Customer Engagement Is the New Kid on the Block

To gain the best understanding of customer interactions, companies need to focus their analysis on the following areas.
Customer Experience

It's been documented that the higher an organization's customer experience rating, the better the company's financial results. As such, companies are relentlessly looking to improve the ways that they serve customers. In today's customer-centric culture, consumers are constantly on-the-go and endlessly connected via multiple channels to the companies and the brands with which they interact. The global economy we live in has created unique customer choices, preferences, and buying decisions that is shifting organizational strategies.

Companies now have to grapple with the best way to engage with customers in an effort to satisfy their varying demands and multichannel expectations for service and product delivery. But, too often these efforts are narrow and lack a holistic view of how to track, analyze, and maximize the flood of data available across an organization.

Customer engagement is the natural evolution of customer experience and needs to be considered as the next strategic priority for enterprise organizations. The benefit of optimizing customer engagement is that it enables companies to go beyond managing the experience itself at various touch points. It includes all of the ways that companies motivate customers to invest in an ongoing relationship, both externally and internally.

Because multichannel service delivery is a fairly new concept, many companies find themselves housing data in discrete functional silos, making it difficult to provide an omnichannel view of the customer journey. However, it's critical for companies to have an understanding of the end-to-end experience in order to communicate with customers across channels consistently and contextually. More and more, organizations are expected to have full insight into all of customers' prior interactions and be able to respond in an actionable, personalized, and consistent manner.

The challenge lies in capturing each of these interactions across many individual channels, and linking the data to gain a single, consolidated view of all of the customers' interactions in order to deliver service that reflects this awareness. Often enterprises don't have the right visibility and understanding across every channel, interaction, process, or outcome. So what can organizations do to drive customer engagement?

To gain the best understanding of customer interactions, companies need to focus their analysis on the following areas:

Access to customer insights across the organization: Customer-centric organizations are increasingly looking at ways to aggregate, analyze, and act on structured and unstructured data across different service channels and sources to gain a better understanding of the performance of their workforce, the effectiveness of their service processes, the quality of their interactions, and changing customer behaviors. By evaluating customer interactions across all channels using a centralized solution, companies can quickly determine where to focus customer engagement efforts to help realize the greatest impact, and gain a deeper, more contextual understanding of customer data.

Empowering employees: Looking beyond channels of engagement, the quality of customer journeys and level of engagement often depends heavily on the organization's employees, who are able to provide valuable insight into the ways in which customers engage with the business. They can identify pain points and provide recommendations that help to enhance interactions. Giving employees the ability to take action based on gathered insights to help improve the experience throughout the journey and resolve customer issues at any point thereby fosters an efficient closed-loop process.

Engage customers where, when, and how they want: Multichannel engagement is recognized by most organizations as a strategic imperative, yet many find it challenging to link all the interaction data together for contextual insights that present a single view of the customer's journey. For example, if a customer makes an inquiry by phone, then engages in an online chat session and later performs a transaction on the web, it is important for an organization to piece the different interactions together to understand when and why customers switch channels, and how that impacts the business. By understanding previous interactions and likely outcomes, companies can use the intelligence gained to deliver a highly personalized service. Additionally, they can align customer feedback with the acquired insights to predict customer behavior or identify opportunities to reduce churn.

Customer engagement optimization ensures that customers are serviced properly, on their terms with knowledgeable service agents that understand the customer and can deliver personalized, contextual, and consistent service. And, it's critical to enable customers to select the channel they want, when they want it, depending on their situation. Customer engagement optimization enables interaction continuity-ensuring that when a customer contacts a company about an issue, regardless of the number or types of channels used, it's viewed as a single interaction and experience.

With exponentially increased communications channels, massive amounts of data to capture and analyze, and greater customer expectations than ever before, there are many challenges to face, but also opportunities to leverage. Organizations can transform the customer journey to drive better business outcomes by enhancing loyalty, increasing revenue, mitigating risk, and managing operational costs. True customer engagement results from capturing, analyzing, and managing cross-functional information and behavior around customer interactions and workforce performance.

Organizations prioritizing this strategic approach to customer care will be better positioned to understand the entire customer journey, build more meaningful customer engagement, and gain a competitive advantage by ultimately increasing customer loyalty.