Engaging effectively with customers

2021-10-06 by Ronn Torossian

‘Being engaged’ means being truly interested in what customers have to say. A business has to want feedback of all kinds because feedback provides  important data to be used for building a better organization. It takes commitment and focus to actually connect with people. One cannot simply be engaged on social media platforms, or just engaged in public relations because it is trending or it will lead to increased sales. There has to be an authentic belief that being active in growing a social network will lead to deeper and stronger relationships with customers.

A business has to be interested in its consumers and prospects, and the creation of a solid bond with them must be its goal. Most businesses tend to pay more attention to lead generation and customer acquisition. However, it has to be taken into account that until the ideal customers are motivated, they will likely switch to competitors.

To foster a genuine sense of trust between a business and its customers, certain strategies have to be adopted, as given below.

1) Building communities – An engaged, authentic brand community can live anywhere online– through Twitter, on YouTube, or on a blog. How well a business talks to its customers and stimulates conversation without pushing products will determine how large a community grows and how much they trust and value it. User-generated content, like online customer communities’ member-submitted materials, has the demonstrated ability to increase conversion better than almost any other form of social proof.

2) In-product messaging – If targeted messages are sent to a segment of customers, it will give the impression of personalized communication and   end up in higher engagement rates. Out of context emails may increase customer dissatisfaction. The ideal method would be to message a specific segment of customers with the exact product or offer in which they have indicated interest. It is wise to use clear, accessible language and describe improvements, e.g., ‘it’s now 25% faster’, or offer incentives, e.g. ’we’ll give you a 20% discount on your next bill’.

3) Delivering value –  When an organization puts customers first and thinks about their welfare, they will nurture an army of brand advocates. For instance, the original objective of the New York State Department of Health’s launch of the ‘Take Control!’ Facebook page in 2012 was to increase traffic to the informational website, promote positive sexual health, and provide teens with content they would find relatable and educational. The staff members of the organization shared daily content, listened to and responded to all questions and posts from New York teens, and built a highly engaged community. Their content started getting tens of thousands of comments, likes, and shares.

4) Custom content that addresses customer questions – For custom content marketing, it is important to create useful content for customers. Creating personalized messages can help. For instance, for a photo sharing app, each customer who has reached storage capacity can be contacted. They can be informed about exactly how much space they have left. Mail can also be sent to customers about their incomplete orders.

5) Interactive content – Quizzes, surveys, and interactive videos are different forms of interactive content. Each form serves a different purpose. For instance, a considerable portion of Amazon’s homepage is dedicated to service recommendations. Interactive content also allows experimentation with how customers can be rewarded. For instance, customers getting different scores on different quizzes can be given different discounts.

Ronn Torossian: Insights from a Native New Yorker and CEO of 5WPR

Ronn Torossian is the founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 20 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America's most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company's growth, overseeing more than 250 professionals in the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named "PR Agency of the Year" by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world's most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine's Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country's foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations," which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian lives in Manhattan with his children. He is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities