4 Actionable Tips to Improve Online Customer Engagement
Online Customer Engagement
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic impact on customer behaviour across all industries around the globe. After one year of unprecedented challenges, the new realities taking shape in business today are complex and uncertain, but also full of opportunities.
No matter what challenges COVID-19 has thrown in the direction of your business, it’s vital to continue in searching for ways to secure your growth for the brave new world that will emerge from the crisis. After all, ‘normal’ isn’t available to us anymore and ‘business as usual’ even less so.
The modern business landscape is punctuated by companies attempting to build value and make themselves heard within their target markets. Online engagement is key in a world that’s spending more time operating at home and less time in offices.
Let’s take a deeper look into how businesses can embrace online customer engagement in this new reality, and explore four key tips in communicating with your customers online:
1- Surviving a Crisis
In such an uncertain climate, it’s entirely understandable to tighten the purse strings and cut back on your expenditure. The arrival of COVID has carried a profound impact on virtually every industry, with many set to change forever in the wake of the pandemic. With this in mind, it’s reasonable to revise your budgets and take a more organic approach in engaging with customers.
(Image: CMO Whisperer)
According to CMO Whisperer, marketers spent marginally more of their marketing budget on customer experience since the start of the COVID outbreak in early 2020. This shift is likely to come down to a rethink of growth strategies in the wake of the pandemic and changing customer behaviours.
When cutbacks are inevitable, it’s vital that you continue to ask customers what you can do for them and then follow-through and up. One of the biggest strengths of social media is that it allows businesses to listen to their customers as well as speak to them. This gives businesses a platform to actually engage in a dialogue with their audience.
When it comes to facilitating growth inside a downturn, one of the most cost-effective ways of building loyalty is through listening to your customers rather than simply speaking at them online. This helps you to understand and respond more effectively to their problems, queries and concerns.
2- Be Where Your Customers Are
Digital media provides the best means for achieving customer engagement during a downturn. Here, it’s important to understand who your customers are and from whereabouts in cyberspace they’re arriving on your website.
Your website may offer live chat functionality and some form of around the clock calling functions, but what if you’re looking for more cost-effective ways of engaging with your target audience, while helping them?
Some companies are perfectly capable of providing excellent customer service without any live chat functions or phone support, purely because they know their customer needs and how to act upon them.
To capitalise on a similar level of understanding between you and your customers, focus on the channels where your customers really want to initiate contact and ask for your help. If all of your customers are choosing to send Direct Messages on Twitter for support, then direct your resources to answering them there - they might not ask twice. It’s typically much better, especially during a downturn, to offer support on a few channels rather than spreading yourself too thin and failing to keep up with expectations when called upon.
3- Focus on Retention and Acquisition
Those who engage their customers the best will create the most accurate predictor of future success. Businesses that dedicate more time to developing unmissable content are considerably better placed to win customers without resorting to heavy spending.
It’s worth remembering that users don’t simply visit your site in order to buy things. They may want to learn more about your products or services, see what makes your company stand out from the crowd, or interact with other fans of your brand.
The content you create online can look to appeal to visitors in this respect, but it’s vital to avoid mistaking quantity for quality. You should dedicate more time towards creating more informative or entertaining blog or social media posts to truly appeal to your customers, rather than simply pumping out uninteresting and half-baked content. Notably, customers are only ever one-click away from engaging, embedding, sharing and commenting on video content. According to Forbes, they devote 2.6 times more time on websites that have videos than to those without them.
Valuable content is key for building a level of brand loyalty that’s set to keep customers coming back over time.
4- Responses to Economic Downturns Are Not Predetermined
While the pandemic brought with it a significant downturn across a variety of industries, other industries experienced boosts to sales that weren’t initially anticipated. Before taking action, you should back-up every decision you make with research and testing to better understand the state of play amongst your customers. When evidence-based decisions are made, you provide some certainty and stability to your chosen direction in the face of unpredictability.
While some industries experienced negative growth, in the wake of the pandemic, others experienced a rate of growth that has been far faster than achieved prior to COVID-19.
Therefore, you should research your customers before making the assumption that they’re going to spend less during the periods of a downturn or market uncertainty. You may find that their new circumstances increase their spending power and willingness to make purchases with your company online.
So, in summary?
- Listen carefully your customers and their needs
- Meet them where they are already interacting with you
- Dedicate more time to developing first-class content
- Undertake customer spending research before making decisions when the market is uncertain
Whether your customer engagement strategies champion the use of attention-grabbing video or traditional text-based content, gloo can help you to create videos that are tailored and suited to your target audience, or plan and create a memorable campaign that can take your engagement further than ever before.
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