Understanding customer engagement platforms
Real connections with customers can improve customer satisfaction, sales, and retention. A customer engagement platform helps businesses manage complex customer relationships.
Published June 1, 2020
Last modified July 5, 2020
Customers live in an omnichannel world. From phone and email, to social media platforms, live chat, and messaging apps, customers expect to engage with a brand on their own terms, and in the same communication channels they use to connect with their friends and family. And once they engage with a company, customers want fast, personalized service, meaningful marketing, and smart, thoughtful recommendations.
While it can be challenging for a business to keep pace with customer expectations in this fast-moving multichannel universe, it also offers companies more ways than ever to create customer loyalty and develop long-term relationships with customers. With so many channels and ways to engage, it’s all about creating a great customer experience with an engagement strategy focused on delivering the right message to the right customer at the right time.
By engaging with customers in the communication channels that are most important to them, a brand can create emotional connections with customers that can improve customer satisfaction, sales, and customer retention. It also creates powerful new opportunities for marketing teams to find new customers, and engage with existing ones. And by proactively connecting with customers when they need help the most, companies can earn trust, loyalty, and solve problems before customers are even aware they exist.
One of the most powerful software tools that a business can use to manage these complex customer relationships is a customer engagement platform. Read on for actionable insight into the importance of your customer engagement solution.
What is a customer engagement platform?
A customer engagement platform is software that helps companies manage, analyze, and optimize its customer journey by automatically sending personalized messages to customers across multiple devices and platforms. Customer engagement tools can allow a brand to connect all their customer data in one place and deliver a highly-personalized experience for customers based on the device they are using, their order history, the status of a support ticket, activity on social media, or any number of custom variables.
For example, a customer engagement platform makes it possible to send a customer a customized welcome letter after they’ve created an account, or send them a link to download an app for their mobile device if they’re engaging on their phone. It also makes it possible to do things like send users push notifications for important events, or send a personalized push notification letting them know that an item they’ve liked on social media has gone on sale. Companies can even fine tune the experience with more complex actions, like automatically pausing marketing messages for customers who have an open support ticket.
Companies that are interested in refining its customer relationships can use powerful analytics in engagement software to gain real time insights, track things like click-through rates, and understand the impact of their work. This makes it easy for a business to gauge its effectiveness, and unlock new areas to improve customer relationships.
Customer engagement software also provides a business with a holistic view of its customers, bringing data together from all the disparate systems that a company uses, whether that’s social media, sales and marketing automation systems, customer support help desks, or sales databases. When a business has all of its customer data in one place, it's easier for it to understand its customer journey and how to improve its customer experience.
Once a company has 360-degree views of its customers, it is able to define its customer engagement model. A customer engagement model is a way of thinking about all the customer interactions a company has in their customer journey. Customer engagement models generally follow customers through five stages of interacting with a brand: unawareness, discovery, consideration, conversion, and growth. And once a company understands it’s customer engagement model, they’re able to create a customer engagement strategy that speaks to their customers’ unique needs. Customer engagement management is critical to managing the customer experience at all five of these steps.
How customer engagement platforms improve the overall customer experience
Customer engagement software puts the customer experience at the heart of the customer journey, which ultimately is beneficial for customers and companies alike. We're guessing that with every interaction you're aiming for higher customer satisfaction, whether it's chatting with your customers on Facebook or helping the odd website visitor who might become a customer or the next person your sales reps talk to.
Engagement software makes it seamless for customers to engage with a company. The software creates an almost magical sense that customers are getting the support and the attention they need without even having to ask for it, with smart, thoughtful recommendations, answers to their most common questions, and fast, personalized resolution to their problems when they contact support on their preferred channels.
Companies that use engagement software earn trust, loyalty, and sales from customers by delivering fast, personalized service in the channels customers care about most. It lets teams create customer journeys that are as unique as their business, and automate much of the work it takes to engage customers. This not only lets companies be there to support customers when they need it most, but it frees up teams to focus on finding new ways to support customers, delight them with thoughtful service, and solve more complex problems.
Choosing a customer engagement platform
Companies that are interested in customer relationship management should evaluate customer engagement software on a number of criteria, including ease of set up and use, its ability to connect with other systems a company uses, like a CRM database, and the amount of customization it allows in creating a personalized customer experience. It's also important to choose a solution that is cost effective and is able to scale as the company grows. For many companies that means a cloud-based software solution that is managed off-site, features robust security protocols, and offers flexible features and pricing options.