This article is powered by Scorpion
Customers are the lifeblood of any business, but they have the choice of numerous brands and companies to satisfy their needs. So, how does a company keep itself at the forefront of its customers’ minds?
Customer engagement is an essential part of running any business, and is integral to maintaining a strong customer base. Customers tend to go through a journey when deciding to buy a service or product, and optimizing every touchpoint in that journey is key to converting an interested lead into a customer, and keeping that customer with the brand in the future.
Modern technology has made this much simpler, allowing companies to reach customers through SMS, email, social media, and even messaging applications like WhatsApp. Leveraging expertise and technology is central to getting the most out of customer communications and managing a customer base.
What a typical customer journey looks like
Potential customers tend to first interact with a company from an ad, Google search, or online review.
This sparks an interest that normally leads to the potential customer visiting the company website and undertaking some research before making a purchasing decision. This could come in the form of reading a company’s blog, vetting the company’s online reviews on directories such as Google My Business or Yelp, or signing up for email newsletters to stay up-to-date or receive promotions.
Depending on the need at hand, this process can take hours or several weeks. But once a potential customer has enough information on hand and a catalyst to act, companies need to be ready and available to help convert a lead into a customer.
“Having appealing ads, helpful social media profiles, and a professional website are vital in first attracting a potential customer, but engaging them and being available to inquiries is what helps convert them into a paying customer,” says Kenny Wu, director of vertical marketing at Scorpion.
“Businesses need to be equipped with a variety of ways for customers to directly contact and book with them.”
How to keep customers engaged
Email messaging was born in 1978, and the first-ever marketing email produced $13m in sales. This method of communication has only grown in sophistication since, and represents an easy and effective way to communicate with customers who’ve already provided their details.
Modern email marketing platforms allow businesses to set up campaigns targeting different customer segments. Companies can share news, discounts, and promotions through this channel.
Chatbots have also proven to be a very popular method of engagement. Every customer has different needs, and sometimes, they may not find an answer to their question on a website. They’re effective, too – resulting in a 67 per cent increase in sales according to some business leaders. This tool becomes even more successful when used with a real person; a live chat agent who can provide more detailed responses and a better representation of a company’s customer service.
Numerous technologies exist now – both traditional and novel – that allow companies to do this.
SMS and WhatsApp
Text messaging and messaging apps are another great communication method since everyone has a smartphone nowadays and uses it constantly. WhatsApp, a popular Facebook communication app, has two billion users and, for many in the developing world, has effectively replaced SMS and phone calls with its free alternatives.
WhatsApp has created the WhatsApp Business application for business owners to interact with its customers – this can involve sending product catalogs, automated responses or sending broadcasts about products or services. In general, text messaging gets business messages directly into the hands of customers.
“Once customers have discovered your business and how it meets their needs, it’s not enough to ignore them and simply hope they choose you over a competitor,” says Wu.
“It’s essential to keep all available channels open and also proactively reach out to them, if they trust you with their contact information.”
Whether it’s for approaching new customers or retaining old ones, these methods of communication keep a brand at the forefront of the customer’s mind when making the next purchasing decision.
Why do this?
Technology is central to maintaining the relationship with a customer base since it would be impossible to perform manually. Technological platforms help scale efforts and make communication much easier for small business owners, from email marketing to website chat boxes.
Equally important is the feedback and data these platforms can provide businesses. Understanding which communication channels work the best and drive revenue helps companies improve their customer experience and bottom line.
This isn’t just becoming standard in the world of business; it is the standard. Leads expect attention on every step of the journey and will simply jump ship to a competitor if they feel underserved or neglected.
Tracking the customer journey is how a business can learn about its weaknesses and address them. Customers will see a lack of engagement as evidence of incompetence and reduce their confidence in the product or service.
While some are relatively simple and easy to learn, like email marketing, there may be more required when setting up an effective chatbot and getting these tools integrated with a company’s marketing technology and CRM. This is where well-informed, technology-based partners can come in and help optimize every step of the journey and constantly review effectiveness.
Technology binds the journey
Technology and proficient users are the basis of an effective customer journey, and the key to managing a customer base. With technology being further integrated into every department on a near-daily basis, it’s of the utmost importance to start employing these technologies as soon as possible.
With more brands and consumer options emerging constantly, it’s becoming more challenging to maintain a customer base. Technology reduces the difficulty and time required to stay in front of potential customers with carefully targeted and scheduled messaging.
From the moment a lead lays eyes on an advert to the moment they enter their card details, measures can be taken at every step to improve the conversion rate.
Managing and growing a customer base has become an easier task with technology, and is even simpler when handled by an experienced partner in the field.
Read our previous Scorpion-powered piece here.