Engaged customers are the best kind of customers to have. They are watching websites and social media feeds like a collective of hawks, eager to find the newest deals and bargains to swoop down upon and seize up like tasty mice. These customers are also talking up the brand with friends and family, providing ultra-credible word of mouth advertising that's so very hard to pass up these days. But engaged customers don't just show up one day, and a new report from Business 2 Community shows just how to get those engaged customers that every business values.
With advertising spending, according to word from eMarketer (News - Alert), already set to clear $175 billion in the United States alone this year, that's a sign that businesses are taking the finding of new customers seriously. There's no sign of slowdown, either, as the numbers are expected to reach $200 billion by 2017 alone.
But Gallup counters the eMarketer report somewhat, suggesting that the problem isn't so much spending on advertising, but rather, spending on customer engagement that's lacking. Customers that are engaged, according to Gallup's “State of the American Consumer Report,” offer up a full 23 percent extra profitability and relationship growth against those who are not. Disengaged customers, meanwhile, actually represent a 13 percent negative in terms of profitability and relationship growth.
Here, Gallup considers “engaged customers” to be those who won't readily accept substitute goods, while those who are “disengaged customers” readily will, and tend to focus more on price and the like, switching brands as needed to reflect the needs of the day. But how do you engage them? Getting engaged customers tends to vary depending on the market, but they can all improve engagement with customer support software, which strengthens the internal team and makes for better overall service.
For banking customers, for example, those customers who believe that exceptional customer service was received were on average 29 percent more likely to feel engaged. Those engaged customers mean approximately 37 percent more revenue than those who aren't engaged.
It can mean better customer service, it can mean improvements in standard operations, it can mean quite a few things, but the key point here is that customer engagement tends to mean better bottom-line impact. There are some general points to consider for building customer engagement, however, and it starts with improving customer participation with regular, two-way conversations. Getting the customer interested in business development gives a sense of “we're listening” that tends to spawn engagement. Focusing on transparency, trust, and the greater availability of knowledge is a big help, and a strict adherence to ethical business standards should ultimately produce the desired goal.
The key point here is that businesses need to go beyond just advertising and move into a fuller strategy of marketing. Advertising will always be a part—and an important part—of the overall marketing concept, but building engagement with the target market yields too many positive results to pass up. It's a great strategy for long-term success, and builds on the successes of other strategies to win the day overall.
Edited by Alisen Downey