When you think about client engagement, did you know that increasing customer retention rates by 5% has been proven to increase profits from 25% to 95%? How about that customers will spend 17% more to do business with companies that deliver excellent customer service? Whether you’ve heard these figures before or not, the math is clear. If you want to create customers that love your brand so much they share it with others, your business has to first find ways to engage them at any cost.
The good news is that the “cost” is almost always more affordable than you think. In fact, people remember the way you made them feel long after they’ve forgotten everything else. In our personal lives or in business, the iconic Maya Angelou quote rarely isn’t true: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
That’s why this guide, part five of my Superfan W.A.V.E. blog series, is all about how to ensure customers want to engage with your brand and your team. Here, we’ll break down the basics of a client engagement strategy including how and where to best reach them. We’ll also break down how to ensure they feel engaged at every stage in the buying process.
If you missed the previous four blogs, no worries! Sign up for my free five-day W.A.V.E. video course and receive all four with videos to match! In each video, you’ll find proven and sea-riously awesome strategies for boosting client engagement (and, yes: the ocean puns continue in the videos, too 😁 ).
The Importance of Engaging Your Customers
Although it comes in many forms, client engagement centers on the idea of relationships or, according to Forrester, “creating deep connections with customers that drive purchase decisions, interaction, and participation, over time.” In other words, building a connection with your customers isn’t simply a way to earn their trust. It also has direct impacts on your monetary success as well as your reputation.
Let’s think of it in terms of a romantic engagement, for example. When two people are engaged, they aren’t looking for anyone else because they’re committed to one another. When a customer is engaged with your brand, it’s a similar dynamic. They love your company, product, or service and aren’t seeking competitors, because you’re “the One.” This means more sales and more referrals during the period that individual is a customer.
Engaging customers looks different for every company, but if you’ve been following my content up to this point – and following the Superfan W.A.V.E. strategy of welcoming, appreciating, and validating your customers – engagement will almost inevitably follow.
For many businesses, client engagement is as simple as connecting regularly with customers where they’re already active. This can be in person, over the phone, via email or newsletter, or social media. It’s also about creating and sharing content that your customers will enjoy (you had to see this coming) engaging with. Alternatively, when in doubt, ask what they love most about your business. Customers love to share their experiences. Plus, it will help you engage more deeply with them and provide insights on how to reach new customers.
How To Make Your Customers Feel Engaged
To start building your client engagement strategy, first map your customer journey, including the communication touchpoints along the way. Ads, webpages, emails, automated texts – all of these are important “touchpoints” before and after a customer faces a purchase decision. Once you’ve laid it all out, look for gaps and opportunities to improve customer engagement. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Does the communication make your customers feel welcomed, appreciated, validated, and engaged?
- Are there points in the customer journey when your company experiences a drop in customer engagement or a spike in customer churn?
- What can your team do to streamline communication, follow the W.A.V.E. strategy, and exceed customer expectations when they interact with your brand?
This exercise will take more time than most that I’ve shared here, but I guarantee that every brand you’ve aspired to emulate has done some version of this project with their team to build the customer engagement strategy you’ve come to love.
I could also go on for another several blogs about how to best engage customers, but the answer truly depends on your customers: what they value, what they need, and what they think you could do better. That said, if you’re unsure how to boost your company’s client engagement, below are three things you can add to your workflow right now.
Engage with customers after their first purchase.
First and foremost, make sure you are engaging with customers immediately after they make a purchase. If it’s their first purchase, make sure to include a “welcome” message of some kind. If they’re an existing customer, recognize their ongoing support for your brand. In either case, your goal should be to (a) be authentic to your brand’s voice and (b) appreciative of the purchase they just made. That way, the customer knows you see them as an individual and value their opinion of your product or service.
In my own experience, one of the best examples of this practice is Chewy. A few years ago, I landed on Chewy while looking for prescription food for my dog, Bear. (Yep. That’s a thing.) Admittedly, most of my decision to purchase came from the “welcome” discount and the “free shipping over $49” deal. However, I didn’t know that I would receive a personalized “welcome” email – from an actual human being, no less – as well as a handwritten card a week post-purchase. I even receive yearly Christmas cards and birthday addressed to my dogs! In short, even though I initially signed up based on price and convenience, it’s Chewy’s client engagement efforts that turned what could have been a one-time purchase into recurring orders of more than $150 every month. Plus, when a pet owner in my network asks what pet brands I trust, they’re the first I recommend.
With your own customers, providing these engagement touchpoints after a customer’s first purchase can have the same effect. Even if their initial purchase is small, their lifetime value with your brand can be huge.
Ask for feedback after several purchases.
After more than one purchase, another way to add client engagement to your workflow is to ask for feedback. In any business, it can be tempting to think of the clients you haven’t heard from and think “Well, if they didn’t say anything, they must be satisfied.” but that isn’t always true. In fact, according to a 2017 study by American Express, “Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience.” That’s a lot of faith in your less-engaged customers when you could simply ask for their feedback. Then you can make sure that they have a good experience (and, consequently, tell those 11 people!).
One way to engage multiple-purchase customers is to bring them backstage. When you ask for their feedback, don’t just ask for a Google Review or a quick rating on your website. Put together a quick survey or reference their order specifically, when you ask for feedback on their experience. Maybe offer to meet with customers for a quick phone or Zoom call to get to know them better. Whatever your preferred method of communication, your goal should be to provide a safe space for customers to share their feedback – positive and negative – and to do so in a way that is convenient for them.
And you don’t have to stop there! After hearing a customer’s feedback, the next step is showing them you truly value it. Share how their feedback influenced your company’s product designs, feature their insights in a company blog, or give them a shoutout on social media. For every customer, you want to not only encourage feedback but also reward them for it, so they know their comments truly matter.
Reward long-time customers for their support.
Finally, if you want to boost your company’s client engagement, ask yourself, “How am I engaging or rewarding longtime customers?” If you don’t have an answer, take it from companies that learned the importance of client engagement the hard way. Every year, countless companies forget to show their love for longtime customers. They focus instead on new customers, pouring company resources into lead generation instead of customer service. However, the truth is that it’s anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. Plus, after having a positive experience with a company, 77% of customers would recommend it to a friend. That’s a lot of money wasted on sales efforts when the best salespeople you have are your superfans already purchasing from you.
To combat this, don’t just make feedback a part of your engagement strategy. Make rewards a part of it, too. Whether it’s a punch card, coupon, or membership-based discount, rewarding your biggest fans is guaranteed to pay off.
Summarily, ensuring customer engagement – and creating superfans – is truly a matter of listening to your customers. How do they want to be treated? How can you better serve them? What can you and your team members do to improve your offerings and provide them with the best experience possible? How can you thank them for their support and their referrals?
The answers to these questions are just some of the many ways you can improve customer service in your business. To kickstart these improvements, check out my previous guide to improving customer service or download my free workbook, the Superfan System: Step #1. 🚀