When it comes to customer engagement, the best brand experiences are always going to be personal, relevant and timely. For many companies, achieving that goal can be very challenging if their technology and strategy haven’t kept pace. It’s critical for companies to address this as these aren’t only great brand experiences—they’re key consumer demands. Research shows that consumers get frustrated and will look elsewhere if their experiences aren’t personal, relevant and timely.
To help out, let’s take a look at four key principles that brands should keep in mind to support better experiences for their customers:
1. Embrace a life cycle mindset.
Your company’s customer engagement efforts can have a significant impact on your audience and how they engage with your brand. That said, great marketing isn’t about pestering customers to take actions they aren’t inclined to take—it’s about finding ways to better understand your audience’s actual needs and using the tools at your disposal to highlight how your brand can satisfy them.
With the right data collection program, you can learn when customers are likely to engage, what experiences appeal to them, and a lot more. But you’ll also learn that your customers each have their own unique life cycle, where they move through periods of greater or lesser engagement. With a life cycle-based approach, you can stop bothering customers who aren’t open to a sales pitch right now and focus on matching the messages you send to each user’s current circumstances. That’s how you build strong relationships.
2. Don’t focus on the channel—focus on the experience.
Too many marketers think about their campaigns in terms of channel, instead of foregrounding what they’re trying to communicate. Channels are useful, but experiences are what consumers care about. For example, if you find yourself sending one of your users three emails in a day, ask yourself: Could one of those emails have been a push notification instead? Could one have waited for tomorrow?
Great marketing requires a channel-agnostic approach to communicating with customers and visibility into the level of marketing pressure each recipient is feeling. If you don’t have the right tools—or your tools aren’t talking to each other—you won’t be able to serve up an appealing customer experience.
3. Set clear expectations with your customers.
Customers don’t tend to stick around when a brand lets them down. Most of the time, when users have a broken, frustrating experience with your brand, it’s a sign that you’ve failed to set realistic expectations, leaving them expecting something other than what you’ve delivered.
With modern messaging, it’s possible to clearly communicate what to expect and where things stand in the moment. You can let users know when an order has been placed and keep them informed when a delay occurs by automatically triggering a notification with updates. These proactive steps reduce the chances that they’re blindsided by a negative issue and supports a brand experience built on transparency and clear communication for every customer.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
No brand sets out to annoy its customers with irrelevant messages or frustrating experiences. But the only way to avoid that fate is for your company to really understand your customers’ wants, needs and behaviors in order to customize the brand experiences you’re serving up. A great deal of that information can be automatically gathered from your app or website, but sometimes the best way to find out what your customers want is to go ahead and ask them.
At Braze, we’ve seen brands successfully use in-app messages to query customers about what they are and aren’t interested in when it comes to future communications, saving marketers a lot of time and energy while helping them provide better experiences going forward. Ultimately, knowledge is power—and these kinds of first-party insights can make it much easier for you to directly target, segment and personalize the messages you send your customers, allowing your brand’s value to shine through.
Bringing the principles together
Customers make your business possible—and effective customer engagement is essential in today’s challenging business environment. But it takes the right mix of actionable data, best-in-class technology, forward-looking strategy and teamwork to make it all possible.
To help brands reach their customer engagement goals, Braze gathered insights from our internal teams, our roster of global clients and our data-driven research initiatives. Braze's eBook "Humanity in Action" offers a comprehensive look at what customer engagement is, why it matters and what you need to know about it.