When a pandemic was declared in March 2020, the way we worked changed forever. COVID-19 was the driving factor behind a mass adoption in digital technologies across the globe, with innovative customer contact solutions being applied to the contact centre industry. By July 2020, a staggering 58% of customer interactions were all happening in the digital realm. Even as we gradually returned to our regular workplaces, the momentum towards digitalisation only gained speed. Customer contact centres had officially entered the digital era.
Contact centres all share the same aim of delivering an exceptional customer experience that builds loyalty and trust between businesses and their customer base. Efficient customer engagement strategies are what helps contact centres to stand out from one another, with each one designed to boost customer engagement and provide a seamless journey when customers are seeking assistance. The integration of cutting-edge technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cloud computing, is reshaping contact centres, leading the way in this wave of digital transformation. With an astonishing 83% of customers expecting an immediate response when contacting a company, the pressure for contact centres to excel in the digital era is mounting. Having a robust customer engagement strategy can ease that pressure.
Customer Engagement in the Digital Era
Customer engagement is the ongoing relationship between a customer and a brand, which can be fostered and nurtured through consistent campaigns and valuable content to create loyalty and a more positive relationship. Businesses that continually give their customers a valuable and beneficial experience ensures that they can continue to drive growth, and retain these crucial stakeholders, for a greater deal of time. The bottom line is that businesses need to engage with customers regularly to better understand them and provide the service they deserve.
Their expectations and needs, however, are continuously evolving, meaning that businesses must be able to adapt their engagement strategies with ease to meet customer demands. The uptake in customers using multiple communication platforms, including social media and chatbots, gives businesses an added incentive to embrace digital transformation. Indeed, 85% of companies have prioritised the adoption of digital channels for their contact centres by 2025, demonstrating what the future of customer engagement will look like in the coming years.
Having multiple contact platforms can be useful but unifying them into a single dashboard can take customer engagement to a new level. An omnichannel approach allows businesses to shift focus towards building a better relationship with customers by having the ability to improve response times, reach a broader audience, and ultimately increase customer retention rates. Moreover, customers will appreciate having the ability to use a preferred channel to communicate, which will certainly enhance customer loyalty due to a business demonstrating its ability to satisfy a wider customer base.
Information captured through one platform must be readily available if customers switch to another. Failing to do so risks frustrating customers by forcing them to repeat themselves, or endure prolonged waits while agents search for necessary information. This is precisely why companies with an omnichannel strategy retain 89% of their customers and deliver an overall superior customer experience.
In addition to this, customers highly value content that is personalised, as it demonstrates a business’s ability to respond to their specific needs. As a result, 73% of companies are increasing their efforts to further enhance customer service personalisation, utilising existing data to drive customer adoption of the products and services they offer.
Continuous interactions with customers can generate a wealth of data that can be leveraged to enhance existing engagement strategies, regardless of where customers are in their journey. By having a comprehensive pool of data, businesses can refine customer profiles and adopt a more customer-centric approach to engagement. Integrating a CRM platform into existing Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) products equips agents with the necessary tools to deliver a more personalised customer experience.
With omnichannel capabilities in place and combined with a personalised outreach powered by customer data, customer engagement can be far more proactive to the needs and desires of customers. Notably, 85% of consumers take an interest when they receive a proactive notification, while 90% of customers are more likely to engage with companies that send them reminders. Making customers feel valued and appreciated is a key factor in driving customer retention rates and preventing churn, which certainly contributes towards revenue growth and an enhanced reputation.
Anticipating customer needs and staying one step ahead means that agents can provide relevant information to customers should they run into a problem. Being transparent and open to issues, such as service disruptions or pricing alterations, not only prepares customers for sudden changes, but also builds trust since companies are showing compassion towards customers. In short, it’s better to have a proactive engagement with customers rather than one that’s reactive.
It’s easy to highlight what needs to be considered and implemented when crafting an effective customer engagement strategy, but without the right tools in place, delivering a better customer experience remains a dream rather than a reality. Having the end goal in mind is certainly a good place to start, but agents must be prepared to deal with incoming queries and questions. This is where CCaaS providers and digital technology come into play.
The Rise of CCaaS and Digital Technology
CCaaS refers to cloud-based contact centre solutions, and as more organisations and employees have adopted a more flexible way of working, the CCaaS industry has seen a rapid growth in the last few years. The CCaaS market is set to hit a value of $16.43 billion by 2030, showcasing how more and more businesses are choosing to put their money and their faith in these solutions. Increased agent efficiency, cost effective communications, and an enhanced overall customer experience are just a few of the benefits enjoyed by businesses that have already chosen to adopt CCaaS products and take their contact centres into the digital era. Much like how Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) can improve internal communications, CCaaS can supercharge external contact with customers.
With access to a larger suite of digital tools, businesses have the power to redefine customer engagement and enable a whole new level in customer experience. Employees can seamlessly work from anywhere with a stable internet connection, and additional agents can be easily onboarded during periods of high call volume. Productivity and efficiency, for either a business or their contact centre agents, isn’t lost when working in the cloud.
As the CCaaS market has moved from strength to strength, we have seen the rise in digital technology also making a sizeable difference when it comes to customer engagement strategies. Chatbots, for example, provide real-time conversations that give customers the immediate service they’re looking for, as they reduce wait times and minimise the risk of losing customers due to poor experiences.
68% of customers have expressed satisfaction with the quick responses offered by chatbots. From a business perspective, implementing chatbots can result in annual cost savings of up to $11 billion by reducing customer service hours. Utilising chatbots also guarantees a more personalised experience that customers appreciate, which is available on a 24/7 basis, thereby always ensuring effective customer engagement. Even programming them to offer reward programmes can go a long way in building that ever-important sense of customer loyalty!
Incorporating automation and self-service to a business’s customer engagement strategy also provides an added degree of efficiency. Changes in customer behaviour patterns and the desire to deliver a more customer-centric service has prioritised the implementation of self-service portals on websites to provide 24/7 support. It’s worth mentioning that, before reaching out to a customer support agent, 81% of customers attempt to look for a solution themselves.
Providing an easily accessible knowledge hub that contains articles and FAQs can give customers the resources they need at any given time. Introducing automation into customer engagement strategies ensures a more consistent experience, particularly when employing an omnichannel approach, while also reducing the reliance on agents to be available constantly. As a result, businesses can effectively manage their operational costs.
The introduction of AI has sparked widespread discussion on how it can transform the contact centre landscape. Considering that 92% of businesses have already opted to use AI-personalisation to drive further growth, this technology is already making its mark. Applications, such as machine learning and predictive data analytics, can supercharge the proactive outreach that customers appreciate, while also making interactions more personalised and relevant.
That ability to analyse data and provide insights on customer patterns, providing agents with the right information on what products customers have a greater interest in. Targeting customers with appropriate content is vital when aiming to reduce churn, boost retention, and build trust; all of which are integral to a successful customer engagement strategy.
Customer Engagement Redefined
The way businesses engage with their customers has been completely redefined over the last few years, with digital transformation reshaping how contact centres operate. Customer interactions have become more sophisticated, harnessing the potential of technologies such as AI to deliver highly personalised customer experiences. Despite these rapid advancements in the contact centre industry, it’s more than important than ever to maintain a customer-centric mindset. The power of customer feedback and insights, for example, should never be forgotten, and can be a great ally in creating a successful customer engagement strategy. By having a deeper understanding of customers, this strategy can cover their basic needs, and technology can provide the means to satisfy them.
For contact centres, it’s all about using products that are designed to meet business requirements. Solutions that are scalable and robust will be instrumental in providing high quality communications with customers that will ensure that businesses achieve their growth targets. Integrating CRM platforms into contact centres provides a greater deal of control over customer engagement and makes it easier to manage relations with customers. Cost-effective and cloud-enabled products will give businesses that extra edge over competitors, which will help to build that base of loyal customers and fuel the push towards greater things. In the digital era, customer contact centres are ready to thrive.