There is no doubt that the success of every company and brand is largely dependent on customers. Companies that are intentional about reaching out and engaging their customers and the target audience often get the best visibility and sales.
Getting quality customers who are loyal to the products and services of a company can be a huge competitive advantage. Therefore, investing in a customer engagement model and customer service management can make a pivotal difference in the growth of any brand.
The existence of customers is so vital that there cannot be a business enterprise if there are no demands for its products/services in the first place.
Hence, companies and brands that desire success must become intentional about engaging their customers. This brings up the subject of customer engagement models.
What is a customer engagement model?
Customer engagement models are methods or techniques that companies use to build stable and quality relationships with their customers or individuals who fall within the category of their target audience.
The aim of having a customer engagement model is for the company to gain insight into the needs and demands of their customers and tailor their services/products to meet those needs. An awesome customer engagement model will boost lead conversion, and support customer satisfaction and loyalty while increasing revenue and brand visibility.
What are the benefits of using a customer engagement model?
The advantages of engaging your customers are numerous. When companies understand and make use of customer engagement models, they place themselves in a position that enables them to beat their competitors to the best customers.
Here are a few benefits of using the right customer engagement model for your business.
- Insight into the demands of your customers
The right customer engagement models help you to better understand and study your customers. While interacting with your customers, you get to discover new perspectives on your customer’s demands and also understand how your customers see the brand. That way, you can collect data study trends amongst your consistent customers and take advantage of them for the growth of your business. Through the insight gained you can launch various digital marketing strategies that can improve visibility and sales. When you know what your customers want, you can serve them better!
- Supports product/service innovation
One of the many advantages of customer engagement is that it supports products/service evolution. Companies that prioritize customer engagement gain helpful insight into the demands of their customers. This places them in a better position to tweak, rebrand and adjust their products/services to meet those demands.
In turn, the brand keeps growing and evolving consistently in the right direction. So, it becomes a win-win for both the company and its customers. The company evolves into a more advanced version of itself while the customers get more quality products/services.
- Boosts Retention and brand experience.
A customer who gets the best experience while patronizing your company is a customer that is bound to come back. Giving out valuable products and services that your customer enjoys will keep them with you no matter how thick the competition is. With quality brand experience and customer engagement models come a sense of trust and loyalty from customers.
Experience is everything for a customer and if you must get and retain customers, you must invest heavily in giving them an epic experience.
- Referrals, advocacy, and visibility
People love to talk about what they love and enjoy. So there is a high chance that your awesome products/services plus a strong customer engagement model will make that happen. Several times, we see how many times people recommend products, leave reviews and talk about products/services that they love and value on social media.
Once people find out how great your services are, they will introduce it to their friends and family members without hesitation. This in turn will increase your visibility as a brand. But all this cannot be achieved when you do not know the needs of your customers. The right customer engagement model will sponsor and create value for your clients and when customers get valuable products/services they will refer you to people around them.
- Provides competitive advantage
Brands that are intentional about using customer engagement models and effective marketing are always at the forefront of the competition. Using feedback from customers makes it easy to refine your services/products.
Through that feedback, you can study market trends, make accurate predictions and position your company to take advantage of those changes. Indirectly, it provides you with a cutting edge against your competitors because of the unique insight that comes from engaging your customers.
Common types of customer engagement models
The need for customer engagement models has gone beyond marketing strategies. Being able to find the right engagement model is based on the niche of the business and how much engagement is required to satisfy customer needs and expectations.
There are three major types of customer engagement models.
- Low touch-engagement model
The low-engagement model works best for businesses pursuing a product-led growth system and intending to sell low-priced solutions in high quantities or volume. However, the product must not be complex and must be easily understood for navigation to be convenient for customers.
Most times, automation is employed as engagement is usually digitally driven or technology-based. Customer service is done through self-help materials, chatbots and pop-ups, and emails
- High touch-engagement model
This engagement model requires more direct interactions with customers because of the kind of products/services being offered. Most times, businesses that follow a sales-led growth strategy and sell a high-cost product/service are advised to use this model. Using the high-touch model requires the use of a marketing/sales team that manages leads, and interacts with customers via emails, phone calls, and texts.
- Hybrid model
As the name implies, this model combines the low-touch and high-touch engagement, models. The hybrid model provides a more balanced approach and helps manage complexity and cost.
Most businesses use this model based on customers. For less complex customer cases, they use the low-touch engagement model and use the high-touch engagement model for more complex customer cases.
How to use a customer engagement model as a marketing tool
A good customer engagement model can be an effective marketing instrument when implemented strategically. Here are a few tips that can guide you.
- Study your customer
A clear understanding and knowledge of your customer will provide you with insightful data that can be taken advantage of. A customer engagement model provides you with the opportunity to study and better understand your customers.
Collect data as much as possible and take note of the interests of your customers. Watch out for trends and similarities in interests and demands amongst your customers and make efforts to create products that meet those demands. A customer you know is a customer that you can easily satisfy.
- Personalize your approach
As you use customer engagement models, ensure that you make your approach as personalized as possible. People love it when they are addressed as people with interests, feelings, and personalities.
Providing that feel of personalization makes it easier for your customers to accept you and relate with your company. No matter what method you decide to use, ensure that it carries a feel of something your customers can relate to.
- Create content that align with your customers’ interest and history.
A good example of this remains Spotify’s Discover Weekly playlist. The feature makes use of an algorithm that studies the user’s music interests based on the songs they listen to regularly and then creates a playlist of new and similar songs. This way, users get to discover new songs that they might enjoy.
The same goes for creating content on social media. By studying your customer’s interests and history, you can create videos or other forms of content that can impress your customers, increase your visibility as a company, and sponsor healthy relationships between you and your company.
- Build, use and share your brand voice.
People love it when brands have a personality of their own. That’s what a brand voice does. Begin with building an online presence and personality. Relate with your customers the same way you would on a personal account.
Create and post content on your website/blog or social media handles that stands with the company’s interests, beliefs, and values. Give your customers reasons to believe in your brand!
Doing so will make it easier to engage your customers while reaching out to other potential customers that are yet to discover and associate with your brand.
- Encourage feedback and reviews.
Getting feedback from your customers allows you to see their perspectives and opinions of your brand and its services/products. It also makes the relationship between your customers and the brand a two-way thing. Therefore encourage feedback!
- Support referrals and contests.
A good way to market your products/services with customer engagement is through referrals and contests. Apart from getting reviews, referrals are cheap ways for more people to know about the products/services of your brand. Create systems that support and encourage referrals. Reward your existing customers when you make referrals and create juicy offers for your customers to enjoy when they refer others.
Contests too can be very effective marketing strategies. Depending on your brand identity, organize competitions that tally with the values of the company and reward customers for performing tasks!
While doing so, create a system that allows them to share their experience on their social media platforms. The side effects of such contests are visibility. More people become aware of your brand when you organize engaging challenges with attractive rewards for people and customers who participate.
Stages of customer engagement for businesses
Think of a good friend or a spouse. Your relationship with any of such persons did not happen in a day. With consistent communication, the relationship grew to the point it currently is. The same applies to customer engagement in business. In building a profitable and stable customer relationship, there are three major phases.
The first is the “First Contact/Experience phase.”
In this phase, the customer comes in contact with the brand/company for the first time. Note that the first impression your company makes on first contact will determine the image that the customer will have about the brand for a long time.
It will be quite difficult to change after the first experience. Hence, your brand must present itself in the best light possible. Studies show that 32% of customers leave a brand after one bad experience. Hence, the goal of every company in this phase is to focus on creating an awesome first experience for the company that will leave a good and lasting impression on the customer.
Either through social media handles, or websites/blogs, ensure that your customer receives a first-class experience. It becomes easier to retain a customer after an awesome experience with your product/service.
The second is the “Acquaintance phase.”
Here, the customer engages the brand for the second or third time and gradually begins to get familiar with the brand identity and image. The mission of any brand is to begin to study such a customer as the relationship progresses. The goal is to gather as much data as possible about the customer’s personality, interests, and needs.
This will provide helpful insight on how best to relate to such a customer while fine-tuning products and services to meet their needs. Companies should also be competent enough to engage consistently while encouraging feedback!
The third and final phase is the“Customer loyalty/advocacy phase.”
At this phase, the customer through consistent engagement now loves and values the company’s products/services and brand image. At this point, the customer can boldly advocate for the brand and even refer to others as a result of a belief in the brand. Such customers are also not afraid of identifying with the brand’s image in public or online spaces!
For a customer to get to this final phase, consistent customer service and engagement are required. Companies that achieve a higher number of loyal customers are bound to have more returning customers than others who do not prioritize customer service and engagement.
Helpful tips for choosing an engagement model
Choosing an effective customer engagement model is dependent on a lot of factors. Although it is recommended that you contact marketing agencies or digital marketing agencies who are more experienced to assist in that decision, here are two major tips that can help you choose the right engagement model.
- Be aware of your company’s needs.
The current state of every company is an important factor in choosing a customer engagement model. You might need to ask a few questions.
- What niche does my company fall under?
- What do we sell or services we offer?
- What are our business models?
- Can the company afford to employ this customer engagement model?
Knowing your company will help you know what engagement model works. For example, low-touch engagement models work best for companies with a product-led growth strategy. Engagement model examples like Zoom make use of it and now about 69% of people use Zoom for remote meetings.
- Be aware of your customer’s needs and demands.
As much as knowing the state of your company is important, a comprehensive insight into your customer’s needs is needed in choosing a good engagement model.
These questions will guide you.
- Who are my customers?
- What percentage of my customers buy after visiting the store/website?
- How many customers are loyal?
The insight from these questions and more will guide you in choosing your customer engagement model. For instance, most people who use zoom are professionals who are involved in online programs/meetings that require their virtual attendance.
Effective customer engagement strategies
The right customer engagement strategies can be very helpful in getting the attention of your customers.
Here are a few that you can leverage on!
- Conduct surveys to gather data on your customers.
- Use social media campaigns and aggressive content creation.
- Monitor and track your customer history and interests through analytics.
- Create programs that encourage customer loyalty. E.g special gifts, and discounts.
- Offer personalized products/services.
- Invest in a customer service team.
How to retain customers with the right customer engagement model?
1. Be as empathetic as possible.
Brands that prove to be empathetic towards customers tend to have more returning customers. Giving an ear to customer complaints, following up, and providing as much assistance to customers will leave such a company with satisfied clients. Focus more on building a relationship that prioritizes the demands of the customer than sales and revenue.
2. Create attractive offers.
A good way to retain customers is by providing them with mouth-watering offers. Depending on the services/products that your company offers, make it a priority to have offers staked up for the year. Take advantage of holidays, trends, and events to cook up offers. Create a sense of urgency and a fear of missing out to keep your customers hungry and available.
3. Stick to quality!
When you provide quality products/services, you give your customers enough reasons to come back for more. The mistake most companies make is offering low quality to cut costs and make more profits.
It might cause a surge in revenue but it places the company at risk of losing customers. No one likes to be cheated and when your customers begin to feel that way, they will be tempted to leave. Offer valuable and quality products/services!
In conclusion, the effectiveness of every customer engagement model is tied to the state of the company, its needs, and customer data. Choosing the right model can be as pivotal as using the right business model.
The best fact, however, is that choosing and implementing a suitable customer engagement model is a decision that you can be assisted with. Contact us immediately for a free consultation session to assess your business concerns and determine your best options!