Over the last few years there has been a lot of discussion about customer engagement. But how do you work out if an engagement strategy is right for you and your customers? And if it is right, when should you implement it and what should you engage your customers around?
From my experience of working with a range of clients on their digital strategies you really need to ask three key questions before launching an engagement strategy.
Do you really want to engage with your customers?
Is an engagement strategy the right approach for your target audience? I have worked with some clients who just needed to impart certain facts to their stakeholders and leave it at that. For these organisations, customer engagement was neither appropriate nor relevant.
Are your customers actually suitable for engagement?
You may find that, while your customers are very eager to be engaged with, this will not create increased value for your business. Customer engagement should ultimately be about helping you to achieve a return on objectives and investment. If there are no long term benefits, do not adopt an engagement strategy.
Does your product or service lend itself to an engagement strategy?
If a purchase is a one-off, it might not lend itself to further dialogue. Similarly, if the optimum timing for a client conversation is once every 10 years, striking up a conversation on a weekly or monthly basis won’t have the desired effect.
The problem for many of us is that we do not know where we trying to get to when we start an engagement programme. The only way to create relevant engagement strategies is to understand who you’re talking to and what interests them. What are you trying to achieve? And who do you need to communicate with to succeed?
Engagement is all about creating a two-way conversation. If you’re trying to build two-way communications, you have to know as much as possible about the people you’re trying to connect with. What do your customers want and need (what do they value)? How can you deliver that to them digitally (and non-digitally)?
The key to all this is ‘Right Touching’. This is touching people in the right way, at the right time, with the right content, on the right channel. But in order to get this right, you have to know your audience. That way you can connect with your audiences and find new ways of engaging with them, where appropriate.
Developing an effective online engagement strategy is not a short-term, tactical exercise. Nor is it easy. You need to commit to it long-term to gain real business value and you must really put the effort in to planning, executing and measuring if you want it to pay real dividends.
Taking time to question the relevance of your customer engagement approach before you commit to it will hopefully save you a lot of time, effort and money in the long run!
This article was first published on Sitecore – www.sitecore.net