Mastering customer engagement: 8 strategies for ultimate success
It’s a competitive world. For one product or service, there are possibly thousands of providers competing for buyers’ attention, both on local and global scales. How can a business stand out? In many ways — by improving their product (or service), business processes, customer experience and so on. But what’s often looked at last is customer engagement.
In today’s business world, attracting customers is one of the hardest parts. You need to win hearts, be the brand they talk about with excitement, the one they always recommend with glee, the one they choose every time. Because, loyal customers are 64% more likely to purchase more frequently than non-loyal, non-engaged customers.
And that’s only possible when you have a winning customer engagement strategy.
In this article, I will talk about how to get there. We'll go through the foundations of effective customer engaging strategies, why they’re important and how they can help you win your customers’ hearts and minds.
But first, the basics.
Understanding customer engagement strategy
Customer engagement is a series of interactions between brands and customers. Do not confuse customer engagement with customer experience. Though related to each other, customer experience is only a part of customer engagement—the latter being more comprehensive and holistic. For instance, the moment of purchasing something, that’s a moment of experience. And it could be a one-off event.
But engagement strategy? That happens beyond mere purchases and would include everything, before the purchase happened, during and after. These interactions can happen on social media, email, website and even offline, such as in a trade show. In essence, a customer engagement strategy boils down to one thing: building deeper, more meaningful connections with your customers.
And no, customer engagement is not about bombarding your customers with unnecessary and annoying messages. That’s what I’d call “anti-engagement” strategies. Instead, it’s about building genuine customer relationships, about doing small things that make your customers engage and about creating delightful experiences that make your customers feel seen, valued and downright excited. It’s about, as we at Trengo call it delivering on customer delight. Generally known as, turning customers into your advocates.
Why is a customer engagement strategy important?
The success of a business depends upon many things, but if we go specific, it essentially comes down to one thing — and one thing alone: revenue. And customer engagement strategies maximise revenue in multiple forms, such as:
- Customer retention — happy customers stick around. If you delight them, they’re less likely to be lured away by competitors. It costs 6 to 7 times more to acquire new customers than to retain the existing ones. While acquisition should not be overlooked, businesses need to focus more on retaining their customers, as only a 5% increase in customer retention means a 25-95% increase in revenue. That simply means that it is more cost-effective to retain existing customers than to acquire new customers.
- Customer satisfaction — engaged customers feel valued and understood. They’re more likely to be vocal advocates for your brand. Conversely, those who receive a bad customer experience would let the world know about it. Not all of them, but 95% would.
- Word-of-mouth marketing — delighted customers become your ambassadors, even more than your salespeople. They tell their friends, family, and the world why they should choose you. Per Tempkin Group, “77% of customers would recommend a brand to a friend after having a single positive experience.” Additionally, you would have come across the organic user-generated content on social media of customers sharing their delightful interactions with their favorite brands. And who would they buy from again when they need the product or service? You know the answer.
- Brand loyalty — engaged customers become invested in your success, sometimes emotionally. As many as 73% of customers fall in love with brands and stay loyal to them after getting a positive customer experience.
- Competitive advantage — 65% of customers said they have changed to a different brand because of a poor experience. As I said at the outset, businesses compete for attention against both local and international brands. Businesses that want to stay in the game cannot afford to give bad customer experience, as that directly translates to losing customers to competitors.
All in all, customer engagement strategies are important because they help with customer retention, satisfaction and referrals. That ultimately means more conversions—and an increase in revenue.
8 key strategies to boost customer engagement
Customer engagement means building genuine connections, we get that. It’s important for businesses, we learned that. But how to go about it? Depending on your industry, there are a variety of approaches you can incorporate into your ultimate customer engagement strategy, including the following:
1. Personalised service
Nobody wants to feel like just another number, especially modern consumers. In fact, 63% of customers say that organisations should make getting to know them better a top priority.
To make your customers your fans, you will need to treat them as individuals with unique needs and desires. You have your customers’ data — use that data and technology to personalise your interactions, from recommending products based on purchase history to sending personalised emails (such as birthday greetings) that truly matter. Tailor your content to their interests, acknowledge their preferences and surprise them with unexpected delights.
💡 A good example of personalisation is Spotify or Netflix’s personalised playlists and Starbucks’ personalised food and beverage recommendations. That said, don’t overdo this — be nuanced and make sure the use of your customer’s data does not lead to the EU’s General Protection Regulation Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) violations.
2. Loyalty programs and challenges
Who doesn’t love a good challenge? Contest and challenges can be a valuable part of your customer engagement workbook. Besides giving your brand a much-needed reach, they also contribute to the spread of user-generated content about your brand. Depending upon the industry, it could be anything from holding a fun meme contest to quizzes to any product- or service-related challenges.
Similarly, consider implementing loyalty programs with exclusive perks and early access to sales, rewarding points for purchases, reviews and social media interactions. 84% of customers say they’re more likely to stick with brands that offer loyalty programs. Depending upon your product or service, these programs can be tiered, paid and based on points or value.
💡Uber, for example, has points-based programs where customers earn points against every ride or Uber Eats order. Expedia Rewards also have points. Some airlines, such as Alaska’s Mileage Plan, have tiered programs where customers earn miles, experience rewards, and even get MVP status.
3. Customer-centric content
Consumers are becoming blind to dry product descriptions and generic marketing campaigns. It’s time to drop clichéd approaches and focus more on creating content that resonates with your audience. Share the human side of your business through behind-the-scenes peeks, expert insights and compelling narratives that showcase your values. 95% of consumers choose brands that provide ample, relevant content to guide them through all stages of their buyer journey.
A winning customer engagement plan would include content in different formats (articles, eBooks, video, infographics, knowledge bases) across all channels where your customers are. Also, try interactive content. That’s where engagement increases–interactive content is 52.6% more likely to engage customers compared to one-way content.
💡Encourage your customers to share user-generated content (without incentives or with, if needed), share customer stories about how the product (or service) solves their problems, give your consistent fans shout-outs and hold live polls, surveys and Q&A sessions.
4. Take feedback seriously
Whats customers think is a gold mine of ideas for businesses that want to stay ahead of their competition. A study by the Carey School of Business shows that 37% of customers were satisfied when offered monetary compensation following a bad customer experience. On the other hand, customer satisfaction increased two-fold, to 74%, if the business apologised on top of the compensation.
But it’s not necessary that the feedback should come only after a negative experience. Instead, incorporate multiple avenues for feedback, such as surveys, website forms, social media channels, and post-purchase emails.
💡 Actively listen to their voices, acknowledge both positive and negative comments with empathy, and demonstrate your commitment to taking action when required.
5. Superior customer experiences
Every customer interaction, from purchase to support, is an opportunity to create a positive impression. One way to enhance your customer experience is to train your sales and customer service teams to be considerate to your customers and not just follow the rulebook. Personalise interactions by addressing customers by name, referencing their purchase history, understanding and acknowledging their problems and tailoring solutions to their specific needs.
If you want modern customers to be your brand’s fans, inject humor and positive energy into every touchpoint. For quicker responses, leverage AI-based customer support that will engage customers when your agents are busy.
Omnichannel customer engagement strategy
All this should not just be limited to one channel alone; instead, go omnichannel. Brands with strong omnichannel customer engagement retain approximately 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel presence and support. And rightly so–in today’s fragmented digital landscape, you will find customers everywhere. On your website’s Live Chat, email, WhatsApp and social media–you name it, and they are there. Ensure your brand voice and messaging are consistent and resonate across all channels. Just by focusing on omnichannel, Nike has seen e-commerce sales surge to more than 30% of its overall business.
💡 To help you reach your audience and meet your customers where they are, Trengo offers omnichannel in the truest sense. You can manage all your conversations within a single inbox and the best part? Unlike other customer operations platforms where channels are third-party integrations, sometimes with issues, Trengo offers seamless native integrations with channels that truly matter to your customer, such as WhatsApp, Livechat and Facebook.
6. Let the data guide you
Measuring and tracking what works and what doesn’t should be the foundation of your customer engagement plan. Move beyond basic segmentation or vanity metrics. Instead, utilise advanced analytics tools to understand individual customer preferences, purchase behavior and online interactions of your customers across channels. What’s your retention rate? Which pages convert more visitors? Which channel is more effective? Which type of customer tends to make repeat purchases, and at what frequency? What’s the customer churn rate, and what’s driving it?
These are some of the questions you need to have answers to. You can get these answers from your web and social media analytics, customer feedback data (CSAT, NPS, etc.) or other built-in reporting tools in your customer operations platform, such as Trengo.
Leverage this information to personalise product recommendations, email marketing campaigns, educational content and even in-store product displays. Do regular experiments and tests with different audience segments and see which approaches bring the best results—and which don’t.
- Understand engagement metrics that matter
Related to the customer data is understanding customer engagement metrics. Some that matter are listed below:
- Net promotor score (NPS)—how likely are customers to tell others about your brand? You get 10 out of 10, perfect; you get 5/10, there is something wrong.
- Customer satisfaction (CSAT)—thumbs-up or thumbs-down after each interaction. CSAT measures customer happiness after specific touchpoints, like a purchase, support experience or website visit.
- Customer effort score (CES)—it measures how easy or difficult it is for customers to get what they need.
- Customer lifetime value (CLV)—how much revenue do they bring in over time?
- Engagement score—this metric tracks active interactions like social media comments, shares, story replies and reviews.
- Session duration—it’s web- or app-based analytics that measures how long customers stay on your website or app.
- Conversion rate—how many of your visitors (across channels, like website, social media, YouTube, etc.) purchase your product or service? Also, take note of which channel converts more visitors.
- Bounce rate—it measures the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate might mean that the landing page is not informative or appealing enough to make your customers and visitors act.
- Pageviews—it reveals how many pages visitors explore on your website. Do they dig deep into your content or just go after visiting a single page?
- Other core user actions—track actions like downloads, signups, purchases, and subscriptions to measure customer interest and spot trends.
8. Automate, automate, automate
Automation can actually be your best friend when it comes to building a successful customer engagement strategy. In the sections above, we talked about creating experiences, sending birthday greetings, asking for feedback and recommending products based on behaviour or purchase history. Do you think a team made of human agents can do this? Yes—until your customers run into thousands.
And that’s where automation steps in.
Chatbots and automated emails work 24/7, offering instant support, answering questions, and even keeping the conversation flowing while you sleep. Plus, who loves waiting? Automation can confirm orders in a second, recommend products the moment they visit your website, and even provide instant responses to online purchases. You can also utilise it to gather and analyse customer behavior, uncover trends and predict future actions.
Using Trengo’s Flowbot, Ferryscanner handled a 700% increase in customer queries effectively and with ease. Similarly, Evvo Home decreased the response time by 50% and witnessed a 5-7% increase in revenue by utilizing Trengo’s Omnichannel Inbox and Automated WhatsApp Templates.
How to develop a customer engagement strategy template?
To develop a viable customer engagement strategy template, employ the following tactics:
Know your customers
First of all, know your customers. Divide your customers into different segments, and sketch out the personas of each segment. Identify their passions and pain points, understand their preferred communication channels and what makes them tick. For example, engaging Gen-Z is different than targeting customers in their late 30s.
If you want to refine your personas, you can talk to your existing customers. Read their reviews, arrange surveys and hold Q&A sessions—basically, anything that gives you their point of view. Listen to them actively, and show them that you care about their opinions.
Map the customer journey
Prospect becomes customers after following a journey. This journey could run into months, especially in industries where products or services are high-ticket. Trace that path and identify every touchpoint, from initial discovery to post-purchase support. Understanding how to engage your customers at each stage should be an integral part of your customer engagement template.
- Discovery — in the first stage, your customers discover you. It could be through an engaging short video, an informative blog article, a helpful online quiz, or a marketing campaign that you recently ran. Or a recommendation from one of your existing customers.
- Decision — in this stage, guide their decision-making by offering helpful guides, clear product descriptions, friendly customer service, livechat and even exclusive deals. Once the purchase is done, the transaction doesn’t stop but moves to the next stage…
- Enjoying the purchase — here, the goal is to delight your customers. Offer them personalizsed recommendations, interactive tutorials, surprise gifts and prompt customer support in case they have issues.
- Finally, make them your advocates — personalised support, active communities, interactive events, loyalty programs and VIP experiences make them feel like part of the family. They will tell others about you, and the whole cycle will repeat—this time for a new customer.
Identify focus areas and objectives
Start by identifying your key focus areas for customer engagement. Do you want to boost retention, drive sales or increase brand awareness? Map out strategies for each plan. For instance, if you are trying to retain customers, the strategy will be different than prospecting new customers.
Similarly, under each focus area, define clear objectives that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound (SMART). For example, a SMART goal would be to “decrease churn rate by 10% in Q4” or “increase repeat purchases by 15% within Q3.”
Choose your tactics
Based on the audience segments and goals, carefully choose your tactic and channels. It will always be a multi-channel approach, but some channels yield more results for certain segments than others. Much would depend upon your product and industry, but you can choose a mix of approaches, such as:
- Content marketing: Blog posts, infographics, videos, webinars.
- Email marketing: Personalised newsletters, abandoned cart reminders, birthday greetings.
- Loyalty programs: Points systems, exclusive rewards, VIP access.
- Social media engagement: Contests, polls, live chats, influencer collaborations.
- Community building: Online forums, user-generated content, brand ambassador programs.
Mix and match the above well, while choosing the channels that work for your customers and you'll be sure to see results.
Gather your data
Every customer engagement process needs refinement—and that’s possible with the relevant data. Monitor your engagement metrics, and analyse what resonates with your clients and what falls flat. Do not shy away from experimenting with different strategies, channels and content types.
The data would depend upon your engagement plan. For example, if the goal is to turn your new customers into repeat customers, analyse the behavior of your repeat customers. You will find insights that you may otherwise have missed.
Select your tools
Customer engagement becomes easy with the right customer engagement platform. Choose a platform that offers all the necessary features, such as omnichannel support, workflow automation, integrations with other tools, a help center, chatbots, and so on. Make sure that the tool(s) you choose are scalable, have transparent pricing, and — wait for it — offer excellent customer support.
Now, do some final tweaking
There are no one-size-fits-all customer engagement templates. The template prepared for an e-commerce store that sells glasses would be different from a template prepared for a B2B SaaS company. Here’s what you can do to engage your customers:
- E-commerce — focus more on product recommendations, abandoned cart reminders, and personalised email campaigns based on purchase history.
- SaaS — highlight tutorials, share how-to guides, present case studies and arrange exclusive webinars based on user behaviour and subscription level.
- Consumer services — from booking appointment to purchase moments, focus on delivering a mix of personalisation and human touches to provide value with every conversation. While automation will set your team up with a seamless customer journey.
- Automotive — you want people to come through the door. Place some extra focus on your booking flow, send automated yet personalised messages on customer favourite channels to follow up on appointments to increase the show up rate.
Your template is now ready to do some magic. You can fine-tune it even further, as and when required, depending upon the specific metrics you want to optimise your template for.
How can Trengo help?
Engaged customers are the wheels that drive your business forward. And engaging them isn’t just a one-and-done sprint; it’s a marathon of building meaningful connections. Take your time, know your customers, and build an engagement strategy that wins. Do that, and they’ll become your fans, possibly having a bigger impact on your revenue than your sales team.
Trengo is a modern customer engagement platform that’s designed to delight your customers. It offers what many other tools struggle with offering: value for money —you get features that are part-and-parcel of your customer engagement strategy, even in the basic plan.
Priced at €125/month for 5 users, Trengo’s basic plan offers an omnichannel inbox, web widget, WhatsApp Business, knowledge base, quick and automatic replies, automation capabilities, integrations with many third-party apps and so on. But if your needs are complex and extensive, our higher tiers are designed specifically for that — to customise your complex platform and automate your conversations, A to Z.
Join a demo with an expert to see how you can delight your customers with Trengo.