Defining New Ways to Engage Customers – By Jason Levesque

by Sara Szado on April 18, 2016

Due to the rise of affiliate marketing over the past decade, and the corresponding increase in technology usage by consumers, the traditional usage of contact centers is archaic at best and damaging at worst.

Without realizing it, affiliate marketers have forced a new evolution in a tired industry. Enter the “Customer Engagement Center.” It’s no longer just answering a phone call and reacting to a consumer’s needs, but rather being proactive, building a brand experience, extending the sale cycle past acquisition and into retention, and bringing to bear technology in new ways, not tomorrow, but today.

Today’s consumers want answers on the medium of their choice: chat, e-mail, social, text, or phone support, and they want it now. This is the reality of 21st century customer engagement versus traditional customer support.

Putting it off or ignoring it is simply no longer sufficient. In order to secure customer loyalty and maximize the lifetime value of a customer, brands must not only meet these customer expectations, but exceed them.

A new study from NM Incite, the leading social media consumer insights provider, showed that 71 percent of customers who received a positive interaction with a brand over social media are likely to refer that brand to others. The data shows that it’s imperative that the brand enables the customer to connect where and when they so choose, and for the customer engagement center to engage them quickly while providing an exceptionally high standard of quality care.

And just when you thought telephone calls were going the way of the dinosaur, a recent study by American Express shows definitively that a whopping 90 percent of consumers in the United States prefer to contact a brand by phone; that’s a lot of phone calls. Case in point: BIA/Kelsey estimates that, in 2018, mobile searches will drive 73 billion calls to businesses. That is a dramatic increase from 30 billion in 2013, and the number is only expected to increase.

So, first of all, on behalf of the customer engagement industry, thank you for driving innovation and forcing us to once again be relevant in successful customer centric advertising.

Second, remember to ask yourselves whether or not you have a call center or a customer engagement center.

You should check to see if your service provider has the following five elements:

1. Advanced technology
2. Multiple contact channels
3. Quality assurance and live monitoring
4. Brand management oversight
5. Social engagement

And it all has to be located within a culture that has a desire to innovate, and the ability to move at speeds that would make you envious. Keep innovating.

Jason Levesque is the Founder and CEO of Argo Marketing Group, Inc.

This article appeared in issue 34 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2016.

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