Your customer engagement program is one of the most valuable investments that your business can make toward customer loyalty and satisfaction. B2B customer engagement requires a variety of different approaches ranging from low-tech to high-tech solutions, in addition to guidance from a Customer Success Manager. But everyone’s working around the same challenge: lack of time.
So how do you provide a personalized, tailored, high-impact, and positive touch as your company grows?
Having a range of customer engagement tactics (including a good assortment of customer engagement software) can help ensure that your program is robust for everyone, no matter which tier your customer falls into.
1. Build an Online Customer Community
Too often, customer engagement strategies are limited to 1:1 and 1:many tactics – they’re missing a crucial element, which is customers engaging with each other (many:many). Building an online customer community is a great way to bring your customers all together, and then engage them at scale.
Customers can log into your branded, central platform to explore answers to questions, communicate with their peers, and engage with learning material.
You can think of an online community as a digital hub for connecting your people, wherever they are. Every community begins with a core strategy for bringing customers together. Example use cases or types of communities include networking, support, discussion threads, industry education, and brand communications (e.g. Ask the Expert sessions, new product launches, online events).
2. Create a Digital Awards Program
Want to show customers some love and build loyalty? Try building a customer awards program.
“We did a digital awards program that was incredibly successful from both a customer, company, and prospect perspective. We tiered our awards into an inspire, explain, do campaign that allowed others to engage in the journey in a meaningful way.
- Inspire – interviewed the winner’s boss to publicly celebrate them on social
- Explain – a short 5-10 min video interview with winner discussing why they won the award
- Do – a webinar diving into the how and what the winner did to achieve success
We celebrated 17 customers in 3 categories across 4 lines of business. The results were incredible, from engagement, to customer visibility, to opportunities. We saw customers getting celebrated and awarded internally by their organizations, we saw new deals (net new, upsells, cross-sells) come in, and most importantly, we were able to drive awareness from social to our website without paid advertising by demonstrating that helping sells.”
3. Host Office Hours
A unique way to get customers engaged is to host a virtual, interactive event for your customers. Call it curated networking, a virtual roundtable, office hours – whatever you want, but the main point is to get your customers connecting to talk about professional development or industry topics. Plus, it gives you visibility into valuable peer-to-peer conversations.
For example, Change Healthcare, a healthcare technology company, runs regular office hours for customers to get to know each other and ask support questions. Another Engagement Expert shares how it works:
“Support office hours have been one of the most successful [engagement] activities we’ve been running. These are office hours where our customers can join either on a call or in our discussion forums and ask questions. This helps a lot of new users to get over the fear of posting for the first time and to also interact with other customers / users that are like them.”
Aslan Nogre-kar, VP, Enterprise Community, Change Healthcare
4. Set Up In-App Notifications
Effective customer engagement (and communications) means you’re connecting customers with the right information, at the right time. But preventing customer information overload is a big challenge for customer-facing professionals.
When it comes to communicating product changes, in-app notifications can be helpful for communicating key details, concisely, in well-defined situational moments. These communication vehicles are user experience (UX) driven, meaning that you’ll likely need a strong analytics picture for how people move through your software user flows.
5. Enlist a Chatbot
With a messaging or chatbot app, you can build automated workflows for things like onboarding as new users purchase your software. They can also help you set up product tours, new feature alerts, and re-engagement messaging, saving your team time and giving customers a clear path to success. You can think of a chatbot as a solution for automating customer conversations at scale.
To build up the sophistication of your chatbots, integrate your technology with additional platforms. For instance, you can integrate your chatbot with your CRM, email automation solutions, and content management platforms to support a high degree of personalization.
6. Send Out Newsletters
In 2019, eMarketer found that email remains the top digital activity compared to using search engines, watching digital videos, and using social media.
A newsletter can help you group similar information to reduce the number of emails customers receive from you. Want to hear more about the concept of “protecting the customer’s inbox”? Four customer marketing leaders dove into that idea in this session.
You can schedule this newsletter outreach to take place daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly — choose a cadence that makes sense for your unique audience.
7. Build a Knowledge Base
One of the most effective ways to engage your customers is to give them self-service options. Plus, it saves your team time. Rather than having customers reach out directly with questions or submit support tickets, you can give them ways to effectively answer questions on their own. Creating a knowledge base can be a large piece of this puzzle. You can even host your knowledge base and online community together for a more cohesive digital customer experience.
Bonus Tip: Do Things That Scale, But Don’t Forget Impact
Sometimes things that aren’t low-touch and don’t scale are very successful at engaging customers. For example, try sending handwritten thank-you notes to customers. Did they take 30 minutes to speak to you on the phone? Did they provide a quote for a landing page? Drop a note in the mail. And if you really need to, you can make this scale – hire a company to send notes out or get a handful of employees to help out.
Senior Customer Experience Enablement Manager
Britt works with the Customer Experience Operations team to formalize, streamline, and fortify internal and customer-facing processes. With several teams operating in Higher Logic’s CX organization, Britt supports efforts at the team and company levels, promoting cross-functional collaboration and customer-first thinking. She thrives in environments where she can put her organization and problem-solving skills to the test while delighting her Higher Logic customers and peers with thoughtful solutions.
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