Customer Engagement is the concept that marketers have devised to meet the challenges of a changing commercial landscape. It is no longer enough to broadcast messages through advertising to an anonymous audience. Thanks to the internet the consumer has a voice. Through social media they can communicate with you and they can communicate with other customers, wherever they might be.
In reality of course we have simply gone back to basics. Although it has become a cliché, it is nonetheless true to say that people buy from people they like; and, aside from a monopoly situation, surely it was ever thus.
Before the arrival of the supermarket and ‘big brand’ stores, shopping was a social event. The local shop keepers would likely know you by name, they would ask about your day, about your family, about you. It was a social experience and you would make an emotional connection.
These local shops are unfortunately becoming fewer and fewer and so these relationships have changed: buyers and sellers have become more remote both physically, in the case of distance selling (which of course today includes ecommerce), and emotionally in the sense that you are more likely to visit shops where no one knows your name.
Generally the shopping experience has become bland and goods and services more commoditised.
Today, as a consequence, price is often the only differentiator.
Most would agree this is a dangerous place to be so savvy companies are going back to establishing relationships with their customers: they are exploring how to use customer engagement to regain competitive advantage.
There is no universally accepted definition of customer engagement but here is one that I am happy to go along with for now: “Repeated interactions that strengthen the emotional, psychological or physical investment a customer has in a brand.” Richard Sedley
It is those interactions that we focus upon when helping you develop your customer engagement strategy; and of course those interactions can be anything from a face-to-face meeting to a telephone conversation, an email, a tweet, a YouTube video, a LinkedIn post, a Facebook message…..the list goes on!
First of all though we will work with you to help define what customer engagement is for your company, assess your current customer engagement baseline and set the goals for the strategy. In our opinion too many companies open a Twitter account or publish a Facebook page without thinking through the outcomes. Just because the latest Social Media channel is ‘hot’ at the moment does not necessarily mean it is right for your business today.
It has to be said engagement is not an easy thing to measure and some say it is impossible so to do but measure it you must: how else will you know you are getting a return on your investment?
Incidentally should you still be under the illusion that social media is free: it isn’t. You only have to add up the number of man-hours spent tweeting or Facebooking etc etc to realise that.
Having established the metrics, with our support you will need to develop and implement a plan that facilitates customer engagement.
Now let’s have a chat (or whatever your preferred method of engagement!) and discuss how we can help you engage with your customers.