Making the sale may seem like the ultimate victory for a company, but the work isn’t done yet, nor should it be.
As every industry has seen a rise in global competitors over the past few decades, customers have never had more choices, your current customers included.
If you’re lucky enough to earn the business of a prospective customer, you’ve got to make the most of their time. But apart from just offering and maintaining a quality product or service, it’s now crucial to provide them with an engaging experience that differentiates you from the competition. When compared to the “average” consumer, engaged customers represent a 23% premium in key business outcomes like profitability and revenue, something every company can appreciate.
But engaging your customers isn’t just saying “how’s it going” once a year or when a contract is due for renewal. It’s about building a strong relationship that thrives on open communication, personalizes your operation, and gives the consumer the freedom to speak up at any time, as well as the motivation to speak when you’re asking the questions. This focus on personal relationships is providing a wealth of information and insights to the organizations that invest in the effort.
The most obvious reason to focus on engaging your customers is to hear what they think of your product or service. Criticism, both positive and negative, help you improve your offering in a manner consistent with what the customer wants.
If a customer cares enough, they may have concrete suggestions for improvement or new ideas with their feedback. This actionable information doesn’t just let you know what they dislike, but what they want instead with your current offerings and in the future, which makes your job that much easier.
Kickstarting your engagement efforts can also be a rousing experience for your customers, grabbing their attention and drawing them closer to your organization out of opportunity to build a stronger relationship or sheer curiosity.
Engagement is dependent on transparency, as someone can’t invest their time or emotions if they aren’t informed. If you make an effort to share your future plans and ideas with your customers, they’ll be more likely to do the same, giving you a first-hand look at emerging trends and concepts that you can shape your offering around.
Something your competition will never be able to match is the personality of your brand. With a consistent and strong voice and personality behind your engagement efforts, customers will build a unique bond with your company’s offering and the people behind it, something even the biggest companies won’t be able to compete against.
If a customer doesn’t think you see them as anything more than a source of revenue, they’ll be less likely to consider you when their contract is up or a new competitor comes into the market. Engaging your customers on a regular basis keeps them active and shows you care not just about their payments, but how you can improve their operation as well.
Engaging your customers personally helps you build an emotional attachment with them, which leads to not only longer contracts, but a greater chance of referrals and opportunities to collaborate on the problems you both may face, even if a lower-priced competitor emerges in the marketplace.
Engaging your customers isn’t an effort to be taken lightly. Effective communication channels and tracking methods are a must to insure you’re moving in the right direction, but the investment in building an innovation management platform or system that promotes such initiatives can provide huge returns in the form of insights, customer retention, and market differentiation.
Ultimately, engaged customers are long-term customers, and grow with your operation. They’re committed to both their success and yours, and will go out of their way to build a stronger relationship with your organization, as long as they enjoy a consistent and personal experience.
How do you continuously engage with your customers?
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