What does the future hold for customer engagement and loyalty? What does the future hold for customer engagement and loyalty?
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What does the future hold for customer engagement and loyalty?

What does the future hold for customer engagement and loyalty?

Businesses will have to go beyond the traditional norms today if they want to keep their customers engaged tomorrow

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Apoorv Sood, VP Global Business Development & Partnerships, WebEngage

An engaged set of customers who are also loyal to a brand is every marketer’s dream. But turning it into reality is not always an easy task. It is especially difficult when there is tough competition among businesses to attract customers and retain them by inducing loyalty.

The changing face of technology and increased awareness among people about newer solutions are more reasons why it is becoming much more complex for businesses to achieve loyalty and simultaneously scale their operations. What worked in the past may no longer work again in the future. So, to stay relevant, it is critical to look at what the future holds for customer engagement and loyalty.

With technology permeating business and industries, there will be much more refined solutions and newer offerings in the future. You might be leading the market now, but there’s no guarantee you will continue to do so in the future. Newer players with cutting-edge technologies may grab a sizeable piece of the pie. So, what can help you stay relevant? Will your existing loyal customers continue their patronage well into the future? How will you incentivise such loyalty?

By consistently offering solutions personalised to the level of each individual, you can surpass their expectations every time. This may help you boost your sales and profit levels as your existing customers generate so much business cumulatively through word-of-mouth marketing.

The changing face of customer engagement
Covid-19 has had a significant impact on customer engagement strategies. It has taught me that you can risk losing the competitive advantage if you do not digitalise your operations and adopt technologies that enhance agility and resilience. You will have to go beyond the traditional norms today if you want to keep your customers engaged tomorrow.

You can also optimise your customer engagement methodically, by starting small and scaling up eventually. Consider the example of eXtra, which is one of the fastest-growing retail brands in Saudi Arabia. eXtra began targeting its customers through localised user engagement campaigns. It crafted tailor-made offerings, leading to greater conversion. The result: eXtra witnessed a 33 per cent increase in purchases.

Customer retention strategies for the future
Business leaders geared towards brand building must understand that customer loyalty goes hand-in-hand with traditional metrics such as Net Promoter Score (NPS). While it is true that such metrics help you identify how satisfied your customers are with your services, they do not offer much in the way of your readiness for the future.

Here are considerations to develop a comprehensive strategy for customer retention:

1. Gather feedback
There’s no data better than customer feedback, which you can collect and act on. When your customers feel that you consider their opinion, they tend to hold the brand in good regard. They will also be incentivised to recommend your brand in their social circles.

2. Identify satisfied customers
Look at your happy customers to understand what is working well for them. It will help you better segment the audience, identify unique use cases, and make effective course corrections for better future outcomes.

3. Emphasise unsatisfied customers
If you ignore this segment for too long, there will be an inevitable customer churn. Understanding their issues is critical to solving them and ensuring that such incidents do not recur.

4. Leverage loyalty programmes
Customer loyalty is one of the vital pillars on which your business can position itself for growth in the coming years. However, it requires a concerted and multi-channel approach, underpinned by data-driven strategies, AI analytics, and automation.

When done right, multi-channel engagement can help you improve conversions by 25 per cent. You can consider offering tiered incentives, referral programmes, and transaction-based discounts to build loyalty among your customer base. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving customer loyalty, insights-led customer engagement and loyalty programmes can work wonders.

Nobody imagined in 2019 that the business world would undergo such a rapid digital transformation in a short span. Similarly, it is hard to predict what the future will hold for your business. However, effective customer engagement and loyalty programmes will help you position yourself in an advantageous position in the value chain, enable you to provision for all future eventualities, and place you on a sustainable growth trajectory.

Apoorv Sood, vice president of Global Business Development and Partnerships, WebEngage

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