Five Ways IT Can Increase Customer Engagement

    If you’re ever wondering what your CEO is thinking, here’s a tip: It’s probably about your customers. In a global survey of more than 1,500 CEOs, nearly 90 percent listed “getting closer to customers” as part of their five-year strategy. It was the most popular answer by a wide margin. 

    CEOs are serious about customer engagement. They want their companies to be customer-obsessed, knowing what customers want before they want it. It’s not just lip service. It’s a matter of dollars and cents.

    Businesses have already squeezed most of the easy profit out of employee productivity. The quickest path to profit now is better customer engagement. When your company engages customers, you become their default choice when they buy. They become advocates for your brand. They’re more likely to buy higher-value goods and services from you over time. All that means lower churn, lower acquisition costs and higher revenue per customer—benefits that go straight to the bottom line.

    Most companies miss or mishandle up to 80 percent of customer engagement opportunities every day. If you want to become a hero to your CEO, find a way to bring that number down. To get started, here are five ways IT can make a big impact on customer engagement, as identified by Bluewolf, a global business consulting firm.

    Five Ways IT Can Increase Customer Engagement - slide 1

    Click through for five ways you can increase customer engagement, as identified by Bluewolf, a global business consulting firm.

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    Customer engagement is a shared responsibility across the enterprise. If valuable customer information stays siloed with one department, your company can’t possibly make that customer feel known as a person. Cloud, mobile and social technologies give employees real-time access to customer information, so they can own any customer interaction, however and whenever it may occur.

    Global health care company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) boosted customer engagement by creating an iPad application that gives sales reps product information in real time, on the go. By saving time they would otherwise have spent searching for and logging information, reps are freed to focus on what is really important: building relationships with customers and better understanding their needs.

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    Innovation can come from anywhere, but harnessing it is a big challenge. To encourage innovation and engagement across the enterprise, embrace a bit of chaos.

    Give employees latitude to implement ideas that promote customer engagement. Recognize them for it. Implement cloud-based governance practices to put structure around these new ideas and help prioritize ongoing innovation.

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    Walk in your customers’ shoes. Instead of making assumptions about what is needed by the users, spend time with them on the front lines. Gather opinions and information that sketch the stories of individuals, rather than relying on anonymous data to inform strategic decisions. This investment of time will tell you where your users’ pain points lie and how to make workflows more efficient. 

    Remember you’re trying to create advocates and harness loyalty. Customers are truly engaged when they feel known.

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    To drive employee engagement and efficiency, you need a training strategy that promotes knowledge acquisition and retention. Getting maximum return from a technology implementation begins with user adoption.

    This requires a solid investment beyond technology implementation, especially for global deployments spanning diverse processes, cultures and languages. E-learning is a valuable tool for building and maintaining capabilities anywhere around the world, anytime, but bear in mind that technology is only an enabler – not the end game.

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    Cloud, mobile and social technologies give your employees access to the right customer information at the right time, and enable them to identify and collaborate on opportunities for innovation. To drive ongoing engagement, however, it is critical that all touch-points deliver a consistent experience that delights both employees and customers.

    Vodafone rolled out a multi-channel customer service strategy that allows employees to interact with customers in real time across social media and digital channels. Tracked trends, conversations and customer sentiments on social networks have informed its ongoing business strategies and have added value in unexpected ways.

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