This article is the first in a three part series exploring the twin concepts of customer engagement and the engaged customer. Some CEOs, especially in the SaaS arena describe an engaged customer and a non-engaged customer like describing the difference between a Van Gogh and overstock office art , “I don’t know much about art, but I do know what I like.”
What is an Engaged Customer?
An engaged customer is engaged by your company on two fronts: (i) before, up to, and including the point of sale and (ii) during the life cycle (use) of the product or service. Recent research has shown that an engaged customer exhibits three specific traits that, if identified, promoted and supported within your organization, translates directly to a better bottom line.
Common Attributes of an Engaged Customer
A hallmark of an engaged customer, loyalty is an essential trait for survivability in the current slower paced and more costly market place. It costs less to maintain (for repeat business) a current customer than to identify, attract and convert a new one. The slower pace refers to the lower rate of business transactions rather than the frenzied pace of product development.
Customer interaction refers to the customer’s relationship with your company. Interactions occur on line and off line, before and after the sale.The type, quality and frequency of these interactions have a huge impact on maintaining an engaged customer.
Providing a means for customers to provide feedback and input about your product or service creates a sense of involvement in the process of determining what the consumer wants. If your average customer’s input has an identifiable impact on your product offering, they are more likely to buy the product or update once it is available.
The Point Is…
The methods of engagement vary but most commonly involve an interaction before there is a problem or complaint. On line; product reviews, product ratings, surveys and live chat are recent customer engagement examples. Check-in calls to customers, special events at retail outlets, unique purchasing opportunities and loyalty point programs are examples of off line engagement.
Regardless of the method, the goal of engagement is to create a deep connection with customers. Your customer’s involved relationship and emotional brand attachment are competitive advantages that are difficult for competitors to overcome. This leads to the question, “How do you measure customer engagement?” That is the topic of the 2nd article in this series.