Shaping Customer Engagement Strategies


Today's consumers' dream of the perfect genie-like algorithm that satisfies their online needs the moment they come to mind. Such aspirations generate a culture of immediacy and digital consciousness, making companies nervously juggle high-tech tools. This is not surprising since their customers expect a sophisticated combo: to get what they want, anytime, anywhere.

Moreover, these same clients view their entire journey as holistic. In other words, whichever channel they come through, they expect a personalized approach and consistent interaction.

Let's look at who these digital-conscious customers are, what they expect, and what to expect from them.

The digital-first concept is forcing companies to rethink the way their core teams interact with customers:

  • Sales teams: social selling vs. cold calling

Sales reps don't wait for customers to reach out to; they use social listening to connect with satisfied and dissatisfied customers to address their concerns and build relationships. 

  • Marketing teams: digital channels vs. offline channels 

 Billboards and TV ads are giving way to narrowly targeted messaging delivered through email marketing, personalized content, recommendations, and online ads.

  • Customer service teams: a proactive approach vs. solely on-demand response

Customers today are asking for help through a variety of channels. Support is not limited to taking calls and tickets. It also includes browsing social media channels, review sites, and forums to understand and act on customer sentiment. Support teams need intelligence from sales and marketing departments to be proactive and make data-driven decisions.

One of the critical tricks here is having the right technology in place. Let's look at how to use data intelligently for each strategy with an example from Salesforce, one of the market leaders in customer success platforms.

Strategy 1. Create an agile IT environment

When it comes to winning customers today, small companies with an agile cloud IT infrastructure can outperform those industry giants still tied to their legacy systems. By working in the cloud, companies can:

  • Integrate and synchronize databases to provide a 360-degree view of the customer and deliver a personalized experience
  • Combine the efforts of different teams to provide a multi-channel customer experience
  • Easily adapt their business to changing needs and scale.
  • Do it all without an army of developers.

Salesforce, a cloud platform with solutions for every core business function (marketing, sales, service, and commerce), can do it all. 

Flexibility is inherent in the very nature of Salesforce-it's built to adapt:

  • You can connect any application through the AppExchange marketplace
  • You can integrate any external data source through MuleSoft
  • You can create your apps using drag-and-drop tools.

While setting up Salesforce is easy, you can still get by without a dedicated development team. However, a Salesforce administrator and professional Salesforce consulting are costs that should be budgeted for.

Strategy 2. Use innovative technology

The fourth industrial revolution is unfolding right now. The technologies it has brought, such as artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, have changed customer expectations. Once customers tasted connected devices and innovative technology, they raised the bar on how brands should appeal to them.

Artificial intelligence has made its way into everyday life. The most obvious example is voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, and chatbots, which are getting more intelligent to the point where it's hard to tell whether a robot or a natural person is talking to you.

The same can be said for ubiquitous connected devices, from fitness trackers to smart thermostats. According to a Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report, more than three-quarters of customers have at least one connected device. As a result, customers have begun using connected devices in different ways with a straightforward goal: to make their lives easier. 

Strategy 3. Provide multi-channel customer service

Nowadays, customers have so many channels as never before; therefore, this has increased customer engagement and created new expectations:

If you're on the customer side, it seems evident that brands need to know enough about you to provide a highly personalized experience exactly when and where you want it. 

To meet these complex expectations, companies need to:

  • Set up predictive forecasting with artificial intelligence
  • Collect as much data about you as legally possible
  • Give their teams access to the data

To set the process in motion, you have to start with the data. While combining data and maintaining its high quality is a challenge in and of itself, data makes real-time customer service excellence possible.

Final Thoughts

Digital-minded customers are already knocking on your doors. You need to develop successful strategies to attract and retain customers to know which doors they are behind and how to give them a warm welcome.

The primary, most holistic strategy is to move your business to the cloud, where you can create an agile IT environment, apply innovations such as artificial intelligence and IoT, and provide a consistent, personalized, and increasingly secure customer experience across all channels.

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