Keep customer at the focal point
Customer may not be the king but he certainly is the focal point where all your efforts converge. Hence it is of prime significance that you wear the same suit, same shoes, look through the same lens and stand on the same ground as your customer does. In short engage your customer using effective strategies and ideas to entice & delight them.
Equally important is to strike the right set of chords the very first time and eventually evolve it into continuous endeavour in the long term. Also, this is not a solo gamble and you should take your customers on-board as much as you yourself.
In the subsequent text, we will reflect upon a systematic approach to engage your customers. Engagement helps you build a lasting relationship with the customers, and hence get a share of his heart, mind and wallet.
Know your customers
It is highly essential to know the characteristics of your customers like their demographics, interests, beliefs and aspirations.
– Whom you plan to sell your products and services to?
To prepare a sketch of the segment or consumer, try to discover: where does She come from, what are her cultural and social values, what is her financial status, what is her educational level, what is her profession and so on. The deeper the insights you can have, better it is.
– What are your target segment’s reasons or criteria for purchase or why they will choose you over others?
Simply put, how coincident is your value proposition with consumers’ criteria.
– What does your customer expect from you and how does he perceive you?
Customer expectations and perceptions are influenced greatly by your competition, customers’ past experiences, their cost of efforts, your status as a provider and even by other customers. The key to positive perception is to win their appreciation each time. Finally, the social connectedness of the customers at individual and group level is also an important consideration.
Know your ambitions
Your own ambitions are important too while determining the best engagement strategy.
– Whether you expect your customer to make infrequent but high value purchases or more frequent low value purchases or any combination of these;
– Whether your focus is volumes or you want high margins;
– Whether you want to expand horizontally along few product lines or vertically across multiple product lines;
– What’s the minimum level of return you want on your investment;
– What are your other aspirations and ambitions at business and personal level;
Decide level of engagement – Individual or Group
You should determine if engagement at individual level or at group level would produce mutually rewarding benefits. A time tested strategy has been to involve groups as to encourage network formations and subsequent synergies to grow the network. But this high reward comes with higher risk as well: the risk of sudden, network-wide customer churn. On the other hand individual engagement has a longer gestation period and takes time to evolve into the required scale. A combination of the two should work best with micro and macro level strategies deployed together.
In a nutshell, the components of your customer engagement strategy should derive from a multitude of customer facing as well as personal attributes.
To sum it up, a strong understanding of all four is vital for the committed resources to realize desired business objectives..
In subsequent discussions we will try to give our perspectives on how different companies use supercharged efforts to engage with their customers.
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