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An effective
customer
engagement
strategy is essential
to improving CX

Author: Rose de Fremery

Businesses know that customer engagement is essential to providing a winning customer experience (CX). According to Gartner, customer engagement delivers multiple business benefits—it boosts the brand experience, increases customer loyalty and trust and provides valuable customer feedback and insight.1 All of these improvements help businesses stay competitive and grow the bottom line in a dynamic, rapidly changing marketplace.

With so many options for digitally engaging customers today, it can be challenging to figure out where to begin. Here are four key aspects of an effective customer engagement strategy, how they work and how they help you improve CX.

1. Omnichannel customer engagement

Customers have more options than ever for communicating with your organization, and they want to interact with you using the channel that's most convenient for them at any given moment. They also expect to have a consistent experience with your brand across all channels, including a seamless transition from one channel to the next while they're on the go.

An omnichannel customer engagement strategy manages all customer interactions from a single platform, regardless of the channel in which they originated or are currently taking place. With an omnichannel approach, your company can more easily manage all of its conversations and provide a smooth and unified customer experience.

A virtual contact center can deliver the omnichannel engagement capabilities you need by allowing your customers to engage with you using the method of contact they prefer—whether that's via phone, email, text message, social media or your website. Streamlined routing capabilities allow you to automatically route incoming communications across channels and agents, increasing contact center agent productivity and reducing the time required for first-call resolution.

2. Personalized experiences

Customers expect personalized experiences that reflect their tastes and preferences. Crucially, it is no longer enough to deliver offers or product recommendations that are intended for people who are similar to your customers—now it’s important for them to be specifically relevant to your customers as individuals. Personalization should be based on your customers' unique purchase and browsing histories, for example, helps achieve this relevance.

As McKinsey notes, "successful personalization programs yield more engaged customers and drive up the top line." Accordingly, businesses that personalize their interactions with customers, recognizing and acknowledging them as unique individuals upon each interaction, are far more likely to succeed with their customer engagement strategy.

By pairing personalization with an omnichannel customer engagement approach, you can have personal, one-on-one conversations with your customers. Real-time communication agents, for example, can enable your human customer service agents to engage customers over chat, voice, and one- or two-way video conversations via the internet. Over time, this personalized customer engagement approach will allow you to cultivate meaningful relationships that lead to long-term loyalty.

3. AI-enhanced service with a human touch

Customers don't have a lot of time or patience to search for the answers they need. When they reach out to you, they're hoping for quick and accurate guidance. However, customer service agents often have to wade through different knowledge bases and data sources in order to find information—and this can drive up the time required to satisfy customer requests. Artificial intelligence (AI) can lend these human customer service professionals a helping hand, empowering them to more accurately answer questions in less time.

AI-enhanced digital customer engagement solutions can empower your team to engage customers at scale by first understanding the intent of customers' questions and then consulting multiple trusted sources to find the right information. An AI-driven knowledge base can be directly integrated into the agent desktop, for example, providing streamlined access to all of these resources. It also automatically updates data sources in real time as well, evolving to become steadily more accurate and relevant as new resources become available.

4. Automated self-service options

Many customers, particularly digital natives, expect self-service options when interacting with your company. Digital customer engagement tools that use AI can help your business satisfy this demand by augmenting your human customer service team with chatbots that are available 24/7 and can simultaneously support an unlimited number of customer interactions. This may be why the chatbot market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 29.7% to hit $9.4 billion by 2024.

A virtual agent can provide an automated, self-service customer experience across all digital channels that is consistent and personalized. When a customer reaches out with a query via the phone, your website, your app or a messaging app, this agent can quickly answer questions in their language. It gleans information from knowledge bases, business systems and trusted external sources, tapping AI to provide the most useful responses. It's also smart enough to know which questions it can answer and which requests would be best handled by a human agent, ensuring that your customers get exactly the level of care they need.

A winning and effective customer engagement strategy

A successful customer experience improvement strategy includes an effective engagement approach. By pursuing an omnichannel engagement approach that is personalized, you can meet your customers where they are and provide the relevant experience they've come to expect as a given. AI-enhanced solutions can help your human customer service agents more efficiently serve your customers at scale, while automated self-service options give your customers instant access to the information they need at any hour of the day or night. All of these strategies can better engage your customers and provide them with a stellar experience.

Discover how Verizon's digital customer experience services enhance customer engagement and improve the quality of customer interactions.

1Gartner, Why Customer Engagement Is Important, Casey Briglia, August 20, 2020.