“Customer” has become a key word in marketing plans. Efforts to improve customer service, analyze customer touch points, understand the customer experience and develop better customer relationship management are widespread.
Why then do conversations about customer engagement make marketing managers turn into deer in the headlights: big eyed, frozen in fear and totally confused?
Fears about customer engagement are due primarily to not knowing how or where to start. Here are some simple steps to get the customer engagement ball rolling. They also can serve as the foundation for a long-term, effective program with measureable results.
- Get to know your customer by asking them to participate in an online survey. Use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) question that will measure how likely customers are to recommend your product or service and identify Promoters (your biggest fans who will recommend products and services to others) and Detractors (dissatisfied customers who will complain to others). Ask open-ended questions to determine why some customers would recommend and others would not.
- Send thank you emails to survey participants. Share some information about what you learned and what you plan to do with the results. Customers now know you are listening and plan to take action based on feedback.
- Send another email to customers who did not participate in the survey. Share some information about what you learned from the survey. Include a hyperlink to the survey so these customers can share their opinions, too.
- Periodically let your customers know about the changes you have made in products, services and operations. Remind them changes are based on customer input and ideas.
- Invite customers who participated in online surveys to participate in web-based or live customer advisory panels. Use the panels to help make decisions about products, services and operational changes. Let other customers know about the advisory panels.
- Use comments from online surveys to develop content for newsletters and social media postings. The topics will be relevant to others as well and will increase readership.
- Get customer service to call Detractors. Dissatisfied customers will explain specific problems with products or poor customer service experiences. Offer to make amends. You will be surprised how many will temper criticism. Not only that – they will tell others that your company responded to their complaints.
Every six to 12 months, conduct another online survey among a different group of customers and repeat the entire process.
Customer engagement programs don’t need to be complicated. By keeping the process simple, companies can engage a wide range of customers, get actionable information, utilize communication tools already in place and develop stronger relationships.