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February 18, 2019

3 Ways to Improve Customer Engagement in 2019

Improve customer engagement by providing consistent experiences, fast replies, and mobile-optimization. Customer engagement is key for business growth because engaged customers are loyal customers, and loyal customers have a higher customer lifetime value.

In a study about customer engagement from 2018, the chief client officer of Epsilon, Lisa Henderson, said, “If consumers are unengaged, they’re not purchasing from you, and they’re unlikely to purchase from you. Engagement is a proxy or early indication for loyalty, purchase or advocacy.”

How to improve customer engagement

Consistency

From a financial services perspective, consistency applies to all areas of business, from the home office to the local advisor. The brand story told at a corporate level should align with the brand story being told at the local level.

When a customer sees consistent branding, it breeds trust by confirming what they believed to be true about your company. On the other hand, if a customer regularly sees a brand utilizing new tactics and changing their messaging, it causes confusion.

In addition to consistent branding, having a consistent level of customer service on all fronts is extremely valuable, and is expected by customers.

Omnichannel shopping is on the rise, giving brands opportunities to engage with customers in various ways during their shopping journey. And with this convenience comes the expectation of  a smooth transition from one channel to another. Whether it’s customer service or the shopping experience, it needs to be seamless. Is your brand equipped to hand customer service interactions on multiple channels, and do you have a system in place to transition an interaction from one channel to another?

Automation

There are various ways automation affects customer engagement (and saves your employees time, too). Start by automating the simplest parts of a transaction or interaction, which are typically the engagements where a customer is seeking an immediate reply. Providing a quick response, even if it isn’t a complete solution, keeps the customer engaged with your brand.

3 ways to incorporate automation:
1. Instant Replies on Facebook messenger

When you set up Instant Replies on Facebook messenger, a specified “stock” response is sent to any messages your Facebook page receives. Customize your Instant Reply so that it’s relevant to your brand and sets expectations for when and how a customer can expect to hear back from you. Learn more about setting up Instant Replies in this how-to post from Boostability.

2. Website Chatbots

Beyond social media integrations, many businesses are using chatbots on their website, too. A chatbot integrates with your site in the form of a static chat window where a customer can initiate conversation. Chatbots vary in capabilities, but at the basic level they provide answers using keywords in a customer’s message, oftentimes in line with questions that are frequently asked or related to website navigation.

Offering an immediate chat option is a way to quickly engage with customers, at any time of day or night. Advanced chatbots can provide specific answers to solve a problem. Simple chatbots gather information to direct a customer to the right phone number to call. Both enhance a customer’s experience and provide a smoother journey.

3. Contact form autoresponders

If you have a contact form on your website, set up an autoresponder to immediately email the customer. Let them know their message was received and set expectations for when and how they will get an answer. Customers contacting you by email may not expect a response as quickly as social media or chat, so this is a good opportunity to exceed their expectations.

Mobile-optimized

In the US, 44% of internet users purchased items online using a mobile phone, and 48% use mobile banking. As a financial services company in 2019, you need to be more than just mobile-ready, you need to be mobile-optimized.

In terms of your website, mobile-ready means your site is dynamic and text and photos flow to the appropriate size and placement automatically. Mobile-optimized means your site is fine-tuned to provide the best mobile experience possible.

If customers click on a mobile ad, the transition to viewing and navigating your website is expected to be smooth. A well-planned, mobile-optimized website improves customer engagement because people know how to get the information they need, take the next step, or complete a transaction.

Also consider that mobile search is on the rise, and many customers will start their journey with a Google search. In 2019, it’s expected that 215.8 million people will access search services on their mobile device. Be prepared to meet these customers online, providing answers and solutions, improving customer engagement along the way.

Evaluate your current use of these tools, and consider how they could improve customer engagement for your brand in 2019.

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