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How to increase customer engagement for SMEs

When you look at potential consumers, what exactly are you seeing? A walking pound sign, or a living, breathing customer with legitimate needs and desires? By taking your customers seriously and understanding them in greater depth, you can ensure that the way you treat customers helps your business, rather than hinders it.

But what is customer engagement? Why is customer engagement important? And what are the best ways to engage customers with your brand? Find out more with our complete guide to customer engagement.

What is customer engagement?

There are many different ways to define customer engagement, but in its most basic form, customer engagement is the emotional connection between a brand and a customer. So, when you measure a company’s customer engagement, you’re essentially measuring the depth of that connection.

Why is customer engagement important?

Customer engagement is important for a variety of reasons. Most pertinently, when customers are highly engaged with your brand, they’ll buy more, they’ll be more loyal, and they’ll be more willing to promote your services. Without a customer engagement strategy, you could be missing opportunities to interact with your customers and forge a deeper relationship with them.

Bottom line: learning how to increase customer engagement can give you the tools you need to drive growth, enhance the overall user experience, retain customers.

What are the best ways to engage customers?

Now that you know a little more about the meaning and importance behind customer engagement, it’s important to understand how to increase customer engagement. There are many different ways to engage customers, so here’s a rundown of some of the most effective and widely used tactics:

  1. Focus on metrics – Using analytics to improve customer engagement is a tried and tested method that you should explore for your SME. There are many different metrics you can use to measure customer engagement, including usage frequency and active users. By analysing user behaviour, you can gain key insights into your customer base and optimise your service to turn casual transactions into long-term bonds.

  2. Provide an omnichannel customer experience – Giving your customers a seamless experience across multiple channels should be a core element of your customer engagement strategy. That way, your customers will be sure that their needs are met, whether that’s through an in-person meeting or by reaching out on social media.

  3. Offer enhanced services for VIP customers – If you’ve been operational for a while, you’ve probably built up a core unit of VIP customers, i.e. heavy-usage customers who purchase your products and have referred friends and family. These customers aren’t one-time buyers, but loyal, trustworthy partners, and it makes sense to reward the long-term value they’re bringing to your business. Offer a more personal touch, whether that’s through free upgrades, invitations to live events, or one-on-one coaching sessions, to keep these VIPs happy and engaged with your products. Take them for granted, and they could start doing the same to you.

  4. Drive the conversation with a “listening centre” – It’s important to stay on top of communication with your customers. One of the best ways of driving the conversation is to set up a listening centre (a simple system for responding to queries and complaints). By ensuring that all questions raised by customers receive an answer, you can make sure that customer engagement remains high and customers feel like you have their interests at heart.

  5. Humanise your brand – When you’re communicating with customers, it helps to sound human. Avoid stilted, overly formal language, and speak in a straightforward and relatable way. But it’s also important that you don’t swing too far in the other direction and come off as patronising, insincere, or sassy. Find the sweet spot that makes your customers actually enjoy communicating with your company, even when they’re making a complaint or raising an issue with the product.

As you can see, customer engagement is an ongoing process that you need to be working on all the time. Learning different tactics for how to increase customer engagement can help you build a loyal base of customers who’ll stick with your brand regardless of market downturns and shiny, new competitors.

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