The 21st century can be understood as the era of the customer engagement strategy, a focus to which companies’ investments should allocate their marketing campaigns. A strategy based on the changing behavior of the client in real time through RRSS (social networks) and, without a doubt, unfailingly helped by the use of big data.
What is customer engagement?
Customer experience is made up of any type of interaction that exists between a company and its users. It is essential that marketing focuses not only on the purchase but also on the sensory, cognitive and relationship values that accompany it. A good customer experience strategy enriches products and services.
Leaving aside aspects such as the price of a product, attention must also be paid to how to serve the target of the brand, to provoke it in a creative way. Today, successful companies have a common aspect: their way of innovating in the custoumer experience.
A loyal customer is always a satisfied customer. Thanks to or because of the Internet and the technological and communication revolution that we are currently experiencing, the shopping experience does not end with the purchase of the product or service. Once the customer has the product, it is necessary to guarantee a satisfactory and quality service, in this way, he will return. The shopping experience must always be satisfactory.
The customer not only chooses and buys but also complains and recommends the product. 86% of consumers say they would pay more for a better shopping experience. Furthermore, the vast majority of buyers say that they would stop consuming a brand if it does not meet their expectations or does not respond to their demands.
To provide a good customer experience, it is necessary to know the customer’s motivations, problems and wishes. It is necessary that the product or service that we provide to the consumer brings real value to our customers.
Customer engagement is understood as a commitment to the long-term customer with a brand or product. It is different from branding, which seeks loyalty, each day more difficult to maintain due to:
- The speed with which social networks act.
- The stratification / segmentation of competition in an increasingly globalized market.
- The vast magma of accessible online content, services and products.
- All this added to the increasingly remote possibility of brands to influence the agenda of the mass media.
Instead, working with the experience of consumers has been shown to improve consumer engagement, reinforce their loyalty, and “emotionally tie” them to the company and its products and services.
Therefore, the customer engagement is a strategy in which it is intended that conversions are a long term and gives the instantaneous communication of a fundamental weight to contextualize the customer decisions regarding a particular product brand.
In the words of Andy Frawley, author of “Igniting Customer Connections “, the customer experience is the emotional connection of this with a brand, while customer engagement encompasses ” actions that the consumer performs, such as buying, selling, sharing on social networks their preferences and others ”.
Four drivers of the customer engagement phenomenon
The phenomenon of customer engagement (from now on, CE) responds to the correlation of 4 main factors:
- The emergence of the Internet in the 1990s and the online world, which makes online customer engagement unfailingly different from offline CE.
- The behavior of consumers, a decisive factor in the CE and that has to do not with the purchase of the product, but with their participation in company blogs, discussions in forums, etc. in the before, during and after the purchase.
- Marketing strategies with the aim of creating, stimulating or changing the behavior of the CE.
- The metric that measures the effectiveness of the previous point and serves to identify which marketing practices are effective and which are not.
The reason for the need for CE
As we have seen, the CE emerges driven by the 4 previous factors and seeks to satisfy these two main needs:
a.- Businesses have lost their power to dictate the “agenda” of topics on which the public should speak, because:
- Consumer audiences are no longer an amorphous whole and are not understood within the traditional consideration of “man-mass” that governed mass media studies of the middle of the last century but is an increasingly smaller and segmented whole. plots inseparable from each other.
- Consumers are the best “ambassadors” (sponsors) of the product, in the sense that it is they and not others who can best direct marketing campaigns at the moment when they establish what to talk about when (at what moment) and where (in which social media).
b.- The deterioration of brand loyalty
The branding suffers a blow unprecedented checking the loyalty hanging thread is always in question, is a shifting mass and only CE can be lifejacket if working properly. Indeed, the globalization of the market and the explosion of information and access opportunities to thousands of increasingly competitive products reduce loyalty.
The ‘thanks’ of the committed consumer
Consumer behavior can be described according to Kirkpatrick’s 4-level model:
- Click: a new reader has come through the “click”
- Consume: the reader consumes the information
- Understand: the reader understands the content that has been presented and remembers it
- It applies: it is the known phenomenon of “conversion”.
We understand by commitment a comprehensive characterization of consumer behavior composed of key elements such as:
- Loyalty: the most engaged consumers are the most loyal, so raising customer engagement rates leads to greater customer “retention” or loyalty.
- Satisfaction: it is the fundamental basis for a long-term relationship of the client with the brand. Commitment goes beyond momentary satisfaction, but cannot do without it.
- Advertising “word-to-mouth” or “word of mouth”: a consumer with a high level of engagement is the best “ambassador” of a brand, which favors him in two essential points: one, he enrolls himself in speaking free (and good) of the product or service (and therefore, of its seal), and two, its information, being independent, is much more credible on social networks and can have viral effects.
- Assertiveness: a committed consumer is more receptive to the promotional messages of the campaigns than one that is not, which favors its effectiveness.
- ” Filtering“: the engaged consumer filters the message manipulates it, puts ” taggs “, issues constructive criticism, and so on.
- Direct complaints: a highly engaged consumer complains less and, if they do, they send their complaints directly to the company, they do not publish them in posts available to other users or consumers.
- Marketing intelligence: A highly engaged consumer can deliver high-value opinions for future marketing campaigns.
Some companies such as Amazon carry out this CE with winks to the consumer who is interested in a product such as: “customers who bought this product also bought ….” and open a drop-down of products related to their purchase intention, which helps to segment consumer preferences and fit into a specific market segment. In this way, the consumer helps to create shopping communities by simply browsing and clicking on products.
The CE metric is useful in any company portfolio to plan (identify which marketing strategies to implement, which communities have the most engaged customers, establish what paths the consumer follows to engage) and measure the effectiveness of the implemented strategies.
We speak of “ Root metrics ” or basic metric systems, in which the duration of the visit, its frequency, the percentage of repeat visits, its depth (% of the site visited), etc. are measured . and ” Action metrics ” or action metric systems, in which subscriptions to RSS feed systems, classifications, tags, bookmarks, queries, professional information provided, downloads, customer opinions are analyzed (their quality of writing and content is another parsing indicator), etc.
Five rules to get a CE
1.- Be clear about what type of commitment you want to achieve
Evoking one of the fundamental principles of every couch , knowing where to start and where to go, according to the pyramid of the five levels of the CE: rational foundation (simply to satisfy a need), confidence that the brand will always fulfill what it announces, integrity in the face of problems that may arise, the client fully trusts the brand, the client’s pride, not only in using that service or product, but also in bearing their seal as part of it, or passion in the company, something essential.
2.- Make use of 1: 1 relationships
It is nothing more than converting physical contacts into virtual contacts. An example of this is Ikea, which by moving one of its stores to a town in Germany encouraged residents to bring something to the establishment, as if it were the new neighbor of the neighborhood and the residents of the community came with a cake of welcoming. The initiative was so successful that even famous people from the area attended the event.
3.- Listen and respond
It is not only about listening but about acting with the information. A clear example is that of Starbucks, which through social media popularized that, thanks to the requests of its customers, they already had lactose-free milk in their establishments.
(It should not be forgotten that the CE has to include employee responsibility and be reflected in the nine boxes through its social media, online and off-line).
4.- Be useful
And it is not just about listening, understanding and acting, but about being useful, sharing content of interest based on giving advice on the use of products, publishing sector news and product guides, disseminating success stories (storytelling ) or articles of interest and attract the customer with promotions, contests, etc.
5.- Measure efforts
It is not only about measuring traffic on social media but also about calibrating the subscriptions (and the reason for unsubscribes) of any newsletter , the comments and posts shared on Facebook, the ultra-fast interactions on Twitter …
6.- Be patient:
“Be patient as the net grows up “, having patience while the network of relationships grows is decisive to achieve a solid CE. The CE is not achieved in a meteoric time, but it is a slow process where perseverance is the best weapon.