Customer engagement focused personnel are becoming more prominent in B2B and B2C organizations. There are now 463 groups on LinkedIn focused on customer experience.
This is a function of two things: 1) customers want consistently excellent experiences; and, 2) customers who have consistently excellent experiences become more engaged with your company.
Both B2B and B2C companies rely on customer-facing employees to deliver excellent experiences; however, these employees must be trained and empowered by senior management to do so.
Based on a recent report Kyle LaMalfa of Allegiance, “The Positive Economics of Consumer Engagement” (http://bit.ly/mN9ZFg) there are plenty of reasons why senior management should be empowering their employees to deliver excellent experiences which creates customer engagement.
Engagement is defined as the emotional connection or attachment that a customer develops during repeated and ongoing interactions. Engagement accumulates through satisfaction, loyalty, influence and excitement about your brand.
Customer facing employees need to be empowered to create opportunities for emotional connections through ongoing, consistently positive experiences.
An engaged customers will:
- Tell people about their positive experiences with a company
- Refer other people to the brand or company
- Buy more products or services more often
- Stay with the business relationship longer
- Remain loyal even faced with a poor customer service or bad experience with the product
When customers are engaged with an organization, they are emotionally connected, passionate about its products and services, as well as aligned with the purpose and direction of the organization.
Because engagement is positively correlated to so many elements of business, when it slips, so do many other facets of business including future sales, growth and profit.
According to business executives, the top three benefits of an engaged customer are:
- Frequent purchases
- Provides frequent feedback
The four economic ways to measure customer engagement are:
- Share of wallet — engaged customers buy more products and services
- Positive referrals — engaged customers convince potential customers to switch
- Churn — engaged customers stay longer and become less costly to serve
- Feedback response — engaged people give more feedback, which gives you the opportunity to address issues and concerns and preserve potentially lost revenue
According to Michael Glenn, EVP at FedEx, “Every one percent increase in customer loyalty represents $100 million in revenue. We spend a lot of time looking at how to build customer loyalty.” And that time is well spent as FedEx is currently ranked number eight in the “10 Best Customer Service Companies” (http://bit.ly/jkNQw0).
According to Business Week, “Up to 80% of defecting customers describe themselves as ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ just before they leave.” This reiterates the importance of feedback response from customers. See “Getting Your Customers to Complain is Invaluable” (http://bit.ly/iKAe8Q).
According to Bain and Company, “A five percent increase in customer retention can yield a 75% increase in enterprise profitability.”
Additional benefits of engaged customers include:
- A decrease in negative word of mouth — the more engaged people an organization has, the less negative chatter will circulate in social media circles or the more quickly it will be squelched.
- A decrease in negative referrals — the more engaged people, the less negative recommendations will circulate.
- Engaged customers stay longer in a relationship — the Pulse of America survey showed that engaged customers stay and average of six months longer in a relationship with a product or service provider.
- Reduced risks — engaged people solve problems more easily because they value the relationship and want to solve problems and issues.
Steps to improve customer engagement:
- Implement solutions to collect feedback and measure engagement.
- Segment customers based on their level of engagement.
- Use predictive analytics to optimize action plans.
- Target segments with programs that increase engagement.
- Measure, act upon new information and data and measure again.
What are you doing to empower your employees to improve customer engagement?