Amazon is the company that’s most engaged with customers, according to a recent report. And small businesses can potentially learn some important lessons from the retail giant and other big names that focus on customer engagement.
Forbes Insights partnered with Pega to compile the list of the 50 most engaged companies, which also includes Google’s parent Alphabet Inc., Starbucks, Foot Locker, Alaska Air, FedEx, Southwest Airlines, Marriott, Lowe’s and Nordstrom.
Customer Engagement Examples
So what can companies like Amazon, Google and Starbucks teach smaller brands about customer engagement? Those companies don’t just market to their customers. They actively involve their customers in those efforts. They collect insights. They repost customer photos. They respond to inquiries on social media.
Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer at Forbes Media, said in an email to Small Business Trends, “Customer engagement is the new marketing. No amount of advertising, promotion or discounts can overcome a poor experience with the brand, whether it’s the products or service itself, indifferent customer service or a confusing invoice.”
Those concepts are important for businesses of any size. Even small businesses will need to compete with the likes of Amazon and Starbucks. And if those big companies do a better job of communicating with customers and keeping them engaged online, small businesses could get left behind.
Rogers says, “The Forbes Insights research on the topic and the development of its 50 Most Engaged Companies List provides businesses of any size with powerful lessons on what it takes to succeed in today’s environment where customer’s expectations for customer engagement is invariably compared to the likes of Amazon — no matter the product category. It takes a well-thought out, personalized approach — whether it’s a face-to-face interaction or contact through social media. It takes a commitment to transparency and honesty in every transaction. And it takes a culture that reinforces the notion that customer loyalty and satisfaction is everyone’s responsibility.”
However, some small businesses may have a leg up on larger companies in this area. Small businesses are often more accessible to their customers just because there are fewer team members and processes in place. And businesses that are less set in their ways can be more agile and adapt to customer insights or concerns.
Rogers says, “Small businesses typically succeed because they were founded on these principles. Larger businesses go awry because they tend to lose sight of these maxims as they grow and create siloed organizations for product development, customer care, marketing and sales and trade off great customer engagement for scale.”
So essentially, your small business can compete with huge corporations by prioritizing customer engagement even as you scale. Don’t lose sight of the importance of communicating with customers in person and online. And always take their opinions and insights into account when making important decisions about your products, services and marketing efforts.
Companies like Amazon, Google and Starbucks continue to utilize these methods even though they’ve grown well beyond the scope of small businesses. So you can emulate some of those tactics to realize your own customer engagement success.