Engaging your audience in the ‘Age of the Customer’
By Liz Roche, Director, Product Marketing Customer Engagement Solutions, Pitney Bowes
You don’t need to be a business owner to know that the world of commerce and customers is changing rapidly. If you’ve ever bought something online, interacted with a customer service representative through email or live chat, left a review on a company’s Facebook or Yelp pages or tweeted out your thoughts on a business – either to commend or criticize them – then you’ve already experienced that change for yourself. But if you are a business owner who isn’t keeping tabs on these changes, you could be setting up your company for failure.
That may sound extreme, but the reality of the situation is this: We’re now living in the Age of the Customer, a term coined for describing a time in which the customer has more power than ever before, and customer experience is one of the greatest predictors of business success. It goes beyond just familiar “the customer is always right” mantras. The old methods of beating out the competition – namely, focusing on prices and products – are no longer the best ways to separate yourself from the pack, and haven’t been for quite some time. But many businesses still struggle to find new ways of differentiating themselves, create truly unique customer experiences and benefit from truly engaged customers – still struggle to create their ideal customer base.
In 2016 and beyond, the key is superior customer engagement efforts. A strategy that emphasizes your relationships with existing and prospective customers, and maximizes relevant interactions, will deliver an experience that customer can’t get anywhere else.
And this applies to both customer acquisition and retention. In fact, while businesses often focus engagement campaigns on attracting new customers, the vast majority (82 percent) agree that it’s far more cost-efficient to retain long-term customers. Retention campaigns must become part of every businesses engagement portfolio.
But, if it were that easy, wouldn’t everyone be doing it?
To be clear, there’s no single, one-size-fits-all approach to crafting the perfect engagement strategy that attracts and retains customers. But with so many new and important customer touch points now available – mobile apps, smartphone-compatible websites, social media platforms and interactive personalized video capabilities, to name a few – it has become easier than ever for brands to deliver a top-notch customer experience that not only sells a product but maintains the customer’s interest, loyalty and ultimately advocacy.
An omni-channel communications strategy that synchronizes and unifies the brand experience across multiple customer-facing outlets (e.g., the web, mobile and social media) is one tool that can boost engagement and real customer lifetime value. Implementing interactive personalized videos that allow customers to guide themselves into self-directed and relevant interactions makes for another valuable solution in maximizing that value.
A case in point: Security First Insurance utilized Pitney Bowes’ EngageOne® Video to create interactive personalized video experiences to help their customers understand their insurance coverage. Providing this type of engaging experience resulted in a 55 percent click-through rate (compared to the industry standard of 20 percent), with nearly twice as much time spent watching the videos and a 98 percent positive viewing experience – in turn, driving more conversions.
In the Age of the Customer, adopting these and other engagement-centric strategies will be what helps your brand emerge from a crowded field as the number one choice for your ideal customer base.
For more information on customer engagement strategies and tactics for increasing customer lifetime value in today’s business landscape, check out our feature in Forbes Insights, “Engagement in the Age of the Customer: Using Technology to Build Relationships.”
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