Maybe you’ve heard of customer engagement or maybe it’s a new term to you. Either way, it can be hard to know how best to use customer engagement as a tool for success in the hospitality industry. Customer engagement is one of the many key components explained in our Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management, giving you a great foundation for your career. To understand why customer engagement is so important in hospitality, and for some best practice examples, read on.
In this article, we will discuss what customer engagement is, how it differs from similar customer-focused approaches and how it can help anyone in the hospitality business.
What is customer engagement?
Customer engagement is a relatively modern idea that has come about mostly as part of the digital era. Customer engagement is all about how you interact with your customers through a wide range of channels, as well as how well they can interact with you.
Before the expansion of the internet, this was limited to talking with customers when they approached you and through advertising via traditional media. Nowadays, there are plenty of additional ways to engage with the customer, such as using social media, emails, websites, apps, and community forums.
It’s important to know that customer engagement is made up of a lot of little parts. And more important still to make sure that your relationships with customers are maintained even when they are not using your services. This might mean sending emails to let them know when there is a special offer available; or posting engaging topics on social media.
Customer engagement, customer satisfaction, and customer experience (CX)
Customer engagement can be similar to customer satisfaction and customer experience. However, all three have some different characteristics. Let’s take a look at them below:
Customer experience (CX) vs customer engagement
Customer experience is about everything that the customer comes into contact with when they are using your services, from your facilities to the demeanor of the staff who help them. This means that the customer experience more closely aligns with your customer service. As well as this, customer experience is focused on the ways you present to them. Customer engagement, on the other hand, deals more with how potential customers come into contact with your brand through social media, word of mouth, and other means.
Customer satisfaction vs customer engagement
Customer satisfaction is about how happy a customer is with your services as well as how often they use your services. This doesn’t necessarily require the customer to have any engagement with your business. In fact, sometimes customers with the highest satisfaction have almost no engagement, but both are important, in different cases. Engaged customers can help you spread your brand to others, while satisfied customers bring in revenue through loyalty and repeat business.
What does better customer engagement mean for your business?
Customer engagement is one of the customer-focused approaches that can help make your business more profitable and successful. Having people aware of your brand name and actively engaging with your brand helps ensure that more people want to use your services. This makes it a key part of most hospitality careers.
There are various ways to improve your customer engagement to boost your business. The list includes getting more feedback from customers or reaching out to potential customers more often. It also means strengthening your brand and making people more aware of what you offer.
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Why do you need a customer engagement strategy?
Improving customer engagement is hard if you can’t tell what works and what doesn’t, or even if you don’t know where to start. Having a good customer engagement strategy can help ensure that you make the most of your opportunities. Trying things without a clear strategy can lead to you missing sales or seeing potential customers lose interest.
Factors for customer engagement
There are many factors to consider for customer engagement, all of which are useful metrics to be aware of. Keeping an eye on these can help make sure that you know what works and what doesn’t. Some of the main factors are:
- Timespan – The amount of time that the interactions are spread over. This could be weeks, months, or years.
- Frequency – How often the interactions are within that time frame.
- Repetition – Whether the engagements are repeated, similar to previous interactions, or whether they are unique each time.
- Volume – How much interaction takes place in total.
- Context – When the interactions happen, such as during special offers, before or after they use your services, or regularly (weekly, monthly, yearly).
All of these customer touch points have to be right to get the most benefits out of customer engagement, which can be hard to manage. This is why monitoring your customer engagement strategy and marketing campaigns is so important as part of hospitality management and other hospitality careers.
The benefits of customer engagement
Looking for some specific benefits of customer engagement? The overall aim is to increase sales and customers, but there are plenty of specific areas that it can also improve:
Improves customer relationships
Good customer relationships are important. Having a customer who trusts your brand means you will get repeat visits. Unfortunately, it can be harder to have a good customer relationship in the digital era. However, customer communication can help with this, by giving options to stay in contact over social media or through websites. This can help you keep a good relationship, thus ensuring that you remain one of their preferred brands. Social media in particular is a great way to answer customer concerns quickly, due to its immediacy.
Increases loyalty and customer retention
Customers can be fickle and there are plenty of other options for people to pick from these days in terms of hospitality. That’s why you need to work hard to retain customer loyalty. This can be done with better customer engagement. If your customers feel heard and respected they are more likely to want to stick around. Plus, having a good frequency of engagement helps make sure that your brand is at the front of their mind — just don’t contact them too often as that can drive some customers away.
Make the most of upsell opportunities
Once you have good relationships with repeat customers, you can start to look at ways to get even more custom from them. This can be done when you use good customer engagement options to show and suggest products that they might not normally go for. Plus, thanks to the two-way nature of engagements, you will always be getting live feedback on what people think of the items or services that you are trying to upsell to them. This can be very valuable in helping you tailor your approach while maximizing opportunities.
Streamlines customer use
As we’ve said, customer engagement is a two-way street. This means that for every piece of information you are putting out there, every advert you post, and every email you send, you will be getting customer feedback in each exchange. There are plenty of tools that help you see how successful different approaches are. One of the biggest uses that this can be put to is to help you streamline the process for your customers. You can show them offers or options that they are more interested in, and you can help them easily access booking options or purchase options that they have used before. Customers like an easier process, so this can really help boost your business.
Helps get more customers
One of the simplest ways that customer engagement can boost your business is by increasing how many customers are interested in you. Being active in communication, answering questions, and offering special deals can help make people more interested in your business.
How to learn great customer engagement strategies
The role of customer engagement can be confusing, but it’s vital to make sure that your business gets the best results possible. Whether you are looking at hotel management or other areas of hospitality, you can learn how to make the most of customer engagement here at Les Roches. We help you plan and improve customer engagement strategies, as well as make sure that you can interpret the feedback you get from customers to keep refining your approach, all as part of our hospitality degrees.
Customer engagement – roundup
Customer engagement is all about the way you reach out to customers through different media, such as social media, emails, and more. Customer engagement is so important because it can help you get a better relationship with customers, get more business and make the most of repeat customers.
However, you need to make sure that you have a proper strategy to put in place and that you are constantly assessing your success. Getting a great education that includes customer engagement, like our Bachelor’s in Global Hospitality Management, can help you feel confident in leading the customer journey to improve your business.