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5 Ways Startups Can Improve Their Customer Engagement

Customer engagement is the surest revenue driver — here are tips on how to improve your business through it.

To be able to grow and scale, every startup needs to build strong customer relationships and engage in ways that add more value not only to their products and services but also throughout the entire customer journey experience. In the recently released Braze 2022 Customer Engagement Review, Braze reported that 98% of brands who rate their customer engagement as “good or excellent” exceed their revenue targets.

Startups today understand the need to personally reach out to customers in a way that is targeted according to the unique needs of each person. Brands that engage customers regularly have higher brand recall and more channels with which to drive repeat buyers.

Effective customer engagement is all about getting communication right: when the customer talks, the company should be listening and providing the right response that encourages further engagement. No matter what stage in the startup journey your company is in, the goal is the same: Drive customers to interact with your brand, then turn those opportunities into revenue.

Nguyen Hai Son, Founder & CEO of NutrilifeIO, defines customer engagement as the creation of unique value proposition for customers. JT Solis, Co-founder and CEO of agri-fisheries platform Mayani, believes that as a startup, trust between the customer and the brand has to be cultivated and earned, therefore he sees customer engagement as the “mixed-bag of efforts Mayani utilises — both online and offline — to deepen the relationship with customers beyond their purchase.”

Common customer engagement challenges faced by startups

Customer engagement isn’t a new concept, but getting it right is more important than ever for startups today — that’s why the global customer engagement solutions market is expected to grow to $30B by 2026. Not every startup has a huge marketing budget, so they need to invest their marketing dollars wisely, and on the right channels and solutions to solve their customer engagement challenges.

Offering the right kind of products is no longer enough. Customers are more distracted today than ever and also more demanding in their expectations of a great customer experience. As such, no matter how valuable one’s products are, companies need to find creative ways to bridge the gap between those products and the buying market. The bridge between those two is customer service.

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Solis believes developing deep customer relationships takes time, effort, and allocation of resources. Mayani is holding weekend farm-to-table pop-up hubs but offline activities are not that highly scalable. This offline initiative translates to better brand recall, which leads customers to their e-commerce platform — a great example of integrating engagement from offline to online. “But given the nature of the business and the preference of our specific market sub-segments, we see it as a strategic springboard towards building that critical mass of a highly-engaged community of customers,” said the CEO.

Five Things Startups Can Do for Better Customer Engagement

1.) Solid Data Management Holds the Key

The Braze Customer Engagement Review 2022 found that 32% of surveyed executives listed collecting, integrating, and managing data from across physical and digital channels as their number one concern. A comprehensive view of customers across platforms and channels can only be accomplished with a data and analytics solution that can build live 360-degree customer profiles.

Robust metrics to measure customer engagement depend on having the right data across channels. “Customer Value is NOT measured by the time that customers spend interacting with our marketing strategy or even by customer loyalty, but rather by the value delivered to customers through our platform,” argued NutrilifeIO CEO, Son.

2.) Multi-channel Customer Engagement

In today’s marketing strategies, cross-channel conversations are needed to seamlessly provide customers with a personalised experience on their preferred channels. The degree and depth of the interaction and consistently engaging your customers on their preferred channel is key to strengthening your relationship with customers. For example, in-browser messages automatically go live on users’ mobile or desktop browsers the moment they enter the interface. This ensures that users are actively and consistently being engaged.

“We have been set up the social media profiles so that we can be in touch with users directly from their social media accounts and thus increase more reach and traffic towards our project,” explained Son of NutrilifeIO. The company’s envisioned Marketing Funnel are utilised through a direct path to customers and acquisition via “organic search, social media, content, community, press, forum, referring, link, email, direct, app store & affiliates via organic search, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, Google Ads, firebase, Facebook, Zalo, etc.” he added.

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According to the Braze CER, brands that utilise a cross-channel customer engagement strategy increase the likelihood of users buying by 48%. Adding a new digital channel to your messaging mix can drive up to 4x more purchases per user.

3.) Make Your Communication Personal and Relatable

Startups that deploy technology to keep track of customer data across channels can create personalised engagement based on previous customer engagement history.

Mayani founder Solis’ advice for startups to personalise engagement at scale is to “use a lot of tools that can automate outbound communications based on pre-segmented customers around recency, frequency, spend, and rewards management.” He also suggested that brands “create partnerships too with your tech tool partners to achieve mutual business objectives while being cost-efficient.”.

4.) Add Real Value and Set Real Expectations

While startups need to address the right target market, understanding and responding to customer needs is essential for lasting success. With a multi-channel approach, you get a better sense of what customers want and what customers need. This data can be synthesised into valuable insight into market demands.

Moreover, engaging customers and adding value to their experience will keep your startup’s brand recall on top of their minds. Also, the better engaged your customers are the longer they’ll be loyal customers.

5.) Make Customer Engagement a Priority

The best performing brands recognise the importance of effective customer engagement.

Startups need to always ensure that the focus remains on establishing the right channel, right timing and right messaging for each customer. Making sure you have a plan and to stick to is another important way to ensure that the focus is on doing the right things.

When executed well, a strong customer engagement strategy will always lead to brand growth and loyalty. The Braze Customer Engagement Review 2022 survey found that top-performing brands are those where customer engagement is customer-centric, is owned by cross-functional teams, and is built on accurate, real-time data.

“Take a “whole-company” approach when it comes to identifying who does customer engagement. Everybody is a touchpoint of the startup’s brand, so all team members are also encouraged to be customer-centric and be a relationship-builder,” added Solis of Mayani.

Source: e27

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