It’s time to rethink customer engagement

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David Steyn, Business Manager: Customer Engagement at Decision Inc., unpacks the complexities and necessities of customer engagement for the modern business.

Customer engagement (CE) has become a commodity. It’s the definitive metric by which organisations are measured and defines customer loyalty and longevity. A recent Salesforce study found that 83% of customers expect immediate engagement when they connect with a company with convenience and multi-channel support cited as priorities. This metric is not only relevant in terms of connecting with customers and building experiences – McKinsey research has found that it increases sales revenue by up to 7% and profitability by up to 2%.  This fact only serves to underscore how the relationship with the customer is crucial and goes well beyond a single interaction or transaction.

Customer Engagement: Your Competitive Advantage

Building a reservoir of engagement around the customer requires constant attention. The business must focus on enriching every part of the relationship across every touchpoint. If it doesn’t, customers will simply walk. The reality is that customers have plenty of choices and these choices are evolving and disrupting their experiences every, single time. It has become exponentially easier for consumers to identify, evaluate, and select alternatives to everything that they consume. The digital world of websites, social media, instant messaging, and mobile has made it easy.

However, customer engagement is often put on the back burner. Organisations compare the value of their investment in a customer engagement platform against spending money on HR solutions or ERP platforms, and this results in it being de-prioritised. Companies often don’t realise that it’s as essential a spend as payroll. And it is. Because building a richly layered customer experience engine is the equivalent of refining a product or service. It cements the relationships, embeds loyalty, and plays no small role in disrupting the market. In essence, it can be your key differentiator and increase your competitive advantage.

The Customer Engagement Investment Will Yield Significant Returns

Companies often don’t realise that customer experiences are the new market disruptor. So many customers have problems with customer service, after-sales support, and contact centre connections that any organisation which rises above the mess is one that will capture, and hold customer attention.

Fortunately, redefining customer engagement has never been easier. Organisations have an abundance of data at their fingertips and can now invest in tools that allow them to expose insights that they can apply to every part of the customer value chain. Data can help them to improve the accuracy of their marketing activities and proactively service their customers. However, as much as the data is invaluable, it is equally vast. There is so much information spread out over so many disparate systems that companies are often left scrambling, trying to find ways of making sense of the data. This brings the conversation full circle round to investing in the right technologies.

Invest in the Right Technology

It’s rare to experience a comprehensive end-to-end customer service approach. This experience can range from the WhatsApp bot that catches the user’s attention through to the sales executive that closes the deal to the consistent after-sales support. This lack of cohesive service is mainly because of the challenges like – limited time, investment priorities, too much data, lack of access to data, and limited visibility. But with the right technology platform in place, organisations can bypass these challenges to create a customer engagement ecosystem that evolves with its customer base.

A solid customer engagement platform addresses the issue of return on investment because the results are measurable and visible. It should synthesise all the different customer engagement touchpoints and solutions into a cohesive whole, unifying the data and ensuring relevance in insight and interaction. It will also provide decision-makers with visibility on how customers interact, bottlenecks that may be impacting service delivery or problem resolution, and more. It will also remove the reliance on spreadsheets and introduce a seamless platform that’s accessible to everyone, and user friendly to translate customer challenges into customer retention.

Ultimately, the right customer engagement platform will depend entirely on the type of business and its unique requirements. With hundreds of solutions available on the market today, there is no need to adopt a one size fits all approach, instead, companies can collaborate with trusted service providers to create customer engagement platforms that are relevant, agile, and, most importantly, capable of evolving with the business well into the future.

For more information about how to find the right customer engagement platform for your business, view our solutions here: Decision Inc. Customer Engagement