For some time Chorally has been wondering which human factors are most influent on customer engagement and retention. The answer is not as linear as it might seem, at first glance.
Technology, of course, is important but not enough to execute Engagement Strategies: “human touch” remains vital. One of the human qualities most involved in dealing with Engagement and Customer Service is empathy; together with transparency and integrity in the messages is an essential cornerstone through which implement any initiative that deals with Customers.
Today we are still far from a full integration of technology and human factors; projects are often driven by technology, more to solve technical problems than to meet business needs. To improve engagement capabilites, it is necessary to rethink business processes, making them more horizontal and shared.
A recent IULM University study highlights 10 priorities in a company engagement strategy: management choices, consistency and dialogue are common traits that leap out.
Engagement in 10 steps. Plus 1.
(OERC_ IULM University)
- Employee engagement is a behavior
- Engagement is at the base of the “voice” of the collaborators
- Staff Engagement is the result of management choices
- Management inconsistency: main dis-engagement factor
- Internal communication: taking care of dialogue
- Human resources management: centered on benefits for employees
- Daily work life’s quality: do not take it for granted
- Accordance with employees: key engagement strategy
- Smart working: face it with courage
- Employee engagement and digitalization: positive combination
- One more point: many open questions remain…
Another important insight picked from a Gartner Research states: “Organizations integrating communities into customer support will realize cost reductions ranging from 10% to 60%”.
In that case for sure the main aim was more on cost cutting side, however the positive effects of a “brand reputation” originated by the most passionate customers are certainly a great value to put on top of “cost to serve” savings. Moreover such positive engagement can be easily exploited to set a virtuous mechanism to increase revenues.
A customer who feels a belonging to a broader community is by nature more loyal and more inclined in spreading a positive image of the company. And a “testimonial” customer is far more trustworthy than it could be a Company C-level, a Marketing Department or an Advertising Agency.
Speaking about Loyalty now all companies take for granted some traditional loyalty programs and almost all B2C have started activities and contest, based on incentives. But that’s not enough. No more.
Our vision is that every company might consider as soon as possible initiatives of “shared support and advocacy”. Customers are no longer passive consumers: they are informed and follow the word of mouth, look for and shares opinions on the web, and know your competitors very well.
We’ve already seen some international best practices, such as Giff Gaff (a British virtual phone operator) whose Customer Care is completely based on customer “gamification” and “crowdsourcing”. It is a winning strategy that allows you to shrink costs, without lowering service quality and transform best customers in “brand evangelists”.
Looking at the future, we believe that Engagement and Loyalty strategies will be fostered through innovation and technologies such as “machine learning” and “gamification”. Customers will increasingly be active players in corporate strategies, involved in product co-design / co-creation and deeply involved in corporate processes, such as customer care.
Technology is ready. What is needed is a new managerial and entrepreneurial approach to simplify decision-making and make strategy a more “horizontal” process. The goal is creating more and more connections between company and consumers in an open and clear dialogue.
There are green fields of opportunities to harvest for the ones that will succeed in building and preserving an engaged customer and fan community. “An involved customer is a reliable customer. A passionate customer is an unrivaled resource that can make the difference between you and your competitors.”
(Thanks to Fabio Castronuovo, Founder and General Manager Chorally, for sharing his vision on this topic).