There are ups and downs in the stock market, in housing prices, in consumer sales. These trends, even though they're important, are something we're used to, so when a new, important business trend comes along we may or may not pay attention.
Engagement is one of the trends you're likely seeing today and may not be paying enough attention to. If you're being bombarded with customer engagement tips, it's time to start listening.
Engagement has gained so much attention recently because it works. It gets people excited about your brand, and is used to increase customer satisfaction and retention. If that's what you're doing, then you're on the right track. If you stop there, or aren't working on engagement at all, then you're still missing out. Excitement, satisfaction, and retention are not the only ways customer engagement can benefit a business.
Currently, most organizations don't tie customer engagement to enough real business processes and outcomes, and because of that, they overlook some major applications. One of these is selling more to current customers. Even if many business people still don't realize it, customer engagement can increase sales to existing customers, improving overall business revenue.
Customer engagement increases existing customer sales both directly, in terms of revenue per customer, and also through the trickle-down effect of other benefits. Here are five of the main ways engagement positively influences current customer sales.
The first of several indirect ways engagement improves sales to existing customers is by growing awareness of your organization's different solutions among your customer base. As customers are kept more engaged and informed through support conversations, emails, and interactions between customers in your portal, you also improve awareness of the variety of solutions your organization offers. Those solutions include different services, product add-ons, updates, and other offers.
When customers participate in your customer portal and online community, they're more likely to look to your other offerings, such as product add-ons, when they have a problem. After all, your customers can't buy a product they've never heard about.
As you engage your customers, you expose them to your brand over and over again. Every time someone logs in to your customer portal, they see your organization's name. Every time they participate in a discussion, they think about your business or product. All of this increases brand awareness, which means that customers are thinking of you more and more often, and are more likely to think of you when they need another solution. That recognition trickles down into revenue and sales when it comes to renewing contracts or purchasing additional products and services.
This engagement and recognition has an extra trust benefit as well. The more you engage your customers, interacting with them through support or Q&As in your customer portal, the more trust you build. When customers trust your brand, they will continue coming to you for products and services to solve their problems.
When customers participate in your customer community, come to events, or visit your website, they leave a trail of insightful data about their interests, priorities, and challenges. That information can be used to determine existing customer buying preferences, pain points, and which products best suit each customer. Sales teams can use that data to discover the best sales opportunities, along with the best ways to pitch and expand your relationship.
If customers are not engaged, they don't provide that activity data. On the flip side, as activity data increases and improves, it's more likely it is that sales people can use the data to get the right offer in front of the right customer, at the right time.
Research has shown that revenue growth is tied to customer engagement. According to PWC, organizations using digital outreach methods forecast higher revenue growth, and Bain & Company found that engaged customers spend between 20% and 40% more than other customers.
Whether they're using social media, an online community platform, or email communication, the more engaged your customers are, the more they'll spend, increasing your revenue per customer.
Increasing customer advocacy is a common goal for many businesses, but not all realize that this works with both new customers and existing customers.
Acquiring new customers generally leverages an advocacy program, where you will identify, engage, recruit and nurture new brand advocates. Your advocates will refer new customers to you, so you can grow your existing customer base.
Often, your engaged customer advocates will also naturally interact with your current customers, leaving comments on blogs or posts in discussion forums about best practices or new uses for your products. This provides new ideas and compelling reasons for your existing customers to purchase new or different products from your business.
Despite focusing on customer engagement as an important trend, many companies are overlooking the full range of benefits that come from engaging customers.
Engaged customers lead to improved satisfaction and retention, as well as increased sales to existing customers through advocacy, high-spend transactions, and brand recognition. When taking these benefits into account it becomes even more important to focus on customer engagement and building lasting relationships with customers.