Customer engagement management is a marriage of two concepts marketers already understand well.
Customer engagement is defined by the customer, or, more specifically, the action(s) that customer takes. It could be an open or click in an email. It could be an impression on a social media post or online ad. Everything from visiting a website to buying a product to even entering a physical storefront counts as customer engagement.
Your ideal customer is engaging—taking action—with your organization.
The management component is where marketing comes into play: deploying campaigns that elicit a desired response. Managing these interactions includes tracking customer behaviors—both in response to the campaign and separate from the campaign—and optimizing the next point of contact.
Customer Engagement Management: Build Customer Relationships
The concept of customer engagement management as both a strategy and platform has only recently become a part of the marketer’s toolbox. For that reason, let’s make sure to understand how it differs from a companion term: customer experience.
Whereas customer experience is, as it sounds, the sentiment a customer has about your brand, customer engagement management is the totality of all the communications, touchpoints and transactions along the customer journey, from your marketing to your customer service and everything in between.
Now that we’ve gotten that important distinction out of the way, let’s talk about how customer engagement has evolved in recent years.
In the not-too-recent past, customer engagement was a one-way street. In its simplest form, it was a brand creating materials to try to earn a positive response from its customers—a purchase, a subscription or an email sign-up. Today, customer engagement is more about creating a constant stream of two-way communication between brands and their audiences. No matter how small, every message and impression is part of an ongoing conversation. As an example, think about how SMS and social media have become marketing channels that foster an ongoing dialogue between brands and consumers.
The Benefits of Customer Engagement Management
But customer engagement management isn’t just about increasing the number of touchpoints with customers, although that can help. It’s more about upping the ante when it comes to the quality of interactions you’re having across the customer journey.
Because this relationship can be strengthened—or diminished—with every interaction, how do you make sure every touchpoint in your marketing journey is meaningful? You make the conversation hyper-personalized to each customer’s preferences.
The concept of personalization and preferences isn’t a new one. But its importance is emphasized by the fact that organizations that don’t lean into this lose out to their competition. Consumers have come to expect customized experiences—after all, a normal conversation is always personal. Why should a conversation with a brand be any different? For this reason, establishing two-way conversations with customers carries a number of key benefits for your brand:
- Better customer understanding, including preferences, values, needs, wants and concerns
- Feedback that helps you make improvements to your products or services
- Crisis communications in the event of customer dissatisfaction with some part of your business
- Letting them know that you care about them by humanizing your brand
- Increased trust and transparency because customers know you’ll respond to their questions, support issues or feedback
- The ability to gather more data about customers thanks to a strengthened value exchange
Fuel Customer Engagement Management with Data
Now, let’s dive a little deeper into that last bullet point mentioned above…
You can’t have a meaningful conversation with a customer or understand their needs and wants without knowing relevant information about them. In normal conversations, you ask questions. In marketing, you gather it from forms and preference centers.
Leveraging every inch of this data for messaging is what will make your customer engagement management efforts successful.
Customer engagement management uses the framework of the customer journey to guide every conversation. It incorporates omnichannel marketing (online and offline touchpoints) into each stage to reach customers where they want to talk, when they want to talk. And real-time data is the crux of the operation, creating a seamless experience for the customer with messaging that changes to fit the new dynamic of the conversation.
With such emphasis on the importance of (healthy) data, gathering and maintaining quality data about your customers needs to be a priority. Collect demographic information through opt-in forms and behavioral data through purchasing behaviors, email marketing metrics and social media insights.
Bonus: With data in hand, it’s imperative that you organize it in a way in which it can be easily accessed and incorporated into marketing messaging. Experts recommend a customer engagement management platform to achieve this.
Benefits of a Customer Engagement Management Platform
Imagine being proactive instead of reactive with your marketing messaging, anticipating the next want or need of each individual customer before they do. By adding your data to a customer engagement management platform, you can do exactly that.
A customer engagement management platform isn’t just a way to store and leverage your data—it’s a means to apply it to your customer journey messaging. Setting up omnichannel marketing campaigns that drive awareness, welcome new customers, address customer satisfaction issues and upsell and cross sell.
And you can do all this through online and offline channels, so you’re not excluding those customers that still prefer to engage in traditional formats like printed bills.
These smart campaigns imitate human-to-human interactions and customize messaging based on what a user prefers, integrating email marketing, social media, SMS and ringless voicemail into one marketing campaign. You’ll be everywhere the customer wants to interact with you without lifting a finger.
Create a Conversation with Customer Engagement Management
High-quality products and services are the hallmarks of the best companies. But in today’s marketing world, that’s not enough.
To stand out from your competition, you have to emphasize the difference between you and your competitors with customer engagement management. Automating the process with a customer engagement management platform is a no-brainer to help your brand:
- Increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty
- Earn more new customer referrals
- Cut cart and customer abandonment
- Boost returning customers and sales
Most importantly, you can start and maintain that critical conversation.
Embrace customer engagement management and use it to your advantage. Don’t miss opportunities to connect, increase your bottom line and, most importantly, keep customers for life.