Curiosity, interest, telling a friend – good customer engagement can move customers to do all this and more. Which is why companies should actively work with this important marketing discipline. How they can do this and build up stronger customer loyalty is explained in this guide.
Why customer engagement is so significant
A close relationship to business partners makes a significant contribution to the success of a B2B company. Creating such loyalty is the aim of customer engagement (CE). Its mission is to animate customers to deal with a single manufacturer, brand, product or service in a positive way, or to even interact with it. This can be seen both online and offline:
- Business deals
- Recommendations for improvement
- Telling a friend
The more frequently such interaction takes place, the higher the customer engagement and therefore the more effective you will be in winning customers and reinforcing the bond with them. Business partners are then …
- … less likely to look at offers from other companies.
- … interested in information from the company (news, offers, new products).
- … more understanding and patient when it comes to problems or complaints.
- … more likely to provide feedback.
Making customer engagement measurable
The success of customer engagement can be measured – namely based on key performance indicators (KPIs). Companies can leverage these to monitor the success of their CE measures in an objective way, for instance in terms of their reach, interaction and transaction:
- Examples of reach KPIs are page views of the company’s website and the respective time on site.
- Examples of interaction KPIs are the click through rate, the bounce rate and the abandonment rate.
- Examples of transactions KPIs are conversion rate, customer retention rate and customer churn rate.
Additional factors that can be measured for customer engagement are provided by:
- the willingness of customers to recommend the company or products (net promoter score),
- the number of activated online customer journey touchpoints, and
- the number of customers who buy several products compared to all customers (upselling rate).
How to use and increase customer engagement
The various measures show that there are many options for increasing customer engagement using B2B marketing. How and to what extent always depends on the company, the industry and the target group. Here is a selection of approaches you can take:
- Companies should determine the relevant touchpoints for their customers. The number of touchpoints is not essential in the process – more important is that the touchpoints meet the needs and expectations of the target group. This includes tailored advertising, email marketing or online offers.
- For binding customers to your brand, the USPs play a huge role. These unique characteristics and their added value should be highlighted.
- Also important are the communication channels where the customers can be found. Most of them can be communicated with online (social media, email, websites). But there continue to be contact persons who react to printed catalogues and similar advertising material, for instance.
- The more contact options customers can use for communicating with the company, the better. Which is why it makes sense to offer a wide range of options (letter, phone, email, chats). This also means supporting every kind of digital end device (computers, smartphones, tablets). At the same time, the customer should feel that they are well taken care for. Friendly and attentive service or sales is therefore a matter of course.
- Individually tailored (and limited) offers often lead to customer engagement on a big scale. Popular products should be advertised in a targeted way to increase the customer’s bond to the range.
Customer engagement can also be increased when companies pay head to recommendations for improvement from customers. This is what the US coffee company Starbucks did. They collected product ideas in 2008 on their website, under “My Starbucks Idea”, from their customers, and after five years got around 150,000 ideas. Of these, 277 ideas were selected to go into an online vote, which recorded two million participants.