In part 1 of our series on customer engagement strategies, we discussed how to improve the way you use email to engage your customers and how to deliver in-context messages to your customers based on real-time behavior.
In today’s follow-up, we’re going to discuss two more strategies: user groups and phone calls.
I realize neither of these concepts are new, ground-breaking tactics. In fact, user groups and call centers have been around for decades. That being said, there are ways to leverage modern technology to improve upon these age-old strategies. For example, through measuring customer behavior, something that is easy to do today, you can greatly improve the effectiveness of these strategies. So read on and see what you might learn!
As I just mentioned above, user groups are not new. In fact, I believe IBM started a user group back in 1955! The fact that they are still around today shows how useful they can be. For the uninitiated, a user group exists when you pull together users of your product to discuss strategies, share success stories and product feedback, and more. It’s a great way to get face time with your customers and fully engage them.
There is one key way to improve upon them: make sure you’re able to collect your user behavior, such as click streams, key activities they can perform, metrics important to your customers and so on.
Once you determine how you’ll track user behavior, develop an engagement score. This is a single number, like a Net Promoter Score, that you can use to measure customer engagement at a glance. Your engagement score should be based off key customer actions that indicate a successful customer or an early indicator of an at-risk customer.
It’s now a simple matter to identify who your top customers are — the ones with high engagement scores! You can then approach them about becoming an influencer and an advocate for your product. This basically means you recognize they are important customers and you really value their time and feedback. If you haven’t tried this before, you might be surprised how receptive your customers are to something like that! Especially if you throw in some other minor perks, like special recognition on your website, a guest spot on your blog, or a coupon for a new service, and so on.
With an established group of influencers, it’s now a lot easier to hold the traditional in-person user groups, because you can lean on your influencers to run them.
And in a digital user group, if the conversation starts to lag, you can ask an influencer to kick start it again. They could ask a probing question, or respond to unanswered questions, and so on.
The phone. It’s a great invention. It’s also 100+ years old and very expensive, in terms of headcount, to scale. A phone call requires an employee to spend time communicating with a single customer. Email, on the other hand, allows one employee to communicate with many customers very quickly.
So why use the phone if it is expensive to scale? Well, first off, it can be effective. A phone call to an unhappy customer can save them from churning. A phone call to a happy customer can turn them into an advocate. Secondly, through using modern technology, it no longer has to be expensive to scale using the phone!
The trick to reducing the cost it takes to leverage phone calls as a customer engagement strategy is to be able to easily identify your at-risk customers and your happy customers. Most businesses today only do an OK job at this.
The way it’s usually done is you wait until someone wants to cancel, making it pretty obvious they’re unhappy, so you call them. The problem is it’s usually too late to change the customer’s mind, leading you to expend a lot of manpower on customers that can’t be saved. The alternative is you run a survey and use those results to find out who your happy customers are. Again, the issue here is that surveys tend to be infrequent, they’re not real time, and you never get a 100% response rate.
The trick is to use an engagement score. As I mentioned above, you can develop a score based on real-time customer behavior. If set up properly, you can use an engagement score to identify at-risk customers before they tell you they want to cancel. Now you can address issues and concerns with a phone call before it’s too late, increasing the ROI of using a phone to increase customer retention.