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Getting engaged


A framework for generating more profit from customers

The revenue and profits that you need to succeed are literally sitting right under your nose. Harvard Business School research shows that 80 percent of your future profits will come from just 20 percent of your existing customers. What’s more, if you can improve your customer retention rate by as little as 5 percent, those profits will increase anywhere from 25 percent to 85 percent, depending on your industry.

To nurture and cultivate customers to generate that increased value, you must find new ways for your employees to engage customers throughout their experience with your company.

So how do you get started?

First, hold a customer-engagement summit. Bring together people from sales, service, operations, product management and marketing. Map which employees interact with customers and what tactics are being used during these communications. Does sales use face-to-face meetings and industry meetings but service uses email? Does operations deliver reports to the customer? Does someone monitor social media for questions or complaints?

Next, create a team focused on customer engagement. The team must develop an action plan for how to engage the customer consistently and how to share that information back with the organization. Include someone from sales, marketing, operations and service.

Conduct audience research. Delve into your customers’ wants, needs, desires and aspirations. What information do they find valuable? Can you deliver your service more effectively? What are your customers’ preferred communication channels? Look at the metrics from your website, social channels and email communications. Which customers interact where?

Develop a messaging framework. What types of messages need to be communicated? Which audiences desire what type of information? Who within your organization can develop this content?

Develop a distribution matrix. What messages are going to be put across which channels to which audiences at what time? The management of omnichannel distribution is critical to customer engagement today. Don’t forget about the more traditional channels of customer service calls, face-to-face selling and product delivery.

Finally, develop a quality feedback loop. The success of your customer engagement program hinges on knowing if your plan is working. Establish tools and processes for listening to the conversation. Identify which customers are interacting with which information. Involve your customer engagement team to interpret the results and be sure to share this information with the entire organization.

Interacting with customers and continuously presenting your company as a valued and trusted partner is critical to building customer engagement. Developing the organization process for this customer engagement program is the first step in extracting the hidden profits within your existing customer base.