Perhaps one of the biggest faux pas that companies can make when it comes to maintaining customers is in assuming that they know their customers’ every thoughts and wishes; in fact even long-term customers – those few that you take pride in knowing their every sentiment – deserve your time and consideration with each encounter as their attitudes, too, can shift.
“Too often assumptions are made about how long-time customers will respond to us,” Tracy Wehringer, wrote in a recent blog post. “Realize that anything living needs constant nourishment, regardless of how old it may be. Many times companies stop nurturing customer relationships after they have matured.”
And if you thought that once you honed the perfect customer engagement strategy you could stop, think again. Much as you constantly have to revisit corporate strategies or that keynote address you have spent days retweaking, your customer engagement strategies must be fine-tuned as time goes by, otherwise the strategies will be futile.
In fact, those who do not revisit their customer engagement strategies might stand to lose their loyal customers to the competition as other companies will entice brand proponents to rethink their loyalty. According to Wehringer, the most important question a brand should ask itself often is “What is the incentive for customers to stay for three, five or 10 years?”
So how do you go about creating incentives? As put by Wehringer, there is one cardinal way.
One of the most important approaches is to build out a customer touch content/program matrix, which divides customers by segments and determines which content and calls to action best fit those groups. A matrix must also include the “win-back segment,” or the group of customers who have not returned or cancelled. It is up to the marketing teams to hone win-back strategies to entice these customers to remain with your brand.
The first suggestion is to create VIP customer events, which is an appropriate way to thank your top-tier customers. Further, companies can invite a handful of their top customers to participate on a customer advisory panel or a special advisory committee that meets once or twice a year for a day. Moreover, companies can consider piloting a customer blog that is strictly for customers so that they can voice any concerns and speak candidly with other customers and people at the organization. The blog is also a chance for your company to display many voices from the CEO to the product manager to the sales associate.
“This way the customer feels “loved” by all members of the organization,” Wehringer said.
When it comes to customer engagement no company understands the importance of this process more than ACCENT Marketing Services, a performance marketing company for brands that are passionate about keeping and growing customers. Specifically, ACCENT encourages its clients to adopt its Continuous Engagement Improvement Process, which couples ACCENT’s resources with a data-driven approach to help brands get the most out of their customer relationships. As explained by ACCENT officials, companies ought to go through five steps when trying to reach their customers: listen, learn, connect, influence and optimize. Each stage is centered upon making each customer interaction more intelligent and engaging than the last, regardless of the interaction channel.
Recently, ACCENT’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Searcy sat down with TMCnet to discuss the five stages of the customer engagement process. To access any of the previous podcasts, visit the “Featured Podcast” library on the Customer Engagement Channel homepage.