How do you keep a potential customer engaged through the entirety of a sales process that may last months or years? Or how do you keep a present customer engaged enough to look for you when they are looking to buy again? Effective customer engagement helps you keep your customers’ attention, and attract the eyes of new ones as well.
Here are 10 ways to create customer engagement that does just that:
1. Have Genuine Enthusiasm
Why should your customer be excited about your product if you aren’t? If you want to engage your customers for the long term, you have to believe that your product is worth engaging in.
Or if you want to do one better, find a noble purpose that your product serves and sell from that perspective.
2. Make All Customer Conversations Two-Way
The potential peril of being eager about your product is that you can overwhelm a customer and not give them the opportunity to get a word in edgewise. Instead, make sure you’re listening to what your customers have to say, especially on social media where a minor concern can explode into a PR nightmare.
Reply to both criticism and praise in a genuine, empathetic way (having trouble? Just channel the way you would want a brand rep to respond to you).
3. Be an Assertive, not Aggressive Communicator
There are three primary styles of communication. Aggressive communicators have trouble listening, aren’t empathic, and can lead to customer frustration.
Assertive communicators listen well, then build off what they’ve heard to proactively understand and solve problems customers come with. Be the latter.
4. Provide Useful Information through All Channels
These days, there is a steady demand for content through all possible communication channels, like social media, websites, and traditional advertising. To keep up with the crush, it’s easy to just fill these channels with content that serves your promotional goals but doesn’t meet potential or current customers’ needs. But customers will only pay attention to what you say (including the occasional promotion) if you first provide them with information that aligns with their concerns, job role, and stage in the buying cycle.
5. Take a Genuine Interest in Your Customers
How do you know what information is helpful to your customers? How about asking them? Social media can be a great place to do this. Be prepared for the response, though, and don’t flake out if you get more negative response than positive. Negativity provides you with a great opportunity to proactively address and fix customer grievances. Often that can result in a customer who is happier than if they’d never had a problem to begin with.
6. Promote Your Customers as Well as Yourself
Another great thing to use your social media platforms for is promoting your customers’ interests. If, for example, you are a vet, why not get pictures of your patients and post them to social media (with their owners’ permission, of course). Promote customers’ blogs or charities of interest, if they’re not incompatible with yours. They will appreciate this extra attention, and will reciprocate in kind.
7. Avoid Tricks and Gimmicks That Can Undermine Credibility
Pulling a hoax on your customers may be a great way to generate some short-term attention, but in the long-run it will make people doubt your honesty. And nothing is more important in sales than trust. A recent example of this is Chipotle’s fake Twitter hack.
8. Make All Communication Clear
Choose clear language when communicating with customers. Say what you mean and be honest. If you make a mistake, give a genuine apology. Being honest, empathetic, and communicative will serve you well every time.
9. Follow-up with a Person
Auto-responders are popular because they’re cheap and easy. Unfortunately, that’s also how they make your customers feel. If customer engagement really matters to you, make the investment to follow up with a genuine person, whether you’re writing an email, communicating on social media, or calling on the phone.
10. Make Sure Your Employees Are Engaged
Unless you’re the only one communicating with your customers, your employees will play a vital role in ensuring engagement. If they’re not engaged, how can they possibly keep customers engaged? Detachment is contagious, and your employees will infect your customers.
Model proper engagement techniques by applying all these tips internally first. You’ll be surprised at your employees’ ability to convey and amplify engagement to your customers, and the return will be multiplied many times over.