How to Expand and Diversify Your Digital Engagement
A smart company goes to its customers rather than waiting for them to come to it. To do that, you need to engage with your customers on every digital channel they’re already using, be it live chat, email, social media, or messaging apps. Delivering that level of communication requires a cohesive strategy that creates a consistent and authentic voice across all mediums.
73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties. Few companies are currently achieving digital engagement at the level customers want, which is good news for you – because if you follow the advice below, you could be among the first.
What is digital engagement?
Digital engagement encompasses every interaction you have with your customers on a digital channel. It incorporates marketing tools like your blog and website, interactions on social media, and customer support interactions like customer feedback, support queries, etc.
While digital engagement can seem like a broad term that can be understood to be anything and everything that involves a digital interaction with your customers, its true success lies in how your company uses these digital tools to locate, listen to, and mobilize your customer base.
Which channels are best for digital engagement?
Before you start adding every digital channel you can think of to improve your customer engagement, make sure you have the right customer engagement software necessary to manage the many touchpoints. That way, you’ll be able to maintain consistency across all channels and track your customers as their journeys unfold on a unified platform.
Cross-channel inconsistency is one of the biggest bugbears for consumers, with Accenture research showing that 65% of customers have been frustrated by “inconsistent experiences or information presented across channels.”
Omnichannel take-up has also grown: while in the past, customers used fewer touchpoints when making a purchase, these days, 73% use multiple channels. Merging these into one customer experience is critical.
So, which digital channels should you focus on in your digital engagement strategy? Here are your options:
Live chat and chatbots
Statistics show that customers love live chat. They like its efficiency and fast response times, with studies showing that live chat has the highest satisfaction levels of any customer service channel.
With the right software, you can offer multilingual live chat, create real-time chat opportunities with AI-powered chatbots, and use automation to provide instant support options. You can even integrate your live chat with your other digital channels to deliver a more personalized and consistent customer experience.
2. Messaging apps
Messenger-based support enables you to engage with your customers in the places they’re already hanging out. The best customer engagement software can integrate all your conversations into a single inbox, simplifying life for your agents while providing customers with a smooth, coherent journey.
In this way, you can communicate across all the popular messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, and the LINE chat app.
In 2019, it looked like email-based customer support would soon be a thing of the past. Instead, its popularity appears to be growing, with some 62% of customers wanting to use this channel to communicate with customer support services.
Delivering it is quickly done if you mix these five essential ingredients to create an exceptional support email:
- Make it easy to read and comprehend
- Predict potential follow-up questions and provide solutions proactively
- Keep it simple
- Show your personality
- Be sincere and honest
4. Social media
Customers often take to social media to voice their concerns about a business. They may reach out over direct messages to ask questions or sort out an issue. If your company uses social media to promote your product, it’s important to note that the medium is automatically a support channel. This means you’ll have to engage with the customer and offer a high-quality customer experience on that social media channel.
How do you create a digital engagement strategy?
To engage with your customers personally, you need to know who they are and what they’re interested in, so the first phase of any digital customer engagement involves gathering and analyzing customer data.
Phase 1: Gather and analyze customer data
Customer engagement software can help you collect and compile information from various sources, including emails, social media, messaging apps, and online customer surveys. Get a sense of how your customers interact with your brand and where they are met with friction. Work on removing these points of friction for smoother digital engagement.
Phase 2: Use customer data to drive your strategy
Alongside your customer service metrics, this data drives your digital engagement strategy. It gives you pertinent information about your customers, such as their channels to engage with your brand and how they feel about your company.
User segmentation tools can help you segment your customers into groups based on their engagement preferences and interests, so you can fine-tune your customer engagement strategies to suit different sectors.
Phase 3: Establish your core values
Based on the information you’ve received, establish the core values you want to communicate through your digital engagement. Be authentic when determining the values you want to embody. Customers are highly perceptive, with a study by Stackla revealing that 86% consider authenticity to be important when deciding which brands they wish to support.
Phase 4: Increase your social media activity
Boost your digital customer engagement by increasing your activity on the social media platforms preferred by your customers. A report published last year found empirical evidence that social interactivity has a significant and positive impact on consumer engagement behavior and brand loyalty.
The demographics of your customers will dictate which platforms will be the most productive, with Facebook the most dominant and, for many, the most effective social network. Instagram and Snapchat are also popular, with 51% of consumers using the former and 30% the latter.
Phase 5: Expand your digital support
Studies show that time is of the essence for most customers. Did you know that almost two-thirds of customers expect you to respond to any inquiry within 10 minutes, be it sales and marketing-related or customer service-oriented?
To meet those expectations, you need to use automation to develop online self-service support in the form of an FAQ widget or chatbot. This forms the crux of your digital customer engagement, with 70% of customers expecting you to offer self-service assistance and 40% preferring self-service to human support.
Develop a strategy that allows customers to smoothly transition from chatbot to live agent if necessary, using the right tools to ensure your agents receive a complete history of the customer’s journey so far.
Phase 6: Empower your employees with chatbots
Give your agents the power of knowledge by centralizing all your customer data into a single database or inbox. In doing so, you can integrate all your digital channels to provide cohesive, omnichannel customer engagement. It also increases your response time by reducing the time your agents spend tracking down the relevant information.
Developing an effective digital engagement strategy is undeniably a time and labor-intensive process. Still, all that hard work will pay off when you see what it does for your customer service metrics.
How can digital engagement help with customer service?
When you engage with your customers online, you create a digital experience that encourages your customers to make an emotional connection with your company.
Fully engaged customers bring numerous benefits to your company, often in increased profits and lower customer attrition rates. The benefits digital engagement brings to customer support, however, are often overlooked, despite being plentiful.
Digital engagement has the potential to:
Reduce call volumes
Diversify your digital channels of communication to reduce the pressure on your call center, and increase customer satisfaction.
When Heywire Business conducted its customer support reference study, it discovered that 79% of customers were frustrated with the support options available. A more recent study showed those trends haven’t changed and that nine out of 10 consumers want omnichannel service.
2. Optimize resource management
With the right customer support software, you can see all your customers’ messages in one place, whether they come from a website chatbot, a social media platform, or a messaging app. That means your customer support agents don’t waste time skipping between channels and have more time to invest in digital engagement.
Research carried out by the customer data platform Segment revealed that consumers expect highly personalized experiences. They want customer support agents to have complete knowledge of their preferences, previous problems, and purchase history, so optimizing your agents’ time will also improve customer satisfaction rates.
3. Increase trust
Give your customers multiple ways to communicate with you, and you’ll empower them to reach out to you in more situations, lifting their engagement levels.
4. Improve customer satisfaction
Using a variety of digital channels means your customers can choose the one that fits their lifestyle. You can create a range of personalized digital experiences, deliver timely support, and ensure proactive digital customer engagement.
Omnichannel tools for digital engagement
It is impossible to deliver omnichannel support and create cohesive digital engagement without the right tools. You need to gather and analyze data from numerous sources and use the results to formulate your strategy. You’ll need to take this data to customers to provide high-quality engagement and support.
A customer engagement software like Freshdesk Messaging empowers your customer engagement teams. It centralizes information, enabling you to diversify your digital channels with AI-powered chatbots and digital self-service solutions that deliver numerous benefits for your business.
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