7 easy customer engagement steps for SMBs

Joe Svetlik

Friday 14 November 2014

It’s harder than ever to keep your customers. They have shorter attention spans, they’re more media savvy and more immune to traditional marketing techniques. But, by changing the focus from ‘touch points’ to forming meaningful, ongoing and long-lasting relationships, you can guarantee your customers keep coming back for more.

1) Let the customer engage on their terms

Making them an active participant empowers the customer and lets them dictate the experience. Airbnb lets you choose the style and type of accommodation, whereas a hotel has limited types of room available. Don’t tell customers what your service will be like, let them decide.

2) Don’t lock them in

Customers would rather engage on their terms than be beholden to your company. Instead of charging a subscription, Sky’s Now TV offers a set of ‘passes’ depending on what you want to watch. Letting the customer snack as and when will leave them more satisfied than force-feeding them an expensive monthly plan.

3) Enhance your customer network value

Customers talk. According to Nielsen, the advice of friends and family is a huge influence on people’s purchasing decisions. Give them good customer service, and they’re sure to tell people about it.

4) Listen…

It’s vital to monitor social media and listen to what is being said about your company. If someone is having a problem, offer to help. Promote positive feedback, by retweeting praise, for example, and you’ll quickly build a trustful reputation.

5) …and act on their recommendations

If customers suggest something that will make your product or service better, incorporate it and thank them. They will feel valued and that their opinions matter. Urban transport app Citymapper releases regular updates which include improvements suggested by customers.

6) Put a human face on interactions

Say who is manning the Twitter feed, and ask what people got up to on their weekends. It all helps foster a sense of community and shows that your business is made up of individuals, not a faceless corporate entity.

7) Don’t be afraid to recycle

Maximise your output by working smarter. Use an excerpt from a Facebook post as a tweet. Repurpose a blog post into an email newsletter. It might help you find more effective ways to communicate.

Remember that customer engagement is ongoing, rather than one single task. Be inventive, focused, and most of all, have fun. It will make all the difference.

Building the next-gen data centre

Where traditional and web-scale apps co-exist