Customer engagement describes the connection or experience a customer has with a company or brand, both online and offline.
The importance of a customer engagement strategy on driving revenue is undeniable. More engaged customers mean higher customer retention, lower churn, increased loyalty and customer lifetime value, and greater sales and revenue.
Tactics for driving customer engagement vary. Need inspiration? Here are 3 examples of brands doing customer engagement right.
Winning Customer Engagement Strategies
Denny’s is a full-service pancake house, coffee shop, fast casual family restaurant chain with over 1,600 locations all over the world. The company engages with customers on Twitter in a way that embraces the weird, and which you wouldn’t at all describe as corporate, according to Adweek. The result? When Denny’s talks, the younger generation is all ears.
it seems like there should not be a singular form of the word nachos like has anyone ever just ordered a single nacho?
— Denny's (@DennysDiner) July 31, 2016
Then there’s this one:
“a recent study shows that men think about nachos every 7 seconds” -nacho scientists
— Denny's (@DennysDiner) July 23, 2016
they make pretzel and donut pool toys so why not pancake ones like big golden lily pads
— Denny's (@DennysDiner) July 29, 2016
Note the use of surveys and emojis:
it's the first day of summer!! when was the last time you filled an inflatable pool with milkshakes?
— Denny's (@DennysDiner) June 20, 2016
👩: nice buns
— Denny's (@DennysDiner) May 29, 2016
Why it works: Totally random and zany? Sure. But the strategy is delivering positive results. Instead of being perceived as the diner where you’d take grandpa for pancakes, Denny’s has chosen to embrace and engage with young modern consumers with humorous shareable tweets. The company is using the language of — and therefore connecting effectively with — its target audience. No need for CTA buttons, landing page tags, and coupon codes. Obviously, this wouldn’t work for, say, insurance companies or healthcare practitioners. But for Denny’s? Its sassy customer engagement and social strategy is taking fans and followers all the way to the bank.
Chipotle, an American chain of fast food restaurants specializing in tacos and burritos, recently released an animated short film on YouTube called A Love Story to promote Chiptopia, its summer rewards program. The timing couldn’t have been more right: the company is trying to win customers back following several outbreaks of E. coli.
A Love Story is about a young boy who opens up an orange juice stand across the street from a young girl. He begins to have romantic feelings for her, so in an attempt to ask her out on a date, he advertises his business around the neighborhood. He ends up making more money than her and the two start a heated competition that only goes on as they grow into adults.
The theme song is based on Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.”
A Love Story has received close to 7 million views. It has delivered results as successful as The Scarecrow, another Chipotle animated short released in 2013.
Why it works: Chipotle’s short films are an example of the company’s ability to create strong emotional connections with its customers.
While the taco and burrito chain’s latest film was released as a way to get customers to join Chiptopia, according to AdAge, the whole strategy involves something bigger than hyping up a loyalty program or rousing people to move past food safety scares. The use of colorful imagery, the children’s-storybook way of communicating brand values, the kind of cute animation we typically come to expect from Disney or Pixar: these serve to help Chipotle regain the trust of consumers, as well as demonstrate that it cares about the same issues (sustainability, food ethics) the community cares about.
THE ROASTERY by STARBUCKS
Looking for a great offline customer engagement strategy? Check out the Roastery, launched by coffee company Starbucks as its latest effort to engage meaningfully with customers through unique experiences.
The first of the Roastery stores opened in Seattle in 2014, and the next one is scheduled to open in New York in 2018, according to CNN.
Called the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, the Seattle store offers a multi-sensory coffee experience in which customers can watch freshly roasted beans arrive, chat with baristas and coffee specialists, enjoy the unique beverage and food menu, and experience coffee brewed multiple ways.
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, said, “What I wanted to try and do was create this multi-sensory experience with theater, romance, drama… and have the coffee moving around and create a real roasting manufacturing facility.”
The Roastery is also where Starbucks Reserve coffees worldwide will be roasted and packaged. Actually, less than 1 percent of all Starbucks beans qualify for this distinction, and some are so scarce they might never be available again.
Why it works: Your customer engagement strategy can certainly benefit from activating your Promoters: the happy, loyal customers considered likely to buy more, remain customers for longer, and recommend your brand to other potential customers.
In the case of the Roastery, Starbucks is driving engagement with true coffee lovers, the people who are passionate about coffee culture and have deep appreciation for rare beans, flavors, and experiences. And, more often than not, these people will go on to tell their friends about the store. This results in the amplification of the brand’s message, which becomes more powerful, authentic, and trustworthy if and when it comes not from a company or brand, but from actual customers.
Know your audience. Speak their language. Foster strong emotional connections. And cater the customer experience to your most passionate promoters. Take these steps to supercharge your customer engagement strategy.