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Customer engagement used to be a lot simpler. Back when most customers only had one option for their needs, companies could easily keep track of favorite orders, special needs, and individual customer relationships.

Today, things have changed. Can you remember the last time you went into a restaurant and just asked for your usual?

As customer service has changed, the tools brands use to engage customers have evolved too. Offering singular amazing customer experiences isn’t enough. Instead, customer engagement platforms take each individual customer interaction (from different communication channels) and track them as part of the broader customer journey. Companies can then build stronger relationships and improve customer loyalty with every conversation.

A call center agent using their company’s customer engagement software as he talks to a customer

Customer service tools: What is an engagement platform?

Also known as customer experience software or customer satisfaction software, engagement platforms work within contact center solutions to improve customer and agent connections. Social media conversations, messages from sales teams, live chat interactions, surveyed user ratings, and more all take place within your center’s solution. With the features offered by your engagement software, these interactions can then become part of the broader customer story that agents can use to encourage brand loyalty.

Agents can also use customer success software capabilities within their platforms to put customer data to use. Integrations with customer relationship management (CRM) software, for example, give immediate access to customer histories. Access to this information helps agents personalize every conversation, connecting on a deeper level. With this software, contact centers can ensure seamless, consistent engagements for both agents and customers at all times.

Contact center manager software: Understanding your customer engagement platforms

Contact Center Software

  • Connects customers and agents through a variety of communication channels
  • Made up of multiple tools that support business-to-customer communication
  • Can integrate with other tools to expand capabilities

Customer Engagement Software

  • Gathers data from these interactions that can be used to improve future connections
  • One of the tools that make up contact center software
  • Can only integrate with contact center platforms to add its capabilities to other features

Customer engagement platforms are different from contact center solutions, as you can see above. Like sales software, engagement platforms are management tools within your call center solution that improve your operations. Whether the consumer is a website visitor or involved in the sales process, your tracking software gives you the insights you need to most effectively reach them.

Engagements with your social media management team, for example, can show your agents how the consumer likes to converse. Or, you can use account management interactions to gather customer data and use it to personalize the next conversation.

The information offered by your engagement solution supports the work you do through your contact center platform. As you build a full 360-degree understanding of your customers, you can create an even better experience.

Why use customer engagement software?

As a call center manager, the satisfaction level of your customer community is your top priority. Today, that means more than just offering a great customer service experience. You and your agents must also understand the full picture of each customer’s history.

Analysis, touchpoint tracking, and interaction optimization are critical to painting this picture. Like the Three Musketeers or the Three Amigos, you can’t have any without the others if you want to win the fight (for customer satisfaction, that is).

Used correctly, your customer service software can help you see big results with all current and future engagements. It can also back your brand with the marketing, customer experience, and positive reputation you need to rise above your competitors.

The benefits of customer engagement solutions

1. Integrate all of your customer data

Though we mentioned this earlier, it bears repeating. One of the top reasons for using a customer engagement software solution is the ability to store and monitor your customers’ histories in one place. After all, a lot of customers are most frustrated by the need to repeat their contact and problem details to multiple service reps during an interaction.

Using management solutions is the easiest way to fix this issue. Universal access to this tool arms every employee with the resources they need to wow customers and maintain high satisfaction. You can guarantee a personalized experience at all times, setting your contact centers and agents up for continued success.

A customer talking to a call center agent on his way to work

CRM software, live chat, social media - what can I connect to my customer satisfaction solution?

All of it! Your solution isn’t just built to house data; it’s designed to integrate and analyze every piece. To do so, these platforms integrate with all of your tools. By connecting to monitoring software, for example, you can further expand and inform the interactions you track. Adding the data you gain from a web chat or your mobility apps further improves your understanding of the customer.

When customers are speaking to your sales management teams or support agents, employees won’t need to jump between tools or windows to optimize their service. Instead, they can use a single resource to give customers the exceptional experience they expect to have.

2. Solidify customer loyalty

Engagement is important because it plays a critical role in the strength and longevity of your customer loyalty. While creating an excellent user experience is essential, getting customers to frequent your business for their needs is the ultimate goal. To do that, you first need to nurture customer bases that adore your brand.

Customer experiences vs. customer loyalty

Say, for instance, customer Sally contacts your customer service department through your phone system. She’s frustrated because the product she just bought from you isn’t working. Your friendly agent helps her find and fix the issue, providing a good customer experience and full satisfaction.

While Sally was happy with your service, she doesn’t have any reason to return to your brand, especially with her defective purchase. After hanging up, she never heard from you again and a relationship never formed. If a competitor offers something slightly better, you will probably lose her patronage.

A happy customer talking to a call center agent

Now, let’s say in that same scenario, your customer management system saved her data and the details of this interaction. A few days later, the system sends her a follow-up message to make sure her product is still working and she remains happy with her experience. After she browses your website the next week, your system sends a personalized email to let her know that some of the items she viewed went on sale.

Through these continued, customized interactions, your engagement software helps build brand loyalty. The relationship you build with Sally encourages her to continue choosing your business over others. Loyal customers often become brand ambassadors, organically increasing your sales and reach as they tell others about the business they can’t get enough of.

3. Automate customer engagement

As we’ve learned in the example above, automation is one of the many invaluable features of customer engagement platforms. When a new customer joins your online community, for example, your software can instantly send a personalized email or text message to welcome them to your brand. Or, if they are looking at the FAQ section of your website, the system can trigger your live chat software to initiate a conversation to answer their questions faster than they could on their own.

Offering customer self-service options

Automation software also opens the door for customer self-service features. Rather than connecting with an agent, customers can access a knowledge base to find solutions. Self-service tools allow users to have more control over their interactions while easing the burden on your own team.

With fewer customers reaching out to your contact center for help, the number of interactions you have to handle will drop. Automated communication costs less than phone calls and messages, so you can save money in multiple ways.

Best of all, customers will still leave happy with their experiences. You can streamline your contact center operations without risking damage to your company’s reputation.

Less effort, better results

This seamless automation makes your customer service fast, easy, and intuitive. Your system can almost anticipate your customers’ needs, offering support before they’ve even decided to ask for help. Combined with automatic personalization, your system can make every consumer feel seen and cared for.

4. Perfect your sales strategies

Along with community management and customer communications, your customer satisfaction platform can also offer benefits through sales automation. From a potential customer's initial interaction with your company, your platform tracks and analyzes every connection they make moving forward. It then adds this information to the customer’s profile, helping you build a comprehensive picture of their needs and thought processes.

Interactions with video content, for instance, help you understand their interests and how they relate to your brand. Reactions to different ads help with content marketing and A/B testing. Use of different communication channels unveils their preferences, allowing you to improve their customer service experiences.

The more information you track, the more you can understand your audience. By bringing all of this data from various systems into one platform, you can optimize your sales strategies. Your lead management team will get better at guiding prospects through the customer journey, achieving more conversions.

How to choose the best customer engagement software

Now that you know more about customer engagement platforms, how can you pick the best option for your company?

We’ve got you covered.

In this section, we’ll discuss the top trends for customer service software and what you should look for in a system. Though every business has their own unique needs, this guide will help you narrow down your choices so you can arrive at the best solution for your brand.

Trends related to customer engagement software

1. Cloud-based software

Today, every communication platform needs to use deployment models that connect them to the cloud. If you want to offer seamless customer experiences and up-to-date tools, your software needs to support apps integrations, instant data sharing, and more. To fully understand prospects who visit your website, for example, you need to connect your customer engagement software to real-time web analytics.

Given the speed of today’s digital world, on-premise options can no longer keep up with customer demands. The success of your engagement efforts depends on your software, so you need a platform that can keep up, not one that holds you back.

Thankfully, cloud connectivity is now available in all kinds of unrelated and related software categories, from contact center software to accounting software to optimization software. Though cloud-based features are something you should check for, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding an excellent cloud customer engagement software.

2. Customizability

Personalization is key to a superior customer experience, so you need software that allows you to build customized engagements for your customers.

If you’re a real estate firm, you may want to automatically notify customers when a property they’re interested in drops in price. If your company has an app, you’ll want to make sure you can send the unique push notifications your app developers created at the right time.

While you explore and demo a top customer engagement solution, ask about customization options. See if you have access to complex actions, such as automatically changing engagement parameters for customers with open service tickets. You know what your needs are, so work with your sales reps to find the perfect solution.

3. Seamless integrations

As we mentioned before, integrations are one of the best benefits and resources offered by engagement platforms. Connecting the apps you already use simplifies your transition to new software and helps maintain employee productivity. The ability to add even more tools further strengthens your customer service.

Say you run an event planning business, for example. Integrating your new solution with your current event management software prevents data loss, keeps your momentum, and creates new possibilities for the work you’re doing.

Other integration uses include:

  • Collaboration software - Though the best options offer built-in internal communication options, you can keep your teams connected and productive by adding your collaboration tools.
  • Scheduling software - Happy agents create happy customers. Improve your workforce and churn management with scheduling resources that prevent overworking and scheduling issues.
  • Marketing software - Marketing engagement is a huge part of understanding how your customers tick. Use this data to understand how customers react to your ads or how well they receive marketing through content syndication. Integrating marketing and engagement also enables marketing automation, such as sending messages based on consumer interactions with your advertising.
  • Project management software - Keep your projects on-track and reach your goals with a tool that manages your tasks and efforts. The best software options will allow you to connect the project tool you already use so you can continue getting results without issues
4. Guided set-up

Whether you’re a complete newbie or an old hat at customer engagement software, you should always choose tools with easy set-up processes. Your new solution will connect with nearly all of your contact center software, so this isn’t a simple transition.

While searching, ask each provider about their implementation process. Look for companies that provide a dedicated support agent who will work directly with your team from start to finish. You’ll also want to choose a company that provides training for your employees. Even a single training session with a software expert can save tons of time and money.

If you run into issues or questions after deployment, your vendor should offer immediate support that continues until the problem is resolved. Everyone’s implementation looks different. You need a partner that will make your success their top priority.

5. Affordable costs

While it would be nice to spare no expense on every kind of development platform for your contact center, your budget is one of your main priorities. As you compare various customer engagement platforms, consider both the overall cost of each option and the value of the features you get for the price. Remember, this tool is the foundation of your customer service, so it needs to meet all of your current and future needs.

One vendor for all communications

Minimizing the number of tools you utilize is an easy way to limit your contact center costs. Rather than using a separate resource for all parts of your business management, you can find a provider that offers every tool you need for unified communications and customer support. You can eliminate the need to switch tools and take advantage of numerous integrations to communicate, collaborate, and connect more efficiently. You can also limit billing to a single provider, getting more for your money.

6. Scalability

Growth is an important goal for every business, so you need software that can keep up and support your team as it expands. Find an option that allows you to leverage the platform’s elasticity and scale agents up or down with ease. The volume of interactions your contact center handles will also increase. Your system should have the capability to absorb a sudden surge of traffic during seasonal or unexpected circumstances without any need to do extra provisioning.

Automation is another important part of simple scaling. The best platforms can automate your agent on-boarding process. They use rich APIs to provision agents automatically by connecting to your back-end human resource systems. To truly maintain customer satisfaction, make sure your system sets your team up for success.

7. Security

When it comes to cloud computing, some worry about the potential dangers of moving a system from their own locations to a cloud host. Thankfully, top vendors are proactive about keeping their software and client data safe.

With a solution such as RingCentral Engage Voice, for example, your system security allows you to:

  • Get comprehensive encryption of your customer calls and metadata in transit as well as encryption of call recordings and data at rest
  • Enjoy real-time data replication services that continually synchronize your data across availability zones, securing information from loss
  • Leverage up-to-date protection from AWS data centers

These robust security features ensure total protection for your software and data. With Engage Voice, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of cloud computing without worrying about the security of your system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions about customer engagement and the best tools to use for it? In this section, we have answered some of the common questions contact managers have about this topic and the related software. If we didn’t answer your question, be sure to contact us below.

How do you build customer engagement?

Build customer engagement by constantly looking for ways to strengthen your relationship with fans and customers. For contact centers, this involves the phone conversations your agents hold, interacting with users on social media, and live chatting with website visitors. As you engage with your customers, your goal is to create an experience that inspires loyalty, leaves them happy, and encourages them to continue using your brand.

Consistency is a big part of this effort, improving customer happiness by ensuring the same experience whenever a customer calls in. Using your tools for communication management, tracking every interaction and result gives you the business intelligence to continue improving your experiences. As your customer satisfaction grows, you’ll be able to expand your reach and interactions.

Who should use customer engagement software?

These platforms are a powerful tool for any company that wants to improve their customer experiences, from retail to SaaS to those in the supply chain. They’re particularly important for businesses with inbound contact centers. As we’ve discussed above, engagement solutions help you go from simple feedback collection and complaint management to understanding why and how your customers act the way they do.

If you want to control and optimize your customer journey, equip your agents’ desk software with a customer satisfaction tool. You can analyze your actions and their outcomes, ensuring customer information is more than a simple data entry that sits unused on your servers.

What should you know about conversational customer engagement software?

When researching and evaluating different options, you might come across the term “conversational engagement software.” If you’re frustrated or confused about the different names you have been seeing, we’re happy to give you some relief: it’s just another name for the same solutions we’ve been discussing.

This term puts an added emphasis on “conversational” to help differentiate it from other tools that are task-based rather than interaction-based. Software that is built to resolve tickets without considering the customer experience, for example, is not customer engagement software.

Instead, the platforms we’re talking about combine resolution with relationships. At the end of every conversation, customers should be happy with every aspect of the interaction, not just the answer they received.

Finding the best option in the customer engagement software market

Offering excellent customer engagement starts with finding the software that works seamlessly with your contact center, processes, and team. See how RingCentral Engage Voice can perfect your customer experience by signing up for a free, customized demo through the form below.
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