Obtaining customers is only half the battle — at any time, a customer could leave you for a competitor. As it’s far easier (and less expensive) to retain current customers than attract new ones, a prime concern, no matter your business, needs to be to increase customer engagement.
Many businesses fail at customer engagement because they are more focused on marketing to users than listening to what their customers have to say. When you see customers as statistics — as opportunities to cross-sell or upsell — you risk losing your customers to brands who are willing to help them learn, grow, and feel valued.
Help Customers Thoroughly Understand How Your Product Works
Your engagement strategy needs to begin at the moment a potential customer is exposed to your product. This requires seamless onboarding: where you present all the features of your product that the customer may find beneficial. You also need to demonstrate the potential of your product and explain how it will improve the customer’s life.
The next step is to provide free (although limited) access to your product to customers. This will help them overcome any roadblocks that could have led them to bounce. It’s important to be available at the times customers most need you. In addition, allow customers to reach you through their preferred channels, whether this is email, live chat, or phone.
Finally, it’s critical that all your potential customers understand the value proposition of your product. Go beyond simply sticking your value proposition on a page on your website — a huge number of your customers will never see it. Instead, be creative as much as possible, such as by making an engaging short video or a detailed beautiful infographic to convey your value proposition. This will ensure your customers know exactly what they’re going to get from your product.
Have a Solid Cost-to-Leave Strategy to Reduce Churn Rate
Even after onboarding, the battle to retain customers continues. Another strategy to increase customer engagement is to focus on the cost to leave.
One thing you can do is personalize your product for each customer — think Spotify playlists. If customers were to decide to leave you for a competitor, they would lose all the personalization you’ve created and would start from scratch with a generic product.
Another way you can create a cost to leave is by giving users access to a network that they will lose if they quit your product. An early digital example of this was email addresses as a means of communication. A more modern case is a social media friend list.
In addition to potential losses, develop incentives for your customers to stay. Credits are a great way to achieve this.
You could offer customers credits for using your product, such as through a loyalty program that gives them discounts or with a scoreboard ranking, where they can compete with other users. Alternatively, you could give customers credits for inviting others to use your product. For example, Dropbox gives you more storage when the friends you invite sign up.
Never Forget That Your Customers Are Human
The last strategy to increase customer engagement is to treat users as individuals. Remember that users all have their own sense of humor, rationals, and challenges — things that make each one of them unique. By bearing this in mind, you humanize communications.
It is also important when you communicate with customers to strive for a two-way conversation. Rather than telling customers what you can offer them, take the time to listen to their doubts, wants, and other feedback. Even create opportunities to listen, such as by sending out a survey.
Your aim should be to help customers feel like they belong, as if they are part of a larger tribe. Invite them to participate in milestones at your company — and celebrate their achievements, too. You can use social proofing to show how others are benefiting from your product and to create a sense of FOMO: fear of missing out.
To retain customers and develop loyalty for your brand, you need to be constantly working to increase customer engagement. It’s no good having just a single strategy — that will mean you miss out on the chance to have numerous interactions with your customers. Instead, you need to apply engagement tactics to every aspect of the customer experience.
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