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5 Ways to Engage Customers Through Support and Community

Modern consumers are a savvy bunch. They have all the tools at their fingertips to research products, prices, and providers. After hours — sometimes months — of research, they’ll finally make a purchase based not only on price but also on perceived value, ongoing customer service, and the company’s social profile.

As consumers have gotten savvier, internet use and online community involvement have grown exponentially. Reddit traffic has surged. More Facebook groups are springing up every day. According to Forbes, internet traffic has grown by an astounding 70% in 2020.

With all this potential commerce comes a significant increase in customer service demands. The modern customer expects customer support that not only accommodates their needs but also delights them. This presents companies with an opportunity to build an online community around your brand and nurture a meaningful dialogue that will engage your customers.

To make the most of that opportunity, we offer five tips that may positively affect your bottom line this year.

Make customer engagement a priority of every department in your company. Every department and every employee should be supporting or fostering customer engagement in their own way. Some points to remember as you map out your engagement strategy across your company:

  • Every organization is unique. Departments may have different insights about your product or business. They can give a completely unique perspective on how to best serve customers or how to celebrate the product.
  • The biggest cheerleaders for your product should come within from those who develop and support it. Share the goals for customer experience and development across departments and encourage investment.

Once your organization is on board with engagement as a goal, it’s time to provide the means to accomplish it.

Offer comprehensive content. The best content will be fresh, original, and actively solve your customer’s problems or address their pain points. For example, help desks with ‘how to’ videos and fun (if not funny) product introductions. Explain to your customers which products to use, how to use them, and so on. Modern customers are eager to educate themselves. They also have the time and technology to do it. If your competitors are answering their questions and you’re not, you’re going to lose business. So use content as a way to position your organization as the experts in your field. The more interesting, fun, entertaining the presentation of your content leads to a stronger comprehension and completion rate.

We know that outstanding content can seem a bit expensive at first. Whether you’re producing it in-house or outsourcing it, there’s going to be a cost associated with terrific content. However, once you consider the ongoing ROI — you’ll own this content and use it for years — it pays off. Quality content can boost your position in search engine results, drive more traffic to your website, and keep your customers coming back.

Provide outlets for customer feedback and respond to them. While star ratings are a decent start, your product pages should offer opportunities for customers to discuss products with you and among themselves. Product reviews are great for your customers, customer service reps, and for quality control.

Today’s social media channels also provide opportunities for your customers to build a community around your brand. Encourage them to share pictures, write reviews, and publish videos that involve your products, and then share them. When a customer shares a great story about your products, ask them if you can use it in a direct mail campaign or on your website. They’ll feel proud to be published. Not only are you providing support; you’re liking and encouraging their posts and thanking them for feedback.

Make it fun with gamification. Want to add a little excitement to your community? Customers love contests. Community leaderboards, membership levels, and post points are a great way to promote participation. Throw in a contest with a meaningful prize, and you’re sure to drum up excitement among your members. Just remember, there are a few rules to keep in mind when hosting online sweepstakes and the like. In a nutshell, be sure to post the rules of the game very clearly, and a purchase should never be required to win any prize.

Provide the best customer service reps (and keep them happy). Infuse your customer service team with knowledge and support.  All your team to be hyper-aware of your goal of engagement, and what the best customer experience might feel like. Provide them with a thorough understanding of your offerings and empower them to solve a customer’s problem without needing help from a supervisor.

Customer engagement is a multifaceted topic. Armed with these action items, feel confident that your organization can find unique ways to create that dialogue and sense of community that modern customers crave. This effort will not only bring your organization together, it will help your customers feel closer to you. And that’s what it’s all about.

Do you have a unique customer engagement concept you’d care to share? We’d love to hear it. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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