by Dr. Rob Nelson –
No matter your industry, the rise of digital shopping and e-commerce has given customers more control than ever before over where they shop and look for services, solutions, and support. Although companies know that high-quality digital customer experiences can be a differentiator, many can’t meet the evolving expectations of their users.
To help organizations not only stand out from the competition but also build long-term relationships with their customers, more organizations are turning toward modern customer engagement strategies and tools to connect with their buyers, encourage brand loyalty, foster growth, and streamline costs.
So, what does customer engagement mean, and how can your organization get started with implementing your own modern customer engagement program? Let’s dig in.
What is customer engagement?
Customer engagement is the ability of an organization to deliver “connected experiences”1 to their customers instead of approaching each transaction as a one-off interaction. It means optimizing your team structure, operations, and technology to create a connected feedback loop with customers, informed by data collected from across your digital ecosystem. It even includes enabling more empathy and understanding the customer experience across sometimes fractured and siloed processes and journeys.
For example, to achieve quality customer engagement some organizations utilize:
- Training to educate and empower staff to identify new ways to interact with customers across the full range of digital platforms
- Frameworks to measure, track, and refine customer engagement
- Data analytics tools to turn information into actionable insights to enhance customer experience
- Reorganization of staff and processes to remove barriers to resolving customer concerns
Together, tools like these help organizations execute their customer engagement strategy by providing essential data about customer and user needs, interests, expectations, and thoughts about their experience with the brand.
Why is customer engagement critical in today’s digital world?
One Zendesk report shows that about half of customers surveyed stop visiting a brand after just one bad customer experience and, after a string of several bad experiences, 80 percent will stop. Here are some of the other top reasons customer engagement should be a priority for your organization:
1. Customers have more options than ever.
Customers have so many more ways of interacting with a brand than ever before—online, on mobile platforms, via social media, and in store. It’s simultaneously more difficult and more important than ever for your brand to provide a consistent, quality, and seamless customer experience.
2. Customers expect responsive service.
With the continued proliferation of mobile devices, 5G, and IoT—all combined with easy access to other providers available with just a few clicks—your organization’s ability to provide rapid customer response is table stakes.
These customer expectations can be further amplified by experiences not even within your industry. In fact, one study found that 62 percent of customers’ service expectations with one industry influenced2 their expectations of others. At the same time, according to the same study, 88 percent expect the brands they frequent to continue to accelerate their digital initiatives.
3. Digital tools can streamline your operations.
As the labor market continues to fluctuate, more pressure is being placed on staff coverage. This is another area where modern tools—empowered by AI and business intelligence—can be a great way to balance customer service with efficiency.
For example, some customers will seek one-on-one support while others prefer to handle transactions with self-service options available in-store, online, or in-app. Having a holistic customer engagement strategy allows your business to proactively design an end-to-end experience that truly understands your customer journey and collects the necessary data to evolve with your customers. It empowers businesses to keep track of a customer throughout their engagement and touchpoints in an omnichannel experience without losing a beat. This creates a smooth, frictionless customer journey and gives the business insight throughout.
Customer engagement is a journey.
Implementing a customer engagement strategy is not a one-size-fits-all effort. It is also not an initiative that your organization can’t afford to get wrong. In fact, Forrester predicts that “one in five programs will disappear and one in 10 will be strong.” Furthermore, they predict that “four in five customer experience (CX) teams will lack critical design, data and journey skills.”
The tools, processes, roles, and technology your organization needs to establish and maintain a healthy customer engagement program are going to be unique to your brand and your customer needs. Unfortunately, many organizations do not have the in-house expertise, time, or vendor relationships to identify, test, and implement the right tools and processes to jumpstart their customer engagement program.
Consider that CX leaders must organize key stakeholders across the organization to create a consistent, high-quality customer experience that demonstrates a true and lasting customer focus, empathy, and obsession. These are important parts of increasing overall levels of marketing orientation that have been proven to deliver better results over time versus industry peers such as in the primary research by RCG’s own Dr. Rob Nelson.
To succeed, CX leaders should focus on core priorities, including the following:
- Establish, fund, and scale the CX function.
- Collect and analyze data for customer insights, embed customer insights into the business, and design experiences that drive loyalty
- Utilize a framework such as RCG Global Services’ CxDNA, enable CX with technology, and measure CX performance and prove ROI.
A short video with Dr. Rob Nelson further explains these principles. Organizations that fulfill these priorities will drive customer loyalty, deliver business results, and justify greater investment in CX.
Finding the right CX partner is key.
More organizations are turning to trusted partners like RCG, a team with the experience, expertise, and industry knowledge to support your business, no matter the size or scope. Investing the resources and time to put the necessary technology and processes in place, with help from the right partner, can help your organization take the right steps to provide your customers with the quality, responsive experience they deserve.
Want to learn more about customer engagement and why it is critical in today’s connected world? Set up a one-on-one discussion with an RCG Global Services expert to see what your brand can do to maintain its competitive advantage.
1. Salesforce "What Is Customer Engagement? Key Findings from Global Research To Help Your Business Grow" Retrieved from https://www.salesforce.com/resources/articles/customer-engagement/
2. Salesforce "State of the Connected Consumer" Retrieved from https://www.salesforce.com/resources/research-reports/state-of-the-connected-customer/