Once again, the rules of engagement have changed.
Customer engagement has been the buzz since the rise of social media integration in branding and in marketing. We cannot deny the fact that nowadays, providing a positive experience for the customer isn’t enough. You might have the best marketing team on the block with a good reach across social media platforms, but these do not guarantee a secure spot in the top.
Gone are the days that the “law of attraction” has its grip on customer loyalty. As consumers are beginning to be aware of their capabilities as “game-changers”, there’s no doubt that your company might have experienced either positive or negative results about the matter.
Consistency is the Key
You have probably heard (or read) this in many blogs before this one, but consistently placing it in your values is our primary aim. Brand consistency plays a vital role in customer engagement. Maintaining compelling and consistent branding is the key that locks customer engagement in place.
How do you achieve consistency? IBy adopting values. One branding expert explained that “Values, which serve as a kind of architectural framework, underpin a brand. This keeps the brand solid and consistent.” Projecting your company’s image through your marketing efforts is how you develop your consistency. No matter how many social media bookmarks you have, no matter how many Facebook likes you have, your brands identity is the underlying attractive quality that pulls in customers. This is when “trust” begins but surprisingly, this can also be a crucial point where you could carelessly turn potential customers into your brands enemies.
Customer Engagement: Trust to Rapport
Once the consumer “trusts” your brand, here comes customer engagement.
Customer engagement is simple, it’s an ongoing process to maintain the trust of the consumers to the brand via rapport building. If rapport is established, the customer unknowingly will act as the brand ambassador now that there is trust in you and your brand.
In the end, every company shouldn’t just aim for a wide reach of their target market, they also should improve anything that involves customer relationships.
Let’s put up a scenario:
You love to eat pizza and there’s this new pizza joint around the corner. Just to try something new, you walked into the restaurant, ordered a pizza and you instantly loved how soft the bread is and the generous amount of sauce that was used in making pizza. You continue to patronize the pizza restaurant. Eventually, it got famous for its product so it had to do some renovations and hire more people to accommodate customers.
Being the social butterfly that you are, you shared it with your friends via Facebook, Tweeted how delicious their pizza is, checked-in via Foursquare, took a picture via Instagram and so on. You’d invite friends, co-workers and relatives, making them aficionados of the restaurant, too.
One day, all of the nice little memories you had in that pizza restaurant went “poof!” because the lady at the counter was very rude in handling your order and the service was very poor because of a staff shortage. You could forgive a bad day but this went on for several days until you couldn’t take the negative experiences anymore.
Again, with your networking, you shared how bad your experience was via Facebook,etc., giving a “one-out-of-five” rating on every review directory you encounter…
Of course you could predict how it ended. This is a typical scenario that you or your customers may encounter.
According to research by Gallup Consulting in 2009, 70% of customer decisions are based on their emotions. Why is this an important factor? These emotions spur and continually stir during business to consumer interactions.
Experiencing something new like eating a generously made pizza, sharing it with your friends and then being offended by the impolite waitress all stirred up emotions that affected your decision as a customer. What was once a comforting place became undesirable because of the negative feelings you experienced.
Customers are now empowered through social media to have a say on a company’s service. The crucial moment lies within the first impression of the product or service rendered, the next moments are equally important and occur every time the business makes contact with the customer.
This leads us to conclude that it is not the product or the service itself that serves as an endpoint. Customer engagement is a continuous cycle that must be maintained to make these customers our very own brand ambassadors. We cannot simply shrug off the fact that we can create marketers in the persona of our own clients. They carry our brand and spread the word through their social channels, be it online or offline.
“You Had Me At Hello” or “Let Me Go”?
Most of our marketing efforts are geared towards “baiting” or more like, seeking attention from the client’s target market. What must be incorporated is not only the means to gather a following, but also the values that must be followed to build brand consistency. We can help increase that following through proper online optimization of the client’s business, as well as assisting in their offline efforts as well.
We’re not just a bunch of people asking for links from websites, we’re consultants and specialists that aim to make our client’s brand stand among the rest.
As marketing consultants of our clients, we strive to make the difference by helping them in various areas of marketing. However, we should also be reminded that there are points in rendering services that only the clients can provide. The most important part of customer engagement is to provide a positive experience for every client that comes your way.