Mastering Customer Engagement – Why You Still Don’t Have It Right

How many of us actually take the time to post your experience on a social site like Yelp, Angie’s list, Trip Advisor or Open Table?  If you are not, then you are missing out on the opportunity to improve that business and experience.

 

I know for me, I have always had mixed feelings about this tactic.  But I also realize that I am doing the business a disservice by not informing them and other potential customers about my experience.

 

About 3 years ago I made a commitment and conscience effort to write reviews about my experience with a business and I am sure those businesses have gone on to make improvements and changes as a result of my feedback and the feedback of other customers.  You see if we want a superior experience, we must engage with business just as much as they need to engage with us.

 

In fact, successfully managing customer feedback is an absolutely essential point in any company’s growth and development and one of the most important first steps is to engage with the customer.

 

For basically most economic sectors, getting to know your clients/customers is vital to the success of your business.

 

But before we can even start thinking about how to manage feedback, you have to get our clients to talk to us. Engaging with customers can be surprisingly hard, and few companies, including major corporations, struggle to get their customers to engage, but technology is assisting with this process in major ways.  In fact, businesses have been getting really aggressive in their engagement plans laying a more meaningful and intentional platform as part of enhancing their customer experiences.  Think Youtube product “unboxing reviews” or Dropbox customer referral system.  So how can we be more engaging?

 

Be Mindful of Information Overload

Many experts agree that our mastery of communication technology and our access to unlimited amounts of information does not come without serious backlash. We are simply bombarded, on a daily basis, with tons of information on the most incredible variety of subjects. However, that’s not how we were designed to work.  This unparalleled technological revolution is still very recent in biological and historical terms, and our minds have not fully adapted to cope with it. To prevent burnout and mental exhaustion, our brain employs powerful filters which give priority to key information and actions but shut out the rest as much as they can.  I believe the effect on customer engagement is obvious. How many times have we casually avoided wasting any time with customer feedback questionnaires, surveys, and interviews? We are so busy we simply don’t care or can’t be bothered, which is perfectly natural given our tempestuous modern lifestyle and our limited resources to accommodate it.

The most important thing companies should think about is how to get customer feedback activities… Click To Tweet

Perhaps the first logical step would be to encourage customer engagement by combining customer feedback activities with rewards, discounts, and special offers. People always appreciate a freebie, so don’t shy away from being generous every now and then.  Think of how you can “build-in” your customer experience feedback with your service or product.

Another possibility is to personalize the way you approach clients. Often time small businesses employ the same mass client feedback activities, which can be boring and give the impression they’re just another number on some endless list.  One strategy to make your client feel special is to organize a personalized interview.  You can draft specialized questionnaires by demographics, professions, or hobbies.

customer support

 The Atomization of Society and Customer Engagement

The art of community is coming back to the business place.  Long ago it was all about the community. People lived in relatively small towns, everybody knew everybody and word traveled around in the city square or at social gatherings. Today, we don’t see people as often when we are communicating; just pixels.  Thus online customer engagement calls to action are too many people annoying and nothing more. Automation in business has its place, but it will never take the place of a physical visit or personal phone call.

 

Community-centric business

It’s quite simple, actually. Whether on or offline, you can create an online discussion forum, private group or digital community.  For offline you can organize social events, seminars, lunches and roundtable meetings. Once you have set up the infrastructure, you would then invite people either virtually or face-to-face. The idea is to leverage the environment where people will meet with other people to exchange opinions and ideas.  Now the key to successful community is the facilitation by you.  It means that you have to be social.  You have to be willing to build the connection, awareness, and idea of something being bigger than yourself.  When you are building a business you are building a legacy.

 Key takeaway: If you are truly interested in maximizing customer engagement, remember who and what your customers are: people, as opposed to simple sources of revenue. Building a solid sense of community for your customers lets them know you are there for the long-haul. In turn, you will earn their trust which will allow them to be open and trusting during the engagement process. (Hint: think village mentality).

 Be Relevant All The Time

You need to be at the front of your customer’s mind at all times.  Remember when Kodak and Polaroid were omnipresent?  They were so relevant in our lives that you begin to refer to their products as an adjective.  “This is a Kodak moment” or “Shake your Polaroid picture”. The point is, you need to become so familiar to your customer, that even when they don’t immediately need you they know you are there.

The bottom line is as long as customers are willing to take the time to engage with you, you should take meaningful and thoughtful steps to engage with them.

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