Customer engagement is a simple affair at the personal level. You walk into a shoe store and a sales associate greets you with a smile and helps you try on shoes. Maybe they even give you an opinion how the shoes look on you should you ask. The internet customer experience can be rather cold in comparison. Now there are thousands of customers in the store at the same time and it seems you can’t find any help. This is where customer engagement platforms come in.
Customer engagement platforms are powerful software tools that provide online vendors an all in one tool for interacting, tracking and managing their customer base. Some popular well-featured platforms include Interakt, Salesforce, and Intercom. They generally include basic services like an in-site chat support and automated email support system. This is so you can pop in and say hello to new site visitors and users. This advanced software also has powerful analytics that tracks user browsing habits and can be programmed to respond accordingly.
With client lists in the thousands, customer engagement software has become almost a necessity for maintaining a relationship with clients.
In the following article I will discuss some of the key points in optimizing your customer engagement platform. From onboarding new users, to converting new users to power users.
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1. Build your Network
To be able to engage your customers you need to be able to contact them. Once they are in your network you can then develop a relationship. But first things first you need an email address.
Customers need to willingly give you their email addresses so that your initial email dialogue is not immediately interpreted as spam. The best way to do this is to very clearly ask users to register on your site. Make the registration process as quick and painless as possible. Just get their email and you can always prompt them later for additional required info.
Your product’s extended network can consist of social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) The social media platform will be more passive in presentation, but the content will still be engaging and allow room for exploration and interaction with the product.
It is important not only to follow up with new users, but to keep long term users active and engaged.
2. Triggers and Analytics
You can learn a lot from what your users are not doing and what are they aren’t clicking on. Which features are being left untouched? Having an analytics architecture in place can help answer these questions. Clearly defined key performance indicators (KPIs) need to be established and tracked. The next step is automated messaging that guides users in the right direction based on their usage habits.
Even your email updates can be “smart” emails. The Intercom engagement platform allows you to track user’s responses to emails received. This can let you know how effective your updates actually are.
3. Effective Communication; Don’t Spam
This section calls into question the approach in the previous points. Interaction is important, but if engagement turns into irritating spam you can guarantee that customers won’t be on your mailing list for long.
Email notifications should always serve a purpose. Do let your customers know of a new product feature or of an existing product feature they are neglecting to use. Do send out those quarterly user questionnaires. But don’t repeat send notices and continue to press if they don’t oblige. Email analytics can help here as well in determining the right quantity and frequency of emails sent. Furthermore, allow customization options for users to let you know exactly what they want to be alerted to.
This no spam principle applies to the social media sphere as well as direct program interaction. Don’t repeat post content, rather keep the posts fresh and relevant. Content drawn from the same sources becomes stale. Switch up the sources and links.
4. Engage Your Customers; Start a Conversation
Establishing a two way dialogue is the key to engaging your customers, and this applies to your company wide approach.
Multiple customer support avenues need to be kept open for customers to ask questions and give you feedback. In addition to chat, email, and social media as discussed, even traditional call centers for older less tech savvy customers is an option.
In addition to direct communication, establish avenues for customers to converse. This both allows them to help each other as well as establishes a sense of community surrounding your product.
Peer to peer interaction can take place through social media but can be even more effective through a dedicated blog and forum. Allowing users to create their own related content empowers the entire user experience.
The takeaway ideas here are to use the analytics infrastructure of your customer engagement platform to put you into contact with the relevant portion of your customer base at the right times.
Once you have acquired an audience, don’t bombard them with meaningless drivel and updates. Share timely relevant information and give them a platform to actively engage in the ecosphere of your product.