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Customer engagement, a ubiquitous catchphrase among online businesses nowadays, is a measure of a brand’s relationship with its consumers across all touchpoints throughout their lifespan. Consistently engaging customers across many channels enables firms to establish and develop a ‘human-to-human’ connection with them, adding value beyond transactional connections.
If there’s one thing that hasn’t changed from the good old days of brick-and-mortar stores to today’s successful internet enterprises, it’s the steadfast conviction in the adage “Customer is King.” And, with legendary marketing campaigns like ‘Share a Coke’ (Coca Cola) or the ‘Big Sleepover’ (Ikea), major multinational firms have shown us that customer interaction is a critical component of any other company strategy for happy, returning, and loyal consumers.
Customer engagement is no longer confined to sales, support, or services; rather, it is a continuous practise of businesses anticipating consumers’ needs and staying in touch with them in order to develop long-term connections, loyalty, and hence business success.
Customer engagement, also known as visitor/user engagement, is the active interaction with your audience through messaging that intrigues, educates, or motivates them, and facilitates two-way discussions with your organization based on their stage in the purchase experience.
With more organizations taking a customer-centric strategy when building their marketing strategies, customer interaction will eventually take center stage in order to generate top-of-mind awareness and achieve the desired inbound growth.
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While there is no exact formula for calculating customer engagement, since it is literally represented by practically every marketing KPI, the following measures, when combined, can be the most effective in determining engagement levels for your business:
Average time spent on site or page is perhaps one of the most visible on-site metrics for measuring consumer engagement. If you succeed in attracting visitors’ attention and interest, they will stay not only to complete an intended job, but also to explore what your website or app has to offer, increasing your engagement rate.
It’s reasonable to assume that social media is the major off-site route your fans use to communicate with you, whether it’s through replies, video views, likes, tweets, mentions, shares, comments, or tags. They follow your social media sites and handles to remain up to speed on your latest services, to contact you if they have a question or issue, to be aware of the current trends in the industry, and much more. As a result, the activity on all of your social media accounts is a good measure of how well your audience is engaged with your company.
If you operate a website, you almost certainly use forms to collect data from visitors at some point in your funnel. However, the quantity of form fills you receive is determined by a lot of things, including how interested your visitors are with your company. After all, people will only freely contribute their valuable data if they see value in connecting with you and want to keep current on your company’s activities.
Open rate is the proportion of unique openings received for communication channels such as emails, push notifications, Facebook Messenger, and so on, while click-through rate is the percentage of receivers that clicked on any CTA in the message. These two metrics are directly proportionate to how engaged your consumers are since they provide a clear indication of how well your audience is reacting to your message and whether or not they are eager or inquisitive to learn about the updates/offers you’ve shared.
By keeping your consumers engaged, you make it simpler for your company to convert more and more of them into evangelists, champions, and loyalists. Customer referral is a powerful measure of customer engagement for any online business since well-engaged and highly pleased consumers are more likely to promote your products/services to their friends and family. Furthermore, because they constantly monitor your communication, engaged consumers will be aware of referral incentive programmes and offers, making them more likely to create referral traffic for your firm.
If your consumers are actively connected with your company across many platforms, you will most likely be the first name that comes to mind when they need to make a purchase. Even better, by sharing continuing bargains and offers with engaged consumers, you may be able to drive some spontaneous purchases. As a result, a high rate of repeat transactions indicates a highly engaged client base.
Needless to say, well-engaged consumers wouldn’t mind spending some of their valuable time visiting your website or app every now and then because they are likely to be excited about the new experiences you have to offer. Not only that, but they may be led to your website/app via social media postings, emails, or push alerts. As a result, high client visit frequency on your site/app indicates an excellent customer engagement approach.
Closely monitoring and evaluating client feedback allows you to gain fantastic insights into what your consumers value, what they believe is lacking, and the improvements they anticipate. These will inform you how successfully they connect with your company across all touchpoints, serving as a direct measure of client engagement.
Create a perfect customer journey for your website and app
This is the fundamental phase that will serve as the cornerstone of your consumer interaction strategy, without which you will jeopardize its robustness and efficacy. To successfully generate and encourage interaction on your digital domains, you must first establish how a typical customer or prospect interacts with your company and their journey.
This will include defining all customer touchpoints from the moment someone contacts your company until they become a customer, as well as understanding how they navigate on your website or app and through the conversion funnel so you can identify the exact opportunities for optimization to drive more engagement.
Define goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) clearly
Once you’ve completed the preliminary research, you’re ready to identify the engagement objectives you want to achieve and the important metrics you’ll be tracking. Set precise, measurable, achievable, reasonable, and time-bound (SMART) goals for each interaction channel based on where you are now and what is working effectively for your company. Define the corresponding metrics that will be utilized to improve all of your engagement efforts. Constantly analyze and reread these indicators, since you may need to change a few to line with the most recent changes in your firm, industry advancements, and so on.
Segment your consumer base to make all messages more targeted
While a one-size-fits-all strategy to engaging all consumers may work in certain circumstances, in most cases, you’ll need to segment your client base in order to provide more relevant experiences. As a result, when you start working on a plan, it’s critical to precisely identify your customer segments so that you can coordinate all of your ads and communication based on the requirements, behavior, and purchase/search history of your consumers and capture their attention from the start.
Purchase behavior (new vs. returning vs. loyalist), geo-location, device kind, peak engagement time, and so on are just a few of the numerous criteria you may utilize to slice and dice your lists and put them into appropriate buckets for relevant marketing.
Monitor and analyze consumer activity across your digital domains and platforms
Next, measure and evaluate client activity on your digital assets using quantitative and qualitative techniques. This will allow you to examine how consumers interact with your company – where they drop off, where they engage the most, and so much more. Once you’ve dug down these insights, you can concentrate on optimizing for the specific flaws uncovered and double down on what’s working well.
Heatmaps, which provide a visual depiction of click and scroll activity representing visitors’ engagement with your site, can be used to track and evaluate user behavior on your website. This will allow you to gain insights on how well they are engaging with it, how far they are scrolling, what is capturing and retaining their attention, what parts distract them, and so on. To delve deeper for insights, employ session recordings, which allow you to see your visitors’ interactions with your website through an interactive visual player. Website surveys are another wonderful method for mining actual user behavior to determine your site’s engagement levels.
When it comes to marketing channels like email, push notifications, social media, and chatbots, be sure to measure and evaluate the interaction and engagement for your various campaigns so you have a clear starting point and a clear image of the areas for development.
A customer engagement platform is basically an automation solution that assists online businesses in centralizing, automating, tracking, and analyzing customer interactions across all touchpoints during the customer journey. It enables organizations to offer better experiences to their consumers and, as a result, increase growth while continuously outperforming operating efficiency and saving costs by enabling them to easily coordinate and execute their engagement initiatives.
A customer engagement platform allows you to precisely track your client journeys and identify relevant interaction opportunities. You may rely on customer engagement platforms for insights on consumer behavior to deduce trends and appropriately send targeted, most relevant communication because it is packed with analytics and best practices.
A customer engagement platform can assist you in automating the following tasks:
By adopting a platform for the consolidation and automation of all client interaction activities, you not only get to optimize workflow and simplify cooperation, but you can also rely on it to do all the heavy lifting, relieving your customer-facing employees of the burden. Once your staff are no longer responsible for manual, repetitive chores, they can focus on establishing new customer interaction methods for long-term business success.
Without a customer engagement platform, your staff are effectively disarmed and your engagement initiatives ineffective, since they are likely to waste a significant amount of time and effort refining their engagement activities for maximum outcomes. As a result, a customer engagement platform guarantees that you harness evolving technologies to make data-driven, customer-focused decisions that continuously improve your customer engagement metrics.
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Customer experience and customer engagement are sometimes mistaken or considered to be the same thing; however, they are not. While they are not the same, they do have an influence on and determine the overall performance of a firm.
Customer experience is simply a customer’s view of a company’s relationship with them. Every connection a company has with its clients, whether it be through marketing, sales, or support, forms their experience.
Depending on the outcome of the set of activities a client is urged to perform once they contact a firm, the customer experience might be favorable, bad, joyful, or difficult. It is typically impacted by the speed, convenience, comfort, value, and enjoyment of the same. However, because everything and everything contributes to an experience, even little setbacks might influence the customer’s overall view to shift for the worst.
Consumer engagement, on the other hand, is the sum of all interactions between a company and its customers that are promoted by the company but driven by the customer. Customer engagement is an attempt on the part of a business to create and cultivate a healthy connection with its customers in which they continually obtain value. Unlike in the case of customer experience, a business can only promote engagement; whether or not the consumer wants to interact with the firm is entirely up to the customer. Customer experience is both an input (to determine your engagement strategy) and an output (to evaluate how your engagement approach is functioning).
Consider the following scenario to better understand the distinction between customer experience and engagement. A customer visits an eCommerce store with the purpose of making a purchase. Their shopping (or customer) experience is comprised of all interactions that occur throughout their whole purchasing journey, from browsing for the product on the site to eventually completing the payment and checking out. Assume they change their minds and ditch their cart. Customer interaction includes the cart recovery communication that the shop sends to win them back.
While customer experience is almost unavoidably a part of the customer journey, engagement is something that organizations must intentionally focus on in order to build a valuable, long-lasting connection with their consumers. Furthermore, because customer experience influences your company’s impression among consumers, it is an important aspect in molding the outcomes of your customer engagement activities. This is due to the fact that clients who are satisfied with the experiences you provide are more inclined to joyfully and actively participate with your organization whenever available. As a result, the two are linked in such a manner that engagement is composed of and impacted by the quality of a sequence of experiences provided by your company. In other words, client engagement is the vehicle (means or trip) that will get you to your destination of a great customer experience.
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With so many marketing channels at a marketer’s disposal, one could ask if client interaction is genuinely successful in reaching company objectives. If you’re not convinced, keep reading to see how a successful customer engagement strategy may help your company:
1. Customer connections that are stronger and healthier, with more loyalty
Online firms have outperformed the old, offline manner of conducting business in practically every area, having skillfully capitalized on the quickly rising internet usage throughout the world. However, if there is one thing that internet firms have yet to master, it is the skill of developing long-term connections with clients, which promotes profitability and loyalty.
An effective customer engagement strategy may be critical in assisting companies in connecting with their consumers in a way that encourages them to remain customers. You are more likely to establish better connections with your consumers if you make an effort to engage them across several channels and touchpoints in addition to what is required to encourage them to make a purchase. You consistently remind them that you care if you interact with them on a frequent basis about what is important to them, keeping in mind their needs, priorities, motivations, and objectives.
When you start providing more than just your product or service and adding value to their lives (or businesses), your clients will be convinced to turn to you anytime they need to make a purchase. This will assist you in developing a community of highly engaged brand loyalists who are prepared to look past the ticket price and select you regardless of whether you deliver the lowest product/service in the category.
2. Increased client retention and decreased turnover
According to Bain & Company research, a 5% increase in client retention results in a 25% boost in profitability. This and several other reputable studies have repeatedly indicated that engaged consumers account for a large portion of a company’s overall income. Given these statistics, it is impossible to deny the importance and compelling necessity for online firms to prioritize client retention.
While there are other tactics that marketing and customer-facing teams are increasingly using to retain consumers, constantly engaging customers and regularly nurturing customer relationships is a major approach that can be found in every business playbook.
Creating and adhering to a methodical customer engagement plan will guarantee that your connection with your consumers does not cease at the point of purchase, but rather continues to develop. You can try to further elucidate the USPs and benefits of your products/services to help them make the most of it, introduce them to new features and functionalities, educate and inform them about the latest trends and advancements in the industry – all to ensure they can leverage your offerings to their benefit and don’t forget about you by reaching out to them on a regular basis through their preferred channels.
A carefully defined engagement plan can also assist you as a business in identifying and understanding your consumers’ primary pain spots when using your product/service, allowing you to successfully solve them and retain them.
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The definition and breadth of customer interaction are always expanding as a result of ongoing innovation in engagement techniques spurred by unrelenting rivalry among businesses for consumers’ attention and loyalty. It is no longer limited by a specific checklist or a road map to winning over clients. As a result, the key to success is to continually evolve your engagement roadmap by trying to determine what works and what doesn’t for your target audience.
However, the silver lining is that your clients are more engaged nowadays, and you have 24*7 access to their attention. So, by harnessing data and adopting emerging technologies to guarantee you are constantly providing something relevant, consistent, engaging, and beneficial for your consumers to connect with, you can easily lay the framework for long-term partnerships.
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