Constellation Research CEO Ray Wang on Building an Effective Customer Interaction Strategy

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“Delight your customers.”

“Content is king.”

“Embrace your user community.”

These are a few of the many key phrases that continually crop up in conversations about customer engagement and they’re clearly very important. Trouble is, they define the why these concepts are necessary but fall short tackling the question of how to make it happen. Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research, Inc, has some answers.

Wang acknowledges that the signal-to-noise ratio is pretty high when it comes to engagement. He says that to be effective, companies need use multiple channels to identify customers, figure out what motivates them, gain acceptance, establish credibility, hold their attention, and keep them coming back for more — all without creating what he calls “channel fatigue.” That’s a tall order to fill from a very small window of opportunity.

Worry not, fearless business owners. Wang has come up with a scaffold of nine engagement strategies you can build around your company’s customer outreach plan to strengthen your market position and let customers know you’re listening.

Wang outlined his key concepts during a Software Advice video interview at the 2013 SXSW Interactive Festival. His discussion, “Building Your Interaction Strategy with the 9 C’s of Engagement,” takes a hard look at what components are necessary to create a three-pronged strategic approach of people-centric values, delivery styles, and right-time action designed to get results. We encourage you to watch the short video for a clear understanding of how Wang’s action plan works.

Ray Wang - SXSW Video

Take special note of the “Currency” component, where he share some terrific ideas on non-monetary customer engagement and why it’s important. Here’s a sneak peek from Wang’s guest post over at Harvard Business Review:

The last piece is choosing the right time drivers to provide a why, when, and where in engagement. The goal is to inspire action through context, catalysts, and currencies…. [C]urrencies influence behavior through an exchange of value. Monetary models include traditional cash, bonuses, rewards, and rebates, but non-monetary currencies such as virtual goods, recognition, access, and influence can often be more powerful.

Intangible currencies like recognition and “influencer status” can be enormously motivating to customers. Indeed, entire business models are built around the idea. Fortunately, in-house systems to support up-voting or other methods of highlighting accurate, helpful user-generated content are easy to implement.

An amazing customer experience strategy is no longer just a goal in a dusty mission statement or something that just passively happens while you’re off building the next version of your product. Use Wang’s “9 C’s of Engagement” as a blueprint for taking charge of your customer interaction and making it awesome.

Image: InfoMoFo

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