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What are Customer Engagement Platforms? 

Neil Chandavarkar
Neil Chandavarkar
September 1, 2022
Customer Success, Marketing

What are Customer Engagement Platforms? 

The ability to engage with customers is at the heart of any business. Successful organizations strive to meet customer expectations and provide them with the best user experience possible.This involves offering reliable support across all your communication channels. This is essential to forming a connection with your customer base to grow your business.  

Customer Engagement Platforms aim to improve the omnichannel customer journey. They help you identify your customers’ needs by simplifying real-time communications. This software builds bridges with your customers, boosting interest, customer satisfaction, and sales. Engagement leads to brand loyalty and can give you massive returns in the long run. 

How Customer Engagement Platforms Work

Customer engagement is an emerging concept that combines elements of many established solutions. These include

Customer Engagement Platforms are used by customer success, support, and sales teams. They connect your customer communications from one central platform. Stored sales data and contact information helps streamline personalized interactions with customers.

These software can measure how, when, and even why customers are engaging with your brand. Cross-channel capabilities help your reps send out consistent messaging when communicating with customers.          

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main customer engagement features and how you can measure results.         

Customer Engagement Features

Customers who reach out to sellers want one of two things: to buy a product/service or seek support for something they have already purchased.. How they choose to get in touch will vary depending on these circumstances. As a business, you should be prepared to communicate with your customers across many touchpoints. 

Common ways for buyers and sellers to communicate include: 

  • Company apps
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Social media
  • SMS
  • Live chats on your websites
  • Third-party messaging apps  

Having an app can make shopping more convenient for some customers, enabling them to make in-app purchases. Apps also make it easier to manage preferences and update contact info. Creating incentives for buyers to download an app is a great way to increase your user base. Once they do, you can send them push notifications – automated messages that appear even when they’re logged out.

Social media is one of the best places to engage with customers for companies of all sizes. Responding frequently to DMs and comments will help you gain a reputation for good customer service. Many social media platforms like Facebook also rate organizations on responsiveness. 

Email communications may be slower than instant messaging or replying on social media. Be that as it may, it’s a common channel for responding to inquiries or sending out promotional newsletters and special offers. Customer engagement software can also integrate with your email marketing tool. You can send personalized emails either in bulk as part of a larger campaign.              

Live chats are gaining popularity as a way to connect with customers due to faster response times. Chatbots on your website or app can send automated messages to customers, directing them to where they can find answers. Bots can also connect them with a customer service rep or to your sales team. Chatbots can be helpful for simple issues that the user can resolve themselves. Juniper Research has reported that spending through chatbots will increase to $142 billion by 2024. The same study also found that almost 40% of consumers favor chatbots over live agents.

Engaging with customers via inbound calls is a traditional method that’s still used by many companies. Like live chats, phone service can be either automated, in-house, or outsourced to a third-party call center. Many customers do still prefer communicating with a live rep over the phone, so budget permitting, it’s worth the investment.      

Messaging apps like WhatsApp are great for engagement, especially in international markets. You can communicate with customers on the spot, taking orders and answering questions. These apps are usually free for both buyers and sellers, requiring only an internet connection. They tend to be popular with consumers and small businesses in regions where cell phone data is more expensive.       

Here are some of the key features you want to look out for when choosing a customer engagement platform: 

  • AI-based recommendations
  • Automated messaging and push notifications
  • Behavior-based targeting
  • Centralized customer communications  
  • Content personalization
  • Customer contact and interaction database
  • Customer engagement analytics
  • Customer journey mapping
  • Customer self-service
  • Data ingestion and storage
  • Support ticketing
  • Tech stack integrations
  • Customer segmentation 

Let’s take a closer look at some of these important points.

Artificial intelligence is a key component of customer engagement tools. AI allows you to send automated messages and target users with specific offers based on their past browsing behavior. You can personalize customer messaging and content recommendations based on stored data. Reps on live chat duty can get suggested responses to queries. Team members can access automated support tickets as needed. Predictive analytics can track customer behavior to identify preferences and predict future outcomes.     

Customer engagement software can collect and unify customer data. You can then use this information to create personalized campaigns and customer interactions. It can also help you segment and target your user base, making it easier to match your offerings to the wants and needs of your customers. 

Customer data can be collected from users on your channels, or third-party sources and intent data providers. This can include contact information, browsing logs, order history, and preferences. Customer support backlogs can also display any issues a customer has had in the past, making it easier for reps to tailor solutions to their needs. 

Customer journey mapping lets you know where in the customer lifecycle a user is. You can also see how your interactions with them impact this progress. Combined with analytics, this feature can provide key insights into your engagement performance.

A self-service portal allows customers to manage their accounts by themselves. They should be able to change their profiles and subscriptions, or view order history. 

You can also set up a self-help knowledge base with FAQs, guides, pop-up recommendations, or even discussion boards. This can help customers find what they’re looking for with limited support or none at all. For many customers, the best support is the one where they do not have to interact with your organization at all. These more passive channels serve the needs of more introverted customers and those with simpler issues alike. 

Most customer engagement platform options offer these solutions. If not, they can usually integrate with help desk tools that do.      

Tech stack integrations are another feature you should pay attention to. Customer success and support teams appreciate CRM, helpdesk, or contact center software integrations. Sales folks will also want to see compatibility with sales engagement tools. Customer Engagement Platforms offer a wide variety of integrations depending on your use case.                

Measuring Customer Engagement 

There are many ways to measure your engagement with customers. Key metrics can help you gauge the success of your engagement efforts. 

Conversion rate is the most important metric to consider when you look at customer engagement for any of your channels. This applies to your website, ads, social pages, or email campaigns. Conversions are a quantitative measure of more engagement, sales, leads, or subscribers. Integrations with Conversion Rate Optimization Tools might be helpful or necessary to complement your engagement platform. 

Engagement rate gauges the level of interaction that a user has with your content. The click-through rate measures how many users clicked on your ads or links in your emails. Bounce rate is important to track for your websites. This will tell you how many visitors left a page without taking any action.  

The table below summarizes the most important metrics that customer engagement software can help you track: 

AdsClick-through rate
Conversion rate
AppConversion rate
Number of downloads
Uninstalls
Email or TextClick-through rate
Conversion rate
List growth
Open rate
Unsubscribe rate
Social MediaEngagement rate
Follower growth
Frequent visitors
Number of likes and comments
Session duration
Unsubscribe rate
WebsiteConversion rate
Bounce rate
Emails, form-fills, and account registrations
Repeat visitors
Session duration

Customer feedback loops are another great way to measure and optimize customer engagement. Surveys sent by email or chat can provide answers to questions about the customer experience. Phone support beneficiaries can also be auto-prompted to rate their experience.   

Qualitative feedback is another strong indicator of how your products or support are being received. Examples include comments and reviews on forums, social media, and B2B review sites like your favorite, TrustRadius. This level of feedback can give you a roadmap to improve engagement and business outcomes.

You can verify the success of your campaigns through KPIs like customer satisfaction, retention, and revenue. It’s also crucial to keep track of how many of your sales are coming from new vs. repeat customers. 

Prepare a Customer Engagement Strategy

Achieving excellence in customer engagement requires a customer-centric approach from the very beginning. You need to have a well-defined customer engagement strategy that details team workflows at each step.         

This infographic from Zendesk lists the 5 main stages of customer engagement.

The 5 stages of interacting with a brand
  • Unawareness: Producing interesting content is a proven way to get potential customers engaged. Building brand awareness is the first step toward generating demand. Consider common customer pain points and market trends when planning content and web or app design.   
  • Discovery: At this stage, prospects are beginning to learn more about your product. Demos, newsletters, or free trials are great to collect customer information. Your customer engagement platform should be able to track usage metrics.
  • Consideration: Customers who are considering your product will sign up for free trials or demos. In sales terminology, we could call this a hot lead, and your customer engagement platform should be able to track it. Offering to set up a video call with one of your reps could increase buyer confidence and land you a new account.  
  • Conversion: Once you’ve identified potential customers who are very interested in your product, it’s time for your sales team to step in. If you’re a SaaS provider, leads that convert to customers should then be guided through onboarding. 
  • Growth: Engagement efforts should continue even after a new customer has been signed up. Customer loyalty requires ongoing communication and understanding. This will open the doors to up-selling and cross-selling opportunities that can boost your bottom line.      

At each stage of the customer engagement process, you should be prepared to interact with users and answer any questions they may have. Responsibilities should be clearly defined. Internal resources should also be organized to help customer-facing staff deal with any situation.          

Optimize Business Outcomes with Customer Engagement

Consumer buying habits are in constant evolution. Businesses should be aware of the share of their customers that are coming from each of their channels. Customer engagement tools can help your sales and support teams keep track of consumer preferences. Access to customer data lets you create a personalized multichannel experience. In the end, you should see improvements in brand awareness and loyalty. This will result in greater customer retention and revenue.        

TrustRadius can help you find the best customer engagement platform for your business. Access to in-depth, unbiased feedback from real users can help software buyers choose the best tool for their needs. Our intent data helps vendors understand the features and capabilities their customers value the most.  

If you’ve used any of these customer engagement platform tools in the past, feel free to leave a review! Your experience can help others make informed decisions. Software vendors can use your feedback to make improvements to their products.

About the Author

Neil Chandavarkar
Neil Chandavarkar
Neil Chandavarkar is a Research Analyst at TrustRadius. He holds a BA in International Relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo, having undertaken graduate studies at New York University and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. In his spare time he enjoys traveling, reading, and hanging out with his German Shepherd and Tabby Cat.

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