Four Tips to Build Customer Engagement

When I think of customer engagement, I immediately think of a former customer I worked closely with who was the epitome of an advocate, evangelist, and power user of our platform. He would shout about our business from the mountain top (and ironically, their office was located in an old Baltimore brewery located on the top of a hill) and always wanted to know what else we had to offer and how we could help.

For every customer like this, I had what felt like a dozen that I never heard from. They spoke up when they needed something but often went silent when you tried to proactively engage them.  Customers fall all throughout the spectrum from “Power User” to “Did they change their number and not tell anyone?”. Though it is easy to focus on the customers who want to be focused on, we need to get those less active customers engaged (or sometimes, re-engaged) to ensure that we continue to add value to the relationship.

Incentivize Them

That’s right, make their time worthwhile. It is important to remember that our customers have a lot on their plate and that their responsibilities go beyond managing vendor relationships. If we want to get our busiest customers to engage more deeply and drive the business forward, we need to align our goals with theirs and incentivize them to move the needle.

LMS tools or community forums that reward power users who over-engage will go a long way in not only strengthening that existing customer relationship but will cause them to advocate for your brand above and beyond expectations.

Solve A Problem

Your customers came to you to solve a problem but the problem you solve is likely just one of many. Engage your customers by asking them ‘what else’ they have going on and figure out how you can help. Your software or service may or not directly fill those needs but perhaps you can introduce them to someone who can. If you can add value outside of your primary business case, you position yourself as a trusted advocate and resource whom your customers will look to when they have a problem they need to solve. These same customers will also advocate for you when it becomes time to renew, expand, or deepen that relationship.

Make Them the Hero

What to increase engagement? Drape a cape over your customer’s shoulders and let their boss(es) know what excellent work they have done leveraging your product or service. Much of this work may be done by us, the CSM, on behalf of the client but ultimately, that’s our job – to understand and deliver value, solve problems, and expand the business. Give your customers the knowledge, perspective, tools, and resources to make an impact. When their bosses socks are blown off their feet by the great your advocate just laid on the table, they will quickly be asking “what else” you can help them with.

Be Prepared

Some customers just don’t engage. They rely on you to solve their problem and unless there is a major issue, you could go 6 months or longer without a single call or email from them.

When a customer doesn’t engage, it is very easy to think “out of sight, out of mind” and focus your time and energy on other, more active accounts and stakeholders. Though I don’t believe you should be spending all of your time on these types of customers, it is important to be prepared when they do inevitably reach out.

Track their account usage and important metrics. Identify trends – both positive and negative – that they may have an impact on their business. When they do engage, be diligent and responsive but have “something else” ready to send alongside your response.

“Hey customer, I am happy to run that report for you. I have been tracking your account metrics over the past 3 months and have noticed this trend, that I thought you might find interesting…”

Layering in additional value can make a quiet customer more responsive and ultimately more engaged as they begin to further understand the positive impact you have on their business.


Ryan Moline is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently a Solutions Consultant with DialogTech.

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