At it's simplest, customer engagement is about you knowing your customer and your customer knowing you and having a long, happy and mutually beneficial partnership. It's a bit like a marriage really.
Companies that get this right, like Amazon, are also highly profitable organisations.
Improving your customer engagement, and reaching a state where your customers see you as more than just a transactional provider, puts you in the position to increase your sales. It makes sense to invest in competitive differentiation through improving customer loyalty.
A recent study by Cap Gemini "The Disconnected Customer" reveals that while 75% of organisations believe themselves to be customer centric, only 30% of their customers agree. Additionally, it also identified that 81% of customers are willing to pay for a better experience. This study deals with the digital customer experience. However these statistics easily translate for overall customer engagement.
So, what can you do to improve your customer centricity and customer engagement?
Hard factors - gather the evidence
Measuring is a critical step to quantifying progress - or lack of it.
- Look around your organisation to see what customer information is being collected (and analysed)
- Customer satisfaction measures such as NPS scores, customer satisfaction (csat) surveys
- Complaints data
- Lost customers / lost sales
- Anecdotal evidence from customer facing employees (help desk, customer services)
- If you don't regularly speak to your customers - now is the time to start
- Create a Customer Journey Map to understand where customer contact takes place and where there may be problems
- Establish a current status - by customer and overall
- Implement short and long term interventions to improve - by customer and overall
Soft factors - remember your customers are human beings
- Listen to feedback and act on it
- Company wide consistency in it's approach to customers - from the top down
- Meaningful communication
These factors will impact your customer engagement which is more intangible than customer experience and customer satisfaction. You have impacted on customer engagement when your customer knows, understands and respects your organisation and the feeling is mutual.
Looking at your own organisation, how many of your suppliers fall into this category? How many do you enjoy working with? How many do you look forward to talking to and doing business with? If there are problems with supplies, timescales, quality do you have certainty that your supplier is working to resolve the issue? If so, that is good customer engagement.
How many of your customers would say that about you?