How to engage your customers in the digital age
In today’s digital age, companies are faced with the challenge of choosing the best online tools to engage customers and improve the customer experience. The following are examples of online customer engagement strategies that will give your business a solid foundation for connecting with customers.
Twitter: What makes Twitter unique is the simplicity of use coupled with speed in execution; 140 characters of information might seem insignificant at first, but skeptical users quickly realize how immediate information can be obtained.
Successful Twitter accounts engage customers by quickly responding to questions and comments, sharing customer comments with a “retweet” (RT), mentioning customers with their @username, and actively engaging in conversations. Some examples of successful customer engagement:
- JetBlue promptly tweeted an apology to a frustrated traveler who had mentioned @Jetblue in a tweet about his flight’s delay.
- Dunkin Donuts used the hashtag #DDonut to ask followers donut trivia questions. The winner was @mentioned and received a gift card.
- Cisco Systems hosted a chat that allowed followers to participate by putting #IPv6 in their tweets. The hashtag made the chat searchable and easy for people to join.
Online Educational Workshops: Webinars, podcasts, live chat, and forums engage your customers, offer knowledge, and allow them to connect with other users in the community.
At Hallmark Business Connections, I recently hosted a webcast to appeal to the emotions of customers when trying to engage them. The webcast identified practical tactics for attracting attention across multiple platforms and keeping customers connected.
What makes online educational workshops work best? Consider the following:
- Microsoft Windows offers tutorials and certification exams for each of their products as a resource for learning and development.
- On the Whole Foods® website, there is a forum where customers can exchange recipes, give advice on special diets, discuss health living, ask questions about products, and provide feedback.
Visualizations: Customer engagement through visualization can consist of graphs, reports, trends, and maps that provide an image-based walk-through of a particular process that relates to your business. Once companies have reviewed and analyzed metrics, numbers, data, and statistics, they can convey the overarching findings to customers in a form that is easily digestible and growing in importance as information increasingly goes digital.
Visualizations do not necessarily need to be complex. Liberty Mutual Insurance gives a map of the United States and allows customers to click on their state to get information about coverage in their location.
Videos and Media: Many sites will post videos and images of interviews, events, news, and business happenings. Short clips (approx. 2-4 minutes) give customers a personalized, inside look at what your business is up to.
- TOMS Shoes has video explaining “The TOMS Story” and subsequent videos about progress, success, and growth.
- Daily clips and images featuring fashion, makeup, celebrities, and entertainment can be found in their respective categories at Glamour magazine online.
All of these methods of online engagement should enable an ongoing conversation that allows customers to receive and share knowledge, creativity, questions, insights, experiences, stories, and opinion. As a business, you want customers to be vocal and active so that you’re aware of their insights about their experience with your business.
Ongoing conversations in the digital space can foster a sense of ownership for your customers, which motivates them to become advocates for and engage with your business. How is your organization engaging customers in digital media? We would love to read your comments below.