Customers’ interactions now start and stop along myriad digital doorsteps, from search engines to social media. As a result, enterprises must calculate the “next best action” for every customer at every digital point of entry and respond at key moments with relevant communications, interactions, and offers. To achieve that, all customer-facing employees across an enterprise must proactively engage with customers at every step, from awareness to purchase.
Customer engagement platforms (CEPs) can help to manage the complexity of modern customer relationships by monitoring customer activity, behavioral insights, and social media accounts and alerting customer-facing employees. Their power lies in their ability to link crucial systems and communications and distribute key information. The newly published Omdia Universe: Customer Engagement Platforms, 2022-23, uncovered their rising importance in integrating disparate functional areas across an enterprise and prioritizing the customers’ behaviors and needs.
Omdia defines a customer engagement platform (CEP) as: A platform that enables an enterprise to capture and unify customer data from multiple sources and view customer journeys holistically. A CEP interprets, as well as intelligently and proactively orchestrates and personalizes relevant content, offers, or responses regardless of channel or device. A CEP also allows an enterprise to continuously analyze, learn, and amend how it engages to continually enhance the customer’s experience.
Furthermore, CEPs enable an omnichannel approach powered by unified data, digital-first mindsets, and connected workstreams to deliver personalized engagements and real-time responses. In doing so, they deliver a holistic enterprise-wide perspective to orchestrate relevant content or guidance and to trigger the most appropriate action at every customer touchpoint.
This connectivity provides an opportunity for enterprises that wish to connect the functional areas across their organizations. Ideally, CEPs should empower multifaceted teams to collaborate and develop meaningful business functions that resonate with users. In achieving integrated workflows, real-time insights, and single-pane interfaces that allow diverse groups to deliver on their shared objectives, CEPs must contain the following seven criteria:
- Enable two-way omnichannel communication: The growing number of ways in which customers and enterprises can engage means a CEP must be able to ingest inbound customer interactions and communicate an enterprise response through a multitude of channels.
- Identify the customer: A CEP must have the capability to identify customers or prospects from the mass of inbound data—much of which will be anonymous.
- Keep a “golden record:” The wealth of data must be linked and consolidated into a comprehensive and accurate profile of each customer, prospect, or entity, such as a household or business account. This profile must be dynamic and persistent, allowing an enterprise to discern changing trends in profiles over time.
- Enable collaboration across the enterprise: Unified profiles must be accessible to all functions that interact with customers within an enterprise. This allows a coordinated and aligned response from an enterprise when engaging with customers.
- Create a personalized response: Analysis of the customer data and history allows an enterprise to orchestrate the most appropriate content, messaging, offers, etc., to create a personalized engagement delivered at the optimum time through the customers’ preferred channels.
- Analyze and enhance: A foundational requirement of a CEP is to interpret actions and intentions across all engagements to build an increasingly detailed and comprehensive view of the customer. This requires the capability to capture, analyze, and visualize all customer interactions and use this to continually align and enhance the customers’ experiences with the enterprise.
- Keep data safe and private: Across all stages of a customer engagement, data must be stored securely to comply with increasing regulatory oversight and maintain the customers’ trust that the enterprise will not misuse their data.
With these seven requirements, enterprises can bind their employees and orchestrate customer interactions and messaging across functional areas. By solving the complex challenges of providing individual context along customer journeys and across system boundaries, CEPs will not only connect complex journeys; they will build resilient enterprises.