I read in a recent blog from Forbes that the rate of engaging customers and prospects through social media and its growth in adoption have been growing. They conducted a survey to see how people are using social media for their company and there’s been an increase from 57.5% (2011) to 76.9% (2012) for monitoring what people are saying about their brands. Surprisingly, there was a decrease from 71.7% (2011) to 60.6% (2012) in using social media to prospect for new customers. But should this really come as a surprise?

As much as companies want to keep bringing on brand new customers, they also realize the importance and value of their existing ones. By engaging in more conversations and understanding their behaviors, companies can tap into the true potential of each customer’s lifetime value. A happy customer is a valuable customer indeed. Bring on the loyalty, bring on the conversions!

Though one thing I should point out is that engagement should not be limited to the sales/marketing cycle only. There is more than one touch point for the customer and the brand, such as customer service, social media or the website. Customer engagement is not just about engagement on external social media; products and services are becoming social and analyzing usage is more important than listening on Twitter. The true goal of customer engagement should lead down the path to customer success. Yes, use social media as a tool to help find live conversations but also dig deeper into the customer experience to find the indicators of how engaged they truly are (i.e. are they brand advocates, do they actively come back to your site) and help them find value in your service or product.

With increased competition and self-directed buyers,  those who understand usage have a huge winning advantage. Information regarding usage is the number one predictor of product adoption, conversion and loyalty. You can count on it for capturing value throughout the customer lifecycle, from trial to conversion to upsell to retention. Thanks to the convenience of having everything online, it’s possible to capture all this big data on usage with low cost and overhead.

Customer engagement fever is catching on, and everyone wants to be infected.


 

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