Five steps to effective customer engagement

As customer demands have shifted, businesses are moving away from customer contact centres towards more inclusive customer engagement. Today’s multichannel environment and social technologies provide more opportunities than ever for organisations to connect with customers, but this isn’t just a job for the digital marketing team. In fact, it requires a great deal of data analysis and a more collaborative approach within organisations to improve the customer journey.

Embedding IT teams into the customer engagement process is a huge part of the equation. It requires careful analysis at all stages of the brand lifecycle, from awareness, consideration and trial to purchase, adoption, commitment and advocacy – each of which contains its own discrete engagement cycles.

So what can you do? Marketing and innovation think tank GISTICS has identified seven key ways businesses can improve their customer engagement, but you can do it in five.

1. Speed it up

When asked what the key driver is for a customer to spend more with a company, 35 per cent of customers surveyed by Oracle said, “Ensure I can easily ask questions and access information before making a purchase.” Faster engagement cycle times create greater levels of engagement. Having systems and processes in place to move customers along their journey quickly and efficiently should be a priority.

2. Quality content

Few defects in delivered content, navigation and presentation increase the probability of success. Online, this means ensuring your spaces are designed responsively and tested on multiple screen sizes. Make sure your web spaces follow the five golden rules of responsive web design.

3. Testing, testing and more testing

Most defects occur unnoticed, leading engagement managers to make the same mistakes again and again. Regular, structured testing should ensure these errors are spotted in a timely fashion. This will also help you structure workflows, while automation and policy management of content workflows can reduce the number of defects.

4. Invest in VoC

Voice-of-the-customer (VoC) systems provide critical insights into what’s broken, missing or required. This isn’t just about tools – developing an effective VoC programme requires a more strategic approach. All customer engagement creates data, which you will need to use. Analytic insights and VoC must inform content creation – this requires formal systems for documenting content-user requirements.

5. Lead from the front 

Surprisingly, more than a quarter of companies say there is ownership at board level, but without full commitment across leadership teams. In order for a customer engagement strategy to work, businesses require strong governance. Someone within the firm needs to step up and take ownership of the engagement cycle.

Effective customer engagement isn’t something that occurs only at the start or the end of the customer journey – it requires a holistic approach. As a business, it’s up to you to ensure the customer feels valued and well serviced at every communication touchpoint.