5 Tips For Successful Customer Engagement

Brian Cantor

The following initially appeared in CCW Digital's Special Report on Customer Engagement. Download your copy here.

Given its pivotal impact on the customer experience, customer engagement requires more than a few quick fixes.  It requires a deep, multi-faceted strategic dive.  It requires the joint application of longstanding best practices and cutting-edge innovations.

There are nonetheless some fundamental elements of all customer engagement.  Cognizant of why and where today’s customers are engaging, CCW Digital developed a five-piece customer engagement toolkit:

1)      Know the issue:

You should never judge a book by its cover, and you should never make assumptions about customer interactions.

When engaging with customers, ensure you truly understand why they are connecting.  What went wrong – in their eyes?  What is the harm of the situation – from their perspective?

Agents must be trained to properly capture this insight.  Systems, moreover, must be capable of storing and readily communicating this information at all touch points.

2)      Know the channel:

Where a customer chooses to engage may not be as consequential as why the customer chooses to engage, but it is still an important part of the interaction.  Each channel presents different expectations for response rate, complexity and tone, and the business needs to adapt accordingly.

3)      Know the personality:

Great engagement is not simply personable.  It is also personalized.  The most productive interactions – the ones that generate the most loyalty – are tailored to the specific customer.  Customers have different preferences when it comes to conversation length, tone, emotion and verbiage, and the most customer-centric businesses (and agents) account for these factors.

4)      Know the solution:

Customers rarely make contact for the sake of blindly venting.  They have a clear sense of what they want – an answer to a specific question, a solution to a specific problem – and they hold the business accountable for delivering that desired outcome.

That desired outcome must serve as a guiding light for the business and its agents.  They must accurately identify the customer’s preferred solution at the onset of the call.  From that point forward, every action they take should bring the customer closer to the target destination.

5)      Know the true value

The solution is the goal of the individual interaction, but what is the goal of the overall relationship?  What value does the customer ultimately hope to gain by doing business with a company?

That overarching objective must always be top-of-mind when interacting with customers.  Each interaction, after all, is but one moment in a longer (if not indefinite) journey.

Customer-centric organizations do not simply solve problems during the course of an interaction; they strengthen relationships.