Most customer-centric businesses recognize that digital experiences must be at the center of the way they interact with users in the future. Digital Customer Engagement is generally accepted as the future of customer engagement. The term encompasses everything from managing apps, websites and social media accounts to customer surveys and loyalty programs. However, this broadness has created confusion as to what the term actually means.
According to Tim Lloyd from The Digital Engagement Guide, “Digital customer engagement” refers to anything that involves an online interaction — a digital experience. Specifically, it includes four key elements:
- The use of digital tools
- to find, listen to or interact with
- a brand’s customers
- around a range of products.
Based on this definition you could say that digital customer engagement includes customer service, by acting as a medium for answering questions and responding to requests for support. But you could also say that it is a customer engagement tool for outbound marketing, by enabling a company to promote campaigns over the web or via apps, as well as a medium for sales departments to nurture interest amongst individual customers.
What’s in a Tool?
Digital customer engagement platforms and related customer engagement tools have already proven themselves to be profitable investments. However, the ability to consistently maintain their use and ensure their ongoing relevance and adoption can be elusive. Ultimately, it takes a strategy in which personalization of touchpoints and accurate metrics are critical elements. And usually, it requires a powerful digital platform to empower people to define and deliver digital experiences that provide optimized consumer engagement, personalized experience, and enhanced functionality.
Integration is Critical for Digital Customer Engagement
There is an all too common scenario where a company invests heavily in time and resources to produce a full suite of digital touchpoints – only to find that the app that was downloaded in fantastic numbers is only occasionally used, that the optimized website s a high bounce rate, and that call volumes to customer service agents continue to be as high as ever. The Digital Customer Engagement tools are all there and primed to perform, but those assets are often not integrated, so they’re not working together to divert customer interactions to digital channels.
Omnichannel Digital Customer Engagement
The solution to this is omnichannel CX automation. omnichannel is where all your disparate interfaces, be they your website, mobile site, app, store.branch, call center, etc are all aligned, offer the same capabilities and are fully integrated with one another.
FICX defines omnichannel as “A multi-channel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers in a way that enables users to switch between channels without interrupting the engagement to create a unified customer experience.”
In fewer words, it’s a way of reaching out to customers and providing them with a complete and seamless journey, no matter where they have come from. Your customer could be on your web page comparing prices, on your mobile site looking for the customer service number, or using your app to access their personal account, and in an omnichannel experience your customer will be able to complete those tasks, be it, making a purchase, resolving a billing enquiry, or changing their account details. Doing so without any interruption, even if they have to move between devices or engagement mediums.
Multi-Channel v. Omnichannel
If yours is like most companies, your digital customer engagement framework is probably already providing your customers with a multi-channel experience. You’ve got your Facebook and Twitter pages, your website, customer service agents and perhaps even an app, but if the customer cannot move between them in a seamless interaction, then it’s a multichannel, not an omnichannel environment.
The strategic difference is in the level of integration. If those interfaces are not integrated then they’re just a multiple array of channels that you’re using to connect with your customers. Not an omnichannel that enables customers to complete interactions. omnichannel is achieved through an augmented layer that works to integrate all your existing digital customer touchpoints that make up the front-end and connects them to your existing backend interfaces such as your CRM and BI databases.
The seamless integration makes it possible to facilitate a high level of agent-caller collaboration as part of a holistic digital customer engagement strategy. Where call center agents can more efficiently and effectively work with customers to help them complete tasks. Let’s give a few examples of how omnichannel is used to enhance digital customer engagements.
My internet stopped working the other day. I was immediately confronted with the dilemma of how to contact my telco operator where the only place I could locate their contact details was on the internet! In an omnichannel environment, I could go to the operator’s app and use a self-service visual IVR system to request tech support. I would then wait for a tech support officer to call me, who without needing any context, would be able to walk me through the process of reinstating my internet connection. Going back to the app, I might send pictures of my modem to the tech support officer, s/he could then draw on my pictures indicating more precise directions and send those pictures back to me so I have a visual display of his/her instructions. The time taken to fix my internet connection problem would be dramatically reduced, I’m happily off on my way and the phone company team is on to the next customer.
In an omnichannel environment, a bank’s marketing and sales processes arcan be radically shortened and simplified as numerous hurdles are removed. Let’s take the example of a customer wanting to know about various investment products. She hops on her financial institution’s website and clicks a button to speak with an investment advisor.
As she completes the Visual IVR process to direct her call to investment options, she is presented with an advertisement touchpoint about managed funds that follow the S&P 500. She clicks on the ad and is able to review the fund’s performance over the last five years. When she speaks to the bank manager, she requests a portion of her investment be allocated toward the S&P500 amongst other funds offered at the bank. The bank manager provides her with a smart digital form which she fills out collaboratively on her computer, while they are still on the phone together. The bank manager is able to collect her signature, provide her with the terms and conditions of the investment account and ensure all regulatory requirements are met.
Doing so all in the one interaction, with rich analytics available to further optimize the ways in which the bank can engage customers. This is an outstanding example of value creation made possible by a digital-first customer engagement platform
Insurance Company Example
For the insurance company, an omnichannel setup offers endless value. Let’s take an example of a customer who was in a minor car accident. At the scene of the accident, the customer can already commence the process of submitting a claim. They look for the ‘contact us page’ of their insurance company website, press a button to speak with an agent and automatically get put through. The firm’s claim process is accelerated, while driving higher satisfaction, and, ultimately, customer loyalty.
The customer is then presented with a smart digital form where at the scene of the accident they are able to fill in all the details, take photos and attach them to the smart digital claim form. Once that’s done, the customer automatically receives a claim number acknowledging that claim has been filed. The next day, the customer may get a call back from the insurance company to clarify details on the form, the customer can then go back onto the digital claim form, make any adjustments and add his signature to finish it off. No back and forth processes, no printing and scanning. The whole claim process is done and dusted in moments.
The business arena is already well and truly immersed in offering Digital Customer Engagements whether they be to market products, cultivate new leads, or support existing customers. However, omnichannel represents the next stage of our digital customer engagement era, where interactions and messaging seamlessly blend into each other as they move towards successful completion. With the potential to dramatically improve customer satisfaction and simultaneously keep call volumes low, agent collaboration is utilized only in high-quality calls and only at the most critical points where a human touch is needed. A multichannel approach to your digital customer engagements is no longer sufficient, thriving in competitive industries now demands an omnichannel environment.
As leading brands consider a digital engagement strategy for their businesses, they must factor in all relevant communication channels and the full range of customer behavior. All possible user engagement paths and customer journeys must be considered — from those affecting each prospect to those that engage a loyal customer.
FICX for Digital Customer Engagement
At FICX, we focus on ensuring that customers get a great experience with your brand and company in whatever way they choose to interact. Offering customers more and optimized options can have a tremendously positive impact on overall brand experience. By providing visual content in multiple flows (via phone, in-app, online, and at retail/on-premise, you can improve customer understanding and reflect the insight that visual information is often more pleasing and easier to understand for your customers.For more information on FICX and our solutions, visit our site or request a demo.