What is Customer Engagement?

Building an effective customer engagement strategy is critical for business success in today's highly competitive market. Before delving into the solutions that NICE provides, let’s understand what customer engagement refers to.

Customer engagement refers to the depth and richness of the relationship between businesses and their customers. Customer engagement is the sum of all a company's interactions with a customer and the resulting impact on how that customer thinks and feels about that company. Those touch points can take many forms - retail store purchases, TV commercials, promotional emails, corporate Facebook posts, and interactions with customer service. Every time a customer and business interact, whether passively or through a third party, there is an opportunity to strengthen or weaken customer engagement. And these touchpoints shouldn't just be about selling. They should also be about providing customers with helpful information, acknowledging them in a personalized way, and making them feel good about the brand.

Customer engagement is an essential concept because it drives behavior. Studies show that highly engaged customers represent a 23% premium in key financial metrics compared to average engagement. Customers with solid business relationships are more likely to purchase additional products from that business. High customer engagement can also lead to word-of-mouth referrals, a powerful marketing technique.

Organizations have been talking about customer engagement for years now, but unlike survey metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Customer Effort Score (CES), there’s no single, consistent definition. Largely speaking, though, customer engagement consists of the ongoing interactions between your customer and your brand, via whatever channels your customers choose to engage with you on. In an increasingly digital world, that likely means interactions that go far beyond the phone to also include social media, websites, text and email. Nine out of 10 customers now demand a seamless experience when moving from phone to text or chat and back again, and about one-third of customers consider speaking with a knowledgeable and friendly agent to be the most important aspect of customer service.

When customers are engaged and satisfied, they do the work of selling for you. The business value of customer advocacy is significant: Companies focused on improving NPS/CSAT and word of mouth are found to have a $12M increase in revenue for every one-point increase in NPS. They realize $34M in additional revenue for every 1% decrease in negative word of mouth (sentiment).

COVID-19 has only increased the importance of customer engagement across industries—54% of people in a recent survey said companies should expand the customer engagement methods they use, including how they use digital channels. Nearly 6 in 10 said how they engage with companies has transformed during the pandemic.

Are your customers engaged?

Many companies calculate a customer engagement score, or a single number that is used to measure how engaged customers are. Customer Engagement Analytics, for example, let organizations take interaction data from any source at any customer touchpoint and weave it into an end-to-end customer journey complete with metrics and insights that help organizations understand their customers and serve them better.

There are a variety of ways companies can calculate an engagement score, including by incorporating data related to:

  • Guest checkout rates (when a customer creates an account, they are more likely to come back to make another purchase).
  • Purchase frequency.
  • Average order value.
  • Repeat purchase rate.
  • Average time on site/page.
  • Open and click-through rates.
  • Social media interaction.
  • Number of form fills.
  • Direct user feedback (NPS/CSAT scores or online reviews), etc.
  • A combination of any or all of the above.

The customer engagement score can be considered at the individual customer level or used to compare engagement between different customer segments. Given all of the potential benefits of customer engagement, it’s important to approach it systematically, with a program intentionally designed to increase customer engagement.

How to build a program to increase customer engagement

Build a plan to engage customers with these key steps:

  1. Track and analyze customer behavior on your digital properties and across channels. When done right, Customer Engagement Analytics has no limits; organizations can analyze 100% of their customer interaction data, both historical and real-time, on all channels, instantaneously. It lets organizations take interaction data from any source at any customer touchpoint and weave it into an end-to-end customer journey complete with metrics and insights that help organizations understand their customers and serve them better. Historical and real time analysis takes just seconds.
  2. Define goals and the corresponding KPIs. Just as you must define what goes into your organization’s engagement score, you must also define goals and the metrics you’ll judge your performance against. These will be as unique to your organization as your customers are.
  3. Leverage AI-powered CX solutions that unleash the benefits of omnichannel data. Interpretive, predictive and prescriptive insights at the journey level, interaction level and behavioral level power AI-enabled quality management, AI-enabled personalized feedback and AI-enabled agent guidance and prompts. Targeted surveys gather more intelligent feedback, and supervisors can spend more time on targeted coaching, with reduced effort and cost. Employees get the guidance they need to drive meaningful conversations and self-improve, boosting retention and job satisfaction.

Techniques to increase customer engagement

In what some industry observers have dubbed The Age of the Customer, it’s more critical than ever to retain customers by keeping them happy and engaged with your products or services. Among the techniques successful contact centers are leveraging are to:

  1. Make the first impression count – at all touchpoints, from digital properties to chats and voice calls. Regardless of channel, the initial impression can set the tone for the entire customer experience.
  2. Use visual engagement tools, such as screen sharing or live video to show customers the actions they need to take to solve a technical problem. Guiding customers through processes or steps in real-time is a much more interactive, personalized experience that can help you forge stronger, deeper relationships with customers.
  3. Pay attention to your team/agents (they know your customer best, after all). Agents often have insight into broken processes or pain points that aren’t otherwise apparent. As the direct interface with customers, they can shed light on barriers to delivering an exceptional customer experience.

How do contact centers impact customer engagement?

Contact centers certainly aren't the only business function that impacts customer engagement, but they can strongly influence it. After contacting customer service, a consumer needs to feel good about the interaction, which means their problem was resolved efficiently, the agent was empathetic and engaging, and the business knew who they were and their history with the company. This requires the right staff and tools to support them, including customer relationship management (CRM) applications, automatic contact distributors (ACDs) capable of intelligent voice and digital contact routing, and workforce management applications to ensure appropriate staffing levels. Contact centers can strengthen customer engagement and should align to build customer relationships.

Why is Customer Engagement Important?

Customer engagement is the lifeblood of a thriving business. In an era where customer expectations are higher than ever and brand loyalty is elusive, understanding and implementing successful customer engagement strategies is crucial. Here are the reasons why customer engagement is so important:

Boosts Customer Retention and Loyalty

When customers are actively engaged, they are likely to stay with your brand longer. Engaging customers through personalized messages, rewards programs, and exceptional customer service fosters customer loyalty. Loyal customers bring in consistent revenue and are more likely to advocate for your brand, attracting new customers.

Increases Customer Lifetime Value

An engaged customer is likely to do business with you repeatedly. By providing positive customer experiences, you increase the customer lifetime value, which is the net profit contributed by the customer over the entire period they are associated with your brand. This is an essential metric for understanding the long-term value of maintaining customer relationships.

Lowers Customer Acquisition Costs

Acquiring new customers is significantly more expensive than retaining existing ones. By focusing on engagement strategies that keep your existing customers happy, you can reduce the need to spend exorbitantly on acquiring new ones.

Enhances Brand Reputation

Engaged customers often become brand advocates. They share their positive experiences with friends, family, and social media channels. This word-of-mouth marketing improves your brand’s reputation and is highly trusted by prospective customers.

Provides Valuable Feedback

Engaged customers are more likely to provide feedback. This feedback is a treasure trove of information that can be used to improve products and services. By listening to your customers and making necessary changes, you show them that their opinion matters, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Facilitates Better Understanding of Customer Behavior

Through engagement, businesses can collect data on customer interactions, preferences, and pain points. Analyzing this data helps understand customer behavior, which is invaluable in tailoring products, services, and marketing campaigns to meet customer needs.

Builds Emotional Connections

Customer engagement is not just about transactions; it’s about building emotional connections. When customers feel emotionally connected to a brand, they are more forgiving of mistakes, more likely to choose your brand over competitors, and more willing to advocate for it.

Increases Revenue

Ultimately, all of the above points culminate in increased revenue. Engaged customers buy more, advocate more, and remain loyal. This leads to consistent revenue streams and can significantly impact the bottom line.

How NICE can help to a successful customer engagement

With decades of experience in the industry, NICE has developed cutting-edge customer engagement tools tailored to the ever-changing market needs. NICE leverages customer data and analytics to deliver personalized messages that resonate with the target audience, resulting in a seamless customer experience.

One of the key components of NICE's suite is its ability to measure customer engagement through various metrics and key performance indicators. Businesses can make data-driven decisions that enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty by analyzing customer interactions, behavior, and sentiment.

Furthermore, NICE's customer engagement marketing strategies help businesses reach both new and existing customers across customer touchpoints, including social media channels. By consistently delivering relevant content, NICE helps to build brand loyalty and drive customer engagement.

NICE CXone Customer Engagement Strategies

NICE CXone is the market-leading call center software in use by thousands of customers of all sizes around the world to help them consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences. Our sophisticated solutions are designed to optimize customer engagement. CXone is a cloud-native, unified suite of applications designed to help a company holistically run its call (or contact) center operations. CXone includes:

Omnichannel Routing – routing and interaction management that empowers agents to positively and productively interact with customers in digital and voice channels. These solutions include an automatic call distributor (ACD), interactive voice response (IVR), interaction channel support and proactive outbound dialer.

Workforce Optimization – unlocks the potential of your team by inspiring employees' self-improvement, amplifying quality management efforts to enhance customer experience and reducing labor waste. These solutions include workforce management (WFM), quality management (QM), recording and performance management (PM).

Analytics – turns insights into results by making data relevant, easy to consume and actionable to drive measurable improvements and understand the omnichannel experience customers receive. These solutions include interaction analytics, customer surveys, reporting and performance management.

CXone also includes pre-defined CRM integrations and UCaaS integrations with most leading solutions on the market. These integrations provide a holistic call center software solution capable of elevating customer engagement for companies of all sizes.

Make NICE Your Partner for Customer Engagement Excellence

For businesses looking to improve customer engagement and foster an engaged customer base, NICE is the ultimate choice. NICE's proven track record in delivering customer engagement solutions helps businesses retain customers and turn them into brand advocates. With NICE's solutions, businesses can navigate the customer lifecycle efficiently, resulting in reduced costs, higher revenues, and a deep emotional connection with customers.

Don’t leave your customer's relationship to chance. Choose NICE to engage customers effectively, employ effective customer engagement strategies, and unlock endless possibilities in your customer engagement efforts. Contact us today and take the first step towards revolutionizing your customer engagement marketing strategy.

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