Consumer engagement is one of the most important aspects of the business.
While consumers are generally okay with customer experiences received by faceless corporations like McDonald’s or Amazon, there are few people who are out singing their praises.
While McDonalds and Amazon are convenient and are relatively good at what they do, these faceless corporations are just that: faceless.
They have a brand, and that brand is so well known consumers don’t even need to think when they see these logos.
Yet, these brands are known simply because of their quantity, not their quality or their care for consumers.
One million served means very little in a customer’s mind when they feel like just another person in the crowd. However, when a consumer is truly engaged, being part of 1 million served makes them feel like 1 in a million.
Some simple strategies for engaging consumers are listed below. Integrating a consumer-centric mindset into your branding will put your business leaps and bounds ahead of the other brands in your industry.
Customer engagement starts with empathetic listening
Active listening is the skill where the listener takes stock of everything the speaker is saying.
The listener does not listen to respond, but rather to understand. In this process, often the listener takes a moment to consider all the verbal and non-verbal cues the speaker indicated before responding.
This form of listening is proven to engage people and even help mend struggling relationships.
Empathetic listening follows this same principle.
It is when a person listens to not just understand but to place themselves in the speaker’s shoes. When an employee or business owner does this with a client, they allow the client to speak all of their ideas, thoughts, and feelings—whether they are good or bad, right or wrong.
At the end of this conversation, the business owner is much better informed of where the client is coming from and can respond with not just an action plan, but an action plan suited to the client’s specific needs.
Empathetic listening is a powerful tool which creates a connection of understanding and trust between two people.
This skill takes up little time and speaks volumes of care and appreciation to the people you are striving to serve. The more clients feel seen and heard, the more clients will bring their friends and family to your business.
Encourage customers to leave reviews
Encouraging customers to leave reviews sometimes seems like a trite afterthought. Many consumers look at these reviews as unseen words; companies just looking for something promotional.
However, tying a human element to the reviews gives them a whole new appeal from the clients’ perspective.
Promoting a company culture in which employees with the highest reviews for the week get a free movie ticket (or something of that nature) encourages consumers to feel like they’re part of something.
Not only will this give you better PR from the reviews that are coming in, but your employees will also fight harder to get you these reviews.
If you’re a small business owner who does a one man or one woman show, offering a drawing of a free item to your consumers who leave reviews is a way to get people’s opinion.
Not only will your consumers jump on the chance to get a free item, but they will also love seeing their words displayed on your website.
Involvement makes people feel as though they contributed to your success. This gives them a sense of loyalty and even excitement to return to your brand again and again.
Maintain social communication
In 2019, social media connection is absolutely paramount to running a successful business. Doesn’t matter if you are a Fortune 500 or a small Etsy shop running out of your grandparents’ basement—a social media presence is an absolute must.
Engaging your consumers on your social media ranges anywhere from posting on group comments to asking your consumers thought-provoking questions and having a deep conversation on your feed.
However your brand decides to network on social media, this networking needs to be a top priority. Social media is an inexpensive way to get your brand’s mission on display for the world to see.
Doing research on posting plans and the best way to distribute your media is key to success on social websites.
For example, in the next few years, Facebook is going to be mostly a video feed while Twitter is going to be all about trending news headlines for businesses. Knowing your medium is absolutely essential for creating a successful networking strategy.
Use available technology
Lastly, the use of smart technology is powerful for engaging customers.
You can, for example, engage people in challenges your brand sets on social media. This allows consumers to once again feel involved in a challenge that means something.
Developing a mobile app for your business or service is another great way to connect more with your customers and engage them more. Living in your customer’s pocket provides more interaction on their own terms.
Just as the Ice Bucket challenge raised awareness for ALS, so too can smart technology encourage your consumers to lose weight or start eating healthier alongside you.
Smart technology also allows businesses to communicate internally with more efficiency through the use of cloud computing, IoT, machine learning, blockchain technology, etc.
This allows them to offer a better service/product to their customers. The ease of communication and usage of products and services motivates higher customer engagement and efficiency in doing so.
Ultimately, customer engagement should be a huge goal on the list of brands big and small.
Making a customer feel cared for and heard is so important in establishing your brand as an authority in your industry. Showing your consumers that you care about your people also inclines them to think of you in a positive light.
Engaging them on social media gives them a chance to interact with you in a casual and endearing way.
The use of smart technology lends efficiency and even a hint of personal connection to your consumer interaction.
Overall, business-consumer interaction should be between two people who simply want to connect over common ground. In this case, the common ground just happens to be your brand.