Relationships between organizations and their customers are crucial to the success of businesses. If a company fails to build relationships with its consumers, or lacks the appropriate channels to allow for communication, then the business could suffer. Customer engagement (CE) is becoming an industry term which refers to how an organization develops the bond between employees and consumers.
Unlike customer relationship management (CRM), which uses technology to manage interactions, CE refers to the strategies and tactics that build client trust. The new buzzword can help small businesses create communities, provide better service and establish channels, wrote CRM Buyer's Christopher Bucholtz.
The employees play a major part in how customers engage. If an employee provides a positive experience, the company can gain new prospects and encourage old ones to continue using its services.
Social consumers and CE
According to Business 2 Community's Simon Mainwaring, consumers, and more specifically social consumers, want brands to engage, listen and respond to their messages. Unlike a one-way advertisement, which can turn clients away, people want to have a conversation.
Companies should develop tactics specifically suited for social media to not only create personalized experiences, but also maintain customer relationships. Mainwaring suggests that companies always answer questions, ask for feedback, host polls and offer rewards.
More companies are incorporating CE into their business infrastructures. For example, IBM recently announced a new service centered around customer engagement. By using technology as a tool, an organization can expand its online presence.
Despite the positive impact of CE, the majority of CMOs are not prepared for the social shift that is expected to dominate future interactions, according to an IBM 2011 study. Eighty-two percent of CMO respondents said they plan to increase their social media use within the next three to five years. However, social consumers are utilizing social media now. Facebook and Twitter posts that go unanswered could leave a lasting impression, according to the survey.
Organizations see the internet as more than just a research tool. It is a communication device that helps businesses, big and small, stay connected. CE is becoming a more common practice that offers a small organization the chance to establish itself as a company that cares. The appropriate tactics that highlight the importance of social interaction can give a business authority and help to build its brand.