AYMEN EXPLAINS CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT — PART 2
An attempt to expound the myth of customer engagement.
In part 1, we have concluded that Customer Engagement is all about creating a meaningful connection between a brand and the customer. And We also have realized that customers rely on the digital world to stay connected, as on we spent daily on social media networking only around 145 minutes. So brands should focus their attention to the medium where we spend big part of their lives on, in other words, engagement should go digital.
So, what are the elements that need to be considered in designing a successful Customer Engagement strategy? and how can a successful Customer Engagement impact brand engagement, sales & overall customer satisfaction?
These are the questions that we will unveil together while going through Part 2 of ‘Aymen Explains Customer Engagement.’ So let’s get going…
We need to understand that Customer Engagement goes hand in hand with Customer Experience. Actually, I am a firm believer that Customer Engagement helps improve Customer Experience over time, as more engaged customers will buy more, share their experience every chance they have & will always share this feedback with the brand.
The better the Customer Experience, the more engaged customer will be. And the more engaged customers are with the brand, the better the Customer Experience. Yet, they need to see the value of the engagement they are having with the brand, because that’s when they will keep engaging with the brand, and at that point, that customer becomes a loyal advocate for the brand.
A successful customer engagement strategy is about the ability to create a meaningful engagement with the customer and making the engagement count.
We also need to understand that most customers won’t engage with a brand naturally, as some of them might engage when they feel like it, some won’t try to engage unless they have to and some won’t engage with a brand because they can’t find them amongst their channels of choice, or they don’t find the engagement meaningful. So in order to ensure consistent Customer Engagement, engagements need to be worthwhile.
So, what are the elements of a successful Customer Engagement strategy?
Designing a strong Customer Engagement strategy is key for long lasting brand loyalty. Customers expectations from a brand are always mutating. Customers expect brands to anticipate their needs, and with the developments taking place in the world of digital communication, the constant switch between channels demands brands to be present and available everywhere all the time. So here are what I believe are key elements in a successful customer engagement strategy:
1. Consistent omnichannel engagement
Customers nowadays never keep their interactions on the same channels, they can start an interaction with a brand in one channel & continue their interaction in other channels. So it is very crucial to keep consistency in the customer experience delivery across all touchpoints.
They key is ensuring that all the customer interactions are streamlined within one platform, this will ensure consistent customer engagement across all interaction channels, physical & digital, which will enable consistent personalized omnichannel customer experience.
2. Fostering customer communities
Communities are one of the great forums for customer engagement, as it allows customers to comfortably interact, raise questions, find answers, share experiences, suggest new ideas & share feedback about features. Overall, communities offer great value for visitors. Communities are also an opportunity to build a base of brand experts, spokespersons and ambassadors, which supports in generating more business and increase overall engagement.
As a community member, customers can find answers to questions without having to reach out to the brand, as there is always an expert that is willing to support with answers.
3. Harmonized Human-Robotics collaboration
According to ‘Foundations of trusted automation’, a book by Michael Lewis, Katia Sycara & Phillip Walker, that humans often have a tendency to either overuse automation, especially in cases of high workload, or underuse automation, both of which can make negative outcomes more likely. So the balance of the usage of automation and conversational bots is needed, to ensure effective usage of resources, as well as ensuring the provision of great experience to customers.
We need to understand that humans & robots have very different, but complementary, skills; and to ensure great customer experience, is when both can work in harmony. When harmony between robots & human is realized, it makes the role of the human contact center agent more valuable, as they can focus on high value generating tasks.
RPA & conversational bots allow the shifting in focus from low value interactions to high value relationship building interactions.
4. Listen to the Voice of Customer
The Voice of the Customer applies to a vast field of research into customer feedback as it relates to their customer experience with brands. It digs deep to identify customer needs, the degree to which brands met expectations, how they understand brand presentations, and their suggestions for product improvement.
Listening to the voice of the customer is about unearthing customer’s perception & experience of a brand, as well as understanding their needs and aspirations & considering their feedback and suggestions for products & services improvement. The key in developing an effective VoC program requires the consideration of applying various study & research methods, such as; Customer interviews, Customer surveys, 5-star ratings, website behavior analysis, customer reviews, sentiment analysis & calls analysis.
5. Hyper-personalized engagement
According to Deloitte, Hyper-personalization is the most advanced way brands can tailor their marketing to individual customers. It’s done by creating custom and targeted experiences through the use of data, analytics, AI, and automation. Through hyper-personalization, companies can send highly contextualized communications to specific customers at the right place and time, and through the right channel.
According to a study by epsilon, 80% of respondents indicating they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences and 90% indicating that they find personalization appealing.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better” Jeff Bezos, CEO, Amazon
The key to designing an effective hyper-personalization framework is adopting analytics-driven approach for measuring data. And in order to achieve an effective hyper-personalization framework, you need to collect data, combine the gathered data with customer segmentation data, define targeted journeys by choosing the right channel in the right time & always measure the outcome of your targeted hyper-personalized engagements, and re-iterate accordingly.
By applying the above mentioned elements, a brand can ensure effective customer engagement, which will result to higher engagement, increased lead generation & conversion and guaranteed loyalty. Let me share with you some examples of how Customer Engagement supported brands in various ways.
- #ShareACoke: Where Personalized Customer Experience Rocked!
In 2014, Coca-Cola launched a campaign called #ShareACoke, which replaced logos on Coke bottles with common names in 80 countries. Because it was a personalized campaign, it attracted the attention of people across the globe. Customers bought bottles for their friends and other loved ones, took photos to share online and purchased drinks with their own name to take part in the fun. Financial analysts & advertising experts always refer to the success of the #ShareACoke campaign to remind brands of the need of personalized customer engagement.
2.Virgin Atlantic omnichannel enablement: A successful attempt to enable true Omnichannel Customer Engagement
Virgin Atlantic has created the right recipe for a true omnichannel customer engagement. They offer their customers an instant and effortless way to connect with the airline directly from their mobile device. Instead of waiting on hold for a contact center agent, they offer an IVR-to-messaging solution which allows customers to move their call with Virgin Atlantic over to an SMS conversation, where they can interact with the brand at their convenience, anytime and anywhere. This has resulted to an increase in their customer satisfaction. They also offer a chatbot on their website “HelpBot” which enables instant actions to support frequently asked questions from customers, as well as the ability to reach out to the brand through some of the social media channels.
3. BMW Voice of Customer Program: Voice of Customer that Matters!
BMW implemented a Voice of Customer Program where customers are able to provide feedback in the comfort of their homes using mobile devices or their computers, and the feedback is shown in real-time via dashboards at the dealers, so actions can be taken instantly.
The results of implementing the VoC program were successful, as BMW managed to answer customer within 24hrs, and solve 90% of issues within 5 days. This has resulted to increase in BMW’s repurchase and return services rate, as well as an increase in their NPS.
4. Nike’s Instagram communities: Community engagement at its best!
With 143.8 Million followers on Instagram, Nike is one of the most engaging brands on Social Media, especially on Instagram. And with that big amount of fans, tons of conversations are being pushed on daily basis. Nike’s team handle around 1 Million conversations per year across 200 different social media platforms. And they leveraged the communities they have built very well, as they grew more communities such as ‘Nike Runners Club’, ‘Nike Women’ and more… According to a case study published by Buffer.com, Nike’s focus on social media is not just for the millions of engagements & conversations created by their content, but also to enable a community.
“We want to be a part of our customer’s journey and a part of people’s real-life stories and if you buy our product, great,” says Wes Warfield, the Social Media Support Manager at Nike to Buffer.com. “But buying from Nike isn’t entirely the point. We began to invest in people (the community) on social media because that’s where they are and that’s where they spend time. Social media is where people share the experiences and it’s where they’re asking support-related questions. It’s a massive community and a great chance to build relationships.”
5. Bank of America’s ERICA: A showcase of how virtual assistants should be!
In 2018, Bank of America started rolling out its virtual assistant ERICA in order to streamline their user experience in a way that is both natural & frictionless. The AI-powered chatbot combines predictive analytics and natural language to help the bank’s mobile app users with checking account balances, paying bills on time or sending money. by Mid 2020, ERICA completed around 150 Million requests for Bank of America clients.
And when an escalation requires a human agent, ERICA connects the customer with a Customer Service agent at any point of the conversation. And Agents are able to see the chat history with ERICA in order to avoid getting the customer to repeat their request. Customers also don’t need to re-identify themselves, since they’re already authenticated through the Bank of America’s app.
ERICA interacts with clients around 400,000 times per day, and has helped more than 5 million new clients complete around 75 million requests.
Customer Engagement is critical to enable a brand’s Customer Experience strategy. Customers who get an engaging and positive customer experience are more likely to stay with a brand and advocate for it. A successful Customer Engagement strategy will have a positive impact on sales & increasing revenue, and will enable the increase of a brand’s loyal customer base.
Customer Engagement will help a brand understand customer needs & expectation, discover factors that encourage customers to engage more, identify risks and implement measure to prevent customer defection, enhance brand loyalty and reputation, reduce churn, increase & identify up-selling opportunities as well as supporting in the acquisition of new customer through word of mouth.
I will leave you with a quote from Harley Davidson’s president, John Russell, “The more you engage with customers, the clearer things become & the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.”.