Forbes recently released an article that detailed a Twilio study, where it was found that 75% of businesses believe they’re offering a good or excellent personalized customer experience while more than half of consumers think their shopping experiences are average, bad or even poor. So, how can organizations improve? An emerging solution is to utilize a Customer Engagement Platform. 

First, we have to understand what customer engagement is. Customer engagement is continuous relationship development and management by a business to a customer, throughout the full customer journey. This means it’s not limited to a specific aspect of the customer journey, such as completing a sales cycle, but rather extends into onboarding a customer and providing them support. It’s a concerted effort by all parts of an organization to instill customer loyalty by being present, valuable, and dependable.

88% of executives agree that customer engagement has a significant impact on their organization’s bottom line.

Businesses understand that this process is important, but there still seems to be a disconnect on their effectiveness at it between them and their customers. Collecting data on a customer journey is one part of the process, but it doesn’t end there. Companies need to take action in real time to build trust with their customers and prospects.

Evolving from a CDP to a Customer Engagement Platform

A Customer Engagement Platform is an evolution of a Customer Data Platform, or CDP. Twilio acquired Segment, a market leading CDP, in November of 2020. CDPs serve the purpose of housing a central data repository for all of an individual’s interactions with a company, across many different channels. By combining strengths of Twilio Segment and the versatile Twilio Cloud Communications Platform, Twilio can truly provide a unified CEP.

Intercom has focused on app and web engagement. Intercom is versatile in being able to track user and visitor data and provide real-time interaction on a website or app, or continue conversations in email, SMS, or other channels. Intercom also seamlessly integrates with full featured CDPs like Twilio Segment to provide a complete lens into a customer’s journey.

These platforms are effective for multiple reasons:

Track Data From Multiple Sources

Customer Data Platforms give your organization the ability to centralize information from multiple data sources. More than 80% of businesses still rely on third-party data to engage with customers. In fact, 85% of consumers want companies to use first-party data. Organizations rarely have one source of information for different parts of their business. This is why it’s especially important for your business to unify the technologies that you use to track how a customer interacts with your brand on the web or apps and follow that through to service cases, orders, or other important customer transactions.

However, it’s not enough to just have data, you need to act on it effectively. Forbes mentions, “our early readout on Twilio’s Customer Engagement Platform is that it is well-designed and comprehensive in its capabilities and with proper implementation can enable a company to better serve its customers throughout its entire lifecycle from sales and marketing to customer support.” Equally important to finding the right Customer Engagement platform is finding the right platform professional services partner, such as Vision Point Systems, to enable your organization to learn from the data you’re gathering. A “proper implementation” is one that reflects a company’s vision and is configured to influence the company’s decisions and the customer journey.

Automate Consistent and Repeatable Actions

Customer Engagement Platforms automate processes to ensure your organization doesn’t have to rely on humans for the consistent and repeatable actions for your customers. Part of being effective at customer engagement is being proactive. Fortunately, automation provides an easy way to be proactive during critical events in the customer journey. Some examples include sending a text message reminder 24 hours before an appointment or reaching out to a customer that filled a cart but didn’t check out. By configuring a Customer Engagement platform to your specific workflows, a system can be set up to automatically complete these tasks. Furthermore, your organization will be able to gather data on the effectiveness of your workflows, which can continue to evolve your organization as you learn more about your customers.

Unlock the full story of a customer’s journey

It’s a frustrating experience as a customer relaying the same story over and over again to get help when facing an issue. This is why having a history of a customer’s information can vastly improve their happiness with the experience. Beyond giving a sales team or customer service team more context, it can make your organization predictive of your customer’s needs. Companies are aware of their shortcomings on this, as 90% of them say their existing systems for tracking customer journeys need improvement.

Implement Channels that Value a Customer’s Time

85% of companies report their customers are significantly more digital than expected. Companies need to be ready to adapt to that as much as possible. Many Customer Engagement platforms offer omnichannel solutions, like Intercom Switch. Providing your customers with as many channels as possible personalizes your organization’s engagement experience to their communication preferences. Personalization is an effective tool to gain trust with a customer. 77% of nonprofit organizations, which rely heavily on engagement, state that personalization is a high or critical priority for 2022. Personalization also creates the idea that a customer’s time is valued. Besides channels, implementing features that value a customer’s time also can help improve customer engagement. Solutions like Queued Callback, which holds a customer’s place in line and calls them back when ready instead of making them wait on hold,  give a customer reassurance that their time is valued.

How does a company get started?

If your company isn’t currently using a Customer Engagement Platform, the good news is that it’s really easy to get started, when you choose the right tools and implementation partner. Projects can have a valuable and production-ready platform within a few weeks. If you’re interested in learning more about how your organization could directly benefit from a Customer Engagement Platform, schedule a meeting with one of Vision Point Systems’ consultants today.