The demands placed on businesses by customers have increased significantly in recent years.
Customers now want businesses to answer their beck and call 24/7, but they don't want to talk to them directly. They expect companies to be aware of their challenges and needs, but may not be willing or able to share them openly. Customers also highly value personalized service -- but not at the cost of their privacy.
So how can you reconcile all of these seemingly contradictory expectations?
The answer is customer engagement platforms.
A customer engagement platform is a tool that helps you to manage customer interactions and communications across multiple channels. This can include everything from social media to live chat to email. By using a customer engagement platform, businesses can get a 360-degree view of the customer, which helps to provide more personalized and relevant service.
So if you're not already using a customer engagement platform, now is the time to start. Here's everything you need to know about them.
Most brands today use different apps for engaging and interacting with customers, with each collecting unique data sets. Unfortunately, this often leads to poor experiences where customers get treated very differently depending on how they contact a company. A customer engagement platform (CEP) helps to solve this problem by consolidating all of these different applications and data sets into one easy-to-use system.
A CEP's primary purpose is to capture customer interactions with the company and deliver a cohesive experience for customers. You can think of it as the "brain" for customer engagement where all the data collected from various touchpoints is centralized and analyzed. Using this data, you can provide your customers with a more integrated and personalized experience.
There are many different features that customer engagement platforms offer, but some of the most popular ones include:
Good customer engagement platforms offer a wide range of benefits that can help businesses of all sizes. Here are some of the most noteworthy ones:
CEPs pull together first-hand engagement data to create real-time customer profiles that provide rich and up-to-date info about your customers. By having this data at your fingertips, you can engage with them on their topics of interest via their preferred channel of communication.
A customer engagement platform can help you create a specialized customer experience that will make your company stand out from the rest. Almost all business owners will say that customer experience is a key differentiator, but few are actually able to deliver on that promise.
CEPs can help you turn that promise into reality by enabling you to track, manage and answer all customer queries in one place. That way, you can quickly resolve issues and deliver a seamless customer experience.
Last but not least, customer engagement platforms can help you improve customer satisfaction. Delivering personalized and timely engagement via CEPs will show your customers that you care about them and take pride in providing them with a great experience. This, in turn, will lead to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Today, the rise of the customer community platform is a direct result of the way customers want to engage with companies. They want to be able to find answers to their questions, get help when they need it, and share their experiences with others.
A customer community platform provides a place for customers to do all of those things. It’s like a help desk, CRM, and communication platform all rolled into one.
That’s why more and more companies are using customer community platforms as a way to engage with their customers. Here are a few reasons why you should too:
The very nature of online communities is to promote candid conversations and collect feedback. This open exchange of ideas and feedback is key to understanding what your customers want and need. Additionally, being able to directly connect with your product team encourages customers to share their thoughts and insights.
Creating practical guides and best practices for product usage is a great way to educate customers and help them get the most out of your product.To raise awareness for your brand or products, influencer marketing platforms can come to your aid, making it easier for you to reach your target audience. Aside from that, A customer community platform is the perfect place to host this type of content so customers can easily find it and refer back to it when needed.
Inviting new customers into a community platform gives them a way to get involved with your product from the very beginning. They can explore on their own, ask questions, and get answers from both you and other customers. This type of environment accelerates the onboarding process and sets customers up for success with your product.
Customer engagement platforms are becoming an increasingly popular way to connect with customers and manage customer relationships. But with so many options on the market, it is sometimes impossible to determine which will work best for your business.
Here are a few things you can use to narrow down your options and choose the right customer engagement platform for your business:
The whole point of customer engagement is to support your customers' needs. So, you must ensure the platform you choose is equipped to handle those needs. Consider the range of channels your customers use to engage with you. Then, find a platform that plays well with all of them.
Another important consideration is whether or not the platform can integrate with your other systems. The best customer engagement platform for you can integrate easily with your existing tools and platforms, allowing you to create a seamless customer experience.
You need to be realistic about the resources you have available. If you're a small business, you might not have the same budget, time, or manpower to invest in a customer engagement platform as a larger company. Use your resources wisely and don't overstretch yourself when choosing a customer engagement platform.
Finally, when it comes to considering any ecommerce marketing tool, you need to think about the future. As your business grows, your customer engagement needs will change. Make sure the platform you choose is flexible and can accommodate future growth.
Now that you know what to look for, let's take a look at some of the best options on the market. Here are our top picks:
The folks at Zendesk understand that providing excellent customer support is only part of the equation when it comes to keeping your customers engaged and happy. That's why they've developed a suite of tools to help businesses streamline their customer support operations while also integrating with other key customer engagement platforms. By doing so, businesses can rely on a single source of truth for customer information, which leads to more engaged and satisfied customers.
Zendesk offers a free trial but its pricing tier starts at $19 per user/ month for the sales platform and $49 per agent/month for the service platform. It also offers a custom enterprise plan for businesses with more specific needs.
If you want to get the most out of your feedback and turn it into actionable items, then Qualtrics XM is the tool for you. It combines world-class listening technology with automated workflows to ensure that every level of your organization can take advantage of what people are saying.
Qualtrics XM hasn't released its pricing publicly, but you can request a quote by contacting the company directly.
Salesforce 360 is the perfect solution for teams who want to work together more efficiently and deliver personalized experiences to customers. With Salesforce as your partner, you'll have everything you need to deliver world-class customer engagement.
Salesforce's pricing will depend on the specific features and services you need for your business. However, the company does offer a free trial so you can explore what Salesforce has to offer.
LiveAgent is a platform that leaves little to be desired when it comes to improving sales and delivering excellent customer service. All those behind LiveAgent's software consider customer-centricity and engagement the key to running a successful business. The software combines all the tools necessary to proactively approach clients and to build and strengthen relationships.
LiveAgent's ticketing software keeps all customer interactions under one roof. It doesn't matter how your clients like to reach out, you can always provide consistent support throughout their journey with hybrid ticket streams and unlimited ticket browsing history.
Built-in live chat lets your customers address any issue they may stumble upon. You can set up advanced features like smart chat routing, canned responses, and proactive chat invitations. On top of that, the chat button is fully customizable, so you can make sure that it fits your branding to a tee.
LiveAgent allows you to build a self-service portal that reduces ticket volumes as well as response times overall. More importantly, it empowers your customers to research on their own and resolve issues without the need to contact customer support. You can integrate your LiveAgent account with many third-party applications. Integrating software using API is super easy and allows you to connect all the tools in one place. This way you are equipped to handle any issue and collect all the data from multiple platforms.
LiveAgent's free tier is accessible to everyone regardless of their budget. To leverage more powerful features, you can opt for the $15 per agent/month, $29 per agent/month, or the most popular $49 per agent/month package.
As with any tool, there is a learning curve associated with using customer engagement platforms effectively. To avoid pitfalls and maximize your investment in these tools, watch out for these common mistakes:
Customer engagement platforms are sometimes thought of as nothing more than glorified user support tools. CEPs are designed to help you build relationships with your customers and foster loyalty and retention. And while user support is an integral part of that, it's not the only thing you should be using them for.
Engagement platforms offer a variety of features that can facilitate engagement with customers, such as social media integration, community management, lead capture, data analysis, and more. Each of these features offers unique value and should be leveraged to get the most out of your investment.
All too often, businesses make the mistake of only tracking online touchpoints, missing out on valuable data from offline customer interactions. CEPs are designed to give you a complete view of the customer journey, so don't limit your focus to online interactions.
Here are some ways you can integrate offline customer touchpoints into your customer engagement platform:
The data collected from a CEP can be extremely valuable for enhancing customer engagement, but all too often businesses fail to take advantage of it. This data is useless unless you know how to utilize it properly, so take the time to understand how to use the information your CEP provides.
Some ways you can use data to enhance customer engagement include:
A lot of times, the top management doesn't give importance to customer engagement, thinking that it's the job of the customer support or the marketing team. This is a huge mistake because when the leadership isn't committed to customer engagement, it reflects in the overall organizational culture.
The first step to getting top management on board with customer engagement is to make them realize the importance of customer engagement. Here are a few ways you can do that:
If you want to create a customer-centric organization that truly values its customers, you need to start at the top, making sure it's incorporated into all aspects of the business, from product development to marketing to customer support. In fact, if possible, make it one of the key aspects when constructing leadership development plans for young leaders or growth plans for current leaders. Only then will you be able to create a customer-centric culture that's focused on providing the best possible experience for your customers.
Customer engagement platforms can be an invaluable asset for any business that wants to foster better customer relationships. Still, certain industries can benefit from them more than others. Here are a few industries where CEPs can be especially helpful:
Engagement is key to success for any business, particularly for businesses that rely on customers to keep them afloat. The best customer engagement platforms provide a way to directly connect with your target audience, fostering two-way communication and building relationships that can lead to conversions and long-term loyalty. So, if you're a customer-oriented business looking for a way to improve your customer engagement, then a CEP is definitely worth considering.