2016 was a tough year for engaging customers, no doubt. The trends changed so quick, keeping up with them was harder than ever. But it’s in the past now, and the burning question that still remains in the mind of every entrepreneur out there is — what do I need to do in 2017 that will make my customers fall in love with me and my brand? How do I provide the right value and keep them engaged?
Being the voice of a Customer Engagement tool ourselves, we try to keep you updated with the latest customer engagement trends so that you get the best out of your marketing efforts.
Be it when Visuals became the norm of social media(adios infographics); when the overwhelming boom of Chatbots changed the entire digital marketing scenario; when messengers finally overpowered social media apps and many more changes in how brands actually shifted their engagement tactics for the best. We were there for you in 2016 and we will continue to be there to help you through the fast, unpredictably changing world of various top customer engagement methods used worldwide that resonates perfectly with your customers, doesn’t matter which industry you are in.
But it’s a new year and we are already a month out of it(time passes quick, doesn’t it?) Getting back to that burning question, what will work in 2017 that will keep your customers engaged and satisfied?
Let’s look at the hottest customer engagement trends to watch out for —
(I am deliberately excluding the importance of mobile as a channel to engage customers because I have covered it in depth in our previous blogs. The trend of mobile usage by millenials. which actually started in the early 2015, is still increasing at a very high pace and it should be your first priority to be present, along with web, on mobile as well. This list continues after it)
1. AI & Social Support
Source: Future Of Life
In our last blog, we talked extensively about how a top quality customer service can give your brand an edge over your competition.
To gain that extra edge, brands started using social media to provide quick support to their customers in need. Social Support is what they call it, the practice of providing customer support through social media.
But that edge was quickly overcrowded. With nearly every brand’s presence on social media setting up social support for them over there was a piece of cake. Using Chatbots for providing social support is that edge now. And brands and users both love. More tech companies are presenting their own branded play on intelligent systems: IBM Watson, Salesforce Einstein, Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, and OK Google are just the beginning.
It’s easy to set up, cheap, quick, precise and personal. From luxury brands like Louis Vuitton to fast food chains like Domino’s Pizza, artificial intelligence is rapidly reshaping customer engagement and redefining seamless experiences.
Apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Kik, to name a few, are paving the way for social support and seamless customer experience by enabling brands to provide highly personalized and rich content through chatbots. Such apps are adding a new layer of sophistication to social support that will continue to grow this year and it’s only going to get bigger as we march on(pun intended) to 2017.
2. Personal Branding & Humanization
Personal branding is THE hot topic of 2017. Why? Because of Google.
In the words of Sam Hurley — Personal branding is highlighting a real person as a (or the) face of your company.
After the recent google update, they have been preferring real faces rather than brands. Facebook as well, shows posts by real people appear first in your news feed rather than of brands.
Don’t confuse personal branding with humanizing your brand. Personal branding is the first step that leads towards completely humanizing your brand, other steps being writing like a human, giving your brand a fictional character(It’s biggest example — Mailchimp, i just love that witty monkey) and many more different human-like things.
More brands are now realizing the power of personal branding. With Google and Facebook, the biggest traffic sources of most brands, have now started favoring individual faces over brands. Also, it makes your users trust you more. And trust sparks engagement, be it in any form(feedback, grievance, some good thoughts, you name it) It all loops back to the trust they have in you and your brand.
In 2017, it will be more important that ever. A plain background and just your brand’s logo on your all your social media profiles won’t do(cough!)
3. Big Data Approach
Big data has been hot for a while now, seems like big data is now being used everywhere. By analyzing customer behavior and input across different channels and collecting data all the while, brands can obtain a global picture of the customer experience. But what does collecting data has to do with engagement?
With time and advanced technology, big data is not a thing for big brands anymore. You don’t need to hire heavily paid data miners anymore. With cheap software, now even smaller brands with low budget can also invest in big data and reap results.
And the applications of big data are endless, you can use it to prove, engage, persuade and win customers. Here is a perfect example of it from Neil Patel —
It’s all data game!….. Obvious tip: Subscribe him. You’ll get something good to learn.
Take notice from the example above. Not only collecting and analyzing data lets you understand the problems of your customers, other than rectifying those pain points, it also gives you an opportunity to use it in your own unique and creative way to drive further engagement.
……Nearing the End
These are the top 3(or 4?) customer engagement trends that I am vouching for. But as we move along 2017, I am sure, like the year before new trends will erupt radically from time to time.
Enough about me! What in your opinion is the engagement trend that will reign supreme in 2017? I would really like to hear your opinion.