Make an impact with these customer and employee engagement strategies

Cassy Aite
September 13, 2021
Make an impact with these customer and employee engagement strategies

Having engaged customers and employees is the dream. Highly engaged customers are more likely to stick around, make more purchases, and share valuable data with you to help you improve your product. And engaged employees are not only less likely to leave for a competitor, they’ll deliver better experiences for your customers too.

In this guide, we’ll share our favorite engagement strategies for both customers and employees. With these ideas, you’ll be able to create the kind of experiences and environments that people actually want to be a part of.

6 effective customer engagement strategies

Engagement strategies: A customer is excited and engaged

Let’s start with your customer base. After all, if your customers aren’t engaging with you, then you’ll struggle to make sales. Here are some top engagement marketing and customer support strategies to add to your customer engagement plan or marketing strategy.

1. Create a customer loyalty program

Customer loyalty programs are one of the best sales incentives to use to encourage engagement and improve customer retention. These programs offer a way for customers to collect points or tokens in exchange for rewards or perks. They’re also a way to say thank you to loyal customers who stick with you for the long haul.

The key to an amazing customer loyalty program is to reward your customers for interactions that matter and are easy to achieve. Reward tasks like sharing a competition on social media, completing a customer survey, and referring a friend. Make it easy to collect points, then come up with great rewards they can spend them on.

To find the perfect rewards, ask your customers what they’d love to see as a thank you for their brand loyalty. They might want a discount on their next purchase, or exclusive early access to your upcoming sale. It’s always a great idea to include a gift option too — like a virtual gift card.

2. Set up your own fan club or community

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to improving engagement, start with your most active customers first. Create your own digital fan club or community group where your already engaged customers can chat, share ideas or tips, and welcome new people to the community.

With an active community or fan club, you create an environment where you can find out more about your customers. Use this space to encourage conversation, share customer surveys, and ask your target audience how they feel about your brand.

Your community also gives you an ideal testing ground for new features and products. Encourage even more referrals to join your community by giving them exclusive access to new product launches before anyone else — in exchange for valuable data on what works and what doesn’t. Not only do you get feedback, but they feel closer to the brand they know and love.

3. Optimize your customer experience

While there are plenty of opportunities for you to impress your customers, there are also lots of moments where things can fall down. Take some time to optimize your customer experience and make sure that customer journey is as simple and positive as it can be.

Consider all the different customer interactions along the way — from onboarding new customers to how you handle requests to unsubscribe. With today’s omnichannel approach, you need to look at everything from your social media presence and website experience to the workflows and processes your team follows.

Evaluate how your customer support team responds to inquiries and whether you can speed things up with the help of chatbots or automated triage for support tickets. Look for opportunities to make your checkout experience better, or find ways to reduce friction when signing up for an account. And even after you’ve optimized, don’t forget to check-in with your audience and collect customer feedback to evaluate what’s working.

4. Be active and engaging on social media

It’s not enough to just have a presence on social media these days — you really have to go out of your way to be engaging. Have someone on your team available to share updates and interact with your customers in real-time.

Social media offers you the best communication channels to discover more about your customers, offer great customer service, and promote your exciting new products or services. With access to a mix of loyal customers and people that have never heard of you, it’s a place to build brand awareness and focus on engaging customers.

But with so many brands active on social media, sometimes it’s hard to stand out. If you know your team and they’re comfortable with your brand culture and values, give them a little freedom to step outside the ordinary. Allow them to authorize a virtual gift card to thank someone for leaving a glowing review on your Facebook page, or send a thoughtful message to a customer going through a tough time.

5. Go all in on personalization

Your customers aren’t going to engage with your content or team if they feel like they’re just another name on a list. This means you need to make personalization a priority when it comes to your marketing, sales, and customer support.

Aim to make as much of your messaging as personalized as possible. Create templates for your email marketing, conversational messengers, and other channels that allow you to add your customer’s name as a starting point. From there, use data on your customers’ buying history, interests, and preferences to send them relevant, targeted, and customized content.

To really make an impact with personalization, you need to have this customer data inside your CRM system. Be proactive about collecting valuable data and insights directly from your customers by incentivizing them to complete customer surveys and set up accounts through your loyalty program.

6. Celebrate milestone moments for your customers

We’re all more likely to engage with brands that we’ve built an emotional connection with. This means that celebrating your customers and creating feel-good memories should be a priority if you want to improve customer satisfaction and engagement.

Think about all the different real-life customer success milestones you can celebrate, and look for fun ways to make that happen. Birthdays are an obvious choice, but you could also celebrate the anniversary of when a retail customer first joined you, or congratulate a B2B customer on a recent award win.

You know your customers best, so consider which moments they’d appreciate you celebrating alongside them. If you have an especially close customer relationship, you could even send a small gift or virtual gift card to celebrate a graduation, new home purchase, or grand opening. These small, thoughtful gifts and messages can help you nurture that relationship and foster future engagement.

6 powerful employee engagement strategies

Engagement strategies: A happy and engaged employee

You can’t deliver these top tier customer experiences without a team that’s happy, engaged, and excited about going the extra mile. Build an energized, motivated team with these effective employee engagement strategies.

1. Send out regular employee engagement surveys

Before you can truly bring effective engagement strategies to your team, you first need to understand their needs and feelings about your company. Invest in running employee engagement surveys to understand the sentiment and gather ideas.

Employee feedback surveys are a great way to get valuable data and insights that you can use to improve employee satisfaction, work-life balance, and workplace culture. They can help you understand what your employees really want, what they dislike, and when you need to take a different approach.

While these insights are incredibly useful, they can be hard to come by. Like with your customer surveys, you can incentivize your team to complete their surveys by offering a perk or Hoppier virtual card as a thank you. Make sure this doesn’t influence the way they respond to questions though — you want the data to be meaningful and accurate.

2. Create an internal network or social community

Many of us are social creatures and thrive on being able to talk to team members about things that interest us. Sometimes that’s work, and other times it’s sharing your favorite cat meme. Create a place for your employees to engage with not just you but everyone on the team with an internal social community.

An internal network or social community gives people a place where they can easily be heard on important issues, engage in conversations, and shoutout someone’s great achievements. With a remote team, a tool like Slack is a must-have, but it can also be incredibly helpful for an in-person team too.

Set some basic ground rules for your community, but let your employees shape it. Encourage people to welcome new hires, share links to webinars and online learning opportunities, and discuss things that matter to them. Create a place that feels like a virtual home — with plenty of freedom — and you’ll soon find people starting to share.

3. Celebrate your employees’ successes

Within every team there are superstars — the kind of people that just excel at what they do and go the extra mile to support others. There are also people that have reached a milestone in a journey, done something exciting, or just made someone smile. These are all things worth celebrating as part of your employee engagement initiative.

Create a company culture that thrives on celebrating the success of the people around you. Make it the norm to give someone a real-life or virtual “high five” for doing good work, getting positive feedback from a customer, or helping a colleague.

If you want to take this a step further, introduce an employee recognition program. This gives you a more formal and organized way to recognize someone’s amazing achievements. Ask people to nominate a coworker for an employee recognition award, and reward their success with a thank you note and a gift — like a virtual credit card that they can spend wherever they want.

4. Plan an epic team retreat

Sometimes you get so stuck in a daily routine that it’s hard to tackle big topics and make real culture changes from your desks. Organizing a team retreat can help get everyone away from their day job so you can build a better, more engaged workforce together.

Team retreats give you the ideal opportunity to bring people together to discuss issues, make positive change, or just catch up and enjoy time with each other. You can plan a range of engagement activities like small group discussions, mental health and wellbeing seminars, and strategy sessions to cover key issues. These retreats are also a lovely way to welcome new employees and bring some fun to the employee experience through outdoor adventures, dinners, and social events.

Most team retreats happen face-to-face, but virtual retreats are a great option if you have lots of remote employees or just can’t all be in the same place at the same time. You can cover the same topics and encourage engaging conversations using digital spaces, virtual event platforms, or just a simple call on Zoom.

5. Encourage personal growth and professional development

People often disengage from their work and the people around them if they don’t feel valued. Give your employees the confidence that you believe in them and their future by encouraging and investing in their growth and development. This can help improve job satisfaction, and help you find talented people to grow into new roles.

Give your employees access to a learning budget they can spend on online classes, seminars, or materials to help them do their role better or prepare them for a future role along their career path. Ask them what their learning goals are, and offer mentorship throughout the learning process to help them succeed.

A simple yet fun way to expose your teams to new learning experiences is with a virtual lunch and learn. Gather your team together on a video call and invite an expert to talk through a topic and host a cooperative learning session over your lunch break. To provide a delicious lunch for your team, use Hoppier to send a virtual card they can spend on take-out from their favorite local cafe or restaurant.

6. Host a company-wide Q&A session

Disengagement can be a big problem for companies — especially if they’re going through a challenging time like a restructure, buyout, or change in leadership. In both positive and tough times, hosting a company-wide Q&A session can help put your employees at ease and give them a way to engage with you on the topics that matter to them.

An open Q&A session is a great way to move away from a traditional, top-down communication style, and create space for a two-way dialogue with your team members. It’s an opportunity for people to ask senior leaders about hot topics, pose questions about the future, or make innovative suggestions in front of the team. All of these things can encourage engagement from the people in the room (or on the video call).

Whether you host a Q&A session as a one-off at a key moment, or make it a regular part of your internal communications plan, it’s a useful way to engage your employees. It’s a great way to stay transparent and accountable, and create a culture where discussion is actively encouraged.

Hoppier: a thoughtful way to reward your customers and team

There are a lot of similarities in the way you should treat your customers and your employees. Both groups want transparency, support, and trust — and appreciate gratitude, celebrations, and being treated like an individual that matters. Make that happen the easy way by investing in a tool like Hoppier.

With Hoppier, you can create those magical “thank you” moments for your customers and employees — without overthinking things like suppliers and logistics. Simply set up a program within Hoppier, personalize your virtual card, and send it to your recipient for them to spend.

A virtual credit card that can facilitate customer or employee engagement strategies

It’s easy to get started with Hoppier. First, create a program and give it a creative name that your recipient will love. Add an emoji, too, for some extra personality. Next, customize the way your virtual card looks by adding your company logo and brand colors. Once you’re happy with the look and feel of your virtual card, you can set those all-important spending limits and redemption periods.

A budget for virtual credit cards

Decide how much to give your employee or customer and which dates they can spend the balance between. You can also narrow down the online stores where they can redeem their card, or leave it open to give them total freedom.

Vendors where employees and customers can purchase from as part of their engagement strategy

Hoppier virtual cards are the perfect way to reward your customers and employees for positive actions. They work well as a reward within a loyalty program or employee recognition program, or as the perfect corporate gift for a birthday, holiday, or anniversary. In fact, they’re great for any moment where you just want to say thank you or treat someone.

Make great things happen with these engagement strategies

Highly engaged customers and employees are a huge win for businesses. They’re happier, more likely to make referrals, and can have a positive impact on your bottom line. Engaging these groups isn’t always easy, but with the right engagement tactics, you can be sure you’re on the right track.

Even with the best engagement strategies and tactics, it can be tough to get people to attend events — especially virtual ones. Tune in to our webinar on how to get people to show up to virtual events to discover our expert tips for engaging customers and employees before the event takes place.

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