Here in the "Age of the Customer," businesses are frequently judged by how well they personalize the customer experience and how simple it is for customers to engage back with them over multiple channels. Most businesses are meeting these elevated customer expectations, but as a new study found, there's still room for them to grow.
According to research by BI Intelligence, less than one in four retailers think their current customer engagement offerings on the whole are very effective. Drilling down into the numbers further, 54 percent of businesses say that customer reviews are very effective or somewhat effective in engaging customers. The numbers then start to tail off with corporate social media pages (41 percent), online surveys (30 percent), communities or forums (29 percent), live chat (28 percent), instructional videos (27 percent) and blogs (22 percent).
The takeaway for businesses here is the immense opportunity they have to improve. By boosting customer engagement levels, either by enhancing the effectiveness of their existing channels or seeking out new ones altogether, organizations stand to significantly improve their profitability, revenue and customer loyalty. Fully engaged customers – those who are emotionally attached to a brand – are a boon for businesses.
With that in mind, here are three ways organizations can improve customer engagement and drive customer lifetime value:
1. Revamping Bills and Statements
If there's one element of your business communications that most of your customers engage with, it's bills and statements, which are opened at a rate of 95 percent.
Think about that number. Are there any other pieces of collateral that are seen by that much of your customer base? By taking just a few steps to optimize bills and statements – adding personalized elements, replacing black-and-white with color and customizing formats – you'll increase the likelihood of payment and drive sales with more relevant upsell offers.
Bills are inherently transactional in nature, but if you look at them as an opportunity to re-engage and re-educate your customers, they could become a core part of your customer engagement strategy.
2. Transforming Customer Engagement Centers
New customer engagement channels have sprung up in earnest over the last few years, to the point where more than half of all customers – 52 percent – use three or four different customer engagement channels to reach out to a company.
Among these channels, the contact center remains among the most important channel used by customers. This fact isn't lost on most organizations, nearly all of which consider contact centers to play either a primary (50 percent) or secondary role (43 percent) in customer retention, according to Deloitte.
Organizations now have an opportunity to transform their contact centers into revenue-generating engagement centers, through real-time analytics and agile communications – and contact centers are up to the task, with 96 percent expecting growth in the next two years.
3. Adopting Digital Self Service
While contact centers may be the most proven channel through which customers engage with companies, 72 percent of customers say they prefer getting answers online. Unfortunately, digital channels have room for improvement, as only half of customers say they actually find the information they're looking for. Perhaps they're unable to get a response from a company's social media account or maybe the FAQs page doesn't have an answer to their question.
But by letting customers guide their own journey with a 24/7 digital self-service platform, customers are able to help themselves, whether that's managing their accounts and profiles or downloading bills and statements to their preferred devices. For the business, digital self-service personalizes their customer experience, reduces the strain on their other engagement channels and reduces costs.
To learn more, please see our new whitepaper, "How Top Companies Maximize Lifetime Value Through Effective Customer Engagement."