When engaging with customers, it is paramount that your business has all bases covered. Customers have different preferences in connecting with various brands and may choose one over the other. However, as far as customer engagement is concerned, companies should be asking which one is the best way?
This is what Accent Marketing set out to discover through their report Customer Engagement and Today’s Consumer (refer to pdf). The Jeffersonville, Ind. based company interviewed 1,000 consumers throughout the U.S. in June to see how they connect to the brands they follow in various social media channels. Since consumers today are more technologically adept and mostly on mobile, companies must follow and understand the trend to apply in their customer relationship management without neglecting the traditional medium such as phone and email.
According to the report, while social media and live chat are becoming more preferred channels by the Millenials or Gen-Y (those who were born in the early 1980s to the early 2000s) today—14% and 7% respectively—a majority of 63% still believes that the phone provides the highest level of customer service.
Accent also discovered that consumers have differing behavior across channels. Companies who are mindful of their customers will waste no time in improving their social media presence to reach out to them. Customers are likely to have more than one social network channel and use them distinctively. While Facebook tops as the most favored social media channel for customer service (82%), Twitter is commonly used by customers to speak out about their consumer experience as well as interact with other customers. Therefore, businesses must not only be concentrated on one social media channel and instead explore how consumers communicate via other avenues.
Demographics also have an influence in a customer’s social media usage. Take offering good deals, for example. You can better market your product or service once you see where they would normally look for good deals—say your product is an anti-aging cream—your best bet would be to promote it on Facebook since 68% who are 45-60 years old and 80% who are more than 60 years old, go there to check for product offers. The report also found out that more men are using Twitter to interact with brands over women, and that the younger generation (18-29 years old) have highest expertise on Twitter at 28%.
Brands must be where the customer “buzz” is to be able to listen to what they have to say. Hence, establishing an online community will be a good way to engage with them. Fostering interaction can help build relationships with the customers. 63% of the respondents say that their social media interaction is mainly to communicate with the company but the 15% appreciate the interaction they get with other consumers and followers about the same brand.
Also by understanding the interaction among consumers, which is more common to Millenials (32%) than the Baby Boomers (19%), will allow companies to adjust their tone of communication to cater to each group or both. Meanwhile, the survey results also revealed that interacting with the brands on social media is higher among the Baby Boomers (81%) than among the Millenials (70%). Another interesting perspective of the report is how these two groups use social media messaging in customer service. 42% of the Millenials prefer to broadcast their concerns via public forum (since they find it more helpful to receive responses from the community) while 86% of the Baby Boomers choose private messaging to directly inform companies about their needs.
This only means that the younger generation is more likely to go online to connect with other consumers (for feedback or reviews) and be more vocal in public while the older generation is more inclined to receiving response from the brand itself and wants more privacy when it comes to their concerns.
Bottomline, the answer to the question what is the best way to engage with customer is simply this…engage them where they are most present. Consider mapping out a good strategy to maximize your company’s social media in engaging customers. Paying close attention to how your client base behave across social media channels and making sure it is an efficient avenue for quality customer service will encourage loyalty from your customers and invite followers to be your brand patrons as well.