A Customer Engagement Platform (CEP) is software that offers a uniquely personal experience for customers to optimize their journey. This may include personalized messaging, intuitive customer portals, product tracking, and help services.
CEPs plays a vital role: improving the customer experience with your brand, thereby increasing the desire to engage in your product.
An optimized engagement platform is an expected part of the modern customer’s experience. According to Statista, 88% of global customers “expect a brand or organization to have an online self-service support portal.” We are long past the point where a CEP is simply a good idea for your business growth. It is a necessity.
The Benefits of Using a Customer Engagement Platform
Fortunately, there are massive benefits to be had from a CEP, and the associated costs are comparatively low.
A recent survey of more than 2,500 enterprise decision-makers across the globe found that 96% of respondents felt that “not digitizing would have hurt their business once the [COVID-19] pandemic started.” Sixty percent of the companies surveyed said they intended to “increase the average number of digital touchpoints on the customer journey.” This means great customer engagement and greater business growth.
Centralize All Communications
Customer engagement platforms are the access point to high-quality customer relationship management (CRM) processes. Your platform becomes the place where you can both receive important information from and about your customers and communicate to them the information they most desire.
Examples of such communication include:
- Suggesting a product a customer might enjoy based on previous order history
- Helping customers track the delivery of products
- Providing customer service or support by directing them to appropriate information
Gain a Competitive Advantage
Just having a CEP does not give you a competitive advantage, because your competitor already has one too. However, by learning to tailor the platform for your market and analyzing the data it collects, you can make managerial decisions about your product, your marketing, and your business that will provide that edge you are looking for.
Online platforms also provide an opportunity to automate practices, dramatically decreasing the costs associated with customer service and sales help.
5 Features Every Customer Engagement Platform Needs
There are many features that can become a part of your CEP. These features include social media interactivity and, on the backend, data analytics tools that better communicate customer trends. However, there are five features for the modern company that a CEP simply cannot do without.
1. Self-Service Portal
A self-service portal can be thought of as the reception desk of your virtual store. As three-quarters of customers today wish to solve their customer service issues on their own, it is important that this portal is intuitive to use and helps direct customers to the areas most important to them. These areas can be forms of support (like live chats or knowledge bases) or areas of information (like purchase history or saved discount codes).
2. Live Chat
According to Invesp, 73% of customers find live chat to be the most satisfying way of communicating with a business. Moreover, 77% of customers won’t make a purchase if there’s no live chat support.
Live chats no longer need to be run by human customer service agents. Chat self-service bots are often far less expensive, offer similar results in customer satisfaction, and form an easy way to direct customers to appropriate knowledge base articles or engage with other services available to them. Many businesses also opt to use a hybrid chat in which bots make initial contact before directing customers to the correct human agent. In this way, they are like automated phone answering services that may direct a customer to sales or tech support.
3. Knowledge Base
A knowledge base is a central repository of everything a customer may need to know about your business and product. It often contains long-form articles and blogs, how-to guides, and sometimes even video explanations. Many customers love that they can find all necessary information without interacting with others. By directing to your knowledge base from FAQs or live chats, you can help customers find the correct information without complicated search requirements or long periods of browsing.
In addition to helping customers, knowledge bases can become powerful marketing tools and help with SEO. For example, an article on how a furniture company’s wood is sourced may turn potential customers to your site when they use Google to search for “sustainable furniture companies.” A general “how-to” guide may show potential customers that mechanical experts run your online tool shop.
Customers prefer brief answers, with the option to learn more. Instead of having to trawl through the knowledge base, a single Frequently Asked Questions (or FAQ) page can quickly summarize the most common answers while providing a path to more complex ones.
FAQs work best when they are accessible to all people, not just current customers. Common frequently asked questions include:
- Questions about pricing
- Questions about delivery
- Questions about unique features of your product
A fortunate byproduct of a centralized CEP is that data you collect from existing customers’ questions and browsing of the knowledge base can inform you of the best FAQs to provide answers for. Your FAQ page is not based on conjecture, but experience.
5. Web Forms
Even before implementing a CEP, it is likely that your website already contains a web form to contact you for more information. A well-designed customer engagement platform will include integration so that these forms can automatically update customer profiles, remind you of forms not replied to, and note common categories of requests.
From increasing support for customers to data collection and personalized user experiences, the right customer engagement gives you a powerful advantage over competitors. We at Clickatell are primed to help you put together the right experience, both for your customer service agents and your customers.
Our Clickatell Chat Flow and Chat Desk products give you a web-based platform that’s as easy to get up-and-running with. Chat Flow is our drag-and-drop workflow builder that lets you build, edit, test, and deploy complex chat experiences across multiple channels—quickly and easily and with no tech experience necessary. Chat Desk gives you a digital contact center that lets your customers get immediate answers from a live agent through the channel they choose—online web chat or mobile chat apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
We’d love to talk to you about how we can put our over 20 years of delighting customers to work for you and your brand. Let’s talk.