A single tweet, a single review, a single Facebook post of a customer complaining about a company’s service might not seem much but that single tweet, review, and post can spread like wildfire in a few minutes. This is particularly true for the Philippines since our country houses a nation that is one of the heaviest internet users in the world - averaging at 10 hours and two minutes of screen time each day per online user according to Hootsuite and We are Social’s report in 2019. As such, negative reviews posted online can be drastically detrimental to a business. One may think that these reviews are solely brought about by a response to a bad experience with a product. However, if you look through reviews of customers in almost every ecommerce site, you will see that it is more often than not a by product of the whole customer experience and engagements of the customer with the business or the seller. This then begets the importance of ensuring a customer is satisfied with each engagement with a business. But how can this be achieved?
First off, let us define what customer engagement is. Customer engagement is composed of all interactions that a customer has with a business. With that definition, customer engagement can differ from one business to another even though two businesses are in the same industry and have similar products. It is set by the business. A business can choose whether customers can reach out to them through Facebook, email, SMS or any other channel available. But at the end of the day, it is how a business interacts with its customers and how it adds to the customer’s experience that matters.
Going back to the initial question posed, how can a business achieve excellent customer engagement? There are three parts to this which eventually forms a cycle - each step feeding into the part succeeding it. 1) Moment of Interaction
1) Moment of Interaction
As customer engagement is defined as a customer’s interaction with a business, the first step of having excellent customer engagement is providing excellent service in each customer touchpoint. This means being able to answer each of the questions below:
- What is the customer journey like? What are the different touchpoints with the customer?
Knowing each customer touchpoint from a customer’s perspective means being able to identify different concerns a customer may have about a business’ product or service. This empowers the business to anticipate concerns and prepare scripts, spiels, and templates that customer-facing teams can use which can be a part of their training.
- Who is responsible for each customer touchpoint? If a customer is at a certain stage in the customer journey, who should they reach out to? How will that be relayed to the customer?
Identifying who a business’ customer-facing teams are and which aspect of the business they should be specifically trained on is an important aspect of customer engagement. This ensures that a business’ brand is consistent across all customer touchpoints whatever stage in the customer journey a customer is in and who they are talking to. Ideally, each customer-facing team should be knowledgeable on all stages of the customer journey but they may be an expert on a specific part of a business.
- Where are the customers currently at - which channels are they using? Is it email, SMS, Facebook, Viber or other channels?
Being able to identify which channels customers are currently using is a crucial part in knowing which channels a business should be available in. This ensures that it is convenient for customers to reach out to the business and also prevents a business from investing in a channel which customers will not use. This enables the business to meet customers where they are and be accessible to customers when they need to.
Answering all of the questions above sets up the foundation of each customer engagement. This enables a business to create an avenue for customers to reach out to the business beyond their transactions with the product - when the customer needs to and where the customer can conveniently do so.
2) Processing Multiple Interactions
After each moment of interaction with the customer, each engagement should be categorized based on the topic of engagement. What was the interaction about? What did the customer need? Was it a problem with the product? Are they following up? These are just some sample questions that can be answered by categorizing each interaction. Having a way to categorize each interaction means being able to subsequently identify what the recurring concerns are.
An example of this is identifying whether an engagement with the customer is a problem, task or a question. After which, an engagement can be further categorized based on each step in the customer journey such as account creation, a customer’s first purchase or a subsequent one. Numerous business questions can be answered by being able to process multiple interactions. This then feeds into the last step which is using processed interactions to improve each moment of interaction.
3) Using processed interactions to improve each moment of interaction (and other parts of the business)
After being able to categorize interactions, aggregate results can then be analyzed. For example, Company A surfaced that in a certain month, questions about account creation increased. With this information, Company A can decide to train their Sales team and their Support team to educate customers about how to create their accounts. Spiels and templates can be created to ensure that communication is consistent with each customer. Experiments can also be conducted to check which spiel and template is the most effective in explaining how Company A’s account creation process goes. This process means that each moment of interaction that has occurred is now being used to improve each new moment of interaction.
Apart from using processed interactions to improve each new moment of interaction, aggregate interactions can also be used to improve other parts of the business. For the aforementioned example, the business can further investigate why the account creation process seems to be unclear for customers. Is it with the screens used? Is it with the words used? With further investigation, the business might discover that the current screens for account creation is not suitable for mobile view - which is what the majority of customers use. The business can use this information to create a better user interface for account creation. This process means being able to use processed interactions and consequently, each moment of interaction, to improve other parts of the business.
How a business interacts with customers is now as important as the benefit customers receive from a product or a service. Being able to provide excellent moments of interaction, processing those moments of interaction, and using processed interactions to improve future moments of interaction and the whole customer experience is key in creating excellent customer engagements. This ensures that a customer has an overall exceptional experience - from onboarding to retention. With excellent customer engagements, the question now is, how beneficial will it be for a business if a single tweet, a single review, or a single Facebook post praises a business for the benefits the customer has received?
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