In this article you will learn:
Engaging your best customers is critical in building and maintaining loyalty in today’s world. To make sure customers have positive experiences throughout their journey, companies need to deliver a seamless and engaging customer experience that is relevant and personalized. Customer engagement platforms were designed to meet this challenge, but do they really accomplish this objective?
In this article you will learn:
- What Is a Customer Engagement Platform?
- Why Is Customer Engagement Software Important?
- Benefits of a Customer Engagement Platform
- Key Features of Customer Engagement Platforms
- A Variety of Customer Engagement Tools
What Is a Customer Engagement Platform?
A customer engagement platform is intended to be the one technology to optimize every touchpoint a consumer has with your brand throughout the entire customer lifecycle. These touchpoints are often across channels including social media, your website, ads, and more. This is important because you want to understand your customers’ motivations, track metrics, and optimize conversions. And you want to build trust over time, which leads to greater engagement.
Despite the promises, many customer engagement tools are unable to create a 360-degree view of your customers – from their initial awareness, conversion, and nurture to sales and customer service. Nor are customer engagement platforms capable of providing true 1:1 personalization.
Why Is Customer Engagement Software Important?
Customer engagement technology is a broad term covering everything from sales tools like customer relationship management (CRM) software to social media tools for scheduling and listening to customer sentiment. They share a common theme of helping businesses manage, foster, or increase customer engagement.
With the digital transformation and people going online, customer engagement software is more important than ever. Businesses can use this software to map their customers’ journeys, as well as identify and meet their demands at every touchpoint. But not all customer engagement software is created equal. Some may focus on a specific touchpoint, like social media, the website, or marketing efforts; while others are designed for multichannel engagement, or addressing the different stages of the customer journey.
Finding the right tools to engage customers is critical. The most engaged customers are the ones who will become your brand ambassadors. More importantly, they’re your most profitable customers, which fuel the most vital business outcomes: increasing sales, growing revenue, and improving customer lifetime value (LTV).
Gallup noted that "companies that solve for engagement move the needle on productivity, revenue, customer ratings and share of wallet two to three times more than if they only solve for satisfaction." A fully engaged customer represents a 23% premium in share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth over the average customer, according to Gallup.
Benefits of a Customer Engagement Platform
- Understand customer behavior: Customer engagement platforms offer the opportunity to understand consumers personally, defining their likes and dislikes. This information can be considered additional customer data to use to drive personalization.
- Simplify Communication: Be present and keep customers up to date with your brand. A Gallup study found that engaged customers spend 29% more per shopping trip than disengaged customers. These platforms are a customer experience management solution that allows brands to keep the lines of communication open, address problems and acknowledge praise
- Improves Customer Retention: 39% of marketers say mobile and web push notifications help trigger customers to come back again. Keep customers coming back by keeping them engaged with your brand.
- Improves Overall Customer Satisfaction: When brands can meet customer expectations, they are more likely to increase customer satisfaction. First, build a sense of brand and customer relationship. Your brand will be better equipped to address customer needs when both parties are aligned with what your brand can offer and customer interests.
- Helps Differentiate Your Brand in Your Marketplace: Stand apart from the competition. Get in front of your customers by connecting your brand to current trends.
Key Features of Customer Engagement Platforms
Customer engagement platforms can offer several features that help manage interactions with your customers, including:
- Multichannel communication - Not every customer wants to interact only via your website, or talk to a live agent. Multichannel communications capabilities enable brands to support the many ways in which customers prefer to interact - whether it's online chat, via social, through email or other forms of marketing.
- Self-service - Many customers prefer to independently discover the information they need without personal assistance from an agent. Knowledge bases, frequently asked questions and robust, clear content on your website will make it easier for them to find what they're looking for, and leave customers more satisfied.
- Marketing functionality - Some customer engagement solutions also include tools to support marketing over a variety of channels, including email, web, search engine, and social media.
- Live chat - Of the various channels to communicate with customers, live chat is becoming more prominent as an alternative to traditional phone numbers. Typically incorporated in a website, live chat is an easy-to-use feature for real-time communications while visitors are on your site and in the moment.
- Social Media Channels- Establish customer relationships by keeping conversation casual. Social media is also always your brand to keep customers aligned with any upcoming events that could pique their interest.
- Email- Email has been a customer engagement solution used to nurture customers and is a more traditional but effective approach to customer engagement.
A Variety of Customer Engagement Tools
There are several types of tools that you can use as part of your customer engagement strategy. One tool, CRM software, was designed to bridge marketing, sales, and customer support, providing a solution for collecting and storing customer information. This software typically provides access to contact details and history, if they are account holders or have a special status, and purchase history, across various channels, to name a few. With this information, CRM software can help address lead identification and customer retention, as well as assess results of marketing campaigns.
Live chat software helps engage customers and prospects in real-time as they interact with the company's website. Having this option enables website customers to ask questions about products, reduces the likelihood of abandoned shopping carts, and reduces the number of incoming calls and emails to contact centers. More companies also are using artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbots to automate live chat for basic inquiries.
Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives and is playing an increasingly important role in customer engagement, too. Social media software typically provides a central dashboard where companies can engage with customers, and track how customers are engaging with their brands. This software enables management of multiple platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Twitter, from a single dashboard. Social media software can also include social listening tools, which help companies gain an understanding of how consumers feel about their brands and respond in real-time to comments.
Because customers are likely to use a variety of means to engage with your company, you'll need some kind of multichannel or omnichannel software. These tools allow you to reach customers, whether they're on their phones, tablets, or computers, or if they’re more reliant on the web, an app or social when engaging with your brand. By bringing this together across all of these channels, you have an opportunity to gain a more complete picture of the customer interactions, which will make you more efficient and improve your customers’ experiences.
Personalizing Customer Engagement
Another solution that leverages the multichannel approach is marketing personalization tools. These bring together a variety of marketing solutions that address email, mobile, social media, search, and analytics. With marketing personalization tools, you can map the customer journey and gain a better understanding of the key touchpoints where you can most effectively engage with them. They also help you determine how campaigns perform and offer insights to adapt them to drive more sales, greater revenue, or a stronger customer lifetime value.
Many customer engagement tools can work together and complement each other in helping you understand the needs of your customers, how they’re interacting with your products and services, their purchasing patterns, and what they’re saying over their preferred social channels. However, these tools fall short in delivering 1:1 personalization.
A patchwork of tools makes it challenging to get a holistic view of individual customers, so you can better understand their wants and needs, what incentives them to take action, and engage with them at exactly the right time and right place to deliver an optimal customer experience that leads to greater revenue, more sales and a stronger customer LTV. That’s where a platform like Formation comes into play.
Formation’s Dynamic Offer Platform (DYNO) easily integrates into your existing tech stack, allowing you to leverage marketing, loyalty, and other customer data sources through open APIs. With that 360 view of your customers, Formation enables teams to engage customers in a more personalized and relevant manner, using dynamic offers.
Want to increase customer loyalty and learn how to get the most out of your customer engagement platform? Download our free guide on modernizing customer loyalty for the digital consumer.
More often than not, when a customer feels more connected, they become an ambassador for your business. Customer data platforms are a unique method as a customer experience management solution. It gives your brand an upper hand to customize messaging that will allow you to connect with customers on a different level without the need to guess. Consumers want to relate to a brand, and the only way to do that is by learning what drives them to different content or services.
Customer engagement solutions are another opportunity to build an experience in various facets to keep consumers engaged at every corner. These platforms make it easy to bring all customer interaction to one place. This type of first-party data is gold, as it can be used to create personalized offers at scale. But that is just the start.
Learn more about how Formation’s hyper-personalization platform can optimize customer engagement programs, by using that first-party data to automate the execution, fulfillment, and measure personalized offers at scale and create deeper customer loyalty.
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