Note: This article is a part of our special series focusing on the importance of an intelligent customer engagement platform and how you can choose one.
Customer engagement is essentially a yardstick to measure a brand’s interaction with customers across various touchpoints throughout the lifecycle. Customer engagement goes beyond a minimal transactional relationship to build a meaningful and value-added customer-brand connection. There has been a change in the typical customer engagement narrative. It has evolved from being a sales/support-driven function to anticipating user needs, interacting with them, and building long-lasting relationships.
If properly implemented, a customer engagement platform can help your business occupy user mindshare, build awareness, and drive inbound growth. With a variety of choices available, how do you select an engagement platform that suits all your business needs? Here’s a list of 10 essential questions you can ask while choosing a customer engagement platform.
Before we dive into the questions, let’s look at why your team needs a customer engagement platform.
Iconic marketing campaigns like ‘Share a Coke’ and ‘Big Sleepover’ highlights the role of customer engagement in creating loyal customers.
A customer engagement platform centralizes, analyzes, stores, and optimizes every interaction across several touchpoints throughout the customer journey. It helps your brand to offer a personalized and delightful experience to the user. An engagement platform handles everything – it helps you understand behavior patterns, analyze data, personalize and test campaigns, and ensure optimum engagement. This helps streamline account-based revenue teams by improving efficiency across acquisition, retention, upsell, and cross-sell.
An uplift in revenue: The engagement platform helps you implement data-driven processes across various customer-facing teams. Your teams can now understand interactions and measure actions that lead to revenue uplift. Using data science, machine learning, multivariate testing, and conversation analysis, every action can be mapped to revenues. This helps identify what works so teams can focus only on actions that add most to the bottom line.
Seamless customer experience: 93% of customers are likely to make repeat purchases from brands that offer excellent experience and service. The idea is to consistently communicate with customers across the channels that they’re most active on and deliver value. Smart engagement platform automates manual work, streamlines workflow, provides behavioral insights that allow teams to focus on various user segments. Your teams can identify gaps, add value, and thus provide a delightful experience.
Improved loyalty: Customer engagement platform enables and ensures consistent and relevant interaction with your users. Going beyond your offering and adding real value is the key to building a community of highly engaged brand loyalists. These satisfied customers will vouch for your product/service and act as influencers promoting your business.
Reduced churn: By setting up frequent and relevant communication, a customer engagement platform helps users realize the value you add. This in turn increases the chances of subscription. Consistent communication will help users better recognize and connect with your brand.
Research conducted by Bain & Company shows 5% increase in customer retention can yield more than 25% rise in profits.
Engaged customers contribute significantly to a brand’s revenue. There is no better retention tactic than actively engaging and nurturing customers. The detailed user journey mapped by an engagement platform identifies pain points and reasons for dropoffs. This helps arrest churn and improve retention.
Short purchase cycles: Properly planned and executed strategy with the help of a customer engagement platform can shorten sales cycles. This can be done by running campaigns that inform and educate customers while anticipating and addressing their needs. Different targeted campaigns (highlighting the value) can be sent to various segments based on their journey. Such consistent engagement helps your brand stay on top of the prospect’s mind and positively impact the purchase decision. Data analyzed helps you better understand user behavior and preferences. You can then personalize recommendations and better target up-sell/cross-sell opportunities. This approach helps in providing super-relevant recommendations and improves the average LTV/order size.
Here’s a list of 10 questions which you can refer to while choosing an intelligent customer engagement platform:
While choosing an engagement platform, ensure that it has the ability to structure, enrich, and seamlessly integrate data from offline sources.
Even before you start the selection process of an engagement platform, clearly define and identify your business use cases. Once you have all the use cases laid out, examine the platform’s ability to meet your demands.
You need to test the ability for a quick and smooth release before making a decision. Check deployment history and agree on clear timelines, particularly for high value and priority use cases.
An intelligent platform should prioritize security and data privacy while adhering to standards and processes like SSO and 2FA. Ensure the service is compliant with protocols such as GDPR, CCPA, SOC 2.
One of the most important capabilities that every intelligent customer engagement platform should possess is a smooth user journey orchestration. Before making a decision, thoroughly examine if you can automate customer journeys for a seamless experience across several touchpoints/devices.
Whichever platform you choose should be able to generate custom reports as required, by leveraging the built-in analytics capability.
Inspect the kind of support the vendor provides during and after activation. Also, check for account management and allocation of a customer success manager.
Check the kind of partnership integrations provided by the platform. Prefer platforms that come with partnerships across leading marketing solutions, customer data platforms, ad networks, analytics, and attribution tools.
Most engagement platforms should play well with the other tools in your martech stack. Nonetheless, examine this aspect while choosing a customer engagement platform. Anything less than a seamless integration can cause huge problems.
When you invest in an intelligent engagement platform, ensure the vendor provides training services to your internal teams. This enables your team to troubleshoot independently when issues arise.
In order to tackle the low test drive registration rate, Toyota Turkey optimized their mobile web experience. They did this because 29.8% of car searches begin on mobile. The brand then segmented users based on preferences, interests, and browsing history and provided personalized experiences. They showed only relevant car models to home page visitors. This strategy combined with CTAs on individual model pages and exit intent pop-ups increased test drive registrations by 166%!
Airbnb has made waves in the hospitality industry with competitors either forced to replicate their model or play catch up. The brand spent time and effort in understanding what the customer fundamentally wants and translated that into service. Instead of asking about the hotel experience, Airbnb resolved issues such as traveler needs and sense of belonging. By anticipating customers’ needs and wants, Airbnb created a new business model providing a feeling of belonging and trustworthy service. Combined with a sense of adventure, it earned Airbnb goodwill.
Here are the basic functionalities that you should be aware of while choosing a customer engagement platform:
Now you know how an engagement platform helps orchestrate and map elaborate customer journeys to engage/target users better. Want to know about other amazing benefits offered by an intelligent customer engagement platform? Get in touch with us.
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