Engage with your customers if you want to prosper

If you want to prosper in business during these tougher economic times then now is the time to start engaging your customers.

Customer engagement is all about engaging your customers with your company or brand and it can lead to increased order values, customer loyalty and word of mouth recommendation.

Given that a recession is around the corner or already upon us, keeping customers is something that any well minded company should be focusing a lot of attention on.

Yet, in a survey reported in Brand Republic last week it was revealed that just 51% of companies have placed greater emphasis on customer engagement as a result of the economic crisis

The survey uncovered that those planning investment in new customer engagement strategies planned to spend their organisations’ money on a range of techniques, including many so called ‘Web 2.0’ areas such as blogging, user generated content and feedback and review systems to name a few. 

These services offer great ways to engage your customers. Blogs give you the opportunity to share wisdom or advice with your audience. User generated content allows your customers to create value with your organisation. And feedback / reviews offer that word of mouth recommendation to your goods or services.

Implementing these types of strategies can vary in cost and other resources; however, the investment can be more than worth it if it results in better relationships with your customers.  

So where do you start?

Have a look around at what the competition are doing. Start with the market leaders and work your way down to your own level (presuming you’re not one of the market leaders). What do you see as innovative? What would your customers react well to? How can you see their ideas working for you? 

Once you have the basic research sit down and brainstorm some of your own ideas. Put it all together and look at the resources you have to hand; money, time, personnel and skills. 

Perform a basic cost to return analysis – run each customer engagement idea through this process, determining whether the benefits to be had, match or exceed the investment required. 

This may sound difficult to ascertain when looking at customer engagement but there are ways to get a basic idea. Here are some questions you should ask yourself when evaluating any potential changes:

What is the average order value? – Can you make changes that will lead to greater order values? How much greater would you expect order values to be after making any change?

How long do you usually retain a client for? How valuable is the average client over that period? If you retain a customer what value would you be retaining in the business? 

How many customers do you normally lose? What target would you set on retaining customers after any changes? How much value would the retained clients bring you?

What does it cost to gain each new client in the first place? How much is your marketing, advertising and PR spend compared to the number of customers acquired? What would the value of keeping clients be over acquiring new ones?

Armed with the information you can make informed choices on the customer engagement strategy that is best for your business. However, remember this is an evolutionary process and should not stop there. Record your progress and ensure that you tweak your strategy regularly to ensure the best results. 

If you would like help or advice on preparing your customer engagement strategy or implementing and integrating blogging, user content or feedback systems please call and speak to Aren on 01872 555933 or send an email using the contact form provided.

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This post was posted on Monday, December 1st, 2008 at 12:16 pm and is filed under E-commerce, Marketing, Social Networking, Web 2.0.

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