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Transitioning From Customer Service To Customer Engagement

Companies focusing on the customer need to up their game.

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Companies focusing on the customer need to up their game.

Opinions

Transitioning From Customer Service To Customer Engagement

Companies focusing on the customer need to up their game.

Share this article

Customer service has always been considered key to a successful business. Well known phrases such as ‘the customer is always right’ have driven the way that many good businesses operate.

Undoubtedly, good customer service will always be important, but businesses need to find a way to take it to the next level. Enter, customer engagement.

Customer service versus customer engagement

Before a business can start to work with the idea of customer engagement, they need to understand what it is and how it differs from customer service. Expectations around good customer service include listening to a customer’s needs, such as a problem or complaint.

They also include trying to resolve the customer’s problem or complaint by offering a solution to the customer’s needs. Fair enough.

Customer engagement takes this one step further and involves actively seeking out the customers to find out what they need, want or don’t like. It means actually listening to them, wherever they are choosing to communicate, and involving them in the process of resolving any complaints, rather than just responding to them. Imagine!

Why transition to customer engagement?

Understanding the difference between customer service and customer engagement is not always enough to encourage a business to evolve. Businesses need to understand how customer engagement will benefit them. There are four main reasons for them to consider.

1 – Customers can find a business everywhere

Customers are able to access a business in many different ways – on social media platforms like Twitter, in person, on the phone and on the internet. These avenues offer two-way communication so if a business is not listening and participating, they are missing a huge opportunity.

Interactions can be more personal. Engaging with customers on the platform of their choosing gives a business the chance to connect with customers in a way that can lead to a lifelong relationship.

2 – Systems are in place to make it easy

There was a time when engaging customers and finding out what they think, want and need was difficult and required the resources that only the biggest companies could afford. But now effective social listening and analysis can give businesses a real insight, accurate intelligence, about their customers and their motivations. This can help in making the customer experience better.

3 – The benefits go both ways

When a customer is able to engage with a business, they will feel like the company is listening to them, whether that is via a social media platform or via a forum discussion, and that their opinion matters. It gives many customers the sense that they have made a difference.

For the business, it provides them with more information on ways they can improve their service or product. It helps to identify and improve areas of weakness as well as helping them to emphasise the things they are doing well.

4 – Essentially, it’s marketing

Customer service is in place to solve problems that arise. Customer engagement is in place to help the business serve all of their customers better. Because customer engagement is implemented through many different outlets, it can also be an effective part of a marketing plan.

In many ways, it can be used in the same way that “word of mouth” advertising has been used as part of a traditional marketing strategy. The more customers talk about a business in a positive way, the better it is for the business.

Customer engagement is the future

It is also important to think beyond well-established platforms like Twitter and think about the future of social for customer engagement. There is so much social data out there that simply isn’t used, thanks to the prevalence of the big players.

However, it is our belief that this is the perfect time to move on and find new social networks and data sources. From niche pilot forums, French parenting networks, the Chinese social global expansion to Amazon Reviews, there’s many a rock unturned.

It’s time for businesses of all sizes to go rock-hunting. Not only for new platforms but for new insights, new ways to engage and new customers.

Smaller businesses may not have access to the same resources that big businesses have, but that doesn’t mean they cannot take advantage of what customer engagement has to offer. In fact, small businesses have an edge here - great small businesses have always used incredible service as their secret weapon.

The great butchers, the bike shop, the plumber who never had to advertise! Businesses need to realise that customer engagement is driven by the customers; the goal is to take what is learned from the customers and to utilise this in the business – leading to more success.

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Transitioning From Customer Service To Customer Engagement

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