Blog | Top 4 customer engagement techniques for businesses

By Niño Valmonte

The Internet is teeming with definitions to the term “customer engagement”. But overall, it goes well beyond simply responding to queries or complaints as soon as possible.

Simply put, it is the process of building, nurturing, and managing relationships with customers in order to foster brand loyalty and awareness about a brand/product/service.

It largely involves getting your customers to interact with your brand and building a strong and genuine, personal connection with them.

Take for example Wendy’s. The burger joint is known for its personal and witty replies on Twitter. A specific conversation that went viral last year was one that took place between the global food chain and a user named Carter Wilkerson with the Twitter handle @carterjwm — who asked what it would take for him to get a year’s worth of free chicken nuggets.

When Wendy’s replied that the user needed 18M retweets, netizens and institutions worldwide didn’t hesitate to provide him with the help he needed. In the end, the #NuggsforCarter movement amassed more than 3.42 million retweets, surpassing that of Ellen De Generes’ 2014 Oscar selfie. Wendy’s certainly took notice, and provided Wilkerson with what he wanted.

On local shores, who can ever miss out on the yearly Starbucks Philippines’ planner craze that takes place during the holidays? The global coffee brand banked on the psychology behind doing something (collecting stickers) to reach a goal (receiving a prize in the end) — and it worked very well for them. Starbucks Philippines’ annual promo has somewhat set a “public tradition” that millennials and young urban professionals look forward to join in come Christmas season.

The bottom line here is that to build a strong brand and a loyal following, you have to really know your consumers and proactively nurture that relationship. Here are some ways to keep your customers engaged in this digital age:

1. Come up with creative content

You may have encountered a witty line or two, posted by a brand on social media. You find it funny that you can’t seem to get it out of your mind. Or there’s this heartwarming story or video that tugs at your heartstrings.

This is the power of good content. It’s so strong that it triggers an emotional response. And because of that, people can’t help but start a conversation in the comments section, or share the material to their timeline for others to see and react to.

Remember: Unpaid (positive) social media mileage is priceless.

2. Encourage online customer reviews

People relate better to reviews written by real customers. A Nielsen study further shows that customers trust recommendations from family members, friends, and social connections.

That’s why it’s important for you as a business owner to encourage customers to provide a review, or at least rate your product. For instance, you can ask customers to leave a review on the products page of your business’ website; you can also proactively ask for it through email solicitations. Why not send out an email to your customer, a week or a couple of days after they made a recent purchase? You may ask them about how they are enjoying your product and hopefully, they leave a good word to entice other would-be buyers.

3. Set up rewards/incentive programs

In connection to tip # 2, you can reward customers for providing a review for your product. You can also offer incentives for contributing creative content to create more buzz or viral traction about your offerings. Some brands would go as far as offer discounts or freebies to customers that post about their products on social media.

Further, you can set up a rewards program to encourage customers to keep coming back for the perks. An example of this is loyalty cards that offer incentives for certain spend amount or number of visits.

4. Provide multi-channel customer service

There’s no better way to build real and long-lasting relationships but to have real-time, genuine conversations with your customers. So open your customer service channel/s — phone, email, social media — and address their concerns right away.

Above all, be sincere and authentic.

It takes time to see the positive effects of your customer engagement strategies. But in order to be effective, it must be unique and consistent. Do that, and you’ll be rewarded with the trust and loyalty of your customers.

The author is the director for marketing and digital innovation at IPC