April 11, 2014 | By Courtney Hart |
Reading that title, it’s possible that you might have shouted “Blasphemy!” and threw your hands up in the air at the idea of killing customer loyalty. While I’m not proclaiming a boycott of the customer relationship, it’s important to note that measuring customer loyalty might be a hobby of earlier days. According to Forbes, “Customer loyalty as a business metric is often misleading and worse: It’s difficult to correlate with other business management metrics used by executives to assess strategic decisions. This, in turn, makes loyalty problematic for justifying increased resources and for fostering credibility among customer executives.”
What is the saving grace for customer loyalty? Enter customer engagement!
In the technological and social world we live in today, it’s all about getting people to talk. The consistent conversation between both the customer and the company is a sure way to measure your customers’ true loyalty to your brand. After all, if they aren’t talking about it, actively using it or sharing the good news about it, what use is that customer anyways? Now that’s a harsh statement, I understand, but retaining those dream clients is about getting them to actively participate and engage with your product, company and/or service. Plus, customer engagement is easier to measure, easier to influence and gives a beautiful picture of direct relation to profits.
According to Curtis N. Bingham, customer engagement consists of two facets: advocacy and involvement. It’s all about building a connection, an emotional one, which reels in your customers and creates a solid human-to-human interaction. If your customers are talking to you, that means that they aren’t talking to your competitors and, bonus, they’re giving you insight about their wants, needs and expectations from your industry. “Engagement will become a key metric of business performance in the future,” says Bingham.
How does customer engagement measure customer loyalty?
“Loyalty is an emotional state, whereas engagement is an actual behavior,” states Bingham. Customer loyalty is a roller coaster with results full of variations and circumstantial events. Customer engagement, on the other hand, can be measured simply by participation levels. If participation and active involvement start waning, it might be time to change it up.
Moral of the story: An engaged customer is a loyal customer who is an active advocate for your brand.
Don’t measure your business success off of how many followers or likes you have. Instead, write for the customer, address them specifically and get the conversation going. If people want to hear about your brand or have suggestions, they’ll let you know. That’s when you know they actually care about your company.
Have you started a customer engagement strategy? We’d love to hear about it!
Photo Credit: PublicDomainPictures