Market musings

Your Simple, Low-cost Engagement Tool Is Hiding in Plain Sight

by Sasha Viasasha
January 16, 2018

Engagement underlies both productivity and profitability. How to you bring in new customers? Engagement. How to you retain existing customers? Engagement. How do you keep your employees on task? Engagement. Many complicated, expensive tech tools exist to help you measure and boost engagement, but the most effective tool of all is both easy to use and available in unlimited quantities. It’s a well-planned conversation.

Engagement = growth

The significance of customer engagement cannot be overstated, especially for companies intent on growth. Here’s how Popcorn Metrics explained the monetary value of engagement:

“User Engagement impacts profoundly the growth of your business, on multiple levels. If users are getting value then they are going to stay around for longer. And if you can retain each user for longer, you will have more opportunity to generate revenue from each user (meaning a greater Lifetime Value, so you can afford a higher cost of Customer Acquisition) and more opportunity to have each user refer other new users - all of which leads to growth.”

How much are companies spending on customer engagement?

Engagement metrics fall under marketing budgets and spending on analytical tools comprise a significant portion of those budgets. Companies everywhere are spending around 11% of their budgets on marketing, and some industries are spending considerably more. Deloitte’s CMO Survey for 2017 reported that many firms spend up to 24% of their budgets on talking to customers and measuring their responses.  

It’s difficult to say how much of marketing budgets are spent specifically on engagement because most companies (61.3%) write down costs to “Direct Expenses of Marketing,” which often incorporates engagement tracking tools and initiatives. In addition, more than half of companies have budget line items for “Social Media” and “Marketing Analytics,” which would include the largest share of spending on engagement tracking.

In any case, spending on marketing is closely correlated with profitability. On average, top performing companies in every industry are spending around 15.7% of their budgets on marketing while the lowest performers are spending around 9.2%. That makes sense because that companies that expend time, effort and budget to understand what their customers want are better able to provide it.

If companies everywhere could spend less to achieve better engagement for customers and employees, this alone would make a world of difference in the global economy.

The simpler path to customer engagement

Customers want to talk and companies want to listen, but communications systems often make it difficult by adding cost and complexity into the mix. Internally, employees often waste too much time unsuccessfully trying to connect with coworkers or making unprofitable decisions due to a lack of collaboration.

Mohan Sawhney, clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University, teaches that engagement marketing is all about conversations. He wrote, “If you only talk to customers about what you sell them, they have the option of tuning out. The motto for engagement marketing is, ‘Ask not how you can sell, but how you can help.’”

Sawheny refers to this approach advertising as a service, instead of advertising as an interruption. The companies with the strongest brand recognition pay for customer attention with valuable information, but the only way to know what customers need to know is by active listening and frequent conversations.

The cost of employee disengagement

Employee engagement is closely related to customer engagement. Both are correlated to performance overall and profitability specifically. Gallup surveys revealed that top performing managers meet regularly with their employees, either face-to-face or over the phone.

That's how leading firms keep workers on task, even remote workers in other countries. Brief but frequent status checks via smartphone resove problems faster and keep teams aligned.  Workers who regularly talk to their managers are 7X more likely to stay engaged and motivated, no matter where they are.

Internally, employee engagement impacts productivity, efficiency, turnover and ultimately customer experience of communicating with representatives of your company.

Harvard Business Review surveyed businesses from every continent to determine a unified global value for employee engagement. They found that companies everywhere have shifted their focus from lowering costs to investing in growth and 71% say “a high level of employee engagement” is crucial to achieving that goal. Only a fourth of these companies said that their employees were highly engaged today.

A mobile conversation engine

Spoke created a low-cost global communications network for smartphones so small businesses can ramp up engagement with both their customers and employees. We help teams stay productive no matter where they go. When officer managers are able to instantly contact anyone across a distributed workforce, they can close sales faster and resolve customer issues without delay.

No desk phones, no wires, no IT department needed. Within 3 minutes, your growing business could set up Spoke Phone and start accessing next-generation capabilities like:

  • Project the professionalism of an enterprise-class PBX system
  • Instantly contact anyone in your organization
  • Determine who is available and who is on a call
  • Establish employee DDIs with local numbers in 53 countries
  • Keep private mobile numbers and company data secure
  • Make sure missed calls are handled by the right team members
  • Allow your customized, multilingual AI attendant to direct calls to the right group
  • Transfer or conference calls to resolve issues on the spot

Click the link to arrange an interactive demo and see Spoke in action. Get more calls made and answered to ramp up engagement at every level. Excellence in customer experience is just a phone call away.  

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