True customer engagement software encompasses the full span of customer interactions, guiding current and potential customers through their journey.
Customer engagement software is broadly defined as software that manages customer communications and interactions throughout a variety of channels and touchpoints. Customer engagement software can cover CRM systems, web chat, social media, marketing personalization, and customer self-service.
True customer engagement software encompasses the full span of customer interactions, guiding current and potential customers through their journey. It provides more than the right information to the right person at the right time, every time -- it consistently provides value to the customer.
Great customer engagement software can help companies achieve their goal of being a market leader in the customer experience (CX). When customers have a better experience throughout all their interactions with a brand, they are more likely to remain loyal, provide more revenue over time, and become brand advocates. Research shows that loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. Customer engagement software can identify advocacy and reward it accordingly, ensuring an ongoing positive relationship.
Loyal customers will be worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase.
In addition, through smarter customer self-service technology, customers are able to quickly find the answers they need through a knowledgebase while reducing call and email volume to the contact center. The result is higher customer satisfaction through less expensive and time-consuming service channels. Effective self-service solutions answer customer questions for approximately 50 cents per interaction. When compared to $4.50 for an email and $10 or more for a phone interaction, the bottom-line benefits of self-service are obvious.
Disjointed customer view
Because the definition of customer engagement is fairly broad, there are many different software options available to cover all the functions of customer engagement. But very few software platforms integrate a comprehensive set of engagement capabilities. This can be a major issue for brands that adopt customer engagement software. Customers tend to view companies as single entities; they don't typically notice (or care) that different teams and different technologies might be handling each individual interaction.
For example, a customer's tweet may receive a reply from the social marketing team and their email might be answered by a contact center agent. It's possible that these two departments use two different applications that don't communicate with each other or provide a unified view of the customer. These nuances are often lost on customers, who only care about getting an accurate answer to their question. And negative interactions cost brands big: it takes an average of 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
It takes an average of 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.
In the age of the customer, theirs is the only perspective that matters. Companies are faced with the challenge of stepping up their technology game in order to provide the seamless, frictionless customer experience expected by the market.
Omni-channel vs. multi-channel
In the example given above, a customer uses two different channels to ask a question: social media and email. The use of multiple channels has become the norm. In fact, 74% of consumers use three or more channels to connect to customer service and 60% change communication channels depending on where they are and what they’re doing. Providing service through multiple channels is table stakes. What sets CX leaders apart is their ability to execute true omni-channel engagement.
74% of consumers use three or more channels to connect to customer service.
Why the distinction between multi-channel and omni-channel? Multi-channel engagement means that customers can interact with your brand in a variety of ways. Omni-channel engagement builds on that concept, unifying communication across all channels to provide a consistent brand experience. Customers can transition from one channel to another without the brand missing a beat. For instance, if a customer's social media complaint escalates to a phone call, the agent does not answer the phone with "How may I help you?" because he doesn't have to ask -- omni-channel software means he already knows the customer and her issue. Omni-channel engagement puts the choice and the power in the hands of customers to dictate how and when they interact with brands, and the onus is on brands to deliver consistency and satisfaction regardless of format.
Another common pitfall of customer engagement technology is ensuring that every interaction provides true value to customers. Unfortunately, some companies have become overzealous with technology. Just because proactive customer communication is possible doesn't mean it's appropriate all the time. For example, consider the ability to proactively engage with a site visitor via a web chat window. This is a wonderful feature, but should be used intentionally -- a site visitor probably doesn't need your help two seconds after they land on the page. However, a visitor that's just experienced three consecutive login failures could benefit from being asked if they need to reset their password. Customer engagement processes require careful thought in order to successfully provide value to customers.