An Engaged Customer is the biggest Asset for your business. Research has indicated that those companies that have the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategy are likely to retain more than 80% of its customers as against those, that have weak customer engagement.
In today’s connected world of digital commerce, 70% of a company’s profit depends on effective customer engagement strategy. To make your organization customer-centric, it becomes imperative to adopt various customer engagement ideas and right technology.
What is customer engagement?
Customer engagement can be defined as a structured process to work around ways in inspiring your customers to share their experiences with you for your business to improve. When an enterprise engages its customers in a consistent good way, then it leads to higher customer loyalty and business success. After all, success in business depends on its customers. In this article, I would like to present few thoughts on various ways business can engage and retain their customers. A well-executed customer engagement strategy helps your brands to grow revenue and increases customers loyalty.
How COVID changed the way customer interacts with a brand
Remote channels, telephone and social have become steadily more crucial in managing customer engagement and generating revenues. Even before the pandemic hit, these customer touchpoints occurred two to four times more frequently than traditional in-person interactions, and the spread continues to widen. As customers grow increasingly comfortable using them, these remote channels create a significant revenue opportunity. Provided, your business has the right customer engagement strategy and an operational execution system in place to exploit the potential.
Shifting mindset from revenue extraction to value creation – When a business focuses more on customer engagement, it creates more value. Here are few customer Engagement strategy for business.
#1 Driving Customer Loyalty – Customer experience starts with customer engagement. Every unique interaction points of contact across channels on many occasions creates a fragmented experience and can either uplift or bring down the perception of a brand’s product and services. Retail business for example, is always faced with continuous competition, as customer’s expectations are rising, and business needs to find out ways to deliver best interaction experience with the brand that should satisfy the customer after their communication. Here are few points to create greater customer experience that can boost customer loyalty and in turn help grow revenue.
#2 Redesign Customer Care touchpoints across all channels – Social media platforms is a great place that can take your brand off to a new level. Customer voice across omni-channel social media is a smart way to get a strong grip on your brand. As it helps in gaining quicker customer attention over a tweet or an Instagram post. However, to make it more effective customer engagement strategy, organizations also need to be active across all social media platforms at all time. Interestingly our research findings across many retails, Telecom, CPG brands showed, that while almost every company have presence in most common social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc beside having WhatsApp and web site base interactions availability, but in most cases, they are restricted to posts and campaign and very rarely an engaging one. That goes to prove, that business is using social media more like the way ads and campaigns are run on non-digital platform eg. Television ads or Hoardings and physical kiosks. Bi-directional interactions with customer or target customers are very rare and mostly reactive manual process on a case-to-case basis.
To gain competitive edge transform to a proactive engagement model by leveraging technology and Automation. However, it will be a tall ask if any organization needs to deploy 100s of manpower to attend to each social media post responses across channel, that’s where technology platforms and tools like AI/ML, RPA, NLP can create significant disruption by automating responses – reading , analysing and profiling each interactions (be it a like or comment to complain or request) from any customer or prospect and auto create personalised in-moment response with almost zero human involvement. Simultaneously updating customer profile, likes and preferences and triaging that information to the right business stake holder, with appropriate alerts and priorities.
Creating a continuum customer engagement cycle – for a customer it’s a brand that is always available in real-time.
#3 Service Automation – An Autonomous customer engagement strategy by integrating all digital touchpoint can convert Customer experience to drive improve retention, acquisition, and translate that into revenue. We all know that the first impression is the best one, the same is true with business as well. So, an in-moment response to customers when they connect with you either through social media channels, website, phones, or emails, can elevate customer delight.
But the art is – How to keep the hold duration short. When the customer comes to you with their complaints, service request or issues, if you can respond immediately, would make them feel good. Service Automation can be the main backbone of customer engagement and communication to deliver real-time proactive response to eliminate hold time. Even if an immediate resolution or fix is not available, an in-moment auto response informing them that someone should get back, within a specified date etc, can create a cooperative engagement.
An automated customer service also sets up the most optimal workflows and processes well in advance considering the best practices to speed up the way both auto and team-based responses are executed. When implemented, such Service automation brings speed and consistency in responses. At the same time such automation reduces human errors, otherwise caused during manual handling of repetitive tasks.
#4 Real-time Analytics – So far, we spoke about real-time customer engagement and proactive service automation. But the core of these process is driven by data, both structured and un-structured. With significant advancement in Machine Learning and AI, every customer interactions data when captured and analysed with all available customer data points across various system of records, becomes the most critical customer 360 learning system. In the AI /ML world, through repetition, system can learn what works and what does not – to better drive future actions and decisions. The fundamental of a real-time Customer engagement system needs to include every data point and junctions, to learn from the times when customer connects to raise an issues or problems to resolution. An end-to-end process to record, analyse, initiate response to maintain customers likes and preferences. And in this digital age an autonomous real-time Customer Engagement platform offers the best opportunity to react or respond in-moment, by using all the data and personal insight available. In e-commerce, such tools can enable to see every actions of a customer in real-time. For example, a customer has left a comment against a Facebook post, that system can pick up and send a thanking or a promotional message or even a discount code to encourage them to engage in a purchase. Or, can auto alert the company representative about an incident related to a complaint or grievance. A data driven Real-time customer experience system can increase customer engagement and drive improve revenue growth and Per-customer profitability significantly.
In a Nutshell – An Automation and data driven customer engagement strategy can do wonder in customer retention and new customer acquisition, driving business productivity and NPS.
Souma Das is one of the Co-founders, Chief Strategy Officer at iFIX tech Global. He currently focuses on company’s GTM strategy and Global market expansion. Previously, he was Managing Director at Teradata India.