Customer Engagement, More Complicated Than That
When it comes to customer engagement, not all engagement is created equal. And despite some misconceptions, engagement is never a simple question of engaged vs. unengaged. In fact, customer engagement can’t be dictated by a single engaged or unengaged behavior. Understanding the value of a customer’s engagement can’t be boiled down to a ‘like’ or a single purchase.
We define customer engagement as a set of behaviors. This means customer engagement is about the relationship between a customer. So when fostered, the relationship can progress, develop, deepen, become more complex, and in turn, more valuable.
There’s a reason why businesses that are focusing on the most valuable engagement behaviors are reaping the benefits. These valuable behaviors include validation, sharing, asking, answering, and exploring. And strong efforts to deepen these types of engagement will lead to an increased ROI. But only for brands who do it right.
Why Feeling Connected is a Requirement
In order for people to engage in valuable ways, they need to feel comfortable and connected.
Many brands and their community managers place their strategic attention on making dissatisfied customers satisfied. As well as bringing bringing new, unconnected people into their community. As a result, they neglect to focus on already connected but not yet fully engaged customers – a key group with big pay-off.
Research has found that businesses who are reaping the greatest ROI are focusing on already connected customers. This is because already connected customers are more likely to engage in the most meaningful ways – asking questions, adding to the conversation, and helping to build a strong culture aligned with the brand’s purpose and promise.
Brand as a Driver of Engagement
So use your brand to cultivate meaningful, valuable customer engagement that pays off for your business. See your ROI benefit by focusing on:
Clear, consistent, and emotive messaging sets the expectations of community engagement. This means customers will recognize you more easily. And since they get to know you, they will start to engage in more trusting, open, and relationship-building ways.
2. A connected target audience:
Knowing your audience helps direct efforts at those who will be the most meaningful and productive to engage with. So segmenting people into groups not only based on their levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, but on a spectrum of connectivity, can help a business recognize those who feel most connected to your brand. A strong brand will foster this group of people. These are the people who you want to focus engagement efforts on. They will be your greatest brand champions – delivering the most valuable insights, feeling connected enough to ask questions, and always helping to progress your business forward.
3. Putting emotional connectors to work:
In our increasingly digital world, it’s easy for customer engagement to easily steer towards the ‘non-human’ and often consequently, the non-emotional. But emotional motivators drive consumer engagement. And a brand’s emotional impact has to ring true at all touchpoints in order for customers to reach peak engagement levels.
So a powerful emotional impact that is clearly articulated is key here. Create a strategy that clearly articulates this emotional impact and makes people feel ready and willing to participate in ROI-reaping engagement behaviors like asking questions. The level of engagement needed Q&A behaviors requires that customers feel emotionally engaged. Through validation and building culture of asking and answering, innovation thrives, customer expectations drive business, and the brand never lets the business fall behind.
4. Building culture and brand community:
Smart brands don’t expect a large ROI from engagement without focusing on readying the culture of their brand community for such valuable engagement. And this means building trust, connection, and openness from the beginning.
So leverage your brand to build a culture of asking and answering. This happens from the inside-out. Internally promoting a culture of asking questions can generate new ways of thinking, challenge long-held assumptions, break out of the box, and fuel real, transformative change for business. Help your internal brand lead by example and watch this kind of culture shine through. Since your internal culture acts engaged, your external community will be more likely to engage opening, and drive your brand forward.
Reap the ROI
The research speaks for itself. Gallup found that brands who are ‘fully engaged’ with their customers gain a “23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth over the average customer.” In addition, HBR’s Constellation research determined that customers who are show high levels of engagement are “three times more likely to recommend or advocate a product or service to a friend.”
Increased engagement drives business value and can help your brand stand out. So use your brand to cultivate customer engagement. As a result, your customers will feel more connected, engagement will increase, customer behaviors will shift, and you will see your ROI benefit. By investing in customer engagement, you are investing in the lifetime value of your customers, and the future success of your business.
Emotive Brand is a San Francisco brand strategy agency.