Every organization needs a customer engagement engine. Why? Easier than you thought. Without customers, your organization dies. Customers need to be constantly engaged with your brand. Are your product a good fit for your customers? What about your team and culture? One more question… Are you talking to your customers’ hearts?
Customer-centric organizations constantly connect with their customers. To their values. If you want happy customers, this is the way to go. if you want customers to buy more, there is no better way long-term. If you want your customers to bring referrals, customer engagement is the key.
A customer engagement engine gives your company constant customer feedback. It’s a source of knowledge that helps you improve your offering. A great customer engagement strategy helps you refine your business model. Customer engagement keeps at the top of your market a few meters away from your competition.
Exhaustive knowledge of your customers is really helpful here. This starts with a mindset. A mindset that is based on proactive knowledge of your customers. This proactive knowledge of your customers naturally leads you to personalization. Personalization shows you the right path for marketing messages that are aligned with each customer.
No matter the angle, personalization is one of the most profitable tools for your business. Especially in times of crisis. In this article, you will learn how personalization is a key part of a customer engagement strategy. And, most importantly, how to get started.
If you already have a customer engagement strategy structure in place, a financial crisis won’t be as hard on you. If you are just starting, you have bigger challenges ahead. You can still make it. What happens if you do nothing? Prepare to close the doors of your business in the short or mid-term. 12-24 months. Even less. It seems like a long time, but time flies.
What’s An Engine And How It Affects Your Customer Engagement Strategy
You need to learn from your customers. Each one of them needs you to have a personal approach to what matters to them. Personalization is not a nice-to-have anymore. It becomes a must-have for every wise organization. Growth is then in the little details. The little details are in what you know about your customers. On how you use this information to be relevant to their needs. To resonate with what matters to them, individually.
To be honest, it’s even simpler. If you don’t know your customers, you can not serve them as they deserve or at least as they want.
Let me stop for a moment to talk about engines.
I’m far from being an engineer but at least I love technology. Here is what Wikipedia says about what an engine is:
An engine or motor is a machine designed to convert one form of energy into mechanical energy.
Engines are at the core of all the things that surround you. Engines are the heart of your car. Even of your bike. Not to mention your computer or your marketing automation software. In one or another way, engines are vital for everything we do.
Here is another definition I like. This time for “mechanical energy“:
In physical sciences, mechanical energy is the sum of potential energy and kinetic energy. It is the macroscopic energy associated with a system. The principle of conservation of mechanical energy states that if an isolated system is subject only to conservative forces, then the mechanical energy is constant. If an object moves in the opposite direction of a conservative net force, the potential energy will increase; and if the speed (not the velocity) of the object changes, the kinetic energy of the object also changes.
Ok. Maybe that one was too much for most of us.
The thing is that engines are crucial. Engines make things happen. Engines are all about movement. About power. Engines multiply your efforts. When talking about customer engagement, engines will keep your business up and running. Even when some customers need to run away because there is no way they can pay for your service anymore.
Let me ask you something…
Understand What’s The Engine Of Your Organization
What’s the engine of your organization? I’m not talking about your vision or mission statement. I’m not talking about your team and the values behind them. All that is certainly important. You miss it there, the sooner the later your business dies as well.
No matter what you sell. If your customers are not connected to your organization, you are in trouble. At the end of the day, we all have options. We buy from people. You buy from the guy that was just amazing at customer support. Even if it’s not always the same person. You buy from the local coffee shop that knows what you want the moment you get there.
Define the different engines your organization has. This will help you know where you should invest your time and resources. I’m not only talking about a budget. I mainly talk about your brain. Your thoughts. Your ideas. And yes, also your money.
If your customers are not an intrinsic part of your organization’s engine, something is wrong.
How can you emulate that personal touch through your digital channels? This is one of the reasons why people love video. Especially videos that keep it personal. Because these videos are from a human to another human. Obviously, there are times when this is not possible. Times where emails will work just fine. There are times where you’ll use SMS. WhatsApp messages are also becoming more popular.
No matter the communication channel you use to communicate with customers. It needs to be a channel that is aligned with your engine. In the same way, your message needs to be aligned with your customers. If you have a personalization mindset, this becomes easier.
Examples Of Customer Engagement Strategies
Customer engagement starts way before a customer becomes a customer.
Let me give you a simple example.
Want more? Ok. Let me give you two examples of companies with a customer engagement strategy that I know that works.
Recording Videos For Leads and Customers
I use personalized videos to engage with some leads after we’ve had a call. There are different types of personalized videos:
- Videos that are recorded one by one
- Videos that you can create automatically from a CSV, CRM, or marketing automation tool.
Pirsonal creates this second type of personalized videos automatically.
Pirsonal is a remote-first company. People buy from people. They want to see a face, hear a voice, and feel that I understand their goals and concerns. I do my best so that this happens and video helps me explain things a bit better. So I record a video for these leads.
At Pirsonal we also have a free 1:1 onboarding service. We treat our leads as if they were customers. As a result, we learn a ton from them, which helps us improve our offering. It also helps us to serve them better. Since the experience was great as leads, they are confident to work with us.
A couple of months ago, one of my colleagues interviewed some of the leads and customers that were in touch with me. I’m the CEO at Pirsonal. I work in product development. Since this is my company and I’m a marketer, I also do sales. Because of this, I try to talk to as many people as I can. This way, I learn more about product, marketing, and sales. This helps us to improve our offering.
What he found was positively shocking.
In the interviews, he learned that the reason why these leads and customers love Pirsonal. It was because of this personal approach. It happens that our customers are customers that like a personal approach. This personal approach is part of our engine at Pirsonal.
There are times when recording video by video it’s not practical at all. That’s when you can use a personalized video marketing software like Pirsonal. It helps you to interact with hundreds or thousands of individuals. No matter the tool you use. The point is, make sure to understand what your customer engagement engine is. You will help your customers succeed.
As brands, we also love serving people we know. It just makes it easier. Let’s face it. Sometimes this or that customer it’s not the easiest person to deal with. There are times when that account just drives you nuts. There are times when this other account is not even managed by the same person you initially engaged with. But guess what? You still think about that person and want to make it work to honor that other person.
Earlier I mentioned that with Pirsonal you can create personalized videos. You can easily create them using a CSV, CRM or any marketing tool. I recorded this video to show you how to this with a CSV:
Using Personalized Videos For A Customer-centric Strategy In The Travel Industry
Here is the second example of a customer engagement strategy that works.
Flight Centre accelerates its sales process by using personalized video marketing powered by Pirsonal. This happens when leads request a quote. The brand automatically creates a personalized video, personalized landing page, and custom in- video call-to-action. All this multimedia content is personalized using the information provided by the lead. They use data such as name, the reason to travel, or destination. This makes these personalized videos and emails totally relevant to each individual.
When they do this, Flight Centre increases lead engagement. This lead engagement moves these leads to buy more and faster. Every personalized video is instantly sent by email. This increases customer engagement and builds stronger relationships. At the same time, this translates into higher levels of loyalty and into more revenue.
Why do I like this strategy? It’s aligned with the personal touch of the company. This happens through all communication channels. It is part of their value proposition. Check the image below to see their value proposition.
Seems obvious? Make sure that your customers are at the core of your customer engagement engine.
Why Customer Engagement Needs To Be The Engine Of Your Organization
Customer Engagement Creates A Healthy Working Place
Hiring is expensive. Talent retention is expensive. Losing an employee is expensive. Firing is expensive.
No matter how you look at it, unengaged employees are expensive. A customer engagement engine keeps your team on track. Team members become accountable people. Accountable people are more productive. More productive employees translate into better processes. It translates into a better working place and into an atmosphere that helps people do more, happier.
All of this happens when you invest time in having a customer engagement culture. An organization that focuses on understanding the needs, wishes, and objections of its customers. An organization that focuses on communicating with each client taking into account the characteristics of each person. This is where personalization becomes even more important.
Let me dive into the reasons why your organization needs to think more about customer engagement as an engine. Also, how to have a personalization-focused marketing culture that helps you to get there.
Companies with engaged employees outperform the competition by 147%. Engaged employees perform better and differentiate you from your competitors. This affects the way you serve your customers. It impacts the way your team answers emails and calls. It changes the way you send personalized email marketing campaigns.
A Customer Engagement Engine Is More Profitable
This explains how crucial is customer engagement for the overall health of an organization. What happens from a customer’s perspective? Loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again. They are four times more likely to refer a friend to the company. Five times. Cinco. That’s a lot.
Do you know what customer delight is? Customer delight is the process of exceeding a customer’s expectations. It creates a positive customer experience with your product or brand. When you do this, you improve customer loyalty.
Here is another question…
How Customer Engagement Makes A Difference From Your Competitors
Do you want your company to stand out from your competitors? Competition is great, but it’s even better to have it under your shows, right? If you want your company to stand out from competitors, then you need to invest in constant great first impressions. Create a memorable experience. Give more. This is what customers expect.
This is challenging. Two-thirds of companies compete on customer experience, up from just 36% in 2010. Here is another one: 73% of companies with above-average customer experience perform better financially than their competitors.
Customers expect to see their needs fulfilled. They expect some degree of anticipation. They want you to go above-and-beyond in the customer experience. This is why 62% of marketing leaders said the use of online customer data at their firms has increased. In fact, 70% said they expect to use more online data in the following years.
Personalized Marketing And Customer Engagement
Marketing personalization plays a key role in your customer engagement engine.
Marketing personalization is about leveraging your customer data. You do this to connect with people through personalized messages. This increases customer-message engagement. Nowadays, talking about marketing personalization also involves technology. It also involves what I call “translated” data. What I mean with “translated data” is information that is not just textual but especially contextual. This requires giving your customer data a second chance.
Customer engagement is all about their context. Go beyond a customer’s first name. Think outside of the box. Analyze all you know about different individuals and marketing segments. Then, think about the best way to structure this knowledge. This will help you create personalized marketing messages that help you engage with your customers.
Let me show you an example. Let me start with the data:
- First Name: Kevin
- Product: Hotel room
- Date: 5-10, June (summertime, for the sake of this example)
If you are like most of the marketers out there, that’s it. That’s all the information you know. A personalized email would start with “Hi Kevin” and that would be it. No more. No less.
“Customer engagement”. Checked.
Is that enough?
If you haven’t lost a single customer because of the global financial crisis triggered by Covid-19, maybe. If your audience is already engaged if you have a 100% CTR, maybe.
The truth is that there is room for improvement. Remember what I mentioned earlier about “translated data”? Use the context to achieve a higher level of engagement. Talk to your customer in a unique way. Take the time to think about how.
Don’t take me wrong. There are times where a name is all you have. If you are talking about a cold prospect or even an inbound lead. But, even then, there are more things you can personalize if you think harder. For example, the lead source, the season of the year (Christmas, etc.), the product range, keywords, and much more.
Back to the example. Let’s talk about Kevin again.
Imagine that he’s not traveling by himself. He’s with his wife, Karoline. Kevin just made a reservation in a fancy hotel, where they’ve already been a couple of times. The fact that they’ve been there before changes everything. This hotel knows the importance of s customer engagement engine. The hotel knows that Kevin likes to play golf and that Karoline loves eating gourmet food.
There are different ways for this hotel to make a profit from a great customer engagement strategy. For example, if the hotel increases the lifetime value, there is more money long-term. If this company upsells more products or services to Kevin, there is more money short-term. If the hotel increases customer loyalty, there is more money mid and long-term as well. No matter how, customer engagement is profitable.
Let’s say Kevin made the reservation. The hotel wants to increase the revenue per hotel reservation through upselling. How can this hotel increase the average revenue per guest? What if this hotel connects Kevin with one of his biggest passions, Golf. Wait… Kevin is not alone. What about his wife? Since she has eaten in the hotel’s restaurant several times, the hotel can assume that she likes gourmet food.
A great personalized email looks like this:
In this video, I explain how I created this email for a fake hotel:
As you can see, the hotel can segment the database. It can also use hyper-segmentation to create an individualized marketing approach. This individualized approach uses many customer data variables to increase engagement and conversions. 1:1 marketing occurs in a context in which one of the main challenges organizations like yours and mine have is to fight for attention, loyalty, and engagement. Using your customer’s own context will help you get his attention.
Customer Segmentation To Personalize The Experience
Micro-segmentation goes the extra mile. Through micro-segmentation, brands get granular. However, before reaching hyper-segmentation, you must go through customer segmentation.
In the following video/audio, I explain 7 easy ways to start with marketing segmentation:
In the majority of cases, companies do a basic level of customer segmentation (like the ones explained in the video above). But there is so much more than you can do with the right customer segmentation in place. A conversation is the easiest way to understand how powerful customer segmentation is.
Just imagine for a second that you are in a restaurant with a few friends. What’s the conversation about? It’s probably about something that somehow matters to you all. It’s all about a specific context. It’s about something you like, want, hate or that makes you mad. Try talking about astrophysics with people who don’t care. You lose them. They won’t listen to you. Do you hear that? Echo.
By definition, a conversation is a talk between two or more people. They share thoughts, feelings, and ideas. They as questions. They get answers. There is an exchange. A conversation is reciprocal. There are always at least two parties involved.
When we talk about customer engagement, you have to take into account that reciprocity. As in a conversation, one person speaks, the other listens. Then the customer who listened responds. And so it goes on.
Modern marketing is all about this conversation. Knowing the context is fundamental to have a great conversation. This context sets the basis for great customer segmentation. This customer segmentation will help you create personalized marketing messages that keep your customers engaged while you all talk.
Do you want to know more about segmentation and micro-segmentation? Watch the video below now. In this video, Hugo Hamel from Enrich3 talks about the difference between these marketing techniques. Hugo also shares a few ideas to help you start with segmentation and micro-segmentation strategies today.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the most important thing is to understand the role of personalization. Personalizing your marketing changes everything. When you do this right, it means that you are paying attention to what matters. Your customers. Companies that use personalization are ahead of the competition. Companies that know their customers are capable of surprising them. These organizations can anticipate expectations and needs. Customer engagement, beyond being a strategy, must be part of the culture of your organization.
Customer engagement is proven to be effective. It pays back from a human resources point of view. It pays back from a market penetration perspective. With this, you need to start today. Start by asking yourself if you your customers. Pretty much by name. Then think about how they are. Talk to them. Let it be a conversation.