It’s common to hear people espousing the importance of customer engagement, but is engagement really that crucial to a business’ success? And how does one go about solving potential (or current) customer engagement challenges?
To answer the first question: Yes. Absolutely. 100%. Engagement is massively important. Better engagement means increased loyalty, higher retention and a lower churn rate. You can read all about the 4 primary benefits of customer retention over in this blog post, but here are some impressive highlights pertaining specifically to engagement and loyalty:
- For every 1% of shoppers who return for a subsequent visit, overall revenue will increase by approximately 10%. Example: If an online retailer retained 10% of their existing customers, they would stand to double their revenue.
- Conversely, disengaged customers can cost a brand 13% of its revenue.
- Customers who are engaged with a brand participate in word-of-mouth marketing, meaning they’re likely to refer friends and family. In general, people are 4X more likely to buy from a particular brand when referred by an acquaintance.
- Engaged customers make purchases 90% more frequently, spend 60% more per transaction and are 5X more likely to indicate they would be exclusively loyal to a brand in the future.
- Engaged and loyal customers forgive mistakes, ride out changes in business procedure (like cost increases and policy adjustments) and are more likely to show interest in new products and services.
The downside comes when brands learn that engagement isn’t an automatic occurrence. Brand awareness and one-time interactions don’t necessarily indicate a future of sustained engagement. Actively and repeatedly engaging a customer for the long term means understanding what types of content they like to receive and how they like to receive it, then delivering your message in a way that’s most in line with their preferences.
While there’s no silver bullet for hacking engagement – in the end customers will independently define which facets of your brand resonate with them – you can strategically encourage awareness and make it as easy as possible for someone to engage.
Give the people what they want! …But what do the people want?
The answer isn’t anything new or mind blowing. In truth, people want what they’ve always wanted – to be recognized as unique individuals, to get quick and accurate answers to their questions, to receive relevant product and service suggestions and for businesses to show gratitude for their patronage.
Until recently, this type of customer service was easily delivered in brick-and-mortar storefronts on Main Street. Shopping experiences were rooted in 1:1 human interactions where personalization was standard. Someone knew your name, roughly where you lived, what you were looking for and could make educated suggestions and give intelligent feedback based on this information. The entire process was data-based and geared towards delivering a satisfactory outcome for the specific customer.
Fast forward to today and e-commerce is the new norm. Chances are you’ve made at least one purchase on Amazon.com in your lifetime, but do you know the name or recognize the face of anyone who works for the company? How is it that a company with a staggeringly minimal human presence still manages to consistently engage people and grow a loyal customer base?
The retail giant leverages customer data, just as a sales associate in a physical store would, and uses that data to deliver a personalized web experience. Personalized experiences are engaging because the content customers see is directly relevant to their unique relationship with a brand. In the case of Amazon, they recognize items customers have preciously bought and make educated suggestions for future buys. What’s more, Amazon showcases user reviews of products and makes it easy for shoppers to ask questions of retailers and other customers.
It’s a move to humanize the online experience, and it’s an incredibly smart approach seeing as 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases or knows their purchase history. At Amazon and many other ecommerce websites, they’re delivering that personalized experience within an outspoken, transparent community environment.
Smart brands personalize ecommerce experiences recognizing that everyone likes to be communicated with on an individual level. One size doesn’t always fit all. 74% of customers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized, and frustrated customers don’t make for particularly engaged customers.
Thankfully, people are willing to work with retailers to help them deliver personalized content. 63% of millennials and 58% of Generation X consumers say they would share personal information with brands in exchange for targeted promotions, offers, services and product suggestions. And when people can count on seeing content that directly appeals to their preferences and interests, it’s easier for them to become fully and sustainably engaged customers.
The question then becomes, what’s the best vehicle for delivering personalized communication? Data shows that video is by far the most effective medium for conveying information that people engage with and remember. 90% of the information humans take in is done visually and remembered 40% more reliably. When both audio and visual senses are stimulated, as is the case with video content, that rate of recall jumps to 68%.
To learn more about the effectiveness of video and its impact on customer engagement, you might be interested in our blog 26 Surprising Facts About Video Engagement.
Are you interested in optimizing your customer retention strategy? Find tips for driving customer engagement (especially within the much-coveted millennial market), reducing churn at critical lifecycle junctures and more in our eBook, "The Insider's Guide to Customer Retention", available for download here!