7 Customer Engagement Trends of 2019
By Jane Garfinkel - Review Response Specialist
Customer engagement has changed significantly since the rise of the internet and will continue to change as technology evolves. Standards have also shifted and, according to research from Salesforce, “54% of consumers think companies need to fundamentally transform how they engage.” So what are customers looking for when they decide which business to patronize? We’ve listed seven engagement trends for 2019.
1. A variety of communication channels
A phone number on your Google My Business page isn’t going to cut it anymore. Customers need to be able to contact you whichever way is most comfortable for them. This could mean by email, Facebook, Twitter, a chatbot on your website, or text message. Providing a variety of communication options gives your business the best chance of starting conversations with potential customers, increasing your odds of making a sale.
2. Consistent follow-up
No matter how they get in touch with your business, customers expect an answer. For example, seven out of ten Twitter users expect a company they’ve tweeted at to respond. Ensure that you’re managing all lines of communication so that no one gets the cold shoulder. Letting even a single message slip through the cracks could mean handing business over to your competitors.
3. Fast delivery of products and service
Once Amazon introduced its Prime subscription service, two-day shipping became the standard. Speedy delivery isn’t the only thing that customers have gotten used to. When it comes to online reviews, 52% of people expect a response within seven days while 21% of people expect a response within 24 hours. Timeliness is especially important for unhappy customers; they won’t care about your apology if it arrives six months after they’ve complained. Prioritize responding to your unsatisfied guests and you may be able to resolve their issues and earn back their trust.
4. An omni-channel approach
If a customer has already explained their grievances to one employee, they won’t be excited to tell the entire story over again to someone else. This is why it’s so important that all communications are carefully documented and made easily accessible to the entire staff. In other words, your business should use an omni-channel strategy. This organizational structure is specifically designed to create cooperative communication channels that deliver a seamless customer service experience to guests, regardless of how they choose to contact a business.
5. A personalized approach
Artificial intelligence is the future, but this doesn’t mean that people want to speak to robots. In fact, when it comes to choosing the business they patronize, 84% of customers say it’s important to be treated like a person, not a number. While it’s alright to use technology to make your engagement process run smoothly, every message you send should sound like it’s coming from a human. Address people by their name, mention details that are specific to their situation, and give them an option to easily reach someone by phone. Even processes that are automated must be carefully supervised to ensure that your customers don’t feel like they’re on a conveyor belt.
6. Looking beyond the sale
The end goal of your business is to make a profit, but this shouldn’t be at the forefront of how you represent your brand. People don’t want their Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines to be full of advertisements; they want to follow accounts that post helpful and entertaining information. To put it simply, consumers expect to benefit from corporate content without having to purchase something first. Evaluate your company’s social media presence and make sure that you’re offering readers more than a sales pitch.
7. Constant adaptation
Modern consumers understand that their voice is important. But more than simply having their personal issues resolved, they expect businesses to utilize their comments to better their service overall. Considering that customers know better than anyone else where businesses need improvement, their feedback is priceless. As the messages flood in through your Twitter, Facebook, online reviews, and otherwise, look for concerning patterns and notify the proper department heads so they can take action. Not only will you become a better business as a result, showing your willingness to improve is a crucial step to earning customers for life.
As customer engagement methods continue to change, it's important that you stay on top of the trends. Services like Widewail make it easy for local businesses to harness technology and engage with their customers through Facebook comments, online reviews, and Google Questions and Answers. For more information, click here.