To say that the way customers shop has changed dramatically is probably the understatement of the year. For decades, people purchased needed items and services by visiting brick-and-mortar stores. Now, with the rise of eCommerce companies, we can purchase virtually everything we need with a few taps on a screen, without ever seeing a person behind the counter.
What is real-time customer engagement? Why is this a challenge?
This change in how we shop is causing companies to take a closer look at how they engage customers in real-time. In a nutshell, real-time customer engagement is the ability to interact with customers in a way that is meaningful to them and will inspire them to make a purchase.
For companies that rely on traditional marketing campaigns to draw in customers—it may be understandably challenging for them to embrace new methods of customer engagement. Professional marketing services can help businesses effectively implement strategies to connect with customers and engage in real-time.
Businesses that engage with customers show increases in profits
While it may be difficult for business owners to adopt a new way of bringing in shoppers and to engage with customers in real-time, the positive proof of this practice is in the proverbial pudding.
Statistics show that businesses that have robust omnichannel customer engagement strategies, and provide their customers with a completely integrated shopping experience, have had an 89% boost in customer retention, when compared to companies with weak omnichannel approaches. In addition, effective customer engagement has been found to contribute to as much as two-thirds of a firm’s profit.
To engage with customers, focus on the “pull” vs. “push”
Traditionally, companies have used a “push” model to attract customers. For example, they would regularly send out, or push information about their products and services through marketing campaigns. Instead, business owners should focus on engagement marketing services and techniques that are designed to “pull” customers in.
As for how to do this, let’s look at 5 key ways to engage customers in real-time.
1. Social media management
Managing social media is especially important for eCommerce businesses that do not interact face-to-face with their customers. In addition to regularly posting content about your company, you should promptly reply to user questions, comments, and concerns.
A good way to engage with customers in real-time on Facebook and other social media sites is to “like” and respond to these comments as quickly as possible. Avoid using Instant Reply features that send automated messages. Most customers want a reply from a real person, not a bot. Consider hiring an employee to monitor accounts and promptly reply to messages, or work with an outside agency.
2. Share your brand vision in an inspiring way
Another way to engage with customers in real-time is to share your brand vision in a way that shows how you are currently impacting the world around you. Remember that people not only want to know what your product does, but also why they should choose your business over others.
For example, one way to inspire and engage with customers is to post on social media about how you donate a percentage of each sale to animal rescue groups or other charities you support.
3. Engage with customers using marketing automation
Marketing automation is also an effective way to engage with customers in real-time. When a potential customer is browsing your website and clicks on pages and/or places an order, your website’s software can be set up to automatically send emails to the person.
The email can be a “welcome to the company” message with a discount that they can use on their first order, or another “onboarding” message that will allow your company to engage with customers and help them feel welcome.
You can continue to use this approach over time; for instance, the software can send out emails wishing the customer Happy Birthday, or reminding them when it’s time for their next service.
4. Real-time customer engagement alerts
To encourage a potential customer to finish the transaction on your website and place the order, you can set up an alert to know when they have reached a certain point in the sales funnel. These “engagement alerts,” as they are called, can also let your sales team know when someone on your website has started putting items in their online cart. This will allow them to engage with customers in real-time, either by reaching out via email or a pop-up message on the website.
5. Engage with customers using live chat
If a potential customer has a question about a product on your company website, getting the information they need in a quick and timely manner can make the difference between completing the sale and having the person go elsewhere.
One way to engage with customers in real-time and answer their questions is with a live chat feature. Research has found that 63% of consumers have a high probability of returning to a website that has this feature, and that conversions are increased by 8-20%.
Regular analyzing of your methods is also important
As you try new ways to engage with customers in real-time, it is important to regularly analyze which approaches are working. Interestingly, research has found that only 23% of businesses use customer insights to actively study what is effective and what needs a bit of tweaking.
At the same time, allow yourself enough time for accurate results; implementing new strategies to engage with customers is a desirable goal, but it may not happen overnight.
Engaged customers are happy and paying customers
Regardless of which ways work best to engage customers in real-time, remember that the overall goal is to involve your customers in a deeper, and more sustained relationship with your company. Create meaningful engagement with customers in real-time by viewing advertising as part of your service rather than an interruption and regularly reflecting on “not how you can sell, but how you can help.”
For more information on how Professional Punch can help your company engage customers in real-time, please visit https://professionalpunch.com/.