In the aftermath of the pandemic, the digital-first experience has raised the bar for businesses across all domains. Customers now expect brands to measure up and deliver experiences that are personalized and consistently connected in real-time.
According to the recent State of the Connected Customer report by Salesforce, 83 percent of customers expect to engage with someone immediately on contacting a company – up from 78 percent in 2019.
In fact, when asked, a majority of customers stated that they expect brands to drive new standards of engagement.
Customer engagement is about committing yourself to deliver awesome connected experiences instead of mere fleeting transactions. Brands need to be on their toes, determining the best ways to engage their audience. To trigger a positive feedback loop, they need to optimize their team structure, business operations, and the associated technologies.
In this post, we have a list of customer engagement tools that will make the rather overwhelming task of engaging customers a breeze.
Customer Service Tools
Offering timely service and competent responses to customers is critical. Customers expect quick response times, more transparency, and less back and forth communication.
88 percent of customers expect businesses to respond within an hour. Yet, a majority of firms take nearly a week to get back to their customers on an issue or query. If you want your business to stay relevant, it’s important to keep up with the customer demands. Using customer service tools can be of great help here.
For instance, several customer service tools offer functionalities like a shared inbox, ticket organization, and automation among others. These features make communication with customers easy and quick.
Similarly, live chats are known to enhance customer engagement. When combined with co-browsing, live chats can offer the highest level of customer satisfaction. We’ll see more on co-browsing later in the post.
Salons, spas, and wellness brands can boost their customer service level by using tools that remind customers of upcoming appointments and confirm details ahead of time. This significantly reduces missed appointments and therefore missed revenue.
Solutions such as vcita’s automated appointment reminder software can help reduce the cancellations and no-shows that otherwise lead to negative customer experiences. Their customer engagement platforms help brands engage disengaged customers with features like smart custom follow-ups, a friendly self-service portal, and more.
Social Media Engagement Tools
71 percent of customers who have a positive service experience on social media are likely to use and recommend that brand. Hence, businesses looking to improve their engagement and boost conversions should deliver personalized service on social channels.
Plus, social media allows businesses to build communities and leverage the human tendency to share and talk about brands.
Businesses should keep a track of brand conversations. Social listening tools like Awario, Agorapulse, Mention, and Keyhole among others highlight what people are talking about brands, the industry, and competitors. The insights derived can be used to improve customer engagement on social channels.
Social media management tools like HootSuite and Falcon.io take things a step ahead. They allow you to manage multiple channels from one centralized location.
Business Analytics Solutions
Every business invests a considerable amount of its marketing efforts in improving its online presence and the quality of interactions with its customers. However, if these efforts aren’t measured, it’ll be impossible to improve them or even assess the returns on investment.
For instance, a business’s website and mobile app are the primary hubs of its digital presence. They are key to improving online customer engagement. But without web analytics, it’s tough to determine if your optimization efforts are working.
Website analytics tools like Google Analytics and Kissmetrics show how many people are interacting with your website or application. It tracks a sea of metrics like the web traffic, the average time spent on a page, the average session duration, the bounce rate, and many more.
The insights derived can be used to craft effective brand communications and predict customer actions and upcoming trends. Thus, marketers can make positive changes to their website to improve customer engagement and drive conversions.
Similarly, measuring the effectiveness of your contact center can help you understand if your support channels are operating at peak performance. Call center dashboards to allow businesses to monitor service metrics like call time and duration, efficiency, and employee performance. The data can be used to ensure a smooth experience for the customers.
However, analytics tools aren’t just about assessing the traffic or counting the clicks. It’s about understanding customer behavior. Besides using Google Analytics, count on tools like Mixpanel and Heap that can help you up your game in understanding diverse user behavior.
Also, if your marketing team needs assistance parsing through the data, tools like Amplitude can help. The platform organizes data into straightforward visualizations, allowing the team to make informed business decisions.
Customer engagement isn’t just about knowing your customers’ needs and meeting them. It involves mapping customer journeys and interactions across various touchpoints and through the customer relationship lifecycle.
Forrester’s research reveals that brands offering exceptional customer experiences generate 5.7 times more revenue than the ones that don’t. Co-browsing or collaborative browsing is one way to deliver improved CX. It allows customer support agents to collaborate with customers in real-time.
The human brain processes visuals faster than written text. Hence, offering visual support through co-browsing tools like Surfly and Upscope can help boost customer engagement and experience.
These modern co-browsing solutions make interactions between customers and agents quick and effortless. So, instead of spending time chatting, emailing, or talking on the phone, the support agents can guide customers in real-time and solve their issues.
What’s more? Co-browsing can be easily combined with video chats or live chats to manage the customer’s browser and guide them towards making an informed decision.
Customer Survey Tools
A Microsoft survey reveals that 77 percent of customers have a more favorable view of brands that proactively invite and accept customer feedback versus those who don’t. When it comes to brand experiences, customers have high expectations. Hence, businesses should strive to keep pace with these expectations in a way that’s innovative and sets them apart from the competition.
Customer surveys not only offer an opportunity to understand what customers think but are also a great way to engage them. Most businesses use online surveys to:
- Get feedback on products and services
- Get feedback on their customer service
- Conduct market research
- Measure customer satisfaction
Did your support agent just finish chatting with a customer? Did a customer just complete a purchase? Send them a CSAT (customer satisfaction) survey to get a granular understanding of whether or not it helped the customer.
Creating feedback forms and polls is easy with online survey creators like SurveyMonkey, ProProfs Survey Maker, or Zoho Survey. These tools have advanced survey and analytical capabilities that allow marketers to create some snazzy-looking surveys that customers are compelled to respond to.
Besides, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms can also be used to conduct surveys and measure customer engagement.
Customer surveys have several uses in business. Make sure you use the tools shared above to know your customers better and offer them the best service possible.
Choosing the Most Suitable Customer Engagement Tools for Your Business: Factors to Consider
Selecting the most appropriate customer engagement tools isn’t an easy endeavor. Consider the following factors when making the decision.
Most tools available today offer the best-of-breed and well-thought-out features. However, tools that offer all-in-one functionalities may vary in terms of the depth of features. Some may cater to advanced scenarios and others may not.
If your business demands advanced functionalities and it’s worth the investment, go for it.
The platform you choose should be fully integrated with others, allowing you to deliver a personalized and consistent experience. Hence, it’s wise to ponder on these questions before choosing a tool.
- How do I integrate the tool?
- How can I integrate on-premise and cloud-based services?
- Is the tool compatible with other tools?
- How do I go about if a vendor changes the API?
- User Experience
Deploying multiple platforms from different vendors comes with its own set of challenges. If not managed properly, this can easily jeopardize the success of your project.
For instance, different user interfaces with poorly-integrated components can result in user-face complexities and slower adoption.
Hence, make sure to trial all the components and how well they work together before investing in them. A few platforms offer pre-integrated third-party products into their suite to ensure that the business user can test the integration.
Check how easy it is to maintain the tool. For instance, you may have to look into:
- Availability and performance
- Total Cost of Ownership
Check for factors like the product price, hardware costs, license costs, integration costs, development costs, and system maintenance costs. This will help you get a fair idea of whether or not your business needs a specific tool and how it will impact your customer engagement metrics.
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Brands striving to offer exceptional experiences and improve their engagement are the ones winning the hearts and minds of their customers. But winning a customer’s loyalty isn’t easy! Customer habits and preferences keep changing and increasing.
Use the tools shared above to stay on top of the ever-changing customer expectations and boost your customer engagement. These tools will surely shorten your sales cycle, boost revenue, and increase customer loyalty.