Regardless of industry, product or service, one of the drivers for achieving business success is having a strong customer engagement strategy. Undoubtedly, 2020 has been one of the most challenging years for businesses with the pandemic affecting consumer behaviour and buying habits.

The UK is officially in recession and consumer confidence is historically low. To improve and grow, businesses need to focus on building customer relationships as we enter the tail end of the year in an effort to win back spend and loyalty.

Improving customer engagement has a powerful role to play: two-thirds of companies compete on the quality of their customer experience and 96 percent of consumers agree that customer service is key to their purchase decisions. Ramping up customer engagement has the potential to pay dividends down the line.

Interactions with customers

Customer engagement can be defined as continuous and valuable interactions between a business and its customers. Running a successful business is not only about attracting customers to your website, converting them, accepting their money, and thanking them for their custom. That is crucial for ongoing success, sure, but engaging customers and cultivating valuable relationships long-term takes entirely more finesse and should be the focus.

Businesses trying to make a major impact on their market must ensure that they know their audience and all their motivators so that they can start to really engage them. They can then use this data to anticipate buyer needs, cater to these requirements and deliver a quality service. A benefit of this will be securing shoppers’ loyalty, as highly-engaged customers return, making repeat purchases and recommending the business to others.

Automation vs. the human touch

Anyone who has ever called a support line and been greeted by a long list of options will understand how frustrating ‘poor’ automated service can be.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for a well-executed automation strategy. Automating standard, repetitive tasks can bring speed, efficiency, and effectiveness to the customer journey. However, this automation must be considered, with a clear strategy shaping its impact on your business.

The right customer service software can intelligently determine whether an inquiry can be handled with pure automation, if it needs the human touch, or a mix of both.

Empathy towards customer needs

To become empathetic, businesses must understand their target customers and recognise which problems they are experiencing. Customers’ pain points and situations may have changed dramatically since the onset of the pandemic and acknowledging this is important.

Companies must work hard to deliver the level of service customers need and deserve, for instance allowing agents extra time to listen to customers on calls or live chats – customers will appreciate this effort.

But, what about customer service agents themselves? While more employees are returning to offices, many organisations are still working from home and businesses should be honest with customers about their customer support set-up during this time and remind them that employees are doing their best in unusual circumstances.

The importance of personalisation

Embracing more personalisation into customer engagement helps customers feel more valued. That’s why 44 percent of consumers are likely to become repeat buyers after a personalised service interaction and 39 percent will introduce their friends or relatives to the brand.

Customer service software enables brands to deliver a level of personalised service by unifying communications across phone, email, chat and messaging, meaning agents can instantly access the information they need on the customer they are dealing with, adding to the sense that the brand is aware of the individual customer’s needs.

As we enter the last few months of 2020, there is no doubt that it continues to be a tough environment for businesses to operate in. Organisations will need to focus on delivering the right kinds of strategies to drive customer engagement and loyalty, to ensure business success.

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