For many organisations active and productive engagement of customers is a big challenge. It involves additional effort, skill and design on top of keeping the business running. However, many challenges businesses face can be resolved through better relationships with customers enabled by engaging them at the right moment with the right offer.

Customers experience different qualities of service in different contexts

Most customers experience a stark difference between the times an organisation wants to engage them – often in a sales activity – and when they need to engage the organisation. Customers are ignored by organisations when they seek engagement and organisations engage at the wrong time with the wrong method.

Products and brand alone do not engage customers

Too often the engagement customers receive from a company is dominated by brand and product through mass marketing communications and sales. Neither of these build a relationship with customers, as they are both impersonal activities pushed out to all. People need to be engaged on their terms when they have an active need.

Products and brand alone do not engage customers
Customers are bombarded with loyalty offers and cards. When customers reach out to the organisation they have to wait in queue.

Engage customers when it make sense to them

By changing the focus of customer engagement to the times when individuals need or seek attention, businesses can actually increase both sales and brand affinity through different means. People are often interested in an offer but do not buy because they are not supported in their decision-making. Better engagement on the customer’s terms at this stage is the first step in a better relationship.

The right engagement prevents failures and opens new opportunities

Customer engagement can be seen as a cost but must be understood as an opportunity to prevent costly failure and grow value. Responding to consumers’ needs early and when they arise prevents an issue escalating into a more complex problem with added cost to serve. Engagement also enables a business to identify unmet customer needs that can be opportunities to do more business with them.

$289 is the average annual value of each customer relationship lost to a competitor or abandoned.

Engage customers through service

What customers regularly seek is service. What they most regularly need is support to get the most from their transactions. Support could be information required to make a decision, help to set-up their new product to ensure it works or help adapting to a change in circumstances. There are many opportunities to engage customers at a personal level through service.

We will be customer centric

A principle such as customer centricity needs to be backed up with policies, processes, systems to make it real for staff inside the organisation and customers outside the business. Customer centricity leads to cynicism if it does not receive proper senior management focus and long term commitment.

Services help build relationships

Services not only enable customers to be more successful – and therefore more satisfied – they also engage the people on an individual level. Once this is established customers are more willing to listen to further offers from a business or to come to that business with additional needs. A good relationship is the basis for loyalty, value and trust.

Engage with relevant services and build relationships

Careful design of how an organisation engages customers, with a focus on supporting them to be successful and to build trust, loyalty and value pays off. Identifying how to be relevant to people when they need support leads to opportunities to improve customer satisfaction but also to do more for them and for your business.

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