We all need to engage with our clients and stakeholders as well as we can. Happy clients mean more potential revenue/profit, longer-term relationships, and recommendations to other potential customers. Never underestimate the value of the social proof a testimonial will provide you. It could be worth tens and tens of thousands of pounds.
So, how do you engage as well as you possibly can? Here are a few pointers for great client engagement:
1. Connect on a human level
People buy from people. Companies are made up of people who, you’ve guessed it,…..buy from people. Don’t be all corporate and formal. Treat every customer as another human being who has the same basic needs as you do. To be heard, respected, liked, approved of, engaged with. The more you engage with your clients on a human level the more they’ll come to see who you are, what you stand for and how important they are to you, as a person (not a company).
2. Create a forum for clients to engage with you and each other
People like to learn new stuff and there’s power in getting like minded people together to discuss topics, challenges, issues, successes and the coolest ways to use your product or service. This has the added benefit of providing lots of additional social proof - a forum of people who have already made a purchase decision for what you have to offer. You’ll gain invaluable feedback and have the opportunity to engage with them more on a human level.
3. Listen to your customers wherever they are communicating
Do they tweet, blog, email you, post questions on LinkedIn groups? Wherever they are communicating engage in a dialogue with them. Answer their questions and add extra value for free. The more you give the more you’ll get back.
4. Create some competition and fun
Tell all your customers that there’s a free widget (or whatever provides amazing value) up for grabs if they enter your competition. It could be to write the funniest stories of how they’ve used your product, or the best photo of them in the craziest place with your product in their hand, or a new product name competition (my daughter got to name a sofa after herself once!). Everyone like a competition and something for free.
5. Bring your clients on the inside
Make one or more of your customers a trusted advisor. When you’re going through a new product development exercise, or looking to brand a subsidiary, or looking for inspiration for a new marketing strategy then engage your most important or influential customers and get their opinion. It will make them feel special and will provide you with some great feedback.
6. Provide extra value for free
You could set up a membership scheme and provide extra resources exclusively to clients. Make sure these add real benefit and value to them and make it clear to everyone that there are exclusive benefits for customers. You can also use this as a way to convert potential customers to paying ones.
7. Engage in their language about what matters to them
Customers buy your product or service because it solves some challenge they have. It’s about them and not you. It’s about what you provide helps them. So, make sure that every time you engage with them it’s about their business or personal needs and discuss how you can help them. If one of your widgets would help that’s brilliant. If it wouldn’t but something else might that you could recommend, then recommend it. The more help you can provide about what matters to them the more they will come back to you.
8. Invite them round for drinks
Okay, so maybe not round to your house unless you have almost no customers or you live in a palace, but to a value you book where you can say thank you face to face over a glass of fizz, or whatever takes your fancy. Obviously it depends on what type of customer you have and the value of business you get as to whether this is affordable, but I’ve known people set these up on a self-funded basis as it’s a great opportunity to share and engage with like minded people.
9. Partner with them and give them film star status
Could it be of value to them to give them airtime on your blog, website, social media feed, or at your conference? Look for opportunities to reward your loyal customers by giving them something that costs you very little but is of significant value to them.
What ideas have you come across for great client engagement? Do you employ any of these, and if so, which ones and how successful have they been ?