One-third of innovating businesses say that customers are their most innovative partners. The customer is the king who defines and drives innovation. The company may set out its brand promise, but it is the customer who decides if the company delivered on its promise.
According to the PWC, 54% of companies say customer engagement strategy helps define innovation from early-stage product ideation. Idea-generation and real-time customer engagement are definitely playing an important role in innovation.
Significance of Innovation in the 21st century
Innovation, these days revolves around gaining an understanding of the business and customer perspectives. Businesses delivering value to customers, gain competitive advantage too.
Innovation enables businesses to provide unique solutions to customers and add values in diverse ways to the existing market. So, instead of just depending upon the internal knowledge circulation within a company, people need to draw on ideas from external sources too.
Networking with peers allows executives to see potential risks and learn from other businesses’ experiences. Innovators who think on their foot recognize that customer engagement is at the heart of outstanding customer service.
Companies on a global scale now understand that there is a big return of investment that comes from improving the customer experience. Customer engagement is the important key here and only innovative enterprises understand the context.
Super Effective Customer Engagement Ideas
1. Be Emotive
One of the most powerful of building an emotional bond with your customers is to assure them they are dealing with an individual, not a faceless business. Show your human side when communicating with your customers.
- Always send a personalized message or note whenever you have a new Twitter follower, email, or a message on your social media. One of the most effective ways of welcoming a new member to your online community.
- Use team member images on online forums and social media channels instead of the brand logo. Having a specialist reply to your customer queries is an excellent way to address the problems and to create a relationship.
- Choose someone from your team to be the face of the online community. Make someone your brand ambassador like Steve Jobs was for Apple.
80% of individuals admit that companies don’t customize the products or services according to their preferences or needs. However, brands like Amazon and Netflix are leveraging personalization and so, smaller businesses must learn from their strategies to capitalize on the current market trends.
For example, Alexa has data collected on its customer needs. The more it learns, the simpler it is for customers to purchase products of their choice.
Soon, there will be a time when many of the Google searches will be based on voice only. This radical change means that customer excitement will be of utmost importance in the days ahead.
3. Survey your Customers
To excite customers, marketers must read their behavior patterns. If business enterprises use all-inclusive analytics to comprehend data and execute necessary changes, surveys can be really a massive tool. Go for short and sweet online surveys, as customers might get reluctant in filling up a long survey.
When following up on the customers, you may ask a few questions or create a poll on social media platforms. Make good business decisions using the data and help your team members to make a better understanding of the target market.
4. Run a Contest
We all love and adore getting free prizes. Leverage and hold a contest on social media. This will help you grab your audience’s attention and, as you reward them for active participation, engagement will increase too. More comments, more shares, and a big customer base.
For instance, you can ask your customers to share creative images and tag your brand and the selected winners receive a free one-year membership to your service or a product. While running these contests doesn’t really contribute to brand loyalty in the long run, but it can be an impressive way to build a relationship.
Also, provide your customers with exclusive offers such as case study, 10% off coupon for being subscribers to your email. You can even release exclusive deals on your website and remind your customers when those will be released.
5. Creative Product Packaging
According to the APA, 39 seconds is what it takes to build a first impression on customers. Once the customer forms an opinion, stick by it. The world’s most reputed brands emphasize on developing outstanding unboxing experiences.
For instance, Apple has a packaging room that is specifically designed to create an experience that is full of emotions when a customer opens the box.
As a business leader, if you desire to create an outstanding unboxing experience for your clients, choose to hire professional services. To name a few brands like: Google, HP, Shopify use outside service providers to build desirable customer experiences.
6. Build a Purpose-Driven Brand
Millennials and Generation X resonate with companies who share the same ideals and causes. According to the latest research, it has been found that 73% of customers are eager to support businesses and enterprises for engaging in meaningful activities whereas only 5% think companies actively take part in social causes.
For instance, IKEA company is one such brand that emphasizes sustainability. They purchase half of the wood from forests, rigorously use solar cells and monitor water wastage too.
7. Bring Newness
As per the recent study by NBC, pumpkin spice in the fall brought back the childhood memories at its best. This is one reason Starbucks experienced an immense success when they launched their pumpkin spice latte in 2003. In fact, the demand was so high that the supply shrank.
The Starbucks took a calculated risk in bringing in the spice latte and it truly paid off. This is a great lesson for business leaders that it does not hurt much to try fresh things and as a leader, be daring so everyone in the team follows back and surprises the organization with outstanding results.
8. Focus on 4 ‘I’s
Customer engagement has 4 objectives; interaction, involvement, influence and intimacy. As a business leader, you can accomplish these four objectives, you can strengthen long-term engagement and advocacy towards your business.
These would foster an open and diverse culture, allowing everyone in the organization to share their ideas and develop their followers.
If you are new to the concept of customer engagement, the four ‘I’s offer an outstanding beginning point to help you get to the heart of the customers and serve them with the best only.
9. Add Value
Value does not lie in giving away the free stuff or giveaways. Rather, it’s about providing the customers what they are looking for. For example, customers are always ready to subscribe to Amazon Prime for the extra value they receive at such a nominal price. Isn’t it just amazing that you get to binge-watch your favorite series after a tiring working day?
We all know Amazon is known for its fast shipping globally and when customers get cloud storage, music, movies and excellent customer support; it’s like a cherry on the cake.
10. Learn from Failures
Nobody can teach you better than your unhappy customers. Those who cannot engage with your brand can provide you with the most valuable feedback and suggestions that may change the things around.
By fully analyzing the feedback and customer data, your business gains some interesting insights into what really works and what not for your business growth. It would be a brilliant opportunity for you to leverage the knowledge to change the plans and accomplish the objectives on time.
Is Customer Engagement the New frontier in Business Innovation?
In the world of digitization, customers are also producers so customers want to be treated as partners, not just the buyer of product or service.
The question is, do consumers adopt an innovation, or do innovations persuade consumers to adopt? Well, there are many assumptions:
- Some may say that consumers do not adopt innovations. Instead, innovations ask consumers to practice fresh ways of doing things.
- A lot of companies consider hiring fresh blood in pursuing breakthrough products. There is actually no harm in having the best people in the team. But, there are many factors too, such as knowing the customer’s behavior instead of just trying to leverage opportunities through internal lenses.
As a business owner, if you want your consumers to adapt to new behaviors, then first understand the ‘why’ behind their buying decisions.
There are some interesting examples of how companies engage customers to fuel innovation growth. Let’s have a look at some of them below:
- Seek feedback and suggestions from those who are well-aware of your brand and the industry. As product users, they can share insights on the advantages and disadvantages of your offerings.
- Engaging your customers in co-innovation is an excellent way to help them get involved with your brand. For instance, Pizza Hut with the help of a multi-channel customer engagement system captures and makes the most of big customer data. The software allows the company to bifurcate the enormous customer base into several clusters and mini clusters based upon purchase tendencies and behavioral indicators.
- If you are looking to make your upcoming product or service offering innovative, you need to find the right approach to transform your customers. Consistent engagement through social media is pivotal if you want to build a trust factor.
Henceforth, there is no dearth of effective ways for business entrepreneurs and leaders to evoke excitement in the minds of consumers. But, the common aspect of these customer engagement tips would be to put the consumer first. Yes, you heard it right!
When customers become a central focus of your business, it will be less difficult to devise innovative approaches to excel in customer engagement.
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