Customer engagement is a term that is generating buzz in marketing, public relations and social media circles.  A simple definition is that CE is the total of all interactions with a potential customer or existing customer and the subsequent interactions, relationship building and measurements of those interactions.  Wikipedia defines Online CE as:

Online customer engagement refers to:

  • social phenomenon enabled by the wide adoption of the internet in the late 1990s and taking off with the technical developments in connection speed (broadband) in the decade that followed. Online CE is qualitatively different from the engagement of consumers offline.
  • The behaviour of customers that engage in online communities revolving, directly or indirectly, around product categories (cycling, sailing) and other consumption topics. It details the process that leads to a customer’s positive engagement with the company or offering, as well as the behaviours associated with different degrees of customer engagement.
  • Marketing practices that aim to create, stimulate or influence CE behaviour. Although CE-marketing efforts must be consistent both online and offline, the internet is the basis of CE-marketing.(Eisenberg & Eisenberg 2006:72,81)
  • Metrics that measure the effectiveness of the marketing practices which seek to create, stimulate or influence CE behaviour.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Customer_engagement

The key here is that a systematic CE program is designed influence customer behavior and increase customer engagement.  There are 4 main reasons why your business needs a CE program.

1.  INCREASE CUSTOMER RETENTION  

When it comes to customer love, nothing says I Love You like sticking around.  Customer retention is the foundation of building a business today and increasing retention has been hard to do, until now.  A 58% increase in customer retention based upon a CE process utilizing social media gives a business tangible reasons to actively integrate their own CE program.  Gallup shows that world-class organizations can see significant increase with actively engaged customers by utilizing a CE program.

Gallup’s customer engagement ratio is a macro-level indicator of an organization’s health that allows executives to track the proportion of fully engaged to actively disengaged customers.

In average organizations, the ratio of fully engaged customers to actively disengaged customers is 0.8:1.
In world-class organizations, the engagement ratio is 8:1.
Business units that score above Gallup’s database median on both customer and employee engagement significantly outperform units that rank in the bottom half on both measures.

When you consider the premium that fully engaged customers deliver to your organization, isn’t it vitally important that you understand, develop, and sustain optimized customer relationships?

http://www.gallup.com/consulting/49/customer-engagement.aspx

2.  INCREASE SALES

Having a vibrant CE program is like having a money dance at a wedding reception that never stops.  With a 44% increase in sales, you can definitely say that CE is a hit.  Actively engaged customers are social megaphones for your brand.  Think of a CE program as a way to put social media on steroids for your brand, and it can be done for a fraction of the cost of traditional media marketing.  Certain types of businesses can see greater benefit by using a CE program, like service based businesses, experience focused businesses, restaurants, personal services and community driven businesses.  Increasing sales provides reason enough for most businesses to engage in a CE program.

3.  INCREASE REVENUE PER CUSTOMER

Getting someone to spend money on your product or service can be a challenge, getting them to continue to spend money AND spend more of it each time they purchase, well, that’s like a honeymoon that never ends!  A fully engaged customer will continue to seek ways to interact and spend money with your business and they will spend more each time they purchase.

4.  INCREASE IN REPEAT PURCHASES

Repeat purchases are like anniversaries.  A 33% increase in repeat business is a clear indicator the there is still plenty of love to go around.  Each time your customer purchases, your business has an opportunity to proclaim undying affection and love.  With an active CE program you ensure repeat purchases and referrals.  Yet another reason to invest in a CE program.

Bottom line:  Get down on your knee and put a ring on it, or rather invest in a comprehensive CE program if you want to engage your customers and increase your revenue.  The businesses that use an active CE program will reap the rewards of relationship building.  Let us know if we can help.  Just give us a call.

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