Customer engagement is the means by which a business builds loyal relationships with customers through frequent and positive communications. Engaged customers are key because they are happy customers. And if you hadn’t already guessed, happy customers stay with your business for longer.
Advances in technology have meant that businesses are being presented with more efficient ways of keeping customers engaged in 2018 and beyond. Now that we’re well into 2018, let’s take a look at the four key trends that are standing out this year, and how businesses are going to be utilizing them.
Introducing chatbots for engagement
Chatbots were probably one of the most talked about innovations of 2017. And when it comes to customer engagement, businesses continue to have high expectations from chatbots in 2018 – thanks to their ability to provide instant, intelligent assistance to customers that easily outperforms the speed of human support.
In order for chatbots to keep your customers happy, the data that is inputted needs to be true and accurate. What’s more, businesses need to clearly define its purpose (e.g. to support your customer service teams) and be prepared to extensively test their bot before its release. Failure to do so will defeat the point of bringing a chatbot into your business if humans end up getting involved due to poor implementation.
Focusing on self-service tools
Self-service products are trending in 2018 and will continue to do so in the years to come. With tools like knowledge repositories and customer portals, businesses in all industries now have a range of options to choose from – no matter the budget or timescale for implementation – to allow customers to locate the information that they need with minimal hassle.
Whilst sometimes, talking with a human or two is necessary – customers can feel just as engaged when using a self-service alternative, it can also save the additional workload from your teams. Customers feel empowered when they’re able to find and retrieve the answers that they need, without having to go through lengthy phone calls with customer support or one-to-one meetings.
Bringing in artificial intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence (AI) is transforming businesses across the globe and will continue to do so this year. Businesses that understand the importance of customer engagement now have the ability to utilize AI technology for providing a better experience for customers and leaving them more engaged as a result – in the form of chatbots, virtual assistants and more.
And thanks to the rise of digital and the growth of AI, internal teams can accurately envisage and deliver the right answers to customers through multiple channels. This progression in technology can ensure that customers get their answers quickly and efficiently, through a personalized experience, without the need for human interaction.
Prioritizing a mobile-first experience
And finally – the mobile experience is going to be (if it’s not already) extremely important to businesses if they want to keep customers satisfied in 2018. It applies to all industries, from retail to education to accounting. As people are on their mobile devices for most of the day, every day, they’re now expecting businesses to provide a seamless experience across all of their devices.
From optimizing websites for mobile to developing dedicated native mobile apps, businesses (of all sizes) are recognizing the shift to a mobile-first experience and are beginning to make the required changes in order to stay engaging, competitive and innovative in the years to come. For instance, in the finance industry, the shift to mobile banking has increased customer engagement with push notifications and the instant availability of up-to-date financial documentation.
With any advance in mainstream technology, comes a higher demand from your existing and future customers. But luckily for businesses, as we’ve just seen, there's a range of solutions on offer. After identifying a budget, time frame and the resources available, no matter the size of your business; you should be utilizing one (or more) of the above-mentioned technologies, in order to stay competitive whilst improving your customer engagement in 2018.
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