How to Increase Customer Engagement in 2022
Learn how to increase customer engagement in 2022.
Customer engagement is a measure of how well a business builds relationships with their customers. Businesses use both direct communications and subtle nudges to increase customer engagement.
At a time when customers have access to so many choices online, it’s crucial to retain them by making the experience of interacting with your business better than that of your competitors. According to research by Gallup, fully engaged customers “represent a 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth over the average customer.”
How to increase customer engagement
You can engage customers at different phases of the customer journey – starting from the point when they first visit your website up to the end of their customer lifecycle.
Engage new visitors
Push for account creation
With the phaseout of third-party cookies, first-party data has become a crucial part of marketing strategies. First-party data comes directly from your customers and from analytics on your own site or app.
The first step to getting this information is to ask visitors to create an account and sign in every time they visit your site or app. Do this early in the customer journey – even the first time they visit your site – so you can learn more about the customer. Offer an incentive for account creation, like a discount code, newsletter, or new product alerts.
You should also make it easy and convenient to create an account, even if your industry has strict regulations.
During pandemic lockdowns, many banks had to temporarily close their branches, limiting their ability to provide services like account creation. In response, banks designed online account setup processes that allowed customers to verify their identities through selfies and videos and by scanning ID cards and billing statements.
Recognize your customers across different channels
Although you interact with customers across many channels, you can store data on these interactions in a single platform, such as a customer data platform (CDP) or a customer relationship management (CRM) system. These systems can also stitch together data from different sources pertaining to a single customer, resulting in a profile that shows that customer’s journey across multiple channels. The data industry calls this a “single customer view.”
With these profiles, you can recognize the customer wherever they choose to interact with you, and you can tailor your actions based on that customer’s history. Quartz Media found that building unified customer profiles improves their ability to provide timely and relevant content to subscribers, which helps increase the length and frequency of site and app sessions.
“We get a single view of the customer across our email platforms, our mobile app, our website, and other customer contact systems, so we were able to easily create segments based on customer preferences like: favorite author, favorite topic, stuff they are interested in, and what drives them to come back and read more,” says Daniel Alvarez, Quartz’ chief product officer.
Nurture new visitors
Customers are busy and fickle creatures – they can easily forget about you after visiting your site once. But if they’ve made an account and allowed you to get in touch with them through other channels, you can remind them about your product and entice them to come back.
Invite new visitors to opt in to newsletters and marketing emails and point them to content that will nudge them further along on their customer journey. For example, for new users of a productivity tool, you can ask them to fill out a quick survey on their productivity goals and common roadblocks and show them inspiring and instructional content to help them succeed.
Predict customers’ preferences and anticipate their needs
Keep customers active and satisfied by predicting what they want and need based on their past behavior and on the shared traits of the customer segment to which they belong. You see this in action on streaming apps that suggest shows a user might enjoy or in food delivery apps that promote restaurants based on a user’s order history and customer segment.
You can also use analytics to predict how likely each customer is to engage, convert, re-engage, churn, and perform other actions. By anticipating a customer’s actions, you can deploy workflows that meet their needs at that stage. For example, if a customer buys prescription medicine on a pharmacy app, the app could automatically add a refill to their cart days before the medicine runs out.
Encourage ongoing purchases
Match messaging with customers’ interests
Customers like it when you personalize marketing messages based on their needs, goals, and preferences – as long as it’s based on data they’ve shared with you, not data you bought from a third-party source.
Vacasa, a rental platform for vacation homes in North America, ran a summer marketing campaign to promote lakefront properties. They sent emails with personalized recommendations based on how near the property was to where a customer lived, how close it was to the lake, and how frequently other guests recommended it.
Optimize the timing of your communications
Even in an always-on digital age, good timing is important. Communicate with customers at the times when they’re most receptive to your messages.
You’ll know when these moments are based on customers’ feedback to your sales and customer service reps. If you run sentiment analysis on customer calls, you might spot an irate customer and learn that the customer has repeatedly asked company reps not to call during work hours.Behavioral data also sheds light on optimal times for messages. Say a certain customer segment shops online the most from 7 pm to midnight, Monday through Friday. You’d send promotional messages and push notifications at those times to increase the chance that they’d buy from you.
Reach customers on their preferred channel
SMS, phone calls, direct messaging apps, social media, and email offer endless choices for communicating with customers. It’s quick and easy to integrate these tools into a single platform using customer engagement software like Twilio Engage, so there’s little excuse for businesses not to try to reach customers through the channels they prefer.
Airbnb increased the number of successful bookings just by adding SMS as a communication channel for hosts, who have only 32 hours to accept or decline a reservation. When a host doesn’t respond right away to an email about a reservation, Airbnb sends an SMS.
Experiment with campaigns
When you build a data-driven culture in your organization, you can try out new, creative ways to improve customer engagement, stay ahead of trends, and know exactly which activities work and which ones don’t.
When Vista, a design platform and agency, centralized their customer data in a CDP, they empowered different teams within the company to run experiments quickly and simultaneously. They experimented with personalizing their website homepage for returning customers by creating a dashboard that gave quick access to ongoing projects and previous orders. Vista also showed personalized product recommendations.
Customers who got a personalized homepage completed stages in Vista’s sales funnel more than those who saw a generic homepage. The former were also twice as likely to click on the dashboard and spent more time browsing products than looking for information on their current orders.
When customers don’t complete a purchase or stop using your product, you can still reach them and encourage them to continue. Sometimes, you simply need to remind them that they left items in their cart, have unfinished projects on your app, or that your product or service is available whenever they need it.
For example, when a platform user views a property on Vacasa but does not book it, Vacasa recommends similar units for them to look at. Vacasa also lets guests know when rental prices drop on units they recently viewed or abandoned in their carts.
At other times, you may need to do some troubleshooting. If a customer has stopped using your product and ignores your marketing messages, your customer support team can reach out to find out what’s wrong. You can also look through product usage analytics to see if the customer repeatedly experienced bugs or frequently left your app when using a specific feature. Reach out through the customer’s preferred channels to work with them on their issue or to let them know you've fixed the problem.
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