product management

10 Great Customer Engagement Strategies For Your Business

Customer satisfaction is the key to any successful business, and customer engagement strategies help the same. The interaction or ‘engagement’ between the customer and the brand as we label it here is done in multiple ways. It is a process that has developed over time. 

Well planned strategies take customer engagement from reactive to proactive. They must incorporate two major ideas — the first being how your brand interacts with its customers and the quality of such interactions. Mere acquisition of customers is not sufficient, so secondly, it is also significant to actively engage with your base.

Advantages of customer engagement strategies:

When you engage with your customers, it is more than just fulfilling your business agenda. You form a bond with them, a bond that is not restricted to giving and taking of products, but rather more of emotional relation. 

Just like low budget movies with good stories that earn great profits solely on the basis of mouth publicity similarly, word of mouth is equally important for small businesses that cannot invest much in advertising.

It might sound weird and obviously outdated, but “words matter the most”. Even today, word of mouth is of prime importance and assurance in the time of reviews and ratings. The care and tenderness with which you handle your customer relations reflect in the referrals your customer makes to their family and friends. The strategies mentioned below are surely going to assist you in enhancing your customer engagement.

10 customer engagement strategies for your business:

1. Creating custom content 

You have a variety of customers, and their needs, wants, and desires vary. So it is equally important to cater to each one of them. Custom content is the key to it, but what does the term actually mean?

We do talk a lot about content marketing. But what about the customers we already have? This is where the idea of custom content marketing hops in. Custom content is tailored to engage with the ‘existing customers’.

“78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing. And 61% of buying decisions are influenced by custom content.”

Demand Centric

2. Rewarding the customers

No matter how old we grow, the thought of rewards always excites us, be it in any way. Suitably rewarding your customers is a great way to maintain their loyalty towards your business. Weird, but true, customers feel happy when you reward them for spending their money.

Rewarding your customers must top the list of your loyalty programs. In fact, a lot many businesses also hire a team just for designing their loyalty programs. 

It might sound expensive to some of you, but a little expense to retain your customers does no harm.

3. Implement in-product messaging

Apart from email marketing, in-product messaging can also be a great option to communicate with your audience. In-product messages are highly targeted and are influential in helping new customers get acquainted with the product. 

The main aim of using this feature is to enhance customer engagement and motivate them to use your products more.

4. Personalise user experience

Personalisation is the new way of showing that you care for your customers ― that their presence matters and is valued. From Myntra personalising the recommended products we see to Netflix suggesting shows we would like based on our watch history, all the major brands are rolling it off pretty well.

“72% of consumers only engage with marketing messages that are customised to their specific interests. And 80% of those who classify themselves as frequent shoppers say they only shop with brands who personalise their experience.”


5. Re-engage

In the world where nothing remains constant, at one moment you might be delighted with the number of customers you have and in the next moment highly shocked with their sudden disappearance. There might come a moment when they cease to use your products. Such customers are labelled as churned customers, and they should top the list of your priority because they have used your product, service or app at some point ― and might need it again.

All you need to do is decode why they stopped using your product or service and make efforts to bring them back. Re-engaging is a great way of dealing with this problem. Establish your connection with lost users via emails and make them realise their importance. Doesn’t everyone love to be treated as ‘special’?

6. Investing in analytics tools

These days customer engagement can be easily evaluated well with analytics tools. The data obtained from these tools can be used to build a dashboard with various pointers, like the features used by a certain group of people or how long aṣ user goes on with your app or product before discontinuing.

The data collected helps you in knowing and analysing the performance of your product or service in both ways, good and bad — this further aids in building new strategies.

7. Take help power users

Each brand has a group of highly engaged individuals who intend to become product champions for its company. You should always keep such people very close and very prioritised as their opinions matter the most. Their views regarding your product can either make it a great success or a bad failure. Keep a tap on their demands and requirements.

8. All hands support

All hands support is an innovative way of engaging all your company’s employees ― from developers to product managers to the sales team ― in supporting the customers.

This technique boosts growth in many companies by keeping their entire team in contact with their customers’ needs, wants, desires, and pains.

“Effective all hands support focuses on making life better for your customers. But it can also cause a shift in how you and your team think about and build your company.”


9. Invest in digital Channels

With the money you don’t end up spending on events, you can double down on digital channels and/ or invest in some truly engaging digital experiences. Create an integrated experience when reaching out to prospects by adding more targeted ads and social media layers.

Also, consider putting budget into a piece of interactive content. Consider creating interactive top-of-funnel content, case studies, or sales demos where prospects can peruse through information at their own pace whenever they have time. The possibilities are limitless here and generally evergreen, so you have the opportunity to generate an ongoing return.  

10. Collect customer feedback

Feedbacks are a great way of conveying whether the customer likes your product or not. It helps you to view your product from a customer point of view and work on shortcomings, if any. 

Asking for feedback from your customers is a great way of customer engagement. It gives you an insight into what the customers think about your product and helps in developing a customer-centric business.

What are some of your proven strategies for customer engagement? Share with us, and we will share it with the masses!

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Building A New Product? Here’s What You Need To Ask!

Imagine you’re using a product and something bothers you about it. Maybe it takes 5 clicks to do anything. Maybe it works but is kinda ugly and clunky. “I bet I could make a new app that’s 15% better,” you think. “Instant business success!” This is a fallacy. Thread 👇
This lesson took me many failures to properly appreciate. Especially since it seems like a given: if millions of people use a mediocre service every day, and I come along and make the same thing but better, won’t they obviously choose my product? But no.
Product builders are trained to ask: “Is our product better than the competition’s?” What they should be asking instead is: “Is our product better enough to motivate a change in behavior?” There is a big difference.
Instead of asking “Is it better?” than the alternative, we need to ask: 1) How much better? 2) How painful is the alternative? 3) How easy is it to switch?
Example: when I need a ride, I’ll open up my default ride-sharing app. If the closest driver is more than 8 minutes away, or the price is too high, I’ll immediately switch to the competitor. In this case, switching costs are low. So 15% better on time or $$ gets my business.
Example: everyone’s hyping up this new note-taking app. I download it. Seems great. Some better features than my current app. But my current app is fine. And wow will it be painful to port over my huge archive of past notes. Sorry, not switching.
“Switching costs are high” is the reason why bad legacy software persists in older orgs. If the next-gen stuff isn’t 2-3x better, it can’t overcome the switching pain. It still might be 30-70% better though. Which is why new co’s will readily adopt it.
Also, “good enough” is its own barrier. I used to rattle off all the ways YouTube could be better, but didn’t care enough to upload to other video services that have come along over the years.
(This is also why every week there seems to be a new and “better” to-do app being launched, which are often fun demos or show pieces, but I can’t recall any having huge traction in growth.)
As a designer, it was hard to accept that people wouldn’t always clamor to use something that was more usable, more understandable, more delightful. But purely aesthetic improvements rarely make something >15% better (unless status is involved). Functionality matters more.
Of course, 15% better will usually find *some* audience, usually the most avid and discerning users of a service. But just because you can find the first 500 customers doesn’t guarantee wider appeal.
So, to recap: just because you can build a service better than anything else out there doesn’t guarantee you will have a hit. Understand: “Is it better enough to motivate a switch?” 1) How much better? 2) How painful is the alternative? 3) How easy is it to switch? Fin.

» NextBigWhat’s #Threadmill brings you curated wisdom from Twitter threads on product, life and growth.

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SOS: Mistakes That Every Product Manager Should Avoid!

So last week, India witnessed four new unicorns — and there is always a new product getting out in the market!

There is so much competition and options to choose from. The industry is loaded with ‘kinda similar’ products with their ‘own’ USPs and offerings. Then what makes them unique? What keeps them in demand?

In the pre & post-pandemic world, product management has been constant (and yes, it’s going to remain the same way). Just that with every new day, every product demands a new change and a new variation. 

So the humans behind this, aka the product managers, ought to be efficient, focused, and smart to make the product a boom in the market.

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Now, this could be really subjective — everyone has their own way of thinking and implementing ideas. But what remains common is their thought process — the decisions they make and the mistakes they commit.

Given below are some of the common yet ‘non-negotiable’ mistakes that product managers end up making in order to make their product BIG!

Working towards a preconceived goal 

A product manager’s job calls for a person’s ability to ask the right questions at the right time. This implies that you should be able to analyse the data provided efficiently, test it and get in touch with your customer/team for valuable insight. 

Working on a preconceived goal is great. However, sometimes it clouds the judgement of a person. As a consequence, the ideas of the product development team are bound within a box. This acts as a corrosive action against the basic idea of innovation.  

Focusing only on customers’ needs

Focusing on customer’s needs is important for every company. However, you must realise that your customer doesn’t possess the creative thinking and enhanced ability your team does. 

If you keep trying to satisfy your customer’s needs, you won’t be able to innovate a revolutionary product. This might keep your company running for now but will lead you to failure in the long run.

Misidentification of features as benefits

Every product has its features and specs. Sometimes, a company creates an amazing product that might work great for techies or the Millenials who want to keep up with modern-day technology. 

But your everyday consumer might not be amazed by the same. This is why you have to analyse your consumer groups separately and keep that in mind while creating a new product.   

Ignorance towards communication gap

One of the major reasons for any product failure is the communication gap between the different levels of the organisation. 

Any product manager should understand, an organisation is just like a bicycle, where you need to keep paddling to move forward. With proper planning and tech by your side, you can keep your team constantly informed and motivated to achieve the desired goal. 

Misidentifying the end-user and consumer as the same

This is one of the common mistakes that most product managers commit. Since their dealing is primarily with the customer or the person with the money bag, they are not able to address the pain points of the end-user. 

To cure this problem, the sales and marketing team can come in real handy. Their expertise and knowledge regarding the customer and his users can help you address the barriers to your product’s success. 

Setting unrealistic timelines

As the competition rises every day, each company wants to deliver their product as soon as possible. This forces a project manager to set unrealistic timelines for his team. This, in turn, affects the quality of the end-product. 

When you are setting up timelines, you should ensure that they are feasible and realistic. Also, don’t forget to consider the different factors that can affect your project’s timeline, for example, the number of resources, number of working hours, time-taken by different processes, etc.!

Obsession with Novelty

A large number of companies are obsessed with the term “new”. They believe that their novelty might create an irresistible temptation in the mind of their users. However, every year, only 5% of the newly launched products see the dawn of success

Quite low, huh?

This is why one should realise, sometimes innovation isn’t enough. A product must be able to add value to the life of its customer. Your everyday user relies on value, and this is what propels the engine of your organisation forward. 

While there are many points that one could share from their own learning and experiences, these are the ‘highlighted’ ones — the ones that need to be bridged. 

If you are a product manager and have got some ‘gyan’ to share with us, drop us an email or say ‘hi’ on our social media platforms. Let the world hear what you have to say! 🙂

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Leadership 101: Be a Practitioner, Not Just a Manager!

I learned about leadership & scaling from Sheryl Sandberg. My direct manager for 10+ yrs, we spent countless hours together in weekly 1x1s (she attended religiously), meetings, offsites, dinners, travel, etc. Here are some of the most important lessons I took away from Sheryl:
In one of our early M-team offsites, everyone shared their mission in life. Sheryl described her passion for scaling organizations. She was single-mindedly focused on this purpose and loved everything about scaling. It’s a huge strength to know what you were put on earth to do.
Sheryl implemented critical systems to help us scale – eg 360 perf reviews, calibrations, promotions, refresh grants, PIPs. She brought structure to our management team and board meetings, hired senior people across the company, and streamlined communications up and down the org.
Sheryl told Mark the things he didn’t want to hear. As companies grow, people don’t want to give the CEO bad news. Mark knew Sheryl would never worry about losing her job or falling out of favor. And over time Sheryl taught me and others how to be truth-tellers for her and Mark.
Sheryl refused to participate in late night meetings. She had the confidence to admit she went to bed at 10pm and told Mark she’d be happy to meet when she woke up at 5am if he still hadn’t gone to bed yet. Her vulnerability was inspiring and signaled strength not weakness.
A few months after she joined the company, Sheryl told me she was planning to give me more responsibility (yay!). But first she wanted to make sure others were seeing what she saw in me. This was my first 360 performance review and it changed my life. I shared the story here:
Every 6 months for the next 10 yrs I received a detailed perf review from Sheryl, and she always sat with me to deliver it. She also insisted on receiving specific feedback for her. She took feedback incredibly seriously, in both directions. Her poster read: “Feedback Is A Gift”
Occasionally people would ask to meet with me after getting tough feedback from Sheryl. I would always share the story of my very first performance review and explain Sheryl’s philosophy of constant, real-time, direct feedback. It wasn’t always easy to hear, but it made us better
I frequently received emails from Sheryl with subject “You!” It might be a note (cc Mark) praising me for something. More often it was a note (cc me) to someone on my team (often deep in my org) praising them for something. Those little notes meant the world to their recipients.
Sheryl responded to all of her email. Many companies have a culture where execs respond selectively, but this makes people feel small. If Sheryl didn’t have something to say, she would still respond “thanks I’ll think about it” or cc someone else asking them to look into it.
I remember after Sheryl wrote Lean In, she lamented to me that she could no longer personally respond to every fan email because she was overwhelmed. Rather than ignore them, she implemented a system to ensure they always received a response from her team (and often from her).
Execs often fall into the trap of only managing rather than doing. Sheryl insisted everyone on M-team do “real work.” She never stopped taking sales meetings and she praised me for personally negotiating big deals. She encouraged all of us to be practitioners not just managers.
Sheryl & I disagreed early on about a decision. I thought Mark would agree with me so I went around her to make my case. She sat me down and explained that if we were going to work together she needed to be able to trust me. She invited escalation but insisted on transparency.
We faced a tough situation with a partner and one of their board members asked Sheryl to meet. She invited me to join but I demurred, I knew this would be a contentious mtg. She told me about one of her colleagues in DC who testified when nobody else wanted to – “step up, own it”
Sheryl organized trips for M-team to visit other companies we admired (she has incredible CEO relationships). We visited Walmart, Samsung, P&G. We did a mini bootcamp at Quantico Marine Officer Training Center. There was countless lessons and lots of bonding on those trips.
Sheryl was a demanding boss who held me to a high standard. She got upset when I failed & pushed me to step up my game. And she celebrated my successes. She always had my back, I knew she would fight to the death for me, and I could always trust her. She taught me to be a leader.

» NextBigWhat’s #Threadmill brings you curated wisdom from Twitter threads on product, life and growth. Read more posts on Leadership and Product Management here!

When Should The Product Manager Quit?

I have been through this question and without disclosing the company name, let me tell you the one factor which helped me decide.

To give you a quick context, I was madly in love with the product – worked hard to take it from zero to launch and once we launched, the company raised a huge round of funding.

And with funding came new hires and I ended up reporting to the new Director of PM (I was earlier reporting to the cofounder).

I was still in love with the product, but one day I just quit.

Here is what really happened.

  • As a PM, your only success metric is – the success of the product.
  • Personally, the only thing that should matter is whether you are owning PM decisions or not. I know many ‘fake’ PMs who don’t own even a single feature. Quit reading this if you are one.
  • My new boss was a very insecured PM. He wanted to be the one sending status updates email to sending release notes (which I was writing).
  • I was still okay with this, but the day product roadmap was disrupted to give in to mediocre decisions (“let’s launch <feature X> to please the boss), I realised my North Star metric, i.e. the success of the product is at stake.
  • Suddenly entire product decision was shifted to ‘make people happy’ (remember: lots of new VPs joined the company, so the culture was highly diluted).
  • I tried harder / fought with the team / tried convincing the cofounders – but I guess they were in a ‘flow’.
  • The ‘flow of mediocrity’.
  • Finally, I quit.
  • The company was sold for penny after ~3 years. Of course, my quitting wasn’t responsible for this :), the ‘acceptability of mediocrity’ was.

As a PM, you need to own the success and failure of your product.
The day you are taken off it, you should be off it.

Do whatever to make it success (including fighting the internal politics), but do know when product metrics shift from customer happiness to investor/founder’s happiness.

(From my Quora answer).

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