Customer engagement can be defined as the depth of a relationship between your customer and your brand. In our customer-centric marketplace, achieving loyalty is largely the result of frequent positive engagement. And more positive engagement can be achieved with real-time customer interactions. In fact, real-time customer engagement is a game changer, and mastering the ability to engage customers in real-time can determine competitive advantage now and into the future.
Since loyalty is achieved when customers are engaged, marketers must have a laser focus on every opportunity to engage customers as they interact across multiple touchpoints. To achieve higher levels of engagement, marketers must now develop new strategies and acquire new capabilities to create the competitive advantage real-time customer engagement provides.
Here are four strategy ideas to get you started, followed by the technical capabilities you need to operationalize your strategy.
Develop Strategies to Engage Customers in Real-time
Think about your customers current interactions with your brand. Although I am a firm believer in creating an omni-channel experience, for this exercise you can begin with a narrow channel focus. Analyze your app, website, social, email communications, etc. and identify “choke points” (interactions that keep your customer from taking the next step in his or her journey). These “choke points” represent an ideal opportunity to develop a real-time personalized interaction that facilitates their engagement. Here are a few examples:
Simplify the steps your customers must take when they are making a purchase. You can do this by narrowing options, so your customers can more easily buy.
During a web visit, Keurig asks a series of questions about the visitor’s coffee habits, narrowing the flavor selections and options in real-time.
Demonstrate your brand cares and addresses emotional needs by finding ways to support your customer.
Sephora offers tips on how to properly apply foundation and recommends which products are right for a variety of skin tones. Customers feel less frustrated and more confident about their choice.
Provide advice on what your customer should do next. Make relevant suggestions based on customer’s history.
In real-time, Eileen Fischer offers suggestions to complete an outfit.
Offer information that may not be readily available to help your customers make decisions.
More than just an email reminder to customers that service is needed, Mr. Lube Canada, provides specifics about the customer auto, and maintenance history.
Operationalize Real-time Customer Engagement with These Capabilities
Once you decide on your strategy, turn your attention to real-time predictive analytic capability. Predictive analytics will identify the right message to be served up at exactly the right time. Embed your analytics directly into your workflow and leverage machine learning to optimize results. Common analytics that enable real-time engagement include: product affinity, product recommendation, churn prediction and next best action as potential analytics to support your strategy. Most customer engagement platforms include machine learning capabilities, and some come equipped with built-in predictive models.
Most marketers know that customer data is critical to real-time engagement success. If you are operating from a traditional data base, it’s time to advance to a more robust Customer Data Platform (CDP). CDP’s provide the capability to ingest all types of data, from any source, in any format. CDPs also accommodate streaming data as well as batch, can solve for customer identity conflicts, and provide advanced automated hygiene routines. Since real-time customer interactions are dependent on data, tools with high quality data management capability are a requirement.
To find quick win strategies for real-time customer engagement, look at current programs and identify interaction choke points. Create strategies to resolve customer choke points in real-time. Then, acquire the right technical capabilities to operationalize your strategy. Real-time customer engagement is the new path to greater customer loyalty.
To learn more about ways you can better engage customers, download our e-book, How to Kick Engagement Strategies into High Gear.
About VeraCentra: We’re a team of experts here to help you implement and execute the capabilities your company needs to make real personalized connections with your customers.