Customer Engagement Platform
Eras of selling/trading have gone by, and business are still solving the biggest and the most popular puzzle – Know Your Customer. For some the customer is a name & face, for some they are lists of numbers, for some they are answers written on a form. If only it we simple, brands could have moved to the next level in the game – Customer Engagement Platform.
In many industry verticals, the customer data is available when products are sold directly (Eg.: E Commerce, Retail) or when regulation requires collection of customer data (Eg.: Auto, Banking, Credit Cards, Telco, Insurance etc.) prior to purchase of product or service. In some other consumer industries (Consumer Electronics, Consumer Durables, Lifestyle products etc.) having one or more layers of sales channel, this data is not available directly to the brand as invoicing is done independently by these channels. The Brands consequently struggle to get the customer data through a customer registration process for warranty administration purposes and beyond.
CRM systems like Customer Service Software provide the customer information with the product purchased data within the Enterprise for those brands that have a direct customer engagement engine.
Brands have been using many touch-points to serve their customers. These include their Brand websites, e-stores, complaint registration processes, Toll free Call numbers and service centres to name a few. Social media channels and engagement through them have made the customer engagement process more complex for Brands to manage.
Customer engagement is not an exercise for the faint hearted Brands. Customer engagement platform requires brands to build a close loop mechanism between themselves, their organization, their channels of Sales and service and integrating business processes and work flow as well as relevant Information systems that brings value to customers. The relevant organization processes include those in the customer service, marketing and Sales functions.
What are the challenges for Brands to manage customer engagement?
- Fragmented information systems between Brand, channel and the customer
- Lack of customer data for those brands operating through channels
- Lack of optimization at the various brand touch points that prevents one view/360 degree view of the customer
- Disengaged customers who tend to engage only when they have a problem or an issue to resolve.
Is it worth the while for Brands to review their customer engagement system and to rediscover how to improve them?
We believe the answer is a resounding yes. Enterprises have so far enhanced their efficiencies by implementing ERP, Supply Chain and CRM/Dealer management systems to improve efficiencies and have gained by getting an integrated view of their operations. Marketing, selling and customer service has been optimized from the view point of the Brand through many applications available in the market today. However enhanced Customer engagement has not been attempted through an IT envelope extension that extends the reach of the Brand with all their individual customers/consumers. Customer engagement has been left mostly to Channels of sales and service to perform. The call centres takes the next level of load on customer engagement with large number of calls, particularly for customer service.
How many brand managements look at the data available at these touch points in a comprehensive manner to improve customer service and engagement? Is there a system to use that can provide such useful data and analysis?
We would like to hear from Brands on their customer engagement challenges and practices that have worked and that needs fixing.