In the digital world, customers are more connected than ever before. They expect to be able to buy just about anything from their phones — from entertainment to groceries.
Customers want businesses to be digital first, and physical stores second. Today’s shoppers are looking to companies like Apple, Amazon, Sephora and Starbucks, who are creating shopping experiences that are seamless, convenient and personalized. Businesses that want to stay competitive in today’s market need to understand how to best reach their customers in a digital world. Read on to learn about the rise of digital customer engagement, and how you can connect with your customers in a whole new way.
What is Digital Customer Engagement?
Digital Customer engagement is the act of building a relationship with your customers through digital means. It is the process of communicating with customers through digital channels, nurturing leads, enhancing customer service experience and keeping repeat customers.
Digital engagement allows businesses to keep their customers’ needs, wants, and desires top of mind. It enables personalization through data analysis and the ability to deliver targeted, highly relevant content. It encourages conversation and feedback through digital channels including live chat and social media channels and rewards repeat patronage through loyalty programs.
The way we communicate has changed: 75% of consumers now prefer to engage with a brand over private messaging channels versus traditional channels of phone and email.
Recently a new digital entryway is on offer, that will enable your customers to connect with you in the moment they conduct a google search on mobile, through new Business Messages offered by Google (displayed in image below).
The Rise of Digital Customer Engagement
Customers have long been able to connect with businesses digitally through websites, online shopping, email and social media. Digital engagement, on the other hand, goes way beyond these traditional forms of customer communication. It is the process of creating a personal connection with customers through digital channels.
In 2021, retail e-commerce sales were approximately 4.9 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide and this figure is expected to grow by 50% over the next four years reaching about 7.4 trillion dollars by 2025 (Statista 2022).
In recent years, customers have grown increasingly attached to their phones and we are seeing a surge in purchasing through mobile devices (m-commerce). According to Statistica, m-commerce sales are forecasted to make up over 10% of all US retail sales, which is a growth of 7% since 2018.
In this new digital ecosystem, customers are looking for more than just a product menu and purchase option. They want brands to understand their needs, anticipate their needs, and satisfy their needs.
This is where digital customer engagement comes in. It can help businesses achieve a higher degree of customer intimacy by strengthening relationships with existing customers and earning the trust of potential customers through personalized experiences.
“Our Chat2 Concierge service is assisting businesses to successfully transition into the space of digital engagement. Our team are online 24/7 engaging with the online visitor to drive sales and provide customer support” advises Karen. “We have recently become a Google Partner with Business Messages, so your customers have another entry point via mobile to connect with your business directly when they google you, without leaving the google search page”.
To find out more on this new method to connect with your customers via a google search click here.
The Benefits of Digital Customer Engagement
As we’ve seen, digital engagement has a wide range of benefits for businesses. To gain a better understanding of these advantages, let’s examine some of the major advantages of this marketing strategy.
Increased Customer Loyalty
One of the most significant advantages of digital customer engagement is increased customer loyalty. By using digital channels to keep customers informed, engaged, and happy, companies can create a sense of trust and familiarity that encourages customers to continue to shop with them.
Digital engagement also has the potential to reduce customer abandonment, or prevent customers deciding not to continue with a purchase or enquiry. By providing a warm friendly touch point that is easily accessible, not only builds and strengthens the trust relationship but also enhances the customer experience with the brand, providing a competitive edge.
Increased Productivity Among Employees
When utilizing digital engagement channels, your business can easily qualify genuine enquiries from the not so genuine “tyre kickers”. The digital technology, in many cases, enables the businesses to engage with several customers simultaneously, increasing staff productivity, saving time and also filtering those enquiries that are more genuine to buy. This also leads to decreased customer acquisition costs with this increase in efficiency.
This means your team can focus their efforts more on the genuine buyers and hence with more time available can deliver better service to customers and generate higher customer satisfaction.
There is also less time spent on initial enquiries through traditional channels of phone and email. Customers will choose to communicate through the channel which is the easiest for them and nowadays that is in the digital realm, websites, social media or google searches.
With higher customer engagement comes a higher ROI. Companies that leverage digital customer engagement can expect to see significant returns on their marketing investment. If you make it easier for your customer to connect with you, and responses are fast, accurate and knowledgeable, you will also achieve higher customer satisfaction, alongside increased customer engagement resulting in an increase in revenue.
Research by Deloitte and Touche found that brands that focused on customers were 60% more profitable compared to companies that were not.
Increased customer loyalty, increased revenue, increased productivity, increased competitiveness and decreased customer acquisition costs (CAC) are just a few of the benefits that investment in digital customer engagement can provide.
How to Achieve Digital Customer Engagement
Digital customer engagement starts with an honest assessment of the state of your business. By looking closely at your customer engagement metrics, you can identify areas of weakness and determine where additional investment is needed to achieve true digital transformation.
Is your business readily available to your customers outside of normal trading hours? Are your customers responded to in a timely manner? Do you need to look at more channels to ensure it’s easy for your customers to contact you? Google Business Messenger is certainly a new option now on the market to consider.
Next, you’ll want to identify the key players within your organization responsible for customer engagement. This includes your customer service team (internal and virtual), marketing department, business development team and anyone else who can help you create and deliver highly engaging experiences.
You’ll also want to look closely at your digital infrastructure. This includes your website, digital marketing strategy, and digital communications and channels you have available to your customers.
Digital transformation can help boost both customer loyalty and ROI. By leveraging digital customer engagement strategies, you can create a more personalized experience for your customers, boost productivity among your employees, and enhance your overall customer service. Ensure you take advantage of new portals that are opening for customers to connect with you like live chat and Google Business Messages. Though they need to be implemented well to be successful.
With so much potential for growth in this area, it’s important for businesses to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to digital transformation.
Note: Chat2 has been working in the online customer engagement space for the last seven years and manages the initial online contact from customers for a wide variety of industries to drive sales, conversions and provide customer support. We answer questions and guide online visitors towards a sale from your Website, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct Message and now Google Messenger. The team are highly trained and experienced to ensure you are successful in implementing a customer focus engagement strategy.