In the digital world, brands have a lot more opportunities to interact with their customers than they had in the physical world. That allows for much more focus on customer engagement strategies and ways to get people interacting with your brand. That’s the basic definition, after all—customer engagement is the measurement of how much your audience is engaging with your brand, and in what ways they’re doing so.
There are plenty of reasons to measure this, and several reasons that you need to integrate the best customer engagement solutions possible. We’ll cover all of that in this guide, starting with the basics of customer engagement and how you can utilize technology like the solutions available from NICE inContact CXone to improve yours.
To start with, let’s define exactly what we mean when it comes to “customer engagement”. We touched on it a bit above, but here’s a more clear-cut way to think of it:
Customer engagement refers to the ongoing interaction(s) between a customer and a brand, based on the resources offered by the brand and the customer’s choice of which resources and interactions to engage.
For the sake of measurement, you’re going to look at the degree and depth of your customer interactions against your clearly defined goals, which will help you calculate the numbers behind your customer engagement efforts.
Before we get too in-depth on the details here, let’s get back to the point—what customer engagement is and why it matters to your business.
Why does customer engagement matter?
Today’s customers demand a personalized, interactive experience with the brands that they choose. They want that personal connection and feeling of being “special” even if they’re just stocking up on essentials. That’s why customer engagement matters—your audience will accept nothing less.
Today’s brands have almost gotten into an automated routine, of sorts, in the customer acquisition process. They focus so much on the cycle of “acquire, engage, retain” that they don’t realize they could be missing several other opportunities to engage the customer and create an emotional connection to ensure that the business is sustainable, and customers remain for life.
Why does customer engagement matter? Here’s a startling statistic that puts it in perspective:
Two-thirds is about 66%. That’s more than half of your profits, all dependent upon the customer experience and how personally engaged your customer feels. If that’s not a good enough reason to reconsider your customer engagement strategy and make sure that you have a plan in place, there might not be anything that can sway your opinion.
Another digital engagement study showed that companies that have worked to improve customer engagement have also seen improvements in areas like:
- Upsell revenue increases from 13% to as much as 51%, on average
- Cross-selling increases by about 22%
- Order sizes grow from an average of 5% to 85% or higher
All of this has a huge impact on your profits. Thus, the very first question that every brand needs to ask in this process is: who are the existing customers? You can’t start improving your engagement until you know where it stands, after all.
What does customer engagement mean to your brand?
When your brand is trying to build a following online, engagement is everything. Now that you have seen the statistics and understand more about why it matters, you have to figure out exactly what it means to your business. Yes, it means profitability and the chance to stay in business. But customer engagement is more than that. It’s a way to define your brand and create a reputation for having a customer-first approach, which is the secret to success today.
Customer engagement isn’t just about support, sales, and service. It’s an ongoing practice that requires your brand to anticipate customer needs and establish personal connections for loyalty, lasting relationships, and business growth. It’s about interacting with customers in a way that motivates or interests them and encourages a two-way conversation to assist them at whatever their stage may be in the buying journey.
The future of customer service and engagement is proactive, and it’s all about reaching out to the customer where they are to ensure that they have everything that they need. If you do it right, there are several benefits to be had:
- Improved loyalty and stronger relationships. Your modern customer wants a more personalized, interactive experience that is ready to anticipate their every need. When you harness the power of customer engagement to offer that, you’ll earn their trust, and their lifetime business, as a result.
- Reduced turnover and improved retention. When you increase your customer retention by as little as 5%, your profits will increase as much as 25% or more, according to research. There are endless strategies and resources out there dedicated to customer retention exclusively, but what brands don’t realize is that a proactive approach to engagement can provide the answer from the start.
- Increased subscribers. When your customers feel more engaged and think that your brand has value, they are going to be much more likely to subscribe to your blog, follow you on social media, sign up for emails, and even allow push notifications or SMS messaging. All of these channels offer you more ways to interact with your audience, so that can become invaluable to the future of engagement.
- Better upselling and cross-selling opportunities. When your customers feel personally engaged and appreciated, they’ll be more likely to increase their orders with last-minute additions or upgrades. When your agents are engaged and prepared to deliver a better customer experience, they’ll also be more prepared to offer better upsells or cross-sales to your customers, as well.
- A distinguished brand identity. The more that you do to distinguish your brand, the better. By taking the time to separate your customer engagement and dedicate resources to improving it, the better your chances will be at creating a brand that stands out. Take the examples below that we’re going to discuss on engagement success—Coca-Cola and Starbucks. Few brands have their kind of distinguished identity, and it was all done with a dedicated effort directed at customer engagement.
- Shorter sales cycles. If people are engaged and proactively given the answers to their questions and the solutions that they need, they’re not going to spend as much time in the learning or decision-making process of the sales cycle. Engaged customers are far more likely to go to a brand website and make a purchase without so much as a second thought. They feel appreciated, and they have the information that they need, so there’s no reason to wait.
These are just a handful of the benefits, of course. There are several other perks that you will find to appreciate once you get started.
How technology can help
When you are trying to improve engagement, metrics and technology can be some of your best resources. The analytics available that can help you track the customer experience and buying journey are more dynamic and detailed than ever before. You can use basic insights like page views and shopping cart progress, along with detailed insights on how many visits it takes before a customer buys and whether your self-service customers are more likely to buy than those who sought out a live agent for questions or support.
Technology like the customer service platform from NICE inContact CXone will make it easier for your brand to align across all departments to focus on delivering the single goal of an improved customer experience, which means optimal engagement at every stage in the buying journey from the point of first contact. There are analytics tools and plenty of customer service tools and resources that will help you set your customers up for success with integrated technology tools and plenty of customer-focused resources.
With an integrated platform like CXone, brands can appreciate assistance in customer engagement through:
- Omnichannel service and support to route customers to the right place at the right time in the buying journey
- Multiple channels and integrated support options to connect with customers where they are
- Interactive chatbots and AI technology that is designed to give customers control over their engagement and user experience (UX)
- Agile and scalable solutions that are designed to change on a dime and grow with the customer and the business itself
With the agility and customer focus of modern contact center software, it’s easier than ever for your brand to take its customer engagement to the next level for the future of customer service and business success.
Two Great Examples of Customer Engagement from Global Brands
Sometimes, the best way to learn is by example. These visual representations of customer engagement will help point you in the right direction and get a better idea of how a properly integrated strategy can align your entire brand and improve your goals with ease.
Starbucks is already known as an industry leader, so how were they expected to take things to a new level with customer engagement? It wasn’t easy, but the brand started a new collaborative effort known as the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room, giving everyday customers a multi-sensory, exclusive experience that allows them to feel like an active part of the journey with the Starbucks brand and product creation. It allows customers to get an inside look and a unique appreciation for the brand, while also feeling like they’re getting something special in return.
Anyone can go to the drive-thru and get a coffee from Starbucks, but customers who want an elevated, more engaged experience can visit a roastery and get a firsthand look.
Everyone has heard about the great “Share a Coke” campaign that first launched in 2014, allowing users to put custom names on Coke bottles. The brand started by replacing the logo with 250 common names and then allowing select audiences and markets to customize their cans and bottles any way that they wanted. The simple campaign didn’t cost a lot, but it related to the target audience of the brand, gave people a way to feel special, and got everyone talking.
It’s 2021 and people still get excited about picking up a Coca-Cola bottle with a particular name on it. Clearly, they’ve done something correctly.
Developing a customer engagement strategy
The most important thing to do to improve your customer engagement is to create a strategy that focuses on tangible areas of improvement and actionable, measurable goals. The customer wants a personalized, dedicated experience whether they are buying household essentials or treating themselves to a designer purse, and brands need to respond in kind.
No longer is it acceptable to offer sub-par service on the premise that the product or service being purchased is of low value. Discount retailers are held to the same high standard, if not even higher when it comes to the customer experience and providing the right engagement solutions. Modern customers want a brand that is going to provide comprehensive engagement however they want it—be it through social media, email newsletters, website shopping, or even a conversation on Facebook Messenger or an AI chatbot.
Make sure that your customer engagement strategy includes a robust omnichannel communication strategy that will give customers the solutions that they desire, and more. Invest in contact center and customer service software that can be integrated across your brand to deliver a comprehensive, engaging user experience from start to finish with your entire team on the same page every step of the way.
Figure out what customers want and how you can improve engagement from a proactive standpoint. Integrate AI, customer loyalty programs, and other customer-focused efforts that give people that feeling of being “special” that they crave. Choose integrated customer service platforms like NICE inContact CXone that will allow your brand to create the perfect backend operations to support all of your customer engagement goals and efforts.
It’s a lot more involved than this, but here are four basic steps to improving customer engagement:
1. Create a brand voice
Today’s customers want to interact with brands that have personality. If your brand doesn’t have a clear and distinct voice or viewpoint that sets it apart, customers are going to look elsewhere.
2. Share that voice online through various channels
You can’t rely on the same old methods for reaching customers. You need to deliver a fully omnichannel experience that allows people to reach you in their preferred way. You also need to have an online presence in as many places as possible to increase engagement and improve your chances of being found.
3. Personalize all customer experiences and interactions
The biggest secret (that isn’t really a secret at all) to customer engagement is personalization. Even if you’re selling discount phone cases, people want to be treated like they’re buying a luxury import car. They want to feel like they’re the only and most important customer that you have. Use the resources available to you to make that happen.
4. Create content and resources based on customer history
Speaking of the resources available to you, this is one way to improve engagement. Use customer data to see what they are interested in or what they have searched for in the past and use that to curate content and improve engagement.
The Value of a Customer-First Mindset
As much as marketers and brands are focusing on a mobile-first approach these days, it’s becoming just as important for your brand to have a customer-first mindset in all that it does. You should be consistently thinking about how you can better serve the customer, provide better engagement, or improve the user experience in any way possible. Use feedback and reviews, take advantage of technology and data insights, and take note from brands that have embraced customer engagement and made it their mission to succeed at this and every other aspect of business.
You might be thinking that the “customer-first” mindset isn’t really that new. However, what’s new is the focus on every customer as an individual, not the customer as a general entity. People crave the personalized experience that they can get from the online world today and if your brand isn’t delivering, you’re going to lose out.
A customer-first strategy is the first, and most essential step, in the process of improving customer engagement. With the right tools, like the integrated platform from NICE inContact CXone, these strategies are easy to integrate.
How can you measure engagement?
Some people might be confused at how they’re supposed to measure something as vague sounding as “engagement”. However, it’s a lot easier than you might think to find out just how engaged your audience is. Through select metrics, you’ll be able to see if people are getting the attention and solutions that they need based on how engaged they feel or what your customer experience is like. Some of these metrics include:
- Checkouts Completed
- Purchase Frequency
- Average Order Value
- Average Order Size
- Repeat Purchase Rate
If you have more checkouts completed, more frequent purchases, and bigger orders in terms of both value and size, you’re going to have clear indicators that your engagement is improving.
CXOne from NICE inContact is designed to help measure all important areas of user engagement so that you can make adjustments and improve the experience from start to finish. The ultimate goal is to create a unified experience from the first contact until the return purchase, creating lifetime customers by having the best engagement possible. When you take advantage of software solutions like the customer service and contact center software from NICE inContact, you will find that easy to do.
How NICE inContact CXone can help your customer engagement
When creating your customer engagement strategy, you’re likely going to choose a platform that will allow you to integrate all of your contact center and marketing operations into a single place. The NICE inContact CXone platform allows you to monitor customer engagement, implement new methods for customer interaction, and ensure that every step of the journey delivers what the customer demands and expects. The integrated platform can align all of your departments to provide a more engaged, unified experience by allowing you to monitor analytics and engagement statistics and make changes in real time.
Plus, our team can help you create the perfect customized solution with our platform, no matter what you have in mind. Contact us today to discuss how we can amplify your customer engagement with NICE in Contact CXone.