Stay intimate — 7 tips to drive an engaging customer relationship

By Swen Krups

A simple like or follow is not going to effectively build a brand or sell a product, it’s interaction with your customers, whether B2B or B2C, which matters most. Establishing and maintaining customer engagement is a challenge marketers have historically faced, but today this challenge is amplified by the short and continuous timeframes we operate in.

Brands are tasked with taking part in real-time 24/7 communications with their customers like never before. All of this is taking place over multiple platforms and devices. Competition is high and if you’re not getting to know your customers, you can bet that your rivals will be.

So how can marketers drive customer engagement in our always-on and always-learning environment? For starters, here are seven basic tips that I often share with clients:

1. Communicate with customers in their desired cadence. There’s danger in both over and under-communicating. To understand an individual customer’s preference, simply ask them. This can be done via a preference centre, before or after initial opt-in or during the opt-out process.

2. Provide consistent service across departments and channels. While organisations may be siloed, customers do not view their relationship with brands in a silo. Your brand is simply your brand. Ensure that from sales to customer service and through email to direct mail, you’re communicating effectively, intelligently and promptly.

3. Similarly, align communications across all departments and divisions. If a customer calls into the customer support centre, be sure those employees are equipped with that customer’s detailed information, such as loyalty status and historical behaviour, to help recognise and better serve the individual customer.

4. Make the value of your offer or service stand out in every communication. Don’t let your call-to-action be buried by copy or creative. Be clear and concise in what you’re asking customers to do.

5. Remember that customers are more likely to share their bad experiences with your brand than the good ones. Have a strategy in place for managing complaints and negative comments online. Better yet, prevent them from occurring.

6. Enable and support showrooming. More marketers are realising the benefits of encouraging customers to be digitally connected while visiting their physical stores, despite consumers’ increasing online mobility has been frequently presented as a threat in a number of industry-related articles.

7. Ensure information is tailored to the consumer’s interest. Messaging needs to not only be timely, but also relevant. Know what your customers need and provide them with the most suitable options.

If consumers aren’t engaged, they are unlikely to become loyal. An unengaged consumer may not recognise your brand, service or offering, and your value proposition could be lost on them. While there may be consumers who are only seeking short-term value from your brand and will therefore only be engaged momentarily, it should be every marketer’s goal to establish long-term relationships with customers.

About the author

Swen Krups is Vice President Client Services at Epsilon, writes at the launch of Agility Harmony, a next generation digital messaging platform for global marketers.  

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