The right engagement of the customers leads to more revenue, more loyalty and better long-term planning. Nevertheless, many companies still rely on simply ‘shouting out’ their marketing messages without building real customer relationships.
A study from the year 2018 puts it straight to the point.
It’s no longer enough just to shout out loud. It is much more important to build sustainable and close relationships with your customers. To achieve this, we need digital products that users like to interact with. In short, digital products must be engaging.
A further study shows just how essential this is. WALKER expects that already in 2020 the customer experience will be more important than price and features in order to distinguish brands and products from each other.
Now, having this in mind, how do you generate engagement with your customers to build a profitable customer relationship? In this article, I present three trends in digital engagement that I believe will be particularly relevant in 2019.
Trend #1: Personalisation
Digital products such as services, apps and digital platforms are increasingly using artificial intelligence to identify the specific needs of users and adapt the user experience accordingly.
Way too often, the personalisation is often limited to personalized marketing offers. But this is only the tip of the iceberg, because there is so much more that you can do.
The right personalization creates exit barriers. The more personalized a user experience is, the more reasons the customer has to remain loyal in order not to lose the digital environment he has created for himself.
For example, Amazon, Spotify or Netflix are learning better and better what their users want, and are providing tailored home pages, special offers and music and film recommendations that are specific to the individual users needs.
Personalization is more than just ‘Targeted Marketing
Those companies who create added value for their users beyond just personalized marketing offers, that exactly meet their needs and preferences, achieve what customers love the most: Appreciation.
Here is a simple but effective example.
Let’s assume that my Internet provider realizes that every Tuesday night I watch a series that sometimes has to buffer because the Internet speed is insufficient. That’s why he provides me with a free bonus speed package for exactly this time. As a result, I am grateful, open to extra offers and less upset if there should be a total breakdown.
(Unfortunately this is only an example, my internet provider has not yet understood ‘Engagement’)
Through the right use of personalization, which is more than just target-group-specific advertising, you can bring special moments and unique experiences to your customers that subsequently increase engagement.
Trend #2: Multiple Use Phases
Many companies focus on one particular aspect of their user experience and try to increase engagement with their customers for exactly that part of the experience.
They forget that a digital product or service consists of several phases.
For example, if you have created a motivating customer experience for regular users, but your onboarding is complicated and unattractive, you will lose a lot of prospective customers at sign up, because they don’t understand the product or are simply not motivated to interact with it.
On the other hand, if you only focus on “normal users”, but there is no content for power users and ambassadors, this target group with the highest potential margins is neglected. But it is often precisely these users who are the most profitable!
Yu-kai Chou, #1 Gamification Guru, therefore recommends that each product should be broken down into four phases.
- Discovery: Interested people become aware of the product
- Onboarding: Customers use the product for the first time and get to know the functions.
- Scaffolding: Customers use the product regularly
- Endgame: Users become veterans and have already achieved almost everything you can do with the product
Subsequently, you should optimize your engagement for all phases of use so that users can be taken all the way from the first phases (Discovery) to the last phase (Endgame).
By dividing the user experience into these four phases, it can be ensured that the motivation and engagement in each phase is as high as possible.
That way, you minimize drop out and increase retention.
New users need completely different content than veteran users in order to stay engaged. By dividing a product into 4 phases to account for new and veteran users alike, it becomes much more easy to maximize your customer engagement.
Trend #3: Gamification
Gamification’ in the narrower sense is increasingly being used in professional digital products. Whether it be the endorsements at LinkedIn, the “customers also buy” section at Amazon or the lootboxes at Volkswagen’s loyalty program – content that is explicitly designed to increase user engagement is trending.
However, the growth of gamification has just started and companies are only gradually beginning to understand how they can use the behavioral science, that gamification is based on, to their advantage.
In 2017 and 2018, companies tried to add simple gamification mechanics such as points, badges and leaderboards to their digital products. In 2019, I expect to see more sustainable and better gamification that increases customer engagement even more.
Thus, the number of companies using gamification successfully is constantly increasing. Here I have listed 8 gamification examples in the automotive sector.
ROI increases of several hundred percent are possible.
As a result, many more companies will become aware of the gamification trend in 2019 and want to use it to successfully increase their customers’ engagement, too.
Personalisation, consideration of the four phases of use and gamification – these are the trends for 2019 that promise a particularly large increase in engagement.
As the product experience and the connection that companies make with their customers become more and more important, the need for digital products that are particularly good at generating engagement increases.
By focusing on those techniques that are best suited for creating deep and engaging relationships with their customers, companies will be more successful in achieving their goals.