Customer Engagement: What Does it Mean & What Are the Factors That Impact It

Customer engagement’s relation to Customer Success is self-explanatory, but what is perhaps a little less obvious, is what fuels customer engagement, and what factors impact it.

At face value, customer engagement seems self-explanatory—it’s the emotional connection between a customer and a brand.

Customer engagement’s relation to Customer Success is just as self-explanatory: highly engaged customers buy more, promote more, and demonstrate more loyalty. But, what is perhaps a little less obvious, is what fuels customer engagement, and what factors impact it.

Factors That Impact Customer Engagement

A Customer’s Engagement with Your Product

Data suggests that buyers in the SaaS space are already a little over 60% through the buying process before even engaging with a vendor. In terms of Customer Engagement, this implies that once a prospect becomes a customer, they are bought into the product we were selling. They found value and a strong solution fit for their needs, and in most cases, will rely heavily on your product delivering what was promised, and beyond. The fact is that this new addition to their tech stack is only as powerful as everything else that comes with it—human skills working in parallel, continuously defining and refining the relationship. No matter how helpful, technology is cold, lifeless, and definitively responsive. What we see is what we get until the next feature release or add-on. Our customer’s reaction to our product is proportionally greater to the product’s action or lack of action. This means that their connection with us is just as volatile.

A Customer’s Emotions While They Engage with Your Product

Customers are inherently kind but frustrations can run high when our product falls short of what it’s supposed to do, and rightfully so. Frustrations can run even higher when fixing that problem takes longer than expected. With every customer buy-in to our product, there is a greater emotional buy-in that may not always be seen or understood. After all, your product was purchased to solve a pain point. Fall short of that and we will spend most of our time explaining the reasons. There is a direct connection between their engagement with your product and their engagement with their emotions while using our product. According to a Gallup poll, companies that successfully engage their B2B customers reported 63% lower customer attrition. Fortunately, their frustrations can be reversed by how well we engage with them during these interactions.

A Customer’s Engagement with Your Team

Customer Success is the face of your product. What that really means is that they are the human element of software. They are the personality of the product and an extension of the solution provided. This relationship is paramount, it is the main reason why any unhappy customer would give a second or even a third chance to make things better—reducing churn in the long run. In fact, according to IBM, extensive personalization increases average revenue per user by 166%. No matter the solution, the relationship between Customer Success and your customers—the how, why, and how often we engage with them—will make all the difference in whether or not a customer renews, or goes with your competitor.

A Customer’s Emotions While They Engage with Your Team

Your customers’ reaction to your product is driven emotionally by your product’s ability to perform competently and consistently. This emotional ebb and flow is constant when trying to find solutions, workarounds, and new features to meet their growing needs. Building a strong emotional bridge supported by empathy, compassion, patience, and perception will allow for free flowing ideas that encourage mutual growth, contentment, and a win-win for everyone involved. 

Customer Engagement = Human Engagement

Do Customer Success teams only think of how the company will benefit when they engage in meaningful, interpersonal interactions? No! 

Do Customer Success teams ever think about only optimizing outcomes and finding the fastest solutions to their customers’ problems? Not without understanding how it will affect everyone. 

Lastly, is the best form of this human-to-human engagement to dictate outcomes based on current limitations? No, good Customer Success teams (and practitioners) always find avenues to promote further growth.

In essence, how your team on the frontline engages with your customers matters more than how the product engages with them. By concentrating on the emotional element of customer engagement, we build the strongest relationships, and we all know, the best relationships can last a lifetime.

This post was originally published on Medium with the author's permission.

About the Author

Hanz Kurdi is the Head of Customer Experience at Recapped. Hanz has 15+ years of Silicon Valley high-tech startups and non-profit business success in the areas of finance, client development, operations, and overall corporate strategy. He currently runs the customer experience team at Recapped.io.

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