Catherine Forino at NICE looks at digital customer engagement and explains four signs your contact centre is on the right track.
Digital customer engagement is receiving more emphasis these days as businesses are realizing it can be a path to higher revenue and greater customer loyalty.
Modern consumers want to feel a personal connection to the brands they do business with as well as receive personalized communications and interact with engaging and meaningful content. In other words, they want digital customer engagement.
With the proliferation of so many digital communication channels – including mobile apps, social media, email, and virtual agents – businesses have a unique opportunity to stay connected with customers long after they make a purchase. The result can be stronger relationships and lifetime customers.
Digital customer engagement is an art that many businesses struggle with. Engagement needs to be personalized without being creepy, and regular without being spammy. Additionally, companies need to develop digital content that is both useful and engaging, a combination that can be elusive.
This article will provide a definition of digital customer engagement, provide some real-world examples of effective digital customer engagement, and discuss some signs that your business is on the right track.
What Is Digital Customer Engagement?
The definition of digital customer engagement may differ from business to business, but at its core it’s the process of interacting with customers on digital channels and trying to get them to engage with your branded experiences. These experiences may include:
- Interacting with a virtual agent to book travel plans
- Responding to a Twitter poll
- Receiving an email with discount offers on the customer’s favorite brands
- Interacting with a photo frame on Instagram
- Reading a blog post that tells the customer how to get the most out of their recent purchase
- And so much more
Effective customer engagement takes place throughout the duration of the relationship between customer and brand, and it happens in each customer’s preferred digital channel(s).
The goal of digital engagement is to stay connected to customers so that your business is top of mind the next time they need to make a purchase. Ultimately, consistent and meaningful engagement builds loyalty and can reduce churn.
And the positive financial impact of effective engagement can be substantial. One study found that over a two-year period, businesses that invested in digital customer engagement experienced a 70% increase in top line revenue.
According to Gartner, contact centres will play an important role in this continued positive trajectory. They predict, “By 2025, 40% of customer service organizations will become profit centres by becoming de facto leaders in digital customer engagement.”
Let’s take a look at some examples of great digital customer engagement and then discuss some signs that indicate your contact centre or customer service organization is ready for its future role as “de facto leaders in digital customer engagement.”
Examples of Effective Digital Customer Engagement
Examples of exceptional digital engagement abound. Here are a few to get you thinking.
Netflix is often held up as an example of a brand that has flourished by providing personalized experiences, and their approach to digital customer engagement has disrupted the video rental, movie, and network and cable TV industries.
If we both searched Netflix for “action films,” our results would probably look very different. That’s because the company uses sophisticated algorithms to predict what viewers will like based on past viewing history.
This hyper-personalization led one executive to declare that there are now “33 million different versions of Netflix.”
But the personalization doesn’t end with individual recommendations. Netflix also uses aggregated viewing history to predict what types of original programming customers will like and then commissions production companies to make them.
Key takeaways: Digital customer engagement is best when it’s personalized and proactive.
Warby Parker is another brand that disrupted an industry through digital customer engagement. The eyewear industry was predominately brick and mortar until they entered the scene. After all, most people want to try on glasses before they buy them.
The business solved this problem through augmented reality. Customers can virtually try on glasses to see how they might look, and then have the top contenders sent to their homes so they can try them on in person and make a final decision.
Without the engaging virtual reality, it’s doubtful that as many customers would make it to the “home try on” phase.
Key takeaways: Use advanced technology to digitally engage your customers and help them move through the sales pipeline.
You may remember when a Taco Bell Snapchat lens went viral a few years ago. For Cinco de Mayo, Snapchat users could take a selfie, turn their heads into giant tacos, and then share the result with friends.
Now, allowing customers to turn their heads into giant tacos may sound silly, but the campaign was highly effective. The lens was viewed 224 million times.
That’s a lot of engagement and impressions! And you can bet more people grabbed some Taco Bell that day than would have otherwise.
Key takeaways: Be creative with how you engage your customers on social media and don’t be afraid to have some fun.
4 Signs Your Contact Centre Is on the Path to Digital Customer Engagement Success
Contact centres may not be in a position to turn customers’ heads into tacos, but there’s plenty they can do to engage customers in ways that will strengthen relationships. Here are some positive signs that you might be doing digital customer engagement right.
1. You Have a Digital Customer Engagement Strategy and Plan
Although digital customer engagement might be an art form, it still needs structure in order to be effective. Successful brands outline goals for customer engagement and use those to keep them on track.
Once goals have been established, the plan needs to outline the steps that will be taken to achieve them. Contact centres may want to have an engagement plan for every channel that rolls up into a cohesive strategy.
They should also account for things like how they’ll solicit feedback from customers (an important form of engagement) and what role outbound campaigns will play in the overall strategy.
2. You Personalize Customer Experiences
Today’s consumers want to feel like businesses recognize them and understand their needs, especially if they are long-time customers.
As we saw from the Netflix example, personalization can be a powerful way to digitally engage with customers.
Conversely, acting like customers are strangers every time you interact with them could send them out the door to a competitor that is better at providing personalized engagement.
According to a Salesforce study, 66% of consumers expect businesses to understand their individual needs. In other words, they want personalization.
There are several ways contact centres can improve their personalization game, including the following:
Integrate Contact Centre Solutions With CRM Systems.
CRM systems contain a wealth of information that contact centre agents should have easy access to. Data such as purchase history and transcripts from past customer service interactions enable agents to tailor experiences for each customer. This information can also be used by self-service channels to personalize DIY experiences.
Route Customers to Agents They’re More Likely to “Click” With.
A customer service interaction can feel more personalized (and satisfying) if customers and agents are able to build an easy, natural rapport. Intelligent AI routing increases the likelihood of this happening by including factors such as customer sentiment and preferences into the routing logic.
Ensure Agents Have Strong Soft Skills.
A robotic or indifferent conversation can feel highly impersonal, not to mention frustrating and unsatisfying.
This can be especially true when the conversation is happening in written form. Personalization requires agents to have strong soft skills like empathy and active listening so that customers feel heard and understood.
3. You Use Modern Contact Centre Technology
Digital customer engagement requires contact centres to have up-to-date systems so they can meet customers where and how they want to be met. If your contact centre has the following capabilities, you’re on the right track.
Multiple Digital Channels.
Digital engagement needs to be convenient for customers, which means being able to connect in their channel(s) of choice.
Providing email and chat support is a good first step but contact centres should also determine how emerging channels such as messaging and SMS fit into their digital customer engagement strategy.
Omnichannel Customer Experiences.
The multiple channels discussed above need to be integrated so customers can move across them seamlessly. Without omnichannel capabilities, customers will find the need to repeat themselves when they switch channels.
Part of engaging customers on their own terms is empowering them to handle their own matters. According to Gartner, 70% of customers use self-service channels during their resolution journey.
However, for this form of digital engagement to be positive, customers need to be successful at finding their own resolutions. Good self-service design is crucial. Without it, you may find your customers disengaging from your relationship.
To have meaningful digital customer engagements, you need to understand customers’ preferences and needs. This requires lots of data and the right tools to analyze it. AI-powered analytics solutions can give businesses the customer insights they need to make effective digital connections with their customers.
4. You’re Committed to Proactive Customer Service
Being proactive about anticipating customers’ needs is a hallmark of great digital customer engagement. Because 90% of people needing help never initiate contact, reaching out to customers before they know they have a problem can strengthen relationships and enhance your brand’s image.
With the right proactive outreach, such as an outbound dialer, or proactive conversational AI, contact centres and customer service organizations can notify customers via email, text, or phone about issues such as event cancellations and product recalls.
But sometimes being proactive means engaging customers earlier. For example, if you make your knowledge base available for search engines to index, your customers can find answers to their questions on search results pages rather than being required to go to your website. Now that’s convenient digital engagement!
Digital customer engagement is a dynamic area that is always evolving.This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of NICE – View the Original Article
For more information about NICE - visit the NICE Website
Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.