Engaged customers are the ideal customers to have. In the telco world, fierce competition and high customer expectations make winning and keeping customers extremely difficult for telcos to do.
Customer experience has become the battleground for winning customer attention and support and telcos need to do all they can to keep their customers engaged and focused on their brand and services to prevent customers from migrating to a competitor who catches their attention.
Aside from being more loyal, engaged customers also spend more on average. Research shows that engaged customers spend 90% more frequently and 60% more per transaction.
So how can telcos drive better customer engagement? Your customers are not all the same and applying a ‘blanket’ engagement strategy for every customer won’t work.
The key to effective customer engagement is utilizing a long-term engagement strategy that engages a customer throughout the customer lifecycle.
Steps For Driving Engagement Across the Customer Lifecycle
To better understand how to engage customers at different points in their buying journey, we need to take a closer look at the stages of the customer lifecycle.
The awareness stage begins the moment a customer first hears about your brand or store. Typically, a customer will already be familiar with your business before they land on your webpage either through word-of-mouth, social media marketing or other digital marketing tactics.
To get customers to your website, you need to lay the groundwork for their awareness. While word-of-mouth recommendations are great, they won’t be enough to drive significant traffic to your website.
You need to focus on engaging a customer through awareness marketing like social media marketing, PPC (pay-per-click) advertising, and other online advertising strategies.
Once a customer becomes aware of your brand, products or store, they’ll slowly start to engage. They might take a look at one of your social media pages, or they might do more extensive research into your brand and products and cross-examine them with some of your competitors. They’ll also start paying attention to the conversations taking place on your social media channels.
After a customer has started engaging with you, you have the green light to begin directly engaging with them. The key here is to be subtle and not overwhelm them with marketing material and communications.
If customers have visited your site, products or social media pages, you can subtly reinforce brand awareness through retargeted advertising with the help of tools like Google Ads and Facebook retargeting. If a customer left their details, you could craft a friendly, no-pressure welcome email to make contact.
No matter how savvy your marketing might be, customers will always do their own research and evaluation on your products and services. It’s in your best interest to have as much information as possible online about your products but customers will want to look at other customer reviews and experiences to develop a sense of trust in your brand.
Make sure you have a good amount of online reviews easily accessible for customers to review, either on your website or linked to your Google business page.
Try to position your best reviews as high as possible but also be transparent and don’t hide all the negative ones. Rather respond to them directly and address the customer’s grievance. This will show that you’re dedicated to helping your customers no matter the issue which will build customer confidence and trust.
Many businesses drive their focus on pushing the customer into the purchase stage as they see it as the final step in the customer lifecycle.
While this step is important, it’s not the last step and businesses shouldn’t hang up their efforts once customers reach this stage. Here customers will decide whether they want to go ahead and buy from you or head to a competitor or abandon their purchase completely.
Some customers may decide they want to buy from you but abandon their cart at checkout. This could be due to unexpected additional costs, high shipping fees or external distractions. Whatever the reason might be, it’s essential that you figure out why they’ve abandoned their cart.
Send automated reminder emails to customers about their cart and, if they still don’t purchase, follow up with an email asking them why they didn’t purchase with several options for them to select. Understanding why a customer is abandoning their cart is crucial to reducing cart abandonment rates.
It’s also possible that the customer simply abandoned their cart because they switched devices and found that their shopping cart was empty on the new device, which is why it’s important to offer omni-channel services to create a seamless customer experience.
If your customer does make their purchase, they may want support and guidance while purchasing. Offering live support in the form of chatbots to help customers find quick answers can increase their chance of purchasing.
It’s common knowledge that it’s generally much cheaper to retain an existing customer than to find, nurture and onboard a new one. But winning a customer is only half the battle, you now need to work to keep your customer within the customer lifecycle.
It’s not enough to provide high-quality products or high-value services, you need to offer exceptional ongoing support and personalized engagement to prevent them from becoming a once-off buyer.
Sending post-purchase messages can help to maintain customer attention and keep your brand at the forefront of a customer’s mind. Once a customer has made a purchase, it’s possible to send personalized product recommendations and engagement emails reminding customers of your support channels or upcoming promotions.
The advocacy stage is the final stage in the customer lifecycle, but it helps to keep the customer lifecycle active. At this stage, you’ll either win or lose a loyal customer through forming and nurturing a relationship with them.
By constantly engaging with a customer through relevant, targeted communication, you can keep them in the customer lifecycle, making them a potentially life-long customer. If you work to create a good relationship with your customer, they won’t just be a lifelong customer, they’ll become an unofficial spokesperson for your brand, recommending your business to family and friends.
Retention marketing strategies can help you to build lasting customer relationships. Communicating through marketing emails and sending recommendations for products will keep your customer engaged and more likely to make a repeat purchase.
Offering them incentives for staying a customer, like a rewards program and members-only discounts will give them more reason to stay loyal to you indefinitely, provided you’re also supplying excellent customer service.
Each stage of the customer lifecycle is unique to the buyer’s journey. It’s important to approach every stage with a unique marketing and engagement strategy that will maximize your customer engagement and push your customers through the lifecycle, so they can eventually become committed, long-term customers of your brand.