The different stages which the customers and other prospects go through as they experience-your brand/product is illustrated in Customer Engagement Cycle. Today’s customers are much more connected than-ever before. They have many touch points with your product/brand: your site, your retail stores, the call centers, social media, TV ads, mobile applications and radio ads, just to name-a few.
Customer engagement basically goes deeper than all other previously created & utilized methods of marketing, programs, sales, and more.
- A new kind-of operation for brands
- The evolved version-of yesterday’s marketing-
- An intricate part-of the brand with the consumer’s voice & perspective
- Relationship driven and has open perspectives from both sides (that is, the brands and the customers)
- Ongoing loop-of collaboration & growth between the engaged parties
- More listening & less selling/pushing messaging
Basically, customer engagement cycle is a cyclical process-of relationship building starting from being completely unknown-to extending your brand(s) further out in to a customer base which supports, purchases & promotes the many great things pertaining to your product. You need to develop digital marketing strategies that are based on the whole customer’s experience, not only marketing or sales. For a moment, you need to take off your marketing hats & begin thinking like a customer.
The Complete Customer Engagement Cycle
You should ask yourself what customers require/want at each stage-of the cycle with-respect to specific industries
Stages & Description
Customers haven’t previously heard of your products, services or brand. You should make a good 1st, 2nd and 3rd impression so that the customers can consider you when they’re further along the engagement-cycle.
Customers are looking/searching for information so they can research & compare between the competitors and the offerings. You need to communicate your value proposition-to them and build up their confidence in your brand so they’ll purchase from you.
Customers are usually busy people and they want to make a purchase/buy in a way that’s convenient for them. You need to be as flexible as-possible & make it simple & straightforward for the customers to make a purchase.
Customers want to buy from brands which will provide good services and good support. Ensure you support the customers with any issues, complaints or questions they may have.
Customers like being appreciated & rewarded for all the business they’re providing you. You can offer recognition & incentives for all the loyal customers.
Customers who’re happy with an experience they happen to encounter with your brand/services are most likely to recommend your brand to their peers.You can empower them with ability to spread the word easily on behalf-of your business.
Each of the stages represents opportunity to form or make a much deeper relationship with your customers. Customer Engagement Cycle can be described as a chain in which we’re only as-strong-as the weakest link. Any kind of breakage along this chain means you could lose customers as they pass-through it.
You should also keep in-mind that the customers do not actually care where they’re in the Engagement Cycle. They do not see what happens or occurs behind the scenes & only care about personal experiences with the brand as-a-whole. The cycle is for your reference so as to help you provide the customers with long lasting positive rewarding experiences while they interact with your brand(s).
The dreaming stage is where the suppliers think about how-to target the customers either by making or placing ads, for example, advertisements on the Web or by using social media to attract new customers & to create a new kind of virtual-experience.
At dreaming stage, there is also the chance to converse-with customers & have a live-discussion. This may be on the review sites or having links on the website where the potential customers may’ve conversations with the representatives of your brand.
The move from dreaming onto planning stage, has a socializing touch point. This is usually where the customers look at the website, & by examining videos or pictures of other-guests they may get a sense via vicarious education-of what the experience is going to-be like & get socialized into it.
The move further along planning stage, has a producing or the execution touch point. It’s where new media-innovations may be used for customers so as to help produce, & specifically co produce new service/product processes. For instance, using mobile phones to expedite the check in process.
Executing: Co Creation
Moving further along in to the executing stage, we’ve opportunities for touch points via experiences where the customers may help co create the experience for themselves-with the supplier(s). Applications such as a digital-concierge where the guests can easily contribute information regarding their favorite attractions & dining areas, can provide great opportunities for the guests to co create their experiences.
As consumption process continues, there is the responding touch point. This is where a supplier, brand-marketer, or even operations personnel get to interact with the customers via tweeting or via other kind of discussions, so that customers can voice their opinion & talk about their personal experiences.
Moving from execution in to reflecting stage, is where you try to enlist your customers as advocates-for the brand. You can encourage the customers to promote your brand by communicating and sharing with others on the social network.
Finally, the very end-of the stage going from reflecting back in to the dreaming, is where you look at “relating” as-a touch point. That’s, connecting with your customers through/via specific brand communities, like twitter or creating Facebook fan-pages where the customers can become part of the brand family & continue the relationship with your company.
The Need for Customer-Engagement
Consumer marketing is necessitated-by a combination of technological, social and market developments:
- Businesses and companies are losing their power to dictate communications agenda: Effectiveness of traditional ‘interrupt & repeat’ model-of advertising is decreasing.
- Decreasing brand-loyalty: Lowering of entry barriers (like the need for sales force, access-to channels & physical assets) & the geographical widening-of the market because of internet has brought about an increase in competition. Combined with lower switching-costs, easier access-to information about the products and the suppliers and the increased choice, customer-loyalty is rather hard to achieve.
The increasing ineffectiveness-of Television advertising because of shift of consumer’s attention to the web, the ability that’s within the new media to easily control advertising consumption & the decrease in audience-size, has brought about a progressive shift-of advertising spending online.
The cycle spans across entire brand meaning virtually each and every department across the company/enterprise, that is from the product or service development, to the legal, the procurement, the marketing & more. Customer engagement cycle is a chain of growing a customer base with good trust, respect & open lines of effective and consistent communications.