Engaged customers are more likely to buy from you today, and to be loyal advocates for your brand tomorrow. Developing a strategy to maximize customer engagement is essential in today’s digital marketplace, where customers can interact with brands through almost limitless technologies and touchpoints. Yet strategy is meaningless without execution. Effective customer engagement has a tactical aspect as well. It revolves around a robust CRM system, capable of both leveraging current levels of engagement and driving enhanced engagement in the future. I call it Closed Loop Customer Engagement.
Channels of Engagement
Closed Loop Customer Engagement begins with fully-exploiting whatever channels your company now uses to sell its products and communicate with customers. These sources of customer input and feedback may be online or off-line, and flow through your sales, marketing or customer-service functions – probably all three.
Gather Relevant Data
Next, Closed-Loop Customer Engagement requires a structured approach to gathering relevant data from each of these channels. But accumulating data is not enough. You must also be able to analyze and derive actionable insights from it, for use in subsequent interactions and outreach efforts.
Holistic Customer Profile
Data is less useful if it is anonymous, or if it is only available to one part of the organization. A holistic customer profile, or customer master file, takes data from every available channel of engagement, links it to individuals, aggregates it in one place and makes it available across silos. This makes possible seamless collaboration among business units to sell and service customers.
Actionable Data Analytics
New data analytics tools make it possible to link traditional data with internet and social media activity to model and predict customer attitudes, preferences and behaviors. The goal, again, is to develop actionable insights, that can be used to produce a complete picture of individual customer relationships and create precisely-targeted marketing programs.
The key to increasing and sustaining customer engagement is to meet customers in the channel of their preference with the right message at exactly the right time. This means knowing as much as possible about the customer at every touchpoint, and presenting contextual information that recognizes who the customer is, what channel they’re engaging through and where they are in their buying window.
Closing the Loop
This brings us back around to channels of engagement. Whatever channels you employ today to sell and service your customers are a good place to start. Make sure you’re harvesting all the relevant data they can provide. But then, endeavor to understand other new or emerging channels where your customers can be found, and develop the capabilities to both listen and engage through these channels as well. That’s the key to surviving and thriving in the coming digital decades.
Join thought-leader Barton Goldenberg, President of ISM, and Gerhard Heide, Director of Global Market Strategy from Pitney Bowes, in an exciting webcast that will provide participants with the 5 steps needed to acquire, retain and grow customers in today’s digital deluge.