WHY CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT IS THE NEW CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Do you have motivational posters in your office declaring “The customer is always right” and “Customer satisfaction is our #1 priority”? You might as well chuck those out with your fax machines and tube TVs. The idea that customer loyalty is earned through coddling and sugar-coating is an outdated one. Today’s customers are savvy, selective and informed. They want to buy from brands that mean something to them. Meaningful brands provide something they can react to, stand by and engage with. In this article, we’ll discuss why meaning and engagement are so vital to earning customer loyalty, and how companies can offer a meaningful, trustworthy message that empowers and promotes customer engagement.
Customer Engagement Really Is Profitable — Here’s Why
Today’s customers act as their own product research team and focus group in one. Their research comes from the widely available data they can find online about your company and your competition; their focus group insights come from Yelp, Facebook and Google Plus pages. Long before they get in touch with you, they’ve likely already invested time educating themselves about your brand and have formed some kind of opinion about it. Brands have to do more than just explain their selling points — they have to give customers a reason to buy in emotionally and engage.
Gallup did some research into the idea of customer engagement, to find out how greatly it influences businesses’ profits. In their survey results, they ranked customers’ engagement based on these three criteria:
- Whether they feel the company in question delivers on their promises
- Whether they feel proud to be a customer of the company in question
- Whether the company in question is “is the perfect company for people like me”
According to the data they gathered, Gallup found that engaged customers across six different industries, on average, give brands about 39% more business than disengaged customers do.
Gallup analyzed these results by concluding that “wary consumers will give more money to the businesses they feel emotionally connected to — while ignoring others… When customers believe they are getting more out of a business, they give more to it.”The purchasing process, in both B2C and B2B markets, is a much more emotionally involved process than ever before. Customers “expect businesses to earn their money,” Gallup says, “They won’t just hand it over.”
Customer Engagement Is a Two-Way Street
Now you know that customer engagement pays, but how do you accomplish it?
There’s no shortage of communication options and marketing strategies in today’s hyper-connected society. With social media, mobile apps, email marketing and online customer loyalty reward programs, there are many ways to create an ongoing interaction and dialog with customers, rather than just reacting to their buying behaviors or solving their complaints. Your customer loyalty and engagement strategies should resemble a fluid, two-way conversation between you and your customers that reflects your aligned business plans, sales strategies and corporate persona.
In an article by Wendy Lea, CEO of Get Satisfaction, she says, “The new customer engagement strategy should feel less like a marketing and sales campaign, contest, or tool, and more like a well-developed friendship founded on the basis of interdependent needs and mutual respect…. The relationship you build is a two-way street. On one hand, your customers feel heard, and they can see the ways they’re actually contributing to your company. At the same time, you get free feedback, and have the opportunity to improve your business, thereby by attracting more customers.”
Customer engagement is not about giving customers an inflated sense of importance. By keeping in touch with customers and incorporating their input into your strategies and policies, you can build formidable bonds, improve customer retention and increase sales.
Customer Loyalty Programs: Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
Money talks, and investing in a customer loyalty rewards program is one of the best ways to get customers to listen to you. Claiming that you value customer input and opportunities to improve is easy to do, for instance, but actually rewarding customers for giving you feedback shows you take their input seriously.
By implementing an easy-to-use, point based online customer loyalty program, such as those provided by Loyaltyworks, you can show customers that you don’t want them to jump through hoops or adhere to convoluted fine print in order to earn loyalty rewards. Customers can earn reward points instantly for desirable behaviors such as filling out surveys or purchasing qualifying promotion products. They can then redeem these points for anything they want in an extensive online reward catalog, which includes everything from flight and event tickets to electronics, tools and housewares. By giving them this power of choice in their rewards — rather than foisting specific, conditional discounted items on them — you prove that you’re interested in mutual benefits, not just your own.
Intuitive, online customer loyalty programs that provide wide reward selections can capture customers’ attention, keeping them engaged and excited. They will come to your brand for customer rewards and stay for the benefits you can provide because you demonstrated investment in their interests.
Customer loyalty programs are a way of sharing your success with customers — they’re the ones that make that success possible, after all. By using this two-way system of benefits to communicate your objectives to customers and retain their interest, you can maintain the kind of engagement that leads to long-term customer loyalty and company growth.
For more information on how Loyaltyworks can help you secure customer retention, increase sales and expand market share through customer engagement and customer loyalty programs, call us at (800)-844–5000 or fill out ourcontact form.
Director of Marketing at The Incentive Solutions Group of companies
- Incentive Solutions, Inc.
Direct Contact: 678–514–0224
Sales Hotline: (800)-844–5000
Time for the moment of truth… friends?