There are usage analytics to measure customer engagement like sales conversion for CRM software, successful leads, heat mapping and End-Sales Funnel. There are organized methods to madness. But let us negate all this metric mumbo jumbo. What is customer engagement, really? Customer engagement is a business communication between two businesses through various channels of correspondence. It is the measure of audience or customers’ engagement with the content produced. The communication can be an interaction, effect, reaction or customer experience taking place both online and offline.
Customer engagement is a strong indicator of what the customer feels about your brand. It is about how much the customer interacts with the brand. It shows how much they like the brand and how likely they are to refer it to others. A Frost report says that 72% of customers share a positive experience with atleast 6 or more people. And the unsatisfied ones tell it to 15 of them! Engagement also measures customer sentiment so that we can predict future loyalty. And for good customer engagement, we need to create and deliver personalized experiences that will entice their loyalty.
The software of product companies are getting very advanced these days. The plethora of products include CRM, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Word tool, Bug tracker, Mail, Project management, Accounting to name a few. A popular brand known for these amazing product suites in the SaaS space recently found that 87% of their customers are frustrated at not getting a consistent experience across all channels. Though this is the best cloud based company, this pain point is making them lose customers. Atleast 20% of them turn to competitors. Their attention is on making a quality software product and not on sales. And that is fair enough, because that is not their focus area. So hiring customer engagement services will become the brand differentiator.
Customer Engagement – What it is and what it is not
Don’t knock the audience off their feet with marketing messages. That is not customer engagement. They can’t be forced to engage. Engagement is proactive and has to be initiated by the customer and can range from being casual, intense, occasional and/or frequent. And they can constantly contour and gradient from one to the other. We offer an example of sending customers a discount coupon of 20% for the next 6 months. We don’t expect them to come back every month to purchase the product. We are giving customers the choice to engage. Similarly if we give people discounts to give to their friends, that’s another form of engagement.
When the focus is on sales, it does not happen in a day. Cold calling and meeting sales target is a thing of the past. Hence, companies are driving their focus areas from sales to customer engagement. This is a more holistic approach besides being a sensible one. Sales are always need based. The more important approach is that the brand should stick on to people’s head. When they get a need, which they invariably will sooner than later, they will get reminded of the brand and approach us.
Traditional customer engagement channels gone the way of the Dodo
The traditional customer engagement channels also have gone with the wind. Advertisements in magazines, brochures, newspapers and other printed material are seldom heard of these days. Not to mention direct mail. There has been a huge digital transformation. This is very good for businesses as we can analyze the data and come up with engagement metrics. And the digital interaction with customers is instantaneous. The customer responds immediately and expects the same from the company. Hence customer engagement has become a buzz word in the market. It is not all about sales. We need to engage with the customer.
Also, the advent of digital product engineering has converted what has been a sales centric approach to a more ‘customer engagement’ based one. Facebook is a classic trend indicator of customer engagement. They have numbers like EdgeRank which measures customer engagement and the weightage is given to customer engagement and not sales.
Today’s businesses face a double whammy in this digital era. One, customers of the corporate era don’t adhere to the social stigma of clinging on to the same business for a ‘long standing relationship’. It’s a thing of the past, thanks to fierce competition and technology. Two, they collaborate with other companies on purchase decisions, look for each other’s guidance and recommendations rather than weighing up the brands. It is high time businesses weigh them up before implementing decisions. Else watch aghast as the competitors devour the lions share. Hence customer engagement should be the goal of every business.
Changes brought about by digital product engineering
The advent of digital technologies and digital product engineering has changed the rules of interacting with businesses forever and ever. There are organized business models to do it and even more organized metrics to measure it. Even though there are organized metrics, they tend to become a vanity fair. It is not an indicator of the real time scenario.
For instance, the total number of calls is an often used evaluation metric for prospecting performance of sales teams. But it might tend to be a vanity metric as even with a high number of calls, the sales conversions might be low. Yet this can be converted into an engagement metric.
The key stands in paying attention to detail. Rather than tracking the total calls, tracking the efficiency of those calls becomes the key differentiator. It is best to measure this metric alongside others, such as connects, meetings, opportunities and sales, to assess the success of your engagement campaigns. Compare calls to connects, connects to meetings, meetings to opportunities and opportunities to sales. Look for valleys and peaks, but do understand that these metrics are driven by user behavior. Aspire systems caters to such valuable engagement metrics so that we get the real time understanding of customer behavior to engineer your products accordingly.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers research concludes that organizations with powerful Omni channel customer engagement strategies retain about 90% customers, compared to 33% for organizations with relatively weaker Omni-channel strategies. And the companies who invest in Omni channel marketing will increase from 20% to a whopping 80%! So this being a focus area will bear more fruit to the organization.
We drive product-centricity with many channels of marketing, namely omni channel marketing and empower customers to connect with you through the products we help you build.
Aspire Systems provides best in class product engineering services built through real-time customer engagement parameters so that you can focus on crafting your product to your target audience.
Want to know more about the factors a business decision maker needs to consider to provide a better customer experience? Want to know more about customer engagement and why it is critical to your business? Please click here.
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- The impact of customer engagement on digital product engineering - July 20, 2018