Starting a business is one of the most rewarding things you can do, but in the current competitive business landscape, customers are essentially powerful enough to decide the fate of your business.
As an entrepreneur, customers are the lifeblood of your startup. Simply offering the best products or services will not help you attract and retain them anymore. What truly gives you an edge is devising customer engagement strategies that'll constantly capture the attention of existing and prospective customers and making sure they have the best experience with your brand.
Customer engagement is a strategic approach that goes beyond simple transactional interactions between a business and its customers and focuses on building trust, providing value, and nurturing a positive relationship with customers. Your customer engagement strategy can make or break your business. The correlation is simple—if it positively impacts your customers, you gain more business as happy customers tend to be brand ambassadors. Here's a blog on customer engagement for Gen Y and Z .
Customer engagement is not a one-and-done thing—it’s a process. There’s also no one-size-fits-all approach. What works for one business need not work for others. Your best bet is to know your audience, come up with your own masterplan incorporating the below tried-and-tested customer engagement strategies and then constantly testing its efficacy. In this blog, we'll cover the following nine proven customer engagement strategies for entrepreneurs:
What is a customer engagement strategy?
Customer engagement is not a one-and-done thing—it’s an ongoing process. A customer engagement strategy or a user engagement strategy is a comprehensive plan or approach designed by businesses to continually interact with their customers at the right times in a way that fosters a positive and lasting relationship. A well-crafted customer engagement strategy should consider various touchpoints and communication channels to connect with customers at different stages of their journey. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to developing customer engagement strategies. What works for one business need not work for others. Your best bet is to know your audience, come up with your own set of customer engagement strategies and then constantly testing their efficacy. Here's a step-by-step guide you can follow to build customer engagement strategy that works for you. But to ensure your customer engagement strategies are sustainable, before you set out to work on them, it's important to understand how the future of customer engagement looks, upcoming trends, and how they impact your business.
9 smart customer engagement strategies for entrepreneurs
1. Know your customers
Developing customer engagement strategies for startups without knowing who you’re trying to reach and what they truly need is like shooting in the dark.
Analyzing customer behavior with website visitor tracking helps you construct customer profiles using metrics that matter to you—location, job role, industry, website footprint, interaction history, and more—with which you can specifically engage each persona in a way that drives results.
2. Optimize your website experience
Your website is the face of your startup and the centerpiece of your customers’ experience with your brand.
To ensure your digital customer engagement strategy is successful, you need to ensure that your website gives your customers what they need. The best way to do this is by stepping into their shoes and going through the buying journey yourself. Here’s a website conversion checklist to help you get started.
3. Make it easy for customers to reach you
Giving prospects and customers the assurance they’re looking for—often during a critical stage in the purchase cycle—makes all the difference between a closed and a lost deal. With live chat on your website, your customers can reach out anytime they have a question and get answers immediately.
4. Identify and act on customer triggers
Establishing contact with prospects or customers is the most critical aspect of all customer engagement strategies, so don't wait for your prospects to reach out to you. Identify your most important prospects and set up personalized chat triggers so you can start an interaction with them and nudge them in the right direction at the right touchpoints.
5. Offer personalized services
Customers love services and products that are tailored to their needs. It could be as simple as showing them a location-based advertisement or something more complex like speeding up the checkout process using saved payment information and preferences.
That said, it’s essential to find the right balance between personalization and straight out raising privacy red flags.
6. Scale your customer engagement with chatbots
Improve your digital customer engagement strategy by being reachable around the clock.
Yes, we know what you’re thinking, but you don’t have to hire additional staff to cover multiple shifts. Just implement a chatbot that gives your customers the answers they need while you’re away. Building your chatbot isn't rocket science either. With Zoho SalesIQ’s codeless chatbot builder, all you need to do is set up a conversation flow and add your bot responses.
Go one step further and give customers the best of both by merging your Answer Bot into your codeless bot to make a hybrid chatbot.
We've not gotten to the best part yet! These chatbots aren't just for your websites, you can even deploy them on your business's social media profiles or instant messaging accounts.
7. Offer conversational customer support
Customers no longer want their issues to be treated as support tickets or their purchase queries to remain as just a stage in your sales funnel.
Shift your focus to conversational support to build long-term customer relationships. Turn your usual “How can I help you” into “I see you’ve been having this issue with our product/service, let me help.”
But how do you do this? The answer is interaction history across all messaging channels. No matter what channel your customer has used to reach out to you, you can manage all your conversations from a single platform.
8. Fine-tune your customer engagement strategies with analytics
Now that you have your customer engagement strategies in place, how do you know what’s working for you and what isn’t? Which pages of your website result in the most inquiries? How is your team interacting with customers?
Only by analyzing your customer engagement metrics can you answer these questions and adjust your engagement strategy.
Of course, for this to work, you’ll need to measure the right KPIs. Check out this customer engagement metrics list before you get started.
9. Take care of your team
Lastly, customer-facing staff play a massive role in the success of your user engagement strategies. However, this aspect is often overlooked when businesses draft their digital customer engagement strategy.
Equip your team with the right technology and training, motivate them with rewards, and pay attention to their grievances. Only when your team is taken care of can you deliver the best possible customer experience and engage customers for life. You can also check out our curated tips to improve the morale of your customer support team.
There’s no one recipe for successful customer engagement. As you set out developing or implementing your customer engagement strategies, you may come across several setbacks. You may not have in-depth metrics to start with or associated teams may not be fully aligned. But as you stay on the track, everything will start falling into place.
We hope our list of customer engagement strategies for entrepreneurs can inspire you and help get you off to a great start.
Is there a startup customer engagement strategy you vouch for? Let us know in the comments below.