The new concept that businesses have to address is that customer engagement begins when it begins. No longer does customer engagement begin when a prospect walks in the front door or makes the first phone call. Customer engagement can start a long time before a purchase is made with people connecting to your business through various online mediums. Further, customers may not be as loyal to a brand as they once were, and certainly are more selective about the brands they will engage with through their life.
Given this new environment what is important for businesses to realize is that a lot more structure, focus and work has to be applied to customer engagement across the whole enterprise. Every area of the business must be involved and there needs to be a central co-ordination point which reports to the President and the Board. Customer engagement cannot just be one of those functions of marketing ? it must become a pillar of the business.
For a great article on how to structure customer engagement at the epicenter of your business read Five no regrets moves for superior customer engagement by Tom French at McKinsey :
French shows you the role of customer engagement summits, councils, chief content officers, listening centers, and budgets in building the customer engagement foundations.
Of course, once you have established the organizational structure then knowing the customer and providing them with customized experiences to keep them engaged is very critical. This starts with knowing the customers natural DNA behavior to understand how to communicate with them and what their solution preferences are. Businesses from financial and professional services to retailers to real estate agents are starting to value their customers enough to go down this path and structure behavioral discovery in their customer engagement process. Importantly, the bottom line rewards of building deeper levels of customer engagement are huge ? The Gallup Organization is saying there is a 23% sales premium on emotionally engaging your customers let alone the additional bottom line benefits of also emotionally engaging your employees.
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