It’s long been assumed that purchasing decisions are based on rational thought. After all, with the availability of information on the web today, consumers have every opportunity to research your product or service, scour reviews, compare pricing, and maybe even swap stories with friends who have similar merchandise. But further recent research says that buying is actually more of an emotional decision than a rational one. In fact, behavioral economists suggest that rational thought accounts for less than one-third of human decisions. If this is true, it’s time to start appealing more to your customers’ emotions than their logic. The most effective strategy? Live action customer engagement.
But what is it? Gallup defines customer engagement as “a customer’s emotional or psychological attachment to a brand, product, or company.” There are three types of customer engagement: actively disengaged, indifferent, and actively engaged.
- Actively disengaged customers feel no loyalty — emotional or otherwise — to a brand and will readily switch products if they feel a better option has come along.
- Indifferent customers are, well, indifferent.
If your goal is to run a successful business, having actively disengaged or indifferent customers should concern you.
Today’s customers want to buy from brands they trust. If you can win your customers’ trust and delight them on a regular basis, you’re well on your way to cultivating a base of actively engaged customers. These are the people who feel emotionally and rationally attached to a brand and are likely to become self-appointed brand ambassadors and repeat customers.
The customer engagement factor, more than anything, determines business growth because actively engaged customers are significantly more profitable than actively disengaged customers. According to Gallup’s data, “fully engaged represents an average 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer. In stark contrast, an actively disengaged customer represents a 13% discount in those same measures.”
If your customers are not of the actively engaged variety yet, don’t fret. There are a number of ways you can turn a regular customer into an actively engaged one:
Personalize your responses
If a customer poses a question that could be relevant to other customers, answer it in a video or blog post.
Although it singles out a particular customer, a personalized, public response may also galvanize other customers to become actively engaged, as they can look forward to similar treatment in the future.
Create profiles of loyal customers
Knowing your most loyal customers’ demographics, tastes, and buying habits will go a long way in keeping them actively engaged and loyal. In a study conducted by COLLOQUY on loyalty programs, researchers found that customers remained in the program because they were offered products and services that were relevant to them.
While you don’t necessarily need a loyalty program, in order to keep the loyalty of your customers, it’s important to provide relevance.
Check out this post for tips for creating ideal client profiles.
Produce a newsletter
Offering valuable content is always a great way to enhance customer engagement, and a newsletter is a fantastic way to disseminate information. Use the newsletter to help customers solve problems, introduce them to studies in their field, or offer promotions and sales.
Another newsletter benefit is that they can be tailored to suit your customers’ tastes or needs when it comes to promotions. This is where having customer profiles comes in handy. Many email marketing services offer visual journey designers that send emails based on triggers. For example, if your customer profile tells the campaign that a customer prefers gold jewelry to silver, this customer will receive a promotion with their preferred metal. Offering relevant, personalized promotions and invaluable information will keep your customers actively engaged.
Make your customers part of the team
One of the best ways to actively engage your customers is to talk about them, or give them a chance to talk about themselves. How?
- Quote them on your blog.
- Mention them in a video.
- Conduct an interview with them.
- Offer them a chance to write a guest blog post.
Your customers will return to see their post and may even share it with friends or clients of their own. Plus, they’ll be delighted that you care enough to highlight them.
Promote live action customer engagement through live support
Live support is the literal embodiment of customer engagement. Use a CRM tool such as ZenDesk to connect with customers in real-time through chat, text, email, or phone. In doing so, you’re facilitating live action customer engagement in the most fundamental way possible. Plus, according to Econsultancy, 83 percent of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase .
When you provide live support, not only do your customers see that you’re willing to actively engage when and where they need it, you’re also avoiding the 30-percent drop off rate that occurs when a customer can’t find support on your site.
When it comes to sales, it’s time to start targeting the heart as well as the head by creating a more personalized experience. Use these suggestions for live action customer engagement to build an army of loyal, brand-championing customers.