Strengthening close customer relationships for sustainable business success
Active customers who identify with your brand and bring it to life in diverse ways play a key role in the long-lasting success of your company. Creating a positive customer experience is therefore an initial step toward greater customer satisfaction. However, for your customers to become valuable brand ambassadors as well, it is important to deepen and foster your interactions with them. This approach will increase customer retention and loyalty to your company.
Strong customer loyalty increases your customers’ willingness to engage
The term “customer engagement” generally describes the amount of involvement, effort or personal commitment that customers put in for a product, company, or brand, for example by submitting a positive product review, reporting on their good experiences, or recommending the brand to others. According to the definition given by the German Marketing Institute (DIM), customer engagement consists of cognitive, emotional and behavioral aspects and can be initiated both by themselves and externally.
In this context, the following applies: a positive customer experience and increasing customer satisfaction also boost customer loyalty. The more strongly a customer connects with a product or identifies with a brand, the more willing he or she will be to personally engage with it, to the benefit of the company.
Customer engagement measures as the key to active customers
This is exactly where customer engagement efforts come in. Your strategy should be aimed at deepening and personalizing customer interaction with your brand and cementing long-term customer retention. The focus here should be on forming brand ambassadors who “market” your company or products in their personal communication (through word of mouth). A prime example of this would be the hype surrounding Vorwerk’s multifunctional kitchen appliance Thermomix, whose longstanding success can be significantly attributed to its incredibly active fan community, which has its own forums, recipe groups, video channels, and more.
Customer engagement: brand ambassadors as a valuable resource
In today’s world, where consumers are bombarded with advertising claims and messages, more and more companies are (re)discovering the value of brand ambassadors and personal recommendations. Loyal and engaged customers communicate precisely these recommendations via numerous channels because they are convinced by your company and products. There are also other reasons why you should invest in the targeted development of an enthusiastic customer base. Loyal customers
- do not actively search for alternatives and are less likely to be drawn in by offers from competitors,
- have a great interest in being actively involved in improving your products and reputation, for example by filling out surveys or taking part in forums and discussions on social media,
- provide valuable feedback and constructive criticism,
- generate ideas and drive innovation,
- are more forgiving of mistakes and approach the company directly if there are any problems.
Useful strategies for customer engagement
Strong brand awareness and a high degree of customer engagement don’t just happen on their own, they need to be professionally cultivated. Depending on the industry and platform, you can use a wide range of strategies and measures for customer engagement:
- The various touchpoints play an important role in customer engagement. Here, you first need to identify all the relevant points of contact between the consumer and your company and optimize them in terms of the user experience and individual communication.
- The customer journey along the various touchpoints should be as comfortable, convenient, and seamless as possible. When switching channels, for example from social media to a product site, undesirable gaps should therefore ideally be avoided.
- Use a variety of touchpoints to reach your customers. Whether Facebook, newsletters, blogs, or your own website – the benefits of individual channels vary depending on the industry, company, product, or topic. An in-depth analysis of the potential of these channels and their specific function can help you optimally address and communicate with your target group.
- Special emphasis should also be placed on personalization. Within the scope of a personal customer experience and communication, you can demonstrate the value of your brand by offering your customers products and solutions that are tailored to their preferences, needs, and problems.
- Personalized content based on gathered customer data provides an excellent basis here for individual marketing. Blogs, guides, customer magazines, and other formats are not just a means of presenting your products or day-to-day business activities, they also give you the opportunity to develop your company’s expertise and problem-solving abilities and give your target group the relevant added value exactly when it is needed.
- Build trust. After all, trust is the foundation of long-lasting customer relationships. Customer engagement is based on conviction, which grows through trust. It is therefore all the more important to show a clear stance and attitude regarding current challenges and take responsibility in order to strengthen trust.
- Quick response times and a solution-driven, empathetic service department make it easy for customers to turn to the company if they have questions or problems. Various channels such as phone, chat, and email should be used to make communication as barrier-free as possible so that customers can easily access your services. The phase following a purchase especially determines how customer relationships develop over time. In many cases, focusing on a traditional sales funnel doesn’t quite cut it and should therefore be complemented with the long-term development of trust.
Measuring customer engagement using the Net Promoter Score
The Net Promoter Score is an easy and effective way of measuring customer engagement. The NPS is usually measured by asking customers how likely they are to recommend a product, service, or brand to others on a scale of 0 (not at all likely) to 10 (extremely likely). To calculate the score, the percentage of “detractors” with ratings of 6 or lower is then subtracted from the percentage of “promoters” with ratings of 9 and 10. Consequently, the NPS can range between -100% and +100%. The higher the score, the more likely it is that customers will actually give recommendations to others.