Companies keep telling me customer engagement is broken. I find this a shocking statement. We are connected to the internet 24/7, we’ve got endless tools available to speak to anyone; even my grandma uses Skype to call me on weekends. Engagement should be easier than ever before, how can it be broken?

The answer is simple. Brands are relying on technology to fix a purely emotional issue. AI is the coolest thing that has happened to us in a long time and brands are justifiably excited about it. But the key to customer engagement is trust, not computer programs that behave like humans.

Rich, complex conversations which lead to happier customers and better products – that is true customer engagement. We all agree that AI is part of the future, but it feels like brands are passing  a problem that only humans can solve on to the bots.

People don’t speak to stones. Likewise, customers don’t speak to brands that don’t listen, they simply switch companies. Instead of bringing in the bots, here are eight things you can do to build customer trust and increase engagement.

  1. Give your customers a platform where they can speak to you, as well as to each other. This is the first step in showing you are not afraid and you trust them.
  2. Listen to their feedback and act on it. Create a transparent process so your customers can see how their feedback is being incorporated into your business.
  3. Share with them as much as you can. Open the virtual doors of your company, throw down the red carpet, and create a welcoming, inviting culture.
  4. Leave humans to tackle the emotional stuff. Bots are awesome and can handle millions of queries in a couple of seconds, but that doesn’t mean you can delegate the emotional stuff to them. Companies using AI to personalise customer experience are fooling themselves and their customers.
  5. Stop saying you are customer-centric (unless it is true). Putting the customer at the heart of your business involves a massive effort and needs to involve all your employees so everyone is on board. Customer-centricity is a lifestyle, not just a trendy concept.
  6. Establish a shared vision with your customers. Whether it’s building better mobile phones or saving the planet, you need your customers’ support to achieve your goal. And many want to be involved; the twenty-first century consumer isn’t satisfied with simply buying things, they want to understand your vision and be able to make a difference.
  7. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve done up until this point, your customers will call you out if you don’t deliver on your promises. This is the quickest way to lose their trust.
  8. Don’t be afraid of criticism. Accepting criticism is one of the most powerful tools to improve your brand. Not long ago brands used to delete (aka moderate) negative customer comments from their channels. Instead, embrace criticism, engage with it, and learn from it.
Trust is really powerful because it helps you create an environment where customers want to help you improve. If you remove trust from the equation what you often get is negative engagement or, in other words, a lot of ranting customers.


Gabriel Fraga, Chief of Communities @ Standing on Giants

ALSO READ…

How a branded community would have saved Paperchase from a Twitterstorm

Paperchase recently found themselves where no brand wants to be – at the heart of a Twitterstorm. Social media users were quick to express their dismay when the company placed a promotion in the Daily Mail. Paperchase soon withdrew the promotion, apologising and...

Customer Experience(s) vs Customer Service

Having recently attended the CEM in Telecoms Global Summit here in London, one thing struck me above all else. Most speakers explored one meaning of the word ‘experience’, namely: technology. The focus was giving the customer more functionality, allowing the customer...

Job Vacancy: Pre Sales/Research support to New Business Sales

Applications close: 5 October 2017   We’re growing and we want you to join Standing on Giants! This role requires someone who cares deeply and can view the world from the client’s perspective. Not only will you be researching and identify business opportunities,...

Job Vacancy: Community Manager – Italian Speaking

We are an exciting young company based in London Paddington with unprecedented expertise in Online Community Management. Our founders have won several awards for their outstanding work in this field and we continue to strive to impact the relationship between brands...

Five branded online communities trends to watch for in 2018

This year saw an explosion in the number and variety of suppliers offering communities technology. Unlike Standing on Giants, many new players aren’t yet working at enterprise level, but one thing’s for certain – demand for communities is on the up. It’s no shocker...

CMX Summit 2017 – My top five insights

I am still buzzing after last month’s CMX Summit in Los Angeles - the experience was exhilarating and full of positive energy.  My greatest memory of the event was the scavenger hunt, but I can leave that for another blog post! Instead, I’ll give you my top 5...

Why you shouldn’t answer customer service questions in your community

I’m going to give you a challenge – start trusting your customers, start believing that they can help with customer service.  Stop trying to control your community members  – step back, educate them, and encourage them. Stop customer service agents answering every...

CEM 2016 – Customer Experience Management Takeaways

Last month I was lucky enough to attend the important event about Customer Experience Management in Argentina, where experienced speakers participated and offered a very productive and interesting day. There has never been a bigger challenge in the marketing sector...

Three Powerful Statements To Use In Your Online Community

“As Community Managers, we are human. We talk to people. We are interested in each other, we share opinions and we listen. But most importantly, we understand each other. As Community Manager , you should move beyond informing and let customers feel part of the...

Making the Standing on Giants Negroni

The Summer maybe be over, but there is no reason not to wack up the heating, slip on some light clothes, put a mellow playlist on Spotify and pretend that it's not grey or raining outside.  What better drink to capture the August vibe than Standing on Giant's twist on...

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Standing on Giants

Standing on Giants

Team

The Standing on Giants team is an eccentric group of passionate brand owned community experts comprising community managers, techheads, trainers, and various other crazy people