Engaged clients are loyal, and loyalty encourages a steady workflow and increased reach.
Before clients decide on a service provider or purchase, they research to ensure the company can meet their needs. But there’s another critical factor in the decision-making process: emotions. And this may be the most essential contributor.
Clients who connect with a brand account for a major chunk of a company’s revenue. Statistics from banking clients to retail shoppers to restaurant-goers show that people who bond with the company make up a substantial purchase percentage (22%–56%). These emotionally driven clients decide to buy from a brand because they feel the company meets their demands and is an excellent match for their needs.
The take-home message is that an investment in client engagement pays off. And any company hoping to keep clients close, enjoy word-of-mouth (WoM) references, and grow their business among new audiences should prioritize this concept.
Here’s all you need to know about how client engagement works and what your company can do to improve connections.
What is client engagement?
Client engagement fosters lasting relationships, exceeding basic client servicing and commercial transactions.
Engagement implies constant communication between a company and a client, not just when there’s an issue. Through a client engagement model, a brand tries to understand customers’ needs and provide better solutions before anyone asks.
Companies that maintain successful relationships with customers constantly run campaigns, offering helpful information and promotions to their client base. These brands also use data to make decisions, creating content, products, and services their clients want.
Companies with a successful customer engagement strategy retain clients and show an approachable side. Clients know the company cares and works for them.
What are customer engagement, customer satisfaction, and customer experience?
Customer engagement looks like a few other industry terms, and customer service is its least important aspect. It’s an augmented, more personal approach to customer service focused on building long-term relationships, but where do customer satisfaction and experience come in?
Customer satisfaction measures how happy clients are with your products or services. It’s related to engagement, as you can use metrics on client gratification to continue improving your offering and furthering your connections.
But customer experience is not so much a precursor to client engagement as it’s a result. Experience refers to a client's feeling about your company after interacting with it for some time.
Why is customer engagement essential?
In the virtual age, we don’t necessarily acquire or interact with clients as we once did — meeting face to face and having a conversation. Even brands with a brick-and-mortar presence run digital marketing campaigns to keep clients coming in.
For both online and in-person businesses, conversations should focus on clients’ needs — whether contact happens one on one in your locale or via email marketing automation and campaigns. Here are three benefits of customer engagement:
- Increases brand loyalty and customer retention: Staying in touch with clients provides invaluable feedback on your product and service quality. Whether you’re a life coach who gives clients an exit survey or a clothing brand that uses an email marketing platform to track conversions, client data helps you serve your audience better. When you successfully meet and even intuit clients' needs, they return for more, resulting in long-term customer loyalty.
- Generates word-of-mouth referrals: When you meet clients’ needs, your audience has every reason to recommend your business. Remember, a potential customer will likely decide whether to seek your services based on their feelings about your business. So a good word from someone they trust, like a friend or family member, can generate the confidence a new client needs to move forward.
- Improves your professional reputation: Excellent client engagement programs help brands stand out among industry players. For instance, IKEA excels largely because of its dedication to its ever-growing customer base. The brand emphasizes human interaction and offers live video chats and in-person design guidance to help clients feel close to the brand.
How to improve client engagement
Improving client engagement just takes willingness and a plan. Brands passionate about their services and products attract new clients and retain old ones just through the necessary ingredients for customer engagement success. Here are a few techniques any business owner can use to start improving customer interactions:
- Use an omnichannel approach to client interaction: Let your clients know you want to hear from them and provide various communication channels — such as email, video chat, and phone — to connect. Check your email and social media inboxes frequently, and respond to clients. Businesses of all sizes can show their human side by fielding clients’ questions. If you have a small business, you may have the bandwidth for even deeper interactions. A coach, for example, could set up a video call to talk through services with a potential client in real time.
- Offer incentives: Once people show interest in your brand, turn the lead into a sale by offering an attractive incentive. Consider giving clients a discount for signing up for your mailing list or, in the case of coaching, a free session to anyone interested. Then, continue to run promotions over the customer lifecycle. Set up a loyalty program, conduct periodic sales, and launch calls-to-action (CTAs), such as giveaways on social media. Also, reward your best clients with surprise perks. You can offer store credit to a valuable buyer or a monetary kickback to someone who often supports and recommends your business.
- Take customer feedback and metrics seriously: Listen to what your clients have to say, and if you don’t receive feedback without asking for it, use a survey or hold an exit interview. Take the insights clients give you to heart. They had first-hand experience with your business, and their account is a valuable perspective only they can provide. Gain even more insights by tracking your digital marketing strategy analytics. Email and social media platforms offer engagement metrics that reflect how users interact with your content. If users don’t open your emails, maybe the offers therein aren’t attractive enough. Similarly, if social media viewers don’t interact with your posts, it may be time to switch up your content.
- Create valuable content: When staying connected with clients via email and social media, offer content that’s of value to them. A client may be more likely to open an automated email if there are meditation tips inside. A social media user may reshare a post if it contains a useful infographic on mindfulness practices. Clients will delete, skip, and even become frustrated by filler content that doesn’t provide value.
Establish deeper client relationships with Practice
The top client engagement skill is remaining in constant contact with your audience so you can provide support and offer a personalized experience. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool can help make this process more robust. Using a secure engagement platform for outreach, scheduling, and payment fosters trust — essential for retaining clients.
And Practice’s Client Management Software, made with coaches and small business owners in mind, lets you stay close to clients. Answer your clients’ questions via our messaging system, set up your first meeting with our scheduler, send onboarding documents, and receive payments –– all in one place. Try it today.