Customer success is driven by many interrelated factors. One of the most efficient drivers of customer success is customer engagement. Focusing on improving customer engagement can result in a number of positive outcomes that contribute to better customer experiences.
However, customer engagement is a broad term. In this article, we’ll explore some of the reasons strong customer engagement metrics are so important, as well as some steps your customer success team can take to boost customer engagement at your organization.
Customer engagement refers to how actively your customers are using your products or interacting with other aspects of your brand — such as reading blog articles or taking training courses. Providing engaging experiences for customers can foster positive relationships between customers and your brand. When customers are given opportunities to interact with your brand in a positive way, it can have a major impact on successful business outcomes.
So, with that definition in mind, what is customer engagement strategy? Your customer engagement strategy is your plan for how your customer success team will provide customers with these opportunities for engagement.
There are many ways you can improve your brand's customer engagement levels. One of the most effective kinds of customer engagement strategy revolves around using a learning management system like Northpass to create a more accessible customer education academy.
Your customer engagement strategy is responsible for keeping customers interested in what your brand has to offer. Engagement is essential because if customers don’t have a reason to continue using your products or accessing your resources, they may conclude they are no longer receiving any value from your brand.
This puts the customer at a very high risk of churning. Prioritizing an effective customer engagement strategy can help prevent this unfortunate outcome from occurring.
Improving customer engagement at your organization can lead to many different positive outcomes. Here are some of the most compelling answers to the question: “why is customer education important?”
Many customers today consider the experience a brand provides to be just as important as the products they sell. Even if your product is excellent, you still need to prioritize customer engagement in order to keep customers. Customers who don’t receive adequate opportunities to engage with the brand are high churn risks, just like customers who are dissatisfied with products.
Engagement also helps improve time to value. A great example of this can be found in customer education. Your product may solve a problem for a customer and be easy to use once the customer has been trained, but if they never engage with your customer education materials, they’ll never reach the value the product has to offer. Creating engaging customer education content that encourages customers to take an active role in their product education can help them develop the skills and knowledge they need to fully appreciate the products they use.
The more value customers are seeing from your products, the more likely they are to come back for more. By using a customer engagement strategy to improve time to value, you can improve your sales team’s ability to upsell or cross-sell. Increased customer engagement also provides you with more detailed insights that your customer success team can use to personalize customers’ experiences, so they see more relevant content that furthers their relationship with your business.
There’s a lot to learn from general customer engagement theory, but it’s also important to tailor your customer engagement strategy to your organization's specific needs and objectives. The first step of planning your strategy for improving customer engagement should be to set objectives that you hope to accomplish with your strategy. For example, your team’s goal could be to improve customer retention or reduce time to value. Your objectives should be specific to your industry and your business.
Once you’ve identified relevant goals for your business’s engagement strategy, you can develop a customer engagement model around those objectives. The types of actions your customer success team takes to improve engagement will depend on the model you develop. For example, if you want to drive product adoption, you could use a customer engagement model that prioritizes creating more training content that shows customers how they can use your products successfully.
It’s not always easy to measure the success of customer engagement programs. There is no single “customer engagement metric” you can look at to give you a quantitative score. Usually, the best way to measure customer engagement is to track changes in the metrics that customer engagement impacts. You can use metrics like net promoter score or number of active users to determine whether or not your customers are becoming more or less engaged with your brand. You can also look at metrics like customer retention to see whether or not your customer engagement initiatives are having the intended effect.
The team responsible for customer engagement marketing is typically the customer success team. It’s up to customer success managers to get buy-in from upper-level leadership as well. It’s important for the whole organization to be aligned when it comes to customer engagement efforts.
Customer success team members are often the ones who put customer engagement strategies into practice with the kind of customer experience they create and in their interactions with customers — however, any member of any team that interacts with customers (such as sales or marketing) can contribute toward customer engagement objectives.
A crucial part of your customer engagement strategy is the types of customer engagement activities you use. Using fun customer engagement ideas can help you convince customers to take a more intentional approach to interacting with your brand and products. Here are a few customer engagement event ideas to help you get started:
Self-service customer support is a great way to make it easy for customers to engage and learn more about your products. You can use learning management software to set up embedded training content directly within your software so customers can learn as they go. This can be a very effective way to get customers to engage more heavily in the learning process because they are presented with bite-sized, hands-on learning opportunities.
Your customers may be able to share knowledge to improve each other’s customer experiences. Of course, there are many times when customers need information straight from your company’s engagement materials, but there are also times when a community discussion could be more productive.
You can try hosting periodic events for your customer base where you invite your most valuable customers to learn more about what’s new in your industry. This can be a great way to keep your business top-of-mind for your customers and show them that you care about creating value for them apart from your products.
Customer engagement initiatives are often spearheaded by the customer success team, but they can also extend throughout nearly every corner of the organization. Customer engagement is not limited to just one point in the customer journey. The customer success team plays a large role with tasks like creating an engagement strategy and developing customer education content, but other departments can contribute in many different ways.
Your customers have numerous touchpoints with your business throughout the customer journey. These could include everything from the onboarding experience to customer support interactions years down the line.
An effective customer engagement strategy does not fixate on one of these touchpoints but rather attempts to improve engagement opportunities across the board. Some may use some sort of customer engagement test to see how engaged customers are at different points in their journey. Spreading customer engagement actions throughout every touchpoint and every department can help you create more effective customer engagement campaigns.
There’s a wide variety of customer engagement examples you can use to improve your organization’s customer experience. Many of the best illustrations are digital customer engagement examples that seek to improve online customer interactions. Let’s look closer at a few different customer engagement use cases that demonstrate some of the different aspects of customer engagement.
One of the most important types of engagement is engagement with your customer training content. Effective customer training is essential for enabling your customers to use products effectively and get value from them. When it’s difficult for customers to access your training content, they are less likely to engage with it, and metrics like time to value and product adoption may suffer as a result. By using a learning management system like Northpass to provide customers with quick, convenient access to customer education materials, you can greatly improve customer training engagement levels.
Another critical type of customer engagement is product usage. Product usage refers to customer behavior while using your product. This could relate to the frequency with which customers use products or the types of features they tend to use more than others. Tracking product usage enables you to take steps to encourage customers to engage in ways they currently aren't. For example, if customers aren’t using a particular feature very often, you may be able to increase engagement by improving the feature and making it more applicable to your customers’ needs.