Are You Competing to Win with Superior Customer Engagement?
Building Ongoing Loyal Relationships
Successful interactions can lead to higher brand growth, loyalty, and customer retention. Customer engagement is arguably one of the most important ways that brands will differentiate themselves in today’s competitive digital environment as it separates good businesses from great ones and can unlock exponential growth for your company. Numerous studies have shown that highly engaged customers buy more, promote more, and have a deeper connection with the brand. When you consider the fact that the cost of acquiring a new customer substantially exceeds the cost of retaining an engaged customer, as well as the lifetime value of an engaged customer ¾ there is a compelling case for creating highly engaged customers.
Your customers are everything to your business, and obviously, without them, you would have no business. The importance of great customer engagement is vital to your success. Highly engaged customers can not only be advocates but evangelists; they share their enthusiasm for your brand with their network. They are involved with your brand; they respond when contacted, and they share their opinions. They are also loyal and will repeatedly choose their preferred brand ¾ yours. They value their relationship with your brand and trust the outcomes they have come to expect.
Disengaged customers, on the other hand, are fickle. They are just as likely to choose brand X over brand Y based on the direction of the wind. So, what is the best way to build ongoing loyal relationships? Where should you focus?
A Holistic Perspective
- What does the average customer know about the business, the services provided, the products offered, and the ways of engaging?
- What does the customer think that the brand already knows about them? Do they like or love your brand?
- With whom does the customer first engage? Will they be directed to others? Why? Is that first contact aware and knowledgeable about the customer’s goal?
- How does a customer engage with the business (digitally, in-person, or both)?
- What is their total experience with your brand?
- What is the overall strategy for servicing customers? Is this a global approach or divisional/regional? Are there differences? Are interactions across business lines/regions known?
- Are customers segmented, ranked, tiered, or grouped in any special way? How and when does that happen?
- Are interactions with customers targeted or personalized?
- What is available to a team member who interacts with the customer – history, status, intentions, etc.? Are you using CRM?
- How do you own and manage the customer relationship?
- How is information about the customer managed and changed?
- How and when are customer interactions logged and analyzed?
- How is customer information shared across applications?
- How are customer preferences handled – contact channels, privacy settings, etc.?
The following worksheet provides key questions to consider in assessing the quality and effectiveness of a customer engagement initiative:
Customer Engagement Self-Assessment
- Name /rate the perceived level of customer engagement for self, top competitor, and top non-industry benchmark (1 Low, 10 Extremely High)
- What are 3 top engagement features?
- How complete is the understanding of the customer? (100% is total understanding of the customer)
- What is the most innovative reward offered to customer?
- What are the top 2 uses of new technology?
- How are customers segmented?
- What or who is the first point of interaction for the customer?
- What are the 3 top proactive offers presented to customer?
- What are the top 3 rewards offered to customers for repeat engagements? (how are they defined?)
- Are 8 & 9 individualized based on a customer’s actual history – or predetermined standard rewards?
- How are customer preferences determined?
- How ready is the organization to use predictive analytics to determine preferences? (1 not ready, 10 already using)
- How close is the organization to providing every internal touchpoint with immediate data about a customer's interaction? (1 not ready, 10 current practice)
- What is the importance of reacting to any social post by a customer? (1 not important, 10 highly important)
Redefining Customer Engagement in the Digital Age
But in a digital world, customers are building brand preferences based on their engagement across all their experiences, not just interactions within a single industry. We find customers are identifying consumer brands as the most engaging and using them as their benchmarks.
The four most important common outcomes of an engaged customer are:
- They buy repeatedly from the brand.
- They spend more with the brand each time they buy.
- They are more likely to recommend the brand to a friend.
- They promote the brand in social media.
In RCG’s work with leading consumer brands, particularly in the travel and leisure experience market, the following five factors have been used in redefining customer engagement in the digital age:
- Value Added Rewards – providing guests with unique value to drive an exceptional experience.
- Personalization – using advanced analytics to present tailored offers.
- Proactive Offers – anticipating guests’ needs before they even realize them.
- Technology Enhanced, Real-time Interactions – using facial recognition to speed check-in and applying artificial intelligence to adapt to changing preferences and events.
- Digital Engagement – providing a common experience no matter what access gateway they use.