Definition

customer engagement

Customer engagement is the means by which a company creates a relationship with its customer base. As traditional marketing methods become less effective, customer engagement is the currency by which companies are measuring their effectiveness. While there is debate about which measures truly indicate engagement, companies measure website traffic or customers' interaction with certain links on a site, likes and shares of their content on social media, clickthrough rates in email campaigns, as well as conversion rates that measure which various customer actions result in sales (these actions may involve clicking on email content or browsing a site).

Companies may derive data about their customers and products from observing customer engagement patterns. A/B testing of certain website presentations or marketing campaigns may be conducted to determine which methods are more effective in closing a purchase. Testing and data analytics enable companies to better determine which of their efforts they can correlate with higher sales, greater membership or other measures of customer success.

With new form factors such as iBeacon technology and wearables, the digital experience of customer engagement is now combining with physical experiences. So, for example, a company may use beacons to identify that a customer is in a store and send that customer messages about items in an abandoned shopping cart online or discounts based on his presence in-store.

Customers may receive messages on their smartphones or wearable devices. Internet of Things sensors technolocy may also provide the opportunity for customers to engage. They may be able to proactively schedule maintenance on a product, buy new products, or demonstrate loyalty through connected devices. Customer service agents can also use mobile data to approach customers and engage them by highlighting products they may be interested in.

Customer engagement is moving beyond the realm of retail or traditional product sales. Industries like healthcare are using technologies such as customer portals to engage patients in their health regimen and communication with doctors; and new healthcare platforms are emerging with the express purpose of facilitating this communication and patient engagement. Wearables have also been identified as a key tool in patient engagement, enabling patients to measure various health indicators and track their health regimens.

This was last updated in May 2016

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What methods is your company using to improve customer engagement?
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We've shelved most of the automated systems and trained our employees to answer questions that help work through problems. Yes, it costs us much more, but our human-on-human interface builds lasting connections with our customers. Which makes them far more inclined to trust our products which makes for bigger sales and repeat business. And after the shock wears off, their added purchases balance the added cost quite nicely. 
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