There’s no bigger asset for companies than having strong and satisfying relationships with people. People that use their services and buy their products but, above all, people that believe in them.
Now that’s what customer engagement is all about. Building trust and emotional connections with individuals and organizations.
Creating relationships with people who will not only care about your brand and make it profitable—but who will actively engage with it, acknowledge why it’s special among millions of other brands, and dedicate genuine efforts in keeping it a successful long-standing one.
What is customer engagement all about? #
Establishing a sole definition of customer engagement can be a tricky endeavor. Most of the hassle comes from the complexity of the definition of engagement itself.
When it comes to people, sometimes you just feel it. But—and here’s the twist for companies—they need to recognize and track customer engagement in order to build a customer-centric business model.
To cut a long story short, we need to come up with a clear and assertive answer to what customer engagement is. Here’s Hubspot’s definition of customer engagement:
“Customer engagement is the process of interacting with customers through a variety of channels and strengthening your relationship with them. For many businesses, this process begins with the first interaction and extends beyond the point of purchase.”
Now, there are a few things to consider here.
The first one is ownership.
The company is fully responsible for the reach of the engagement. But, like in any other real relationship, this is not a one-way street.
Your customer is not just a passive target with static needs you deliver satisfying goods or solutions to, they’re a willing and changing person you share an experience with.
If you acknowledge the living power your customers’ have upon this experience, as much as you have, you are really on the path of unraveling the mystery of successful customer engagement.
The second thing is honesty.
In business, this translates into opinionated brands. If your customer is to be recognized at their fullest, your brand needs the same thing. Your brand should have a story, a personality, and therefore a consistent behavior.
Now, there’s no point in trying to reach customers at all costs, with any kind of message you think they want to hear and through any kind of potential channel.
If you truly connect with others without compromising your own voice, you’ll be genuinely loved and trusted—you’ll gain customer loyalty.
The third thing is when and where customer engagement takes place.
The answer—always and everywhere. There’s no first and last interaction. Since your brand is born it builds the foundations for customers to fall in love with it. Of course, you can take specific actions to get their attention, but your business’ heart and soul evolution—well, that’s a neverending exercise.
Taking all this on board, our definition of customer engagement is this:
“Customer engagement is the result of shared, genuine experiences between brands and customers, based on mutual will, acknowledgment, and respect. For customer-centric businesses, fostering these experiences with their customers is vital and lasts for the whole customer journey.”
Webinar: Engaging users in a crisisThe COVID-19 pandemic can either deepen or recede your connection with users. Learn which UX best practices are relevant and how other companies are responding.
Why customer engagement is so important #
You might wonder why putting so much effort into customer experience is vital for brand endurance and steady growth.
What happens when customer engagement prevails over simple transactional relationships as the top priority?
Well, the data speaks for itself.
According to researchers, customer engagement has a direct correlation with business profitability. 84% of the companies that work on customer engagement perceived a lift in their earnings, bringing even 5 or 7 times more revenue than their competitors. And loyal customers are 5 times more likely to purchase again and 5 times less expensive than getting new ones.
It’s proven that people are 90% more likely to trust and buy a brand recommended by someone they trust. And word of mouth operates like a virtuous cycle, being responsible for 13% of consumer sales and driving $6 trillion of annual spending.
The other side of it is pretty scary. Losing your users over poor customer experiences can cost companies over a total of $1.6 trillion, all down the drain.
In a nutshell, customer engagement is key because it will guarantee your business continuity, not only from a financial point of view but from a symbolic capital perspective based on competitors’ differentiation and social reputation.
How to calculate customer engagement #
Customer engagement seems like a difficult concept to estimate. But, even as slippery as it is, there are some customer engagement metrics you would find useful to track your efforts and check if you’re on the round of nurturing meaningful relationships with your customers.
1. Conversation rate #
When you shoot a campaign with a specific Call To Action, the conversation rate measures the percentage of people that completed the suggested action. While the conversion varies from campaign to campaign, CVR is easy to calculate:
CVR = (total number of conversions / total number of visitors or sessions) * 100
2. Net Promoter Score ® (NPS) #
This metric is key when you want to measure how satisfied your customers are with your product/service by asking them on a scale from 1 to 10 how likely they are to recommend your brand to others. NPS is a net number that comes from
NPS ® = % of promoters - % of detractors
3. Purchase frequency (PF) and Repeat Purchase Rate (RPR) #
More associated with direct purchases on e-commerces, they will show you how frequently your customers make purchases in your store and if they do it more than once in a certain period of time. Here are the formulas:
PF = number of orders in the last year/number of unique customers over the last year
RPR = number of customers that bought more than once/total number of customers
4. Bounce rate #
This web traffic analysis metric tells you a lot about the health of your site as a customer engagement platform. It represents the percentage of visitors that leave your site right away without navigating it or taking further action.
BR = (total number of one-page visits / total number of entries) *100
Other metrics you probably don’t want to miss track of, are session time, frequency of return users, daily/monthly active users, and followers/reactions on social media.
Once you collect all this information, you can come up with ideas to reduce the bounce rate, and you’ll have an approximated knowledge of how engaged your customers are when they interact with your brand. Now, it’s time to transform these insights into actions.
Four top customer engagement strategies to adopt #
When designing customer engagement strategies, you should never forget about what it really is.
If you want to grow your base and be cherished by your customers, keep in mind to be truthful to your project and think about what special offering you bring to the table at all times.
Here are some golden strategies to be a winner in the high-class customer-centric arena.
Build a strong brand core and personality #
Your project should have its own mission, vision, and values.
These will certainly change and evolve with time, but you should always check the cohesiveness and coherence of your brand's identity.
People don’t choose a brand for what it does but for why it does it. Building a brand voice that speaks and acts according to its principles is what would eventually establish your company as a thought leader in the market.
This is not only crucial in interactions outside the invisible walls of your headquarters but as much as important within.
Pay attention to your team’s satisfaction and wellbeing, it’s the most honest depiction of the real state of things. More than 70% of the customers engage with a brand because they have joyful and memorable experiences when interacting with representatives.
Choose and get to know your customers deeply #
This is the clearest way to put it: you should perceive, recruit, and treat your customers as fan-friends.
The equivalent of finding friends in business is a combination of creating your target customer’s ideal profile and, at the same time, researching the real field of current and potential users of your product or service.
Ask yourself about the kind of customer whose needs will be met by your products or services. Describe their characteristics, survey their preferences, and use analytics to understand their journey (where they come from and when they interact).
Customer engagement platforms can help you track their behavior, respond efficiently, and send custom-made campaigns using real-time data. Keep at all times your focus in realizing and addressing what drives them to value your brand.
This way you’ll have valuable information to create personalized customer experiences and above all, keep fostering a customer-centric product that leads to growth.
There would be no better promoter of your brand than what you give to others. If you improve the lives of your customers, you’re definitely adding value to their world—as every good and true friendship does.
Start the relationship with the right foot #
The first impression has to be your entrance into your customers’ hearts. If you miss this opportunity, you’ll have to make a huge effort to make amends.
Design your SaaS welcome emails thoroughly and pay special attention to introductory and instructional videos.
Explanatory strategies or great UX are not enough: user onboarding is something that goes beyond that and you need to master it if you want your customer engagement strategy to be at the top.
Keep learning and honestly improving #
And, last but not least, think of continuous learning as your most precious sidekick.
This means you have to be humble and honest in order to thrive—a never-ending endeavor. Ask your customers constantly for their feedback and understand their expectations. Survey loyal customers and churned ones. Listen carefully with an open mind, accept your mistakes, and learn from them. It will always be your biggest strength.
Brands who are rocking their customer engagement #
Let’s translate the theory into some real-life examples of how companies make the best out of their customer engagement strategy and harvest fan-friends along the way.
Salesforce: branding titans #
The CRS SaaS titan is one of the pioneers in cloud CRM, delivering customer service software innovation to companies all around the world. But its high-tech solutions were not the only factor that turned this company into a market leader.
Salesforce went from $1 billion in revenue to $5 billion in revenue in less than a decade and its exponential growth is a result of the company’s branding. Salesforce invests a ton of effort into putting the “empathy” seal in everything they do.
If you go to the About Us section of their site, you’ll find out how the brand supports philanthropic activities, advocates for human rights and environmental sustainability, promotes diversity and equality, and affirms their success is connected to their customer's success and the real people behind it.
They definitely have a cool product that gets the job done—but making the business “human” is how they win their customers’ engagement.
Hugo: marketing masters #
Hugo is a San Francisco startup that offers a meeting notes integration platform.
When they had to redefine the marketing growth strategy, they took a closer look at their email marketing efforts and realized their generalized approach was giving a poor conversion rate. That’s when they shifted to meaningful marketing campaigns.
They refined segmentation, increased personalization on their messages, and made significant changes based on user actions. For example, after they realized a segment of their customer base opened the emails during night time, they started to send them at those hours, with messages like “we are night owls too”.
The outcome: they doubled their daily active users within a month.
Gravity Payments: happy employees = happy customers #
This is a great example of how customer engagement is also related to what happens inside your offices.
The company made a significant move when its CEO decided to implement a minimum annual salary of $70,000 to increase employee satisfaction and productivity levels as a consequence of the quality of life improvement.
Although it was not a strategy directly connected with customer service, the numbers were striking: leads went from 30 to 2,000 monthly inquiries, their payback doubled and customer retention grew from 91% to 95%.
Happy employees are strongly related to happy customers, never forget that.
Customer engagement tools and resources #
So, now it’s your turn to rock at customer engagement.
At Chameleon, we have your back to help you boost a long-lasting relationship between your product and its users. We’ll walk you through very useful and innovative tools to get immediate customer feedback like Microsurveys or in-product menus to launch Tours and facilitate self-serve learning.
Here there’s a list of other tools and resources we encourage you to take a look at:
Drift for a 24/7 chatbot that will always engage your customers
Typeform for customer surveys to get constant feedback
Optimizely to run A/B tests that fuel your growth
Be always updated on this topic, get inspiration from the big ones, and be eager to devise your own customer engagement strategies. The most innovative and special, the better.
Remember, what makes you unique is a secret your company holds and if you design your business in a very personalized way—the same way you should approach and communicate with your customers, unlimited success is just around the corner.