You have the perfect product idea—one that customers will love—and the research about who your customers are. But just having the ideal product isn’t enough; you need to engage customers in a way that makes sense to them. Customer engagement software is useful… if you know how to use it with..…
Let’s explore what customer engagement really is and how using a robust software platform can send your sales soaring.
What does customer engagement look like?
Think about family vacations. Maybe you used a travel agent or set up the trip yourself. Every detail has been planned out: how to get to the airport, what happens when you land, the rental car, the hotel or BnB you’ve booked, and the adventures you’ll go on; every detail, right down to the weather forecast, has been researched ahead of time.
By the end of the trip, you realize that the effort you put into planning the trip paid off. The experiences you had all went smoothly and the trust your family put in you to make it happen only grew.
Sounds like a dream vacation, right? That’s the goal of customer engagement. When you focus on the details, your customers can interact with your brand in a way that’s easy and resonates with who they are.
What is customer engagement?
Customer engagement is the level of excitement your shoppers have when they interact with your brand. It involves the creation of an easy flow of experiences that allows your customers to get involved with your products. Developing a delightful customer experience is a lot like planning a vacation with your entire family.
There are a lot of moving parts and different customer types that should be considered. Keeping customers engaged involves communicating on social media channels, blogs, email newsletters, or anywhere they like to spend their time. The trick is to feel like you’re everywhere your customers are in a digestible way that doesn’t over or underwhelm them.
The goal of customer engagement is to nurture the relationship you have with them, based on their activity level. They need to feel that you’re supporting them through the buying journey rather than pushing them toward a sale.
For example, instead of constantly producing targeted ads that aren’t bringing in enough ROI, you may send an email with a link to a blog. Say you are a retail store trying to keep customers hooked after they’ve abandoned their cart, you could send a personalized blog their way about fashion trends for the upcoming season or sales on not only the pants they looked at but the accessories that would complement them.
You don’t want your products to be the only thing you offer your shoppers or even your prospects. Developing brand loyalty should also involve the support of customer needs to help them make their next buying decision. The power of strong marketing involves quality products, incredible customer service, and exceptional content they can access for free.
The power of real customer experience
Most people don’t spend time and money on a product unless they find a lot of value in the experience—especially when the costs are high. Similarly, while you could always just do a staycation and rent a BnB in another city, you want the memories and cultural enrichment that come with visiting another country or state.
The same goes for your products. You want to build value and quality that will not only motivate your customer to make a single purchase, but start a long-term relationship.
All of this is possible when you have engaged customers.
Switch Goswami, CEO and Co-Founder of Trufan Inc., noted in his 2020 Forbes article that with the right strategy, you can engage 20% of your top customers and produce 80% of your sales. This is a culmination of existing customers and new business brought in by your reputation and word of mouth. Happy customers will share and talk about your business according to the experience they had. Once enough groups leave positive reviews on social media, you can tap into new business without spending a lot on marketing.
However, getting customer engagement started takes a lot of work. From data collection to identifying consumer types and strategies for each group, the right customer engagement tool can help to take some of the work off your shoulders. But what exactly is it and what should you look for in a software platform?
Customer engagement software explained
Customer engagement software helps you manage customer relationships across all of your channels and platforms. It can collect and analyze data for an optimized customer journey. The software puts all of the customer behavior data into an easy, digestible dashboard that can help your marketing teams make informed decisions.
Some information it may collect includes:
- Where users are located
- How long they spend on your website
- Their order status
- If they are returning or new customers or prospects
- Recent activity on a digital channel
- What type of device they’re using
The right service can help personalize these engagements so every shopper feels seen across platforms. It can support the user experience on your website and throughout social channels with a meaningful engagement strategy.
Customers want access to their favorite brands in the same way they do with their friends and family. This means not only having a website but social media, email, and SMS messaging as well. Having a presence on every platform where your customers spend time is a must.
A strong brand voice and image can help you attract and engage customers. While everyone within your industry could have the same technologies and some of the same services, your brand’s personality and the user experience are what will set your business apart. This means a frictionless flow throughout the customer journey—with every interaction optimized for the best results.
Bringing everything together
This is where an engagement tool steps in. Take the stress of long hours staring at customer insights coming in and separating one piece from another., For better results, zero in on how to use the information for your next marketing campaign.
What is the customer engagement model?
To understand how a customer engagement platform can work for your business, it’s important to have a grasp on the touchpoints you’ll need to optimize along the customer journey.
The customer journey is the unique path a person takes while they make a buying decision. The journey involves four stages:
- Awareness: Realizing the person has a need or a want.
- Consideration: The research a prospect does to compare prices and companies.
- Purchase: Making an initial purchase from the business they chose.
- Retention: The company’s effort in retaining and engaging the customer.
- Advocacy: Based on the overall buying experience a customer may either vouch for the business, or write it off as a bad decision.
Each step of this process can be optimized with supportive blogs, landing pages, demos, chatbots, and other customer service options that keep the customer engaged throughout each stage. The customer retention stage could include item returns and a feedback email, for example, to improve the customer lifecycle.
As you collect data and develop authentic interaction opportunities, you’ll begin to understand the voice of the customer. It’s important to let customers tell their own stories. There is nothing better than hearing directly from your shoppers to fully understand what they enjoy and dislike about your brand in order to pinpoint where you can improve. Customer voice reaches beyond data and gives users the chance to speak up for themselves.
You can tap into customers' voices through surveys, checking social media reviews, and other feedback channels your shoppers are engaged in. This is a gold mine for valuable insight that can improve not only your marketing and day-to-day interactions with customers, but also the impact of your content from your landing pages to your Twitter posts.
The more open you are to listening, the more engaged your customers will be.
What to look for in engagement software
As you explore customer management software, you may employ several types to help nurture your customers along the customer journey.
Imagine you own a hair salon. Customers can scroll through your website about available services and book online. An automated popup shows on the page that encourages shoppers to download the app for benefits like live updates, mobile pay, and rebook options. The user clicks away without signing up and books an appointment.
Later on, the stylist gets backed up on his appointments and when the customer shows up for their haircut they have to wait, causing them to rate the salon three stars.
You know that customers who use the app have a better experience at the salon, so you send the customer an SMS text urging them to download the app. This time, they do it.
For this example to work, you’d need to employ many different platforms and software—all working together to trigger the next for the best possible outcome. The right customer engagement solutions can support systems that work together within a single platform. Software that works together helps you create a seamless flow of interactions where nothing overlaps or bottlenecks.
You’ll want to look for a platform that:
- It is easy to use and set up so you can enjoy the benefits right away.
- Integrates with your existing software so you don’t have to start from scratch or rewire your entire infrastructure.
- Is cost-effective so you don’t have to compromise incredible experiences for a budget.
- Can scale up or down depending on need.
- Features robust security protocol in that every touchpoint protects customer data information from cyber threats.
- Supports remote teams because happy customers mean delighted employees.
- Provides a holistic view of your customers for your team’s marketing strategies and anticipates every need, want, and shift within customer expectations.
- Offers omnichannel opportunities to meet customers on their preferred platform.
- Creates personalization throughout the customer journey that is supported by customer contexts such as demographic, location, shopping preferences, and more.
Customer engagement tools give your teams the information they need to succeed across departments. Your sales team already has information about a customer from the outreach team, which they can share with the marketing and IT departments. This means every touchpoint is optimized and each customer and employee is engaged—a streamlined experience your customers will love.
Benefits of customer engagement software
When you invest in engagement software, you lead with a customer-first approach. Instead of shoppers searching for ways to contact the business or find answers to their questions, there are customer support opportunities throughout the journey with the answers they need.
Before the days of search engine optimization (SEO) and automated data collection tools, marketers were a bunch of people stuffed in a room together. They made up TV and magazine commercials based on what they found interesting—all without knowing whether or not the campaign would actually reach the customers they were hoping for. Marketing included pop-up ads, door-to-door sales, direct mail, and commercial time. Customers not only felt overwhelmed by these interactions, but rejected them because marketers weren’t tapping into who the customers were, their actual interests, or even how they preferred to interact with businesses.
Customer-first marketing strategies don’t necessarily reinvent the wheel, but they shift the sales funnel dramatically. Instead of being pushed into a sale, customers are invited to learn more and decide based on their own standards.
Engagement software created specifically to develop customer success throughout your business is made for seamless interactions—from every angle, no matter the channel. With an engagement support tool, you can proactively interact with customers whenever they need your help. This allows your customers to feel as if you have already answered the questions they didn’t realize they had.
Customer expectations are constantly shifting, and you need a platform that can keep up. The right software can help improve loyalty while developing long-term relationships with your best customers.
Loyalty is built on trust. An engagement platform can perfect the quality and consistency of your interactions with customers. Eventually, your teams can confidently act on their next interaction—creating emotional connections with customers that lead to improved advocacy opportunities, customer churn, customer satisfaction, and sales.
Tips for Increased Customer Engagement
As you develop your customer engagement strategy, you’ll need to find software that supports your needs and those of your customers. Your goals for customer engagement should be obvious before getting started. This means considering where your key performance indicators (KPIs) are within your business. Where can you improve?
You already have customer management software that touches on your social media platforms and measures email engagement. What about your website and heat mapping technology? Page bounce rate? APIs for customer communication, customer support, and product tools? You don’t want another disjointed program you’ll have to manually check, especially if it doesn’t play well with your other platforms.
An integrated software should be able to lift some of the workloads of customer engagement off your shoulders—not add to it. You should be able to add specific apps that connect with your customers, like a delivery estimation tracker for food delivery.
2. Cross-channel tracking
Your software should collect information from third-party platforms and offer results from those touchpoints. You don’t want any information to go to waste, such as where customers are seeing your retargeting and engaging the most.
For example, a customer clicked around your website and then clicked out. Your retargeting strategy automatically posts an ad on social media for your business. Your engagement software should be able to tell you from what social media channel the customer clicked on the ad, and where they went from there.
3. Single customer view
Personalization means never leaving money on the table with your customer. A single customer view can enable hyper-personalized interactions based on their purchasing history, location, and preferences. You might notice a shopper who is signed up for concert notifications and ticket sales across several types of platforms, but they haven’t made a purchase in a while. You might send them an email with upcoming shows at various venues a day before they go on sale so the concert-goer can get the best price possible.
4. Product experience opportunities
Customer excitement doesn’t stop when they make a purchase. You can co-create your next product from the voice of your customers. Get real-time customer feedback that directly funnels into rapid product development cycles.
Unsure which product to go with next? Why not ask your customer directly? Through AI-developed surveying and predictive marketing, you can cut down on the guesswork and waste. When you’re developing products your customers actually want, you can improve on the number of items that go unused. This can be applied to the opposite issues as well. Never order too little merchandise again with the right technology.
You can improve your entire product and marketing strategy while reducing risk decisions, all because every step is based on hard data.
Total Experience Management software
The engagement software you need is just within reach. Alida can incorporate all of your customers’ experiences into one easy-to-use platform so you never miss a beat. We take the time you need to understand your KPIs, and help you reach them without the need of working with multiple platforms at once.
Our software helps you listen to what your customers want and who they are, analyze the feedback they give you, and act on these discoveries. Lead your next campaign with confidence when you partner with Alida’s Total Experience Management.