The customer is king, and this is an indisputable fact for all businesses. For this reason, brands shouldn’t only focus on streamlining their operations. They must put a premium on customer experience, too.
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One of the ways to enhance client experience is to promote customer engagement using various online channels. In this article, you’ll find important insights about omnichannel customer engagement platforms.
Decide whether it’s ideal for your organization, the channels you may want to consider, and how to choose the right platforms according to your setup.
Five Steps In Choosing The Right Omnichannel Customer Engagement Platform:
Despite the numerous benefits of utilizing a multi-channel platform, not all businesses may need to maintain it. In the end, it all boils down to these major drivers: your customer needs and profile, as well as your own business goals and capacities.
Consider taking the following steps in arriving at an informed decision:
1. Define Your Goals:
Each business has its own vision and goals. Know what your objectives are and see if it aligns with the aims of having an omnichannel customer engagement platform.
For example, if you’re running a small e-commerce store, you might want to focus on reducing cart abandonment, increase revenues by 20% by yearend, or being one of the top ten shops for your niche product.
See what needs to be done in terms of achieving these goals and ranking in order of importance based on your current performance. In some instances, your problems may simply be addressed by boosting other marketing strategies, or through investing in a customer relationship management (CRM) software installation.
2. Come Up With A Baseline:
As with any comparative research, it’s important to measure your current customer engagement performance to come up with baseline figures. Decide on key performance indicators to determine whether there were any changes after the project implementation.
List down the general indicators of a successful program and assign each item with a metric or figures. Decide for how long you want to study this new project. Key indicators can include the number of qualified leads, conversion rates, customer satisfaction, number of shares, staff impressions, among many other elements.
No matter how your business wants to go about it, be clear about the performance metrics and measure it as a whole rather than individually. If you need help with any of the components involved, you can always look for technology companies such as Syniverse and other similar service providers to get started.
3. Evaluate Your Current Performance:
After completing the steps earlier mentioned, it’s time to know what’s currently happening to figure out how you can make it better.
Below are some of the digital channels you can look at, in coming up with a performance assessment. These days, customers use an average of six contact points online, with almost half of them using at least four channels regularly.
As omnichannel customer engagement is also mainly driven by the clients themselves, gather data from your current interaction with your product and service users. For instance, check how clients often contact you, what are their most preferred channels, and your site traffic data.
These channels are the most common contact points for customers:
- Email: This is one of the traditional means to engage with customers. Some businesses assign tickets for every customer service support to distinguish it from the rest of the regular emails.
- Instant Messaging: All social media platforms have their own messaging services, and brands can use these channels to promote brand visibility, as well as engage with potential and existing customers.
- Live Chat: This can be integrated on your website or through a mobile application. Your business can use live chat agents or chatbots with pre-set responses. More than serving as a point of contact, this channel can include video and audio communication and file sharing.
- Short Messaging Service (SMS): This major phone service is often used by businesses to connect with their customers. Virtually any information can be sent via SMS, which often has a link attachment to direct you to the business site or page.
- Social Media: There are about 4 billion social media users in the world today, with 99% of them accessing through their mobile phones. Additionally, an average user spends 2 hours and 24 minutes daily, on his or her social media account. This makes social media a formidable customer engagement channel.
Businesses don’t need to be present on all platforms. A business survey should be done to determine the most preferred customer touchpoints to increase efficiency.
4. Identify Weak Points And Understand How Your Current Resources Stacks Up:
Apart from conducting a performance assessment, consider understanding your customer’s journey. These processes refer to the steps your client has to go through before deciding to purchase.
While analyzing a customer’s experience, a business can look for common points, such as the main digital channels that were used at any stage of the journey. Your company’s digital sales funnel is highly beneficial during this process—which shows an analysis of what drives a client to advance or regress from a purchase transaction.
Another thing to look into is the current technologies and resources that your business has. An omnichannel customer engagement platform relies on your current digital resources. This includes an updated CRM software that you can seamlessly integrate with your platform. Non-compatible systems between these two key components will result in major hiccups and eventually, campaign failure.
If you have the technology but don’t have enough persons to man your live chat, it wouldn’t be of any use. Additionally, if an enterprise invests in digital infrastructure, it should invest in training and skills enhancement, too.
5. Decide The Best Attributes For An Omnichannel Customer Engagement Platform:
When deciding which channels to consider, make sure that your customers and prospects are active on that platform. Also consider whether if your clients are comfortable in engaging with your brand, and how to use customer engagement strategies as an effective marketing tool.
Must-Have Features In An Omnichannel Customer Engagement Platform:
Creating a list of must-haves in a platform for your business is necessary to optimize its benefits. Simply put, an omnichannel customer engagement software should be able to do the following:
1. Easy To Integrate with Your Business Software and Other Systems:
To ensure your business gets the most out of the platform, make sure you can integrate it with the rest of your business software, most especially your customer relationship management system; which is at the heart of your customer engagement campaign.
2. Highly Intuitive:
Engaging customers should be a breeze and enables your clients to contact you with utmost ease. If the platform is hard to understand and too complicated to navigate through, it may not be the best for your enterprise.
3. Proven Effective:
As with most service providers and vendors, don’t just go for the cheapest option, as you may get what you pay for. Choosing a platform with a high number of users, especially from your niche market, is only one of the main factors to consider.
Perform due diligence by conducting research on actual reviews from current users and unbiased sites. Choose businesses that have benefitted from the platform in the same niche as your venture, if possible.
From deployment to actual usage, a platform shouldn’t take too much time, so as not to waste your business and your clients’ day. Your clients live a busy life and they want things done as soon as possible.
5. Reporting Features:
Your chosen platform should include reporting capabilities to help you understand your current performance. With this feature in place, an enterprise can arrive at wise business decisions in relation to its customer engagement campaign and ultimately, sales and marketing strategies.
Why Is Having An Omnichannel Customer Platform Essential?
These days, it’s easier to interact with potential and existing clients using various online channels. Recent research has found out that a person has 8.6 social media accounts in 2020, more than double its 2014 figure, which was 4.8.
Omnichannel customer engagement allows companies to stay in contact with their clients through multiple channels — company website, social media accounts, email, phone, text messaging, and chatbots or live chat.
More than being an effective customer service tool, an omnichannel customer engagement platform can also be a smart marketing and sales tool capable of increasing the customer base. Omnichannel presence breaks down the barriers between a business and its customers across all fronts. It creates a seamless experience for users who are often switching from laptops and desktops for work to mobile phones during their break or after office duties.
Ultimately, this tool can enhance brand visibility, customer relations, and boost reputation. In fact, businesses with omnichannel presence are said to retain 89% of their customers compared to brands that have a lesser online presence.
The Bottom Line
One of the easiest ways to choose an omnichannel customer engagement platform is to understand the needs and preferences of both your clients and prospects.
Omnichannel presence provides a better user experience overall, just by using all essential channels and contact points. The good thing about this strategy is that your business can engage in trial and error without major consequences. Simply add one channel and assess whether it improves your engagement rates. If not, drop it and choose another one, until you find the platforms perfect for you.