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How Enterprise Communication is Changing the Customer Engagement Model
by Alfonso Horcajada Lopez | Head of Mobile Products, Enterprise Maxis
Brace yourself. Your customer holds the reins to your company’s success and they are getting smarter and more powerful by the day. Your only option? Keep them engaged and satisfied. You are probably thinking that’s easier said than done. But new approaches to enterprise communication are creating customer engagement models that help you get closer to customers and convert conversations to leads faster and more efficiently.
Here’s a pop quiz: Who does this sound like?
- Increasingly demanding
- Spoilt for choice
- Prone to shifting loyalties
No prizes for guessing: These are our customers.
There’s no denying that customers keep your business going. It’s a reality that today’s organisations are grappling with. Today, customers are getting younger, becoming less willing to wait, and are increasingly aware of what is happening around them as they are exposed to a lot more opportunities than any generation ever was, thanks to the Internet.
They have an opinion about everything and have many avenues to voice it. It only takes a mere 140-character tweet to tarnish the reputation of a company that took you decades to build. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this empowered customer is overshadowing mighty organisations and putting customer experience in the spotlight.
But you knew that already, didn’t you?
However, did you know that, globally, 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience in 2016? This is a dramatic increase from 58% in 2015, according to Gartner.
Smart organisations have realized that their businesses, more than ever before, depend on the customer experience they can provide. And the only way to enhance customer experience is to have a customer engagement platform that is intelligent, proactive and intuitive.
Not a ruddy CRM (customer relationship management tool) that serves up knee-jerk reactions.
In the same way as consumer technologies influence the tools enterprises use for internal communication, they also have an impact on customer engagement models. Here is how developments in enterprise communication are changing customer engagement models, as we know it.
Follow the Money
Social media has been one of the most silent revolutions with the biggest bang of our times.
Its wide reach, incredible influence, and ease of use have made it appealing to users and businesses alike. In Malaysia, social media penetration is set to touch 75% this year.
A majority of Malaysian companies are grabbing that opportunity with both hands. Nothing beats social media to get the good word out about your organisation, get customers to interact with your company and convert them to hot leads.
Platforms like HubSpot help organisations connect their CRM with intelligent social tools. HubSpot, for instance, allows you to attract users through blog posts, e-books and other content, convert traffic into leads, and engage customers through personalized and relevant inbound experiences. It provides organisations with access to SEO, CRM, e-mail, and analytics to engage users at every point of the sales cycle.
For businesses, Microsoft Dynamics CRM is another interesting option. Apart from providing organisations with a CRM on the cloud, it also equips you with tools that integrate data and reporting from social media directly into your CRM application.
Apart from these, social listening and social sentiment analysis tools like trackur and Social Mention also offer organisations a sneak peek into their customers’ mind. They help you mold your products and services to best fit the needs of your customers.
Consider this: The average mobile user in Malaysia spends three hours a day online with their device, according to Google Consumer Barometer. That’s three hours that you can leverage to pull them in.
One way to do that is to turn to SMS. Mobility has changed the way organisations do business by blurring the line between personal and professional. It has helped organisations get closer to customers. And SMS is proving to be a handy weapon to target customers.
According to Digital Marketing Magazine, people read 98% of text messages they receive and usually respond to them within 90 seconds. This improves your chances of engaging them, by asking them to respond and getting them to take action on those messages, says the report.
Another option is what experts term as the ‘appification of the enterprise’. The term refers to using mobile apps for enterprise communication. That’s where apps like OnePulse come in. It enables organisations to ask questions about your brand or a campaign and helps you receive responses in real-time. You can also target and engage with your existing customers and build a lasting relationship. The app is popular among small businesses since it’s inexpensive and intuitive.
Targeted mobile ads are also proving to be an asset for organisations that are trying to get closer to customers. Today, 67% of Malaysians use their smartphones to connect to the Internet more often than they use their desktop or tablet, according to Google Consumer Barometer. That’s a huge opportunity for organisations to explore the option of enabling in-app purchases, that are customized.
A wise man once said, “If you tread the same road every day, you will experience the same reality.” That’s why, it’s important for organisations to utilize the different channels they can to reach out to customers.
E-mails, social media, SMS, WhatsApp, video, Web chat and, not to forget, face-to-face interactions, all leave a lasting impression on your customers. This omnichannel approach shows your customers that you are making an effort to be where they are.
If you are using so many varied avenues to reach your customers, it’s only fair that you open up as many doors for customers to reach you as well. They should be able to communicate their feedback and address their issues through the channel that they prefer. In the long term, this translates to repeat business.
IDC polled 7,000 people across seven countries and found that 64% of customers expect to receive real time customer support, regardless of the channel and 75% of customers will return to companies they deem to have good service.
Another advantage of an omnichannel approach is that these campaigns are measureable. You can figure which channels are the most efficient to reach out to customers and focus on them.
Apps like mGage Communications Pro help you do exactly that. It provides a platform for customers and businesses to interact and also monitors performance across multiple channels such as SMS, MMS, push notifications, voice, social messaging apps (OTT), and social media. SAP Hybris and Genesys are other leading providers of customer engagement platforms.
Gone are the days when customer is king. Today, they are playing God. The only way to keep them happy whilst retaining them is to get the conversation going. Talk to them now.
A mobile-first approach makes it easier for businesses to enhance customer engagement, boost user experience, and increase the overall buyer experience. Morgan Stanley revealed that since 2014, mobile devices have witnessed more active internet users than desktops. Google’s Consumer Barometer 2015 revealed that 52% of Malaysians access internet using smartphones. Another report by statista.com pointed out there will be 13.7 million smartphone users in Malaysia by 2019 and that by the end of 2016 the country will boast of having more than 11 million smartphone users.
It’s exciting times for online business owners in Malaysia, especially considering the rapid internet and mobile penetration in the country. According to We Are Social, 71% of Malaysian adults own a mobile device and 81 million Malaysians are active mobile users and 47% of them use mobiles to shop online. All these numbers actually translate to huge business opportunities for e-commerce and digital native businesses. But, there are a few key areas that business owners need to keep in mind to ensure a successful online endeavour. Here are four: