One of the big red flags for customer churn is lack of engagement with your product and your company. Once your customers stop using your product and stop answering your calls, it's just a quick step for them to cut all ties. The trick to avoid this is to keep them happy and engaged. But how do you do that?
It can be daunting to find new ways to maintain a lively interaction with your customers and continuously offer great support to foster this crucial business relationship. And, the bigger you get, the harder it is to keep it up. But keeping customers engaged doesn’t have to be hard! All you need is to have some key strategies in place and the right tools to help you.
The rule of thumb is: the better the engagement, the happier the customers are. This means you need to actively foster a customer enablement culture and execute strategies to create emotionally engaging relationships — because engaged customers are more likely to stay, recommend and buy more. If your customer engagement strategies are effective, they will positively impact your KPIs.
Here are five strategies that will help you increase customer engagement:
1. Offer helpful and relevant content
Take some time to talk to your customers and understand their challenges and needs, not just about what relates to your product and business relationship, but also to their job as well. Whichever your product is and what your customers use it for, it is very likely that there is a way you can help them improve their experience, usually by sharing relevant information that will help them perform better. This is especially relevant when your customers’ success is highly connected to the use of the product or service you provide.
Develop and offer content that addresses those challenges and needs and keep an open communication. This may mean creating articles, videos, eBooks, user guides, skills training, a special access to members of your team (other than customer services)...
The key point here is, sharing content and knowledge that is relevant and helpful is the best way to maintain or increase your engagement with customers, and to foster a healthy and long-lasting relationship with them.
2. Create a customer community on social media
Customers are the source of relevant information and experience. If you think about it, customers probably have the same challenges, issues and victories — so they can relate to each other. Moreover, customers that have found a way to overcome certain issues can help other customers going through the same.
This sharing of ideas creates a sense of community and belonging. But this doesn’t mean you create a forum or community and just let it ride on its own. Quite the opposite. It is important you are attentive to what is being said in the community and offer your assistance whenever it makes sense to do so.
Also, use your customer community to celebrate your company (and customers') milestones, and to share important information such as product updates, new courses or certifications available on your training program and other relevant content.
Fostering an active customer community is an amazing way to drive engagement, inspire loyalty, recognize the human effort behind their success and yours, and get the sense of how your customers feel, and what needs to be improved or reviewed.
3. Create a customer academy online
Having a customer education is key to succeed in customer relations. Firstly, most — if not all —your customers need training for one reason or another. The main and obvious reason is product training. However, there are other types of training that will help your customers understand your product in depth, value it more and, ultimately help them be better at their jobs. These include skills training, certifications, more advanced ways to use your product, and more. Sometimes it's as simple as your customers actually knowing all your product can do.
Secondly, it is important for your customers to have a place where they can access information and materials to get their job done effectively at any time.
An online video training academy will allow you to be available to your customers 24/7, with the information and skills they may need, consistent communication, global reach, and the ability to monitor training in an efficient way. This is perfect for both customer onboarding and continuous engagement.
If nothing else, you should include user guide type content and a how to section with the answers the top questions your customers ask your customer support team (FAQs). This will help your customers feel confident that, regardless of their location, and of what time it is, they have a place they can refer to if they need help.
Choosing the right tool for your online training is paramount. Select a training tool that is easy to use, flexible, customizable to your brand, responsive, that allows reporting and that is pleasant to the eye, for your team and your customers.
4. Reward Engagement
If you want to get true commitment and loyalty from your customers, you may need to step up your game. Put a rewards programme in place for your customers. Reward programmes are not just for sales teams and partners. Having a reward programme in place for your customers will definitely help keep engagement high.
So what type of rewards can you offer? Here are some ideas that you can use or get inspired by:
- Offer certificates for training completion
- Sponsor group trips or events, where you can have your customers and your team bond over cocktails, a meal or an activity
- Offer additional VIP training or special sessions with a dedicated consultant or specialist
- Recognize customers’ achievements publicly on your communication channels (make sure you have their consent to share)
- Share success stories from customers, where your product had a key function (in solving an issue, in reaching more people, in making a task more efficient...)
- Create badges your customers can embed on their website (and on their communication) that they are experts on your product, or related skills
- Have an awards event and offer prizes for specific achievements or milestones (create categories such as: most original use of your product, best idea of new feature, biggest amount of active users, best use of feature to increase productivity; customer with the most certified team members on your product...)
Make sure your rewards programme matches your product and your customers’ goals, and don’t forget to keep in mind the best situation is a win-win situation — and to communicate your rewards program.
Not sure what your customers value the most? Ask them!
5. Get their feedback and ideas
Your customers are premium sources of information about your product, your service and your relationship. They will have key information about what’s good, what’s bad and everything in between.
Your customers are the best source of (actionable) information for many areas in your company: about what makes your product or service easy or hard to use, what features would be more important to prioritize, what type of information they lack, what would help them use your product more, what may be lacking in terms of support, what difficulties they had implementing your product or getting team members onboard...
You get the point, right? So, what’s the strategy here?
Make sure you have in place a regular way of collecting your customers feedback. You can do it through surveys, polls, interviews. This is a great way to have additional interaction with your customers, and to let them know that their feedback is important.
A good way to take this strategy to the next level is to show their feedback was heard and acted upon. If you implement something new on your product or made a change in the way your service is delivered that was based on customers’ suggestion, let them know. Show them you care!
Finally, adopt a “Not you and me, us!” approach to customer success. Embed your customers in your organisation’s culture and make them feel like they belong. Your customers should have an emotional bond with your company that is stronger than the business aspect of a day to day customer-supplier relationship.
To ensure the success of these projects - and improve loyalty, usage, engagement and customer recommendations - it is important to make customer engagement a priority, and to create and execute a solid communication and engagement strategy.
Of course, the strategies above may not apply to all types of products, but if you can implement at least one of these suggestions, your customers will thank you and your customer engagement rate will certainly rise.
Ultimately, everyone likes to be heard, to feel respected, recognized, and part of something bigger. If you can make your customers feel this way, they will most likely never leave you.
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