business.
Customer Engagement vs. Customer Satisfaction
Customer engagement and customer satisfaction may sound the same, but they differ. Customer satisfaction falls under the vast scope of customer engagement. In other words, a satisfied customer may not be fully engaged, but an engaged customer is always happy.
Let’s begin by defining each term.
Customer satisfaction measures how happy customers are with your products or services. You fill customers’ satisfaction bar when your solutions fulfill or exceed what you advertise. As a result, customers may become lifelong shoppers and leave some positive reviews for good measure.
Conversely, customer engagement occurs when customers are satisfied across your business touchpoints because you deliver connected experiences keeping them engaged.
Engagement encompasses all points of contact between you and your customers. That includes your products and services and other channels like customer service, advertising and sales.
Why Delighting Your Customers Is Not Enough to Engage them.
Delighting customers and providing customer satisfaction are the same things. While they may be important aspects of business, they only form a small part of customer engagement.
Among many entrepreneurial thought leaders, no one spoke against settling with customer engagement other than Jeffrey Gitomer. In his book, “Customer Satisfaction is WORTHLESS: Customer Loyalty is Priceless,” he comprehensively explains why delighting customers is not enough.
According to him, customer satisfaction is good but not good enough because it needs to be completed. Customer satisfaction is solution-centric. Achieving this means that customers are satisfied with the products you sell or the services you render. Satisfaction alone rarely leads to loyalty.
The missing piece to reaching customer loyalty is top-notch, unrivaled and excellent customer service. Customer service perfects the customer experience by ensuring every business touchpoint is at its peak. With exceptional customer service, every touchpoint is equipped to foster customer engagement. Actively engaging with customers is the secret sauce to customer loyalty.
Focusing on customer engagement rather than customer satisfaction enables businesses to build lasting customer relationships. This paves the way to reaping the long-term benefits that come with loyalty— repeat buyers and brand ambassadors.
“Okay, so loyalty begins with customer engagement. But how exactly should we engage with customers?“
Before we answer that question, we must identify where customer engagement happens first. Engagement can happen everywhere — digital or in-person — as long as a person contacts your business, engagement is there. Jim Carlzon and famous business leaders call this scenario the “Zero Moment of Truth” or ZMOT.
Every interaction between businesses and customers is a moment of truth that determines their purchase decision.
This is where ZMOT happens, which is your first shot at customer engagement. Following an incident in customers’ lives, they will look for solution providers who can remove their problems. You must make it count whether that’s on your social media page, an email, your website or a conversation with salespeople.
The secret to engaging customers is mastering the M.E.T. equation, which stands for money, energy and time. These are your customers’ measuring sticks for value, and customers only care about those three things. You yield a positive engagement when you steer the conversation to highlight how you can deliver more value than their perceived costs.
For example, imagine you’re dealing with a customer looking for an air-conditioning unit in their home. A positive customer engagement would dig into what your customers truly want. Instead of recklessly throwing solutions, you will investigate what matters to them most.
Is it efficiency or just the upfront cost? What will spending more or less now mean for their comfort and stress? Can we sell them something that is lower maintenance, saving them time and frustration of ongoing care? How do we make the sale about saving them money, energy (stress removal), and time (now and later).
Once you uncover what they value most, you can give them accurate solutions, increasing your chance of sealing the deal.
According to Salesforce, 83 percent of people expect a rep to help them immediately to solve their problems. However, 66 percent of customers say they must re-explain issues to various representatives. This creates poor customer engagement right off the bat.
When salespeople master the M.E.T. equation, they can immediately attend to customer needs and solve their pain points. Wizard of Sales® can help your team acquire this craft. Book a call.
Customer Engagement in Services
Contrary to popular belief, customer engagement can happen even after customers buy your products or hire your services. Again, as long as there is an interaction between customers and businesses, there is engagement.
Your products are an extension of your business, and how they perform will influence your customers’ perceptual reality of you. Alternatively, customers are physically present while you render services, meaning interaction can occur. In other words, even after customers purchase your solution, leaving a positive impression remains crucial.
As residential home service contractors, it’s crucial to maintain a team that understands the value of customer engagement. Your reps, customer support agents, techs, workers and laborers must have customer engagement training. This ensures that no business touchpoint will compromise or tarnish the customer experience.
Quick delivery is one aspect where you can display positive customer engagement. Customers want jobs done promptly or with a short turnaround time. That is called selling competent convenience.
A perfect example of this is Brian Scudamore’s Wow 1 Day Painting. Their entire spiel is painting a whole home interior in one day. The painters start as soon as you leave for work, and the job’s finished before you return. This is competent convenience in action; all customers want that even in exchange for a higher price.
When you render services within the agreed timeline, your business becomes the bearer of competent convenience. This yields positive customer engagement.
It shows that you value your customers’ time, reducing the stress and anxiety of hiring your services. As a result, customers will be keener to hire you again the next time they require your assistance.
Every business interaction is a medium for customer engagement. Convincing customers to choose your business begins with having the skills to engage customers in every touchpoint.
The question is: how exactly do we engage customers?
At Wizard of Sales®, customer engagement should be your business’s top priority. That’s why we help residential home service business owners and their teams master the art of customer engagement. With our help, you can leave a positive impression whenever customers interact with your business.
If you’re interested, we’d like to invite you to a free call so we can talk about your customer engagement.