Every moment of contact with a customer generates a valuable source of data for businesses. This data needs to be extracted and interpreted carefully to provide maximum value and insight. To boost engagement and loyalty, it is important to understand how multi-channel customers choose to engage. Already, businesses are using a variety of channels to communicate with their customers. New digital channels are overtaking traditional channels both in quantity and effectiveness. The situation therefore reflects the need for companies to maintain a constant, but tailored dialogue with their customers, through their preferred channel.
To be better placed in engaging customers, businesses should also be able to identify individual customer interactions across multiple channels. They should be able to recognise and match the individual who called customer services as the same person who commented on a Facebook post, or enquired about services via the company website. The conversation needs to be tracked along each channel and touch point.
It is no longer enough to base customer relationships on consolidated information from traditional systems. Data warehousing and CRM environments are typically structured to hold data such as addresses and transactions made by clients. The digital age calls for this infrastructure to be reorganised so that it can analyse customer behaviours. This could range from activities carried out by individual customers while navigating the company website (web analytics) and customer conversations on social sites (sentiment analysis) to analysing these interactions in aggregate. Crowdsourcing and the community phenomena is on the rise. In fact, marketing teams often use social media communities to test consumer opinions as an alternative to traditional focus groups.
Creating a digital customer journey which provides two way communication is everything. It boosts the engagement of larger customer bases and consequently helps increase sales. However, in order to optimise customer engagement and thus improve brand loyalty, firms must invest in developing multiple channels and touch points (such as mobile banking, call centres, ATM services) as an impressive front end will not only deliver a unique user experience but also reduce the churn rate. Engagement drives receptiveness and response rates, so the more engaged the customer is with the brand, the more data will be produced which can be analysed and reused to grow further engagement.