The term customer engagement is quite a buzzword in today’s business landscape. It’s been so overused that it’s often misconceived as an item on a checklist rather than an ongoing relationship between a business and its customers, that depends on customer preferences and behaviour. In fact, the terms “customer engagement” and “customer experience” are often used interchangeably, though they're not the same. Check out our blog to know the difference between customer experience and customer engagement, and how they go hand-in-hand.
Customer engagement is about actively interacting with your audience with messaging that interests, educates, or helps them and encourages two-way conversations with your business. In simple terms, it’s just about learning and anticipating what your customers want and then giving it to them at the right time.
This, however, is easier said than done, especially given that most of your current and future audience are millennials and zoomers. Being digital natives, your audience has a plethora of choices, richer and faster access to information, little or zero tolerance for complicated processes, and are increasingly privacy-conscious.
All this translates to a power shift, and we’ll now decode the future of customer engagement, what that means for you as a business, and how you can adapt to this new market reality.
Table of contents:
The future of customer engagement
Soon, the idea of product or price differentiation will be obsolete and the success of a business will solely depend on how customers feel about them. Customers will expect seamless interactions across various channels, and companies will utilize omnichannel strategies to maintain consistent and engaging touchpoints. The future of customer engagement demands more customer-centricity, data-driven decisions, and emerging technologies, needing businesses to create meaningful and lasting connections with their customers. Advancements in technology, such as AI, machine learning, and augmented reality, will enable businesses to deliver highly personalized experiences to customers.
Preparing for a mobile-led shift
The most significant change is that mobile usage has overtaken desktop usage, and your target audience is more likely to look something up on their phones or tablets than a computer. So mobile customer engagement should be your first priority.
The first step is to make your website mobile-friendly and create mobile apps for major mobile OSs. Step two is to ensure your website visitors and mobile app users can reach you instantly for information or help by adding live chat on your website and mobile apps. Zoho SalesIQ's free live chat software helps you do this at no extra cost.
In addition, our mobile SDK, Mobilisten, takes care of all your mobile customer engagement needs with live chat popping up anytime a customer needs help while using your app, contextual personalized push notifications, and even relevant in-app messages.
Cross-device shopping is another challenge that makes contextual customer engagement difficult and also makes it harder to maintain a consistent brand identity and experience, more so for businesses with multiple brands. SalesIQ solves this with a single admin space to manage each of your brands’ multiple digital touchpoints.
What is mobile customer engagement?
Mobile customer engagement refers to the process of interacting with customers through mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to create a meaningful connection and personalized experiences. Mobile customer engagement is essential because of the growing dominance of mobile technology in people's lives.
Key aspects of mobile customer engagement include:
Mobile websites: Businesses should optimize their websites for mobile devices, ensuring that customers can easily access information, make purchases, and navigate the site with a mobile-friendly interface.
Mobile apps: Companies should develop mobile applications that offer valuable services, content, or functionalities to their customers, providing a convenient and personalized experience.
Push notifications: Mobile app users can receive push notifications alerting them about new products, promotions, personalized offers, or updates. These notifications help businesses stay top-of-mind and drive usage.
In-app messaging: Within mobile apps, in-app messaging allows businesses to communicate with users directly, provide support, and drive contextual engagement with relevant content or suggestions based on their behavior.
Social media engagement: Social media platforms accessed through mobile devices provide an excellent channel for businesses to engage with their audience through posts, stories, and direct messages.
Catering to the “always-connected” generation
The main requirement of customer engagement is being available to existing and prospective customers. This is especially challenging in the present scenario, where time and geography have become irrelevant, and prospects and customers expect businesses to be reachable around the clock.
The advent of chatbots has made this possible without hiring employees to cover multiple shifts, but having developers/agencies build bots for your multiple requirements is going to be expensive. Zoho SalesIQ's easy-to-use drag-and-drop chatbot builder makes creating a bot as easy as drawing a flowchart!
Another significant trend influencing the future of customer engagement and experience is the heavy effect of social media on people’s lifestyle product purchases. As a result, it’s now a launchpad for new businesses in the category. Having a social media presence isn't enough to stay afloat in this scenario. It’s also necessary to stay active on these platforms and keep a tab on inquiries and orders from prospects and customers, but often small businesses won't have the workforce to manage social media messages. SalesIQ has solved this problem with bots for social media and instant messaging channels like Instagram, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. Just build a chatbot to respond to basic queries and add orders to your queue while you go about running your business, and get notified when you need to step in.
Making AI chatbots more human
Though chatbots were invented to free up your staff from mundane tasks so they can focus on more complex ones, research shows that customers find it harder to get issues resolved by AI chatbots. Is that a big negative for chatbot customer engagement? Not at all.
Zoho SalesIQ offers you the best of both worlds with Answer Bot—an AI-driven chatbot that can greet your prospects or customers, respond to small talk with engaging phrases, and even understand common queries, regardless of the tone or terms used, and answer them using your resources. If at any point your customer decides to switch to a human agent, the bot can forward the chat to one of your team members.
That's not all there is to chatbot customer engagement with Zoho SalesIQ. You can even plug your Answer Bot into your rule-based bot to get a hybrid chatbot.
Scaling as required
Running a social media or email campaign? Just deploy a dedicated chatbot to handle the new influx of traffic coming from the campaign at no extra cost!
Personalizing your messaging without overtargeting
Personalization is considered the pinnacle of customer engagement, but when you consider the future of customer engagement with a more privacy-conscious generation of customers, it’s easy to inadvertently cross the line between being helpful and just plain creepy.
Zoho SalesIQ lets you deliver timely and relevant messaging to your most valuable leads right when they need it, like an offer for help after a failed transaction, or when they’ve spent a long time trying to decide between two products.
Drive contextual engagement by setting up automated chat invites and notifications based on the data prospects voluntarily give you, publicly available data like company details in the case of B2B models, non-sensitive information like visit source, pages visited, time spent and actions on the site, order history, and other data available on your CRM like if they’re existing customers, date, time, or even day of the week. You can also display a GDPR banner if your customers are in the EU.
Achieving business zen with a unified customer view
Many of us fall prey to ad fatigue and endless re-targeting. While it’s frustrating, it throws light on the fact that customer data is still jumbled, redundant, or even mismanaged chunks of information.
Zoho SalesIQ has ready-to-use integrations with major CRM tools, help desk software, email marketing tools, analytics software, and just about everything else you use on a regular basis. This gives you a holistic view of customer data, avoids any missteps in data management and customer communication, and paves the way for perfect contextual engagement.
Widgets in SalesIQ let you create custom app integrations to bring your favorite apps inside SalesIQ, so you can view and manage the data right from within the app. You can also avoid redundancies by adding an auto-sync feature to your widget, to sync all the data changes in the respective apps.
We hope this blog helps you shape a more successful customer engagement strategy. Before you set out, also take a look at our detailed blog on how to build an effective customer engagement strategy.
Please let us know what you think in the comments below. If you have any additional ideas and thoughts on the future of customer engagement and experience, we’d love to hear them!