Brent Haumann, Managing Director, Striata
There is no doubt that companies that succeed at customer engagement generally create much better customer experiences. Customer engagement encompasses all the communication and interactions the company creates to connect with customers, influence the journeys, drive more sales, and increase customer participation and loyalty.
Better customer experience creates happier customers, who are more loyal, spend more, and are likely to recommend the organisation to their peers. Achieving this level of customer engagement is made a great deal easier by prioritising and constructing an omnichannel customer engagement hub (CEH). Simply put, an omnichannel CEH is a technology stack made up of platforms that are able to orchestrate with each other to provide relevant, personalised, consistent, digital experiences across all channels.
Obviously, customer communication plays an important part in the engagement hub, but where should it fit in?
Customer lifecycles and the CEH
In order to know that, it’s important to understand the customer lifecycle.
There are several chapters that make up the customer lifecycle, including awareness, acquisition, onboarding, servicing, relationship, renewal, retention, and exit. Within the chapters, there are several journeys which we define as a set of actions that a customer needs to do to complete a task. As the customer moves from one action to the next, there is communication that supports the process.
There are several customer engagement channels that are used to enable this. These include the customer services center, digital communication, web portal, mobile app, chatbot, IoT and of course face-to-face engagement (which is increasingly being converted to digital equivalents).
In turn, there are several categories of digital communications, covering marketing, lifecycle, operational, and secure. There are also many channels including email, SMS, MMS and online presentation, and machine to machine communications.
The omnichannel engagement hub manages all of these categories and channels, but in order to understand how it does so, it’s worth looking specifically at lifecycle and operational communications.
So, for instance, by bringing together data from across the organisation, the CEH can help ensure that customers receive messaging that is relevant to where they are in their lifecycle and guide them through to the next stage.
Operational messages are, simply put, the regular messages that businesses send out to their customers as part of their day-to-day services. These are communications like monthly bills, welcome emails, one time passwords, and purchase or payment confirmations.
With an omnichannel CEH, these messages can more easily be aligned with the rest of the organisation’s communications. And when leveraged correctly, they can make a significant contribution to a consistent and positive digital customer experience. That, in turn, can have a massively positive impact on an organisation’s bottom line.
Supercharging digital communication’s superpowers
Ultimately, an omnichannel CEH can accelerate the superpowers of digital communication. Unlike other forms of customer engagement, digital communication is proactively pushed out to the customer, rather than waiting for the customer to start the engagement. The customer services center, web portal, mobile app, chatbot, IoT are all mostly reactive in nature. By contrast, email, text, MMS and other digital communication channels can be used to create a conversation.
Utilised properly, digital communication can help to transform a disengaged customer into an engaged one.
It does so by initiating a conversation, stitching together journeys, building relationships, driving digital adoption, nudging behaviour, and creating convenience.
But in order for communications to have that effect, it’s pivotal that anything the organisation sends out resonates as deeply as possible with its customers. If the communication is not engaging at its core it will not drive engagement. By fitting it properly into your omnichannel communication engagement hub, you can ensure it does everything it sets out to do.