Quantifying Customer Engagement
What is “engagement,” and why does it matter for businesses?
In marketing, engagement equals interaction. An engaged customer visits your business, buys, and tells friends about the experience. In this way engagement is a new word for a concept as old as commerce itself.
But we now have new ways of quantifying engagement. Social media, eCommerce, and great SaaS (software as a service) products like MINDBODY give businesses more outlets to engage with customers, and a new way of understanding that interaction.
Given this blend of old and new, what are the most important ways of engaging with customers, and how do we gauge their value?
Here are the seven most valuable forms of engagement:
- Visits – Customers walk in the door to shop, work out, use a service or take a class.
- Purchases – Customers buy something from your business.
- Referrals – Customers recommend your business to someone else.
- Loyalty – Customers maintain relationships with your business over time.
- Ancillary buys – Customers buy more than they intended to; in membership-based businesses, ancillary buys are services beyond base dues.
- Social media – Customers interact with your Facebook page or Twitter feed, liking, commenting—and most importantly, sharing.
- Feedback – Customers respond to email surveys, and drop kudos or requests in the comments box at the front desk.
Visits and purchases are tied for first, but referrals aren’t far behind—after all, referring customers liked their experience enough to tell friends and family. Referrals also cut marketing costs, as referred leads are both free to acquire and highly qualified.
The remaining four are self-evident. Engaged customers stick around, buy something they hadn’t intended to, post about the experience on social media, and care enough to tell you (the business owner) when they’re happy or upset.
Appreciation Drive Engagement
There are numerous ways to drive engagement. Black Friday sales, open houses, and Net Promoter Scoring all do, and businesses should try each. For day-to-day engagement, many businesses also try some form of customer appreciation. This can include red-carpet treatment for regulars, social offers, discounts and inviting long-tenured customers to vet new ideas.
Another path is rewards. SaaS platforms like Perkville help businesses automate customer appreciation, awarding points for buys, visits, and workouts via direct integration with member management or POS systems like MINDBODY. Triggered emails highlight points earned and available rewards, reinforcing the activity that earned those points and creating a positive engagement loop.
Perkville also hits all seven forms of engagement. It encourages referrals via a simple email engine: Users simply enter the addresses of contacts they’d like to receive special offers, and if the referral is claimed then the referrer earns points. A similar feature incentivizes social media posts.
Best of all, Perkville fits seamlessly with the existing customer experience and requires no overhead—there are no kiosks, cards, tablets or credit card swipes. A smartphone or computer is all the customer needs.
Sustained engagement means sustained revenue, happy customers mean happy businesses, and loyalty providers like Perkville make it easier than ever before.