5 Customer Engagement Challenges & How to Fix Them

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The digital landscape we are currently living in has changed the way we do business and engage with customers dramatically.  Long gone are the days of sending mailers (yea, we’re talking about actual mail), buying billboard ad space or having sales teams pick up the phone and cold call clients.  Ok, so those things aren’t completely gone, but they certainly do not work the way they used to. 

So what does the current climate of customer engagement look like?

Basically we live in a world where an unlimited amount of information is literally at our fingertips.  Customers no longer want to be sold to, but rather do their own research and make informed decisions on their own time. Which means brands have inherited the challenge of figuring out what their clients will need or want and put themselves, and their messaging, where their customers will find them.

“95% of customers are looking for some degree of proactive communication from the companies with which they do business”*

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Once you have what your customers will need and where they will go searching for it all figured out, then you have to determine the best way to keep them engaged. This can be tricky, but when it’s done correctly it creates happy customers for life. Basically, you need to have a customer engagement plan in place to cover the entire life cycle of your customers. This can be challenging even for the most sophisticated brands. 
 
As a global provider of managed operations services and digital media consultancy, we have seen our fair share of client engagement issues. Let’s discuss he top 5 challenges most brands face when it comes to customer engagement and how to overcome them. 

Tight Turn Arounds and Low Bandwidth

One of the most important components of creating and executing an effective customer engagement strategy is having both the time and resources to bring it to fruition. Believe it or not, this is one of the most common challenges for companies of all sizes.

Whether large or small, most brands do not have the time or internal reserves to create, launch and monitor a fully developed customer engagement plan. This will often result in the inability to connect with a customer and/or poorly timed, sub-par messaging that misses the mark. The best way to overcome this hurdle is to increase your bandwidth and time.

But how?

The best brands know that they cannot possible do it all. Which is why they often seek out a partner, with credibility in the industry, who can pick up the slack and create and implement efficient and effective customer engagement for them. 

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Lack of Niche Skills and Certifications

The marketing landscape is in a state of constant evolution. While many brands have amazing in-house marketing teams, not all have team members that are experts on the current best practices of customer engagement. Here’s the thing, there is nothing wrong with that.

Flooded with so many niche specialties, that there is no way one marketing person or team can have totally mastery of every skill. The best thing you can do when something is not really in your wheelhouse, ask for help. Chances are there is an expert or a team of experts who can take on your challenges and over come them for you, just an email away.

Top brands know that they are better off outsourcing to partners who specialize in specific niche marketing, like customer engagement planning and execution, than trying to build an in-house team. Often the overall cost to the organization is less than adding specialized teams  and the quality and ROI of the campaign is high. 

Disconnected Data Systems

With so many different platforms at our disposal accommodating our vast array of needs, the world is abuzz with talks of integrations and automation. There are a few reasons why many are struggling with integrating their systems and streamlining their processes. Two of which include utilizing outdated systems that cannot be integrated and utilizing too many different systems that require outside help to integrate.

In both instances, there can be major disconnects between your systems, that will inevitably lead to increased error rates and decreased success rate. For example, if you are utilizing a customized CRM system, that doesn’t integrate into an email marketing platform, your customer engagement emails can not be automated. This completely eliminates the possibility to utilized personalization of your emails. It also increases the likely hood of emails going out in error, and/or missing out on vital customer contact opportunities is extremely high.

How can you tackle this issue as quickly and efficiently as possible? In an ideal world you would update all of your platforms to user friendly systems that seamlessly integrate together with the click of a button. Sadly, it is never that simple. To ensure seamless connection between your marketing and customer base, your best bet is bringing in a third party expert to create an integrated system structure that suits your customer engagement needs.

Inability to Support Global Market

Thanks to the internet, an interconnected global community means brands often have customers all over the world. This is wonderful for expansion and growth if you have the ability to support a global market. 

Unfortunately, many companies, large and small fall short in this realm.  Falling into the trap of catering to their base market without considering the missed opportunities and hard stop to growth this can create.  For example, if 85% of your customer base resides in the United States, your marketing team may base their customer engagement interactions on US time zones and cultural norms.  This is great for engagement and retention of your North American customers, but what about the other 20%
 
On the other hand, let’s say your marketing team has done their research and created a custom campaign tailored to your growing customer base in Europe. They have built out personas and planned out journeys based on different time zones and peak hours across a majority of European countries. But… they aren’t aware of anything involving GDPR compliance, which could cause some major issues.  Situations like these are exactly why it is important to align yourself with a partner who is well versed in the ever changing world of global compliance. 
 
Sometimes it’s a matter of not realizing the impact this will have on the bigger picture.  Other times lack of bandwidth and knowledge prevent marketing teams from developing customer engagement campaigns and plans that suite their global market.

Either way, there is a simple way to curtail a lack of global marketing strategy before it negatively impacts your organization. Do your research and collaborate with a partner who is well versed in global marketing and customer engagement strategies. Doing so will not only ensure you maintain a handle on your global market but it will allow your team to educate themselves on your specific global customer base and how best to market to them.

Diminished Brand Loyalty

Brand Loyalty is am important piece of every businesses success.  After all, a loyalty increase of 7% can boost lifetime profits per customer by as much as 85%, and a loyalty increase of 3% can correlate to a 10% cost reduction.* The tricky aspect of establishing brand loyalty is meeting the high demands of the modern customer base. Having a great product and amazing customer service is no longer enough to generate brand loyalty.

With ever growing numbers of millennials and Gen Z entering the current consumer market, comes the necessity of adapting your customer engagement strategies to suite their wants and needs which will in turn create fierce brand loyalty. This means combining offers and a strong social media strategy and presence with rewards that are easy to use and websites that are easy to use. 

“One third of those ages 23-38 are quick to drop a brand that doesn’t meet expectations”*

Sounds simple, right? It’s actually much more complicated than it looks on the surface.  There are many well established brands that didn’t pivot their customer engagement strategies to suite the younger generations, who experiences diminished brand loyalty.  Some to the point of no return.  

Brands trending well in customer loyalty include: Airbnb, Netflix, Waze, Lyft and Nike*

If you take a look at the biggest brands in the world today, all of them have had a well thought out and executed customer engagement strategy that created fierce brand loyalty among the most difficult to please audiences in history. But how did they do it?  The truth is, many outsourced there client engagement planning and execution to an experience and well versed marketing partner(s).  

They collaborated with the best in the marketing industry because they understood the depth of the undertaking and the impact this engagement plan would have on their companies overall success. 

The bottom line is, customer engagement can present many challenges to variety of brands, large and small. The dynamic current of the global market and constantly connected client base can be difficult to navigate. 
As with any other aspect of business and marketing, the secret to creating and implementing an amazingly successful customer engagement strategy is knowing when to ask for help.  The companies with the best marketing strategies and customer engagement campaigns often have a world class partner behind the scenes ensuring the success of their brand. 
 
Discover what Theorem can do for your customer engagement strategy.

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