What Science Fiction Can Teach Us About Customer Engagement

If you want to grow your brand, build a loyal following, and optimise your conversion rate, there is one thing in particular that you will need to get really good at. That thing is customer engagement, and surprisingly science fiction can teach us a lot about how to get this right, or how not to get it wrong, and by this, I mean creating a strategy that works in a non-creepy, egalitarian, and authentic way. Read on for more.

People respond to stories & emotions, not corporations

 

Ever watched a Sci-fi film where there is a huge, scary faceless company like Cyberdyne Systems Corp, ENCOM, or the Tyrell Corporation that controls everything from behind the scenes? Well, the fact that they are involved in these stories is no mistake. Its because people tend to be distrustful of business, especially when they are faceless and have no person or story with which they can identify or connect.

Luckily, you can avoid such a problem by remembering how humans work and tailoring your engagement strategy to that. What that means is that instead of being a big business with as much jargon, and bureaucracy as possible, you humanise your company. One way to do this is to write your startup story.

To do this, you need to detail the problems or passion you came across to start your company and add in personalized, humanising details. Then use this story as part of your brand, displaying it on your website and even across other forms of media, as it can provide a level of authenticity that makes it much easier for customers to engage and trust you.

Create a community

The old way of advertising and marketing is to agree on your message and then do whatever you can to feed this into the ears of the people you wish to target. Of course, in science fiction works like J.G Ballard’s “The Subliminal Man” and Blade Runner, this is taken to the next level where visualized adverts actually bombard and chase people, so there really is no escape.

Of course, in such stories, people don’t tend to be too happy about having to fend off marketing all day like annoying flies, and the same could even be said for the more passive methods we currently use.

In fact, instead of looking for a viable host that you can parasitically inject your advertising message into, it can be much more effective method is to build a community around your barns. This should then encourage discussion and interaction, on a more egalitarian level, something that social media is ideally set up for.

In fact, if you doubt the authenticity of this, you only need to look at the massive success of vloggers on Youtube. Who by the way, shift loads of their own products, while creating a community of people around them.

Provide value & personalise

Another familiar trope in the science fiction world is a totally personalised advertising and marketing experience like we see in Minority Report. With content that uses your name, and addresses issues that are of concern to you even before you release yourself.

 

In fact, this is not so far from the truth of things right now, as you will find many personalised adverts in paper and digital forms. Some on platforms like Youtube will even vocalise your name to get your attention, and believe me it works!

Of course, knowing what sort of content your customers want is a fantastic way to provide them with value. In fact, establishing and clarifying their needs even before they do is an advanced form of micro-marketing that isn’t outside the realm of possibility with the algorithms that are now being used online.

However, a word of caution is necessary here because there is a difference between providing maximum, personalised value in your content, and a creepy invasion of privacy, something that is likely to lose you customer engagement, rather than increase it.

To that end, if you are struggling to attain the right balance using the service of professional like Vine Digital to help you create your content can help a great deal. After all, they will have in-depth knowledge about how to ensure you remain respectful of boundaries while still anticipating your customer’s needs, and positively surprising them with what you have to offer.

Be easy to contact and actually listen

Many books and films such as Passengers (2016) have the idea of a completely automated customer service system that can help people find the information that they need as well as provide a lifelike interaction. Of course, with AI going the way it is, we aren’t so far away from this becoming a reality. After all, we already have chatbots online that can perform basic instructions and help answer queries.

However, the problem with many of these systems in science fiction is that despite their vast repository of knowledge, they still cannot always come up with the information or service that is needed. Not only this, but they then act as a barrier to speaking with a real person that could act outside of the parameters that they are given, to solve such an issue.

In fact, what I see as the essential lesson here is that no matter what, it’s always vital to have a real life human accessible to listen and acknowledge the difficulty customers are expecting. The reason being that it is this level of active listening, autonomy, and genuine empathy that often makes all of the difference to a customer that is struggling with an issue and ensure they don’t become so frustrated that they disengage. Something that makes providing human customer service a hugely important part of retaining a high level of customer engagement.

 

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