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Perspectives

Two Things That Can Improve Customer Engagement Better Than Anything

2018-05-23


By using modern customer engagement techniques such as emotive content and sentiment analysis, today’s organizations can increase both trust and revenue.

Why do companies and organizations spend so much time, effort and money to attract and engage customers? They should just make sure they have the best product, right? Wrong. Data suggests that engaged customers spend 23% more than typical customers, according to a recent survey, while an increase in customer retention of just 2% is equivalent to 10% in cost reductions.

Since consumers are exposed to approximately 3,000 brand messages per day, customer engagement efforts can easily go unnoticed. But there is hope. With the right mix of tailored and emotive messaging, along with surging sentiment analysis, organizations can generate better brand affinity with more passionate customers and ultimately higher profits.

How to Engage Better

When offered a choice, consumers will choose to strengthen ties with the people and organizations who they already know and like. This tendency — combined with search and preference algorithms that exacerbate it — can therefore limit customer engagement via traditional methods such as billboards, banner ads and commercials. 

Engaging with personal ecosystems of information, however, especially social media, are increasingly more effective. But it’s not enough to merely utilize social media or take a more personalized messaging approach. All businesses, including disruptors and incumbents, can use customer engagement effectively by addressing message style, landing and content. Content and style of the message in a client communication is crucial in eliciting a response or desired behavior. 

Evidence suggests that humor and entertainment have greater customer allure than facts and statistics. The best messages are relatable, emotive and have a human-centric design, which is necessary as people, especially online, tend to cluster around shared biases. Emotions outweigh facts. Given innate attention span limits, placing an emotive message in a short, consumable manner is essential. 

This is not to say that facts aren’t useful when reaching out to consumers. Facts can add real weight to an argument but must be used alongside emotive messaging. It has been reported that tweets with a high entertainment value but low news or factual value perform far better in terms of driving audience engagement and traffic than tweets that were heavier in fact and content and lighter on humor. Furthermore, messages that target high arousal emotions spread faster than rational, fact-based ones, our experience suggests.

Messages are most effective when they discuss things that people can directly relate to and are expressed in common, plain language familiar to the audience. In a new communication culture receptive to simple-to-ingest messages, those with emotive content expressed simply will be the most successful. 

Therefore, the best customer engagement techniques seek to identify customer segments of shared biases and tailor messages for these segments, while also seeking to grow their trust equation.

Figure 1

Increasing Trust with Sentiment Analysis

To increase trust, an organization must decrease its perceived self-orientation. A business should not try and actively conceal its self-interest in its customer interactions. However, no one expects a business to be completely altruistic. Instead, it should invest time understanding how best to frame its motive to targets.

Trust reinforces customer engagement as people assign greater weight to reliable sources and are more likely to be motivated to action (or engagement) with a trusted company. Interactions and engagement that seem honest, transparent and fair, as well as resonating with a person’s intrinsic sensibilities, will rapidly increase customer engagement.

To gain the trust of consumers, traditional polling or focus groups would directly ask people for their opinions. This created a host of problems and miscalculations. Sentiment analysis works in a fundamentally different way; it infers peoples’ opinions through the aggregation of vast amounts of online data (usually a data set of 800,000 or more), producing a reflection of organic opinions that have not been artificially requested but rather inferred from the information that people freely offer online.

As data proliferates and is collected for mining, sentiment analysis will only grow in relevance and accuracy. Sentiment analysis can more precisely identify ways to effectively engage specific customer segments than traditional opinion polling methods. These fact-based, data-driven techniques will deliver business advantages by accurately assessing and aggregating customer mood and need.

In today’s digital era, meaningful and accurate customer insight is possible without inconveniencing the audience through polling or focus groups. In our view, sentiment analysis will replace labor and time-intensive polling and will yield more accurate results. People will not be continuously and tediously polled and surveyed for their opinion and reaction; instead, it will be inferred on a macro level, allowing business to build a near real-time, evolving picture of customers and prospects.

Looking Ahead

Customers won’t care about your organization if they don’t feel connected to or inspired by you. Businesses and executives who fail to recognize the need to evolve and adjust their marketing and customer engagement strategies to targets’ need for an emotional connection may find themselves on the outside looking in.

Ultimately, customers will choose to spend money with your company based on how you engage them. Fully engaged retail banking customers, for example, bring in 37% more revenue; in consumer electronics, the number is 44% more, and in the hospitality industry, it’s 46% more, according to Gallup. Customer engagement is vitally important to any organization’s profitability. To prosper, businesses must develop a natural and dynamic engagement strategy.

For additional insights, please read “How to Deliver Exceptional Customer Engagement,” visit our Digital Strategy Practice, or contact us.

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Two Things That Can Improve Customer Engagement Better Than Anything