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How to craft an effective customer engagement strategy

Customer engagement strategy: employee using a laptop

Key takeaways

  • Customer engagement plans help you build brand loyalty and improve your bottom line by delivering consistently positive experiences
  • Implement chatbots to increase customer satisfaction and reduce live chat wait times for clients who need more complex support 
  • Add customer data to a CRM to personalize all your touchpoints, from marketing campaigns to customer support

Every brand needs customer interactions to achieve sales. Before a client decides to make a purchase, they browse your website, look at your social media posts, and engage with your business in a variety of other ways, like looking at your online reviews.

However, while many business owners use marketing strategies to engage new customers, sometimes the best clients to pursue are those who have already bought from your brand in the past. In fact, customer acquisition costs are approximately 60% higher than they were five years ago.

To keep clients coming back, you need a customer engagement strategy that makes repeat purchases a natural part of the customer journey. Here’s what you need to know to create one.

What is a customer engagement strategy?

A customer engagement strategy is a plan that businesses use to build lasting customer relationships and improve their interactions with the brand. It includes all the tactics your company uses to create a great customer experience that keep shoppers coming back.

3 benefits of customer engagement strategies

Successful customer engagement strategies can lead to measurable results within your business. Here are three ways you can benefit from making a solid plan.

Greater customer loyalty

Whether a client is asking a question on your Facebook page or buying a new product or service, meeting customer expectations is a key driver of brand loyalty. A customer engagement strategy helps you do just that. 

By crafting a stellar brand experience that shoppers can depend on, you can make your business stand out from competitors, thus making your buyers feel compelled to return to you instead of shopping around.

When you achieve customer loyalty, you can focus on selling to customers who already trust and love your brand, rather than convincing shoppers to buy from you for the first time. Recent data shows that over 36% of customers will spend more on products if they’re loyal to a brand.

Higher revenue

Customer engagement strategy: person holding a credit card and using a laptop

Engaged customers can greatly improve your financial success. Brands that invest in digital customer engagement alone see an average revenue increase of 70%—and many expect their returns to double within the next three years.

Plus, when you improve your customer retention (your ability to keep clients over time), you’ll achieve more sustainable financial growth. You also won’t have to budget quite as much on lead generation to keep a consistent stream of buyers.

More referrals

When a customer experiences a brand interaction worth bragging about—whether it’s a hilarious Twitter response from a company or the easiest return of their life—they often feel compelled to share it with friends and family members. 

With a solid customer engagement strategy in place, you can foster organic word-of-mouth referrals by meeting customer needs at every touchpoint (interaction with your brand).

4 effective customer engagement strategies

Brands with strong customer engagement are often customer-centric in their marketing, customer service, and the way they run their business. With these strategies, you can put the needs of your target audience first and spark greater loyalty to your brand.

1. Build a loyalty program

One of the best ways to increase customer engagement is to build a program that’s designed to bring shoppers back to your business time and time again. Loyalty programs reward customers with incentives (like gift cards or freebies) when they continuously interact with your brand—for instance, by completing 10 personal training sessions, attending five virtual events, or spending $100 in a month.

Loyalty programs aren’t just enticing—over 58% of internet users agree that the ability to earn rewards or loyalty points, whether at a physical or ecommerce store, is one of the most valued aspects of retail shopping. By showing customers you value their time, you make their entire shopping experience much more enjoyable and memorable.

2. Improve your customer support

Employee wearing headphones and using a computer

Top-notch service is essential for high customer satisfaction, and live chat can help you achieve it with ease. When you implement live chat functionality—either by having an active support team on social media or by integrating tools like Olark or LiveChat on your site—you can help clients find answers to their problems faster while achieving real-time engagement.

Using live chat is such an effective customer engagement strategy that 52% of all consumers are more likely to return to companies that offer it.

To further improve your live chat experience, consider implementing a chatbot using tools like Chatfuel or Tidio. While it might feel counterintuitive to use automation software to boost engagement, chatbots can help you speed up your live chat response times by answering basic questions on your behalf. This way, you can improve customer success by focusing on helping people with more complex issues or questions.

3. Personalize your customer experience

When developing a new friendship, it’s normal to address the person by name and build upon past conversations. Starting generic conversations (like talking about the weather) won’t help you build rapport or make the person feel special.

Similarly, when developing customer relationships, your touch points should be as personalized as possible to gain customer satisfaction and trust. In fact, 71% of consumers expect personalized interactions with brands.

While you may not be able to memorize every detail about every customer, you can use a customer relationship management tool (CRM) like Pipedrive or Zoho CRM to save key details and notes about your clients. 

When you get on a phone call or live chat with a customer, you can quickly pull up their profile to retrieve the customer data you need. You won’t have to ask for the same information every time a client reaches out, like their name or date of birth. Instead, you’ll have the context you need to make your customer relationship feel less uninterrupted and more consistent—even if you’re taking over another team member’s conversation.

CRMs also make it possible for you to segment your digital marketing campaigns—or target specific customers based on shared traits—so your messages are directly relevant to their unique needs.

4. Respond to customer feedback

Shoppers know that no brand is perfect. However, the best brands never stop improving the customer experience. Listening to the feedback you receive is a simple yet effective customer engagement strategy you can use to encourage clients to choose your brand again, even if you’ve made a mistake in the past. Stay on top of your online reviews and social media mentions so you can identify trends in customer complaints and address them.

When you add or claim your Yelp Business Page, you can get notifications when a customer reviews your business so you can respond in a timely manner. If you receive a negative review, you can explain how you’re taking initiative to make things right and draw dissatisfied clients back to your brand. When you receive positive reviews, you can reach out to the customer to tell them thank you and invite them back to try other services or products.

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Build a loyal customer base

A brand experience that shows how much you value your clients—whether you’re rewarding them for their purchases or listening to their needs—can be all you need to inspire loyalty and reduce churn (the number of customers who stop buying from your brand). A customer engagement strategy can help you focus your efforts to improve your touchpoints and give every shopper a good reason to be a repeat customer.

To learn more about how you can optimize your customer loyalty efforts, consider these top customer appreciation ideas for small business owners.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.