6 Hottest Trends In Customer Engagement
by Steve Bocska
Steve is the CEO and founder of PUG Interactive Inc., a company specializing in gamification and engagement solutions. With over 20 years of experience in the gaming industry, Steve focuses on using game design principles to enhance user experiences in non-game contexts.
A bullet-proof customer engagement strategy is critical towards the success of any company. But many brands struggle to deliver ongoing meaningful customer interactions due in part to a lack of expertise needed to design, build, and effectively manage these programs. Despite this, 65% of companies now plan to increase their spending on customer experience technology. Staying informed about the latest tips and traps in the market becomes extremely crucial in taking the best steps forward for your brand, so let’s review the top customer engagement trends to watch in 2023:
- Coming-of-age for customer analytics: Big Data is experiencing somewhat of a coming-of-age as customer experience teams are finally leveraging analytics to meaningfully understand customer expectations and needs. Rather than relying solely on traditional surveys, organizations are collecting customer data from various sources such as social media, choice-based interaction pathways, and machine-learning models to track customer interactions across various touchpoints. They then apply AI-powered analytics to predict customer motivations, preferences, and even disengagement thereby allowing them to take proactive measures to satisfy and retain customers.
- Customer loyalty differentiation: It’s cheaper to retain an existing customer than land a brand new one. This timeless adage has led to organizations relying increasingly on basic customer loyalty programs to stimulate repeat business by offering rewards and incentives while helping businesses retain their customer base. But most loyalty programs are largely indistinguishable from one another, and many customers today are craving novelty that differentiates one program from another, even if it involves greater complexity.
- Overreliance on non-human customer interactions: AI-driven customer interactions via chatbots and self-service platforms are seeing widespread adoption to alleviate the workload on human agents. At their most basic, these systems involve relatively harmless technological interfacing to handle common basic inquiries, freeing up human agents to focus on more complex customer issues. At its worst, fully automated customer interactions dehumanize the interaction and create a heavy strain on the brand-customer relationship.
- Appealing to customer vanity and prestige: Customers increasingly seek personalized experiences that cater to their need to feel special and appreciated. Hyper-personalization, driven by real-time customer data and AI, delivers customized offers and actions to individual customers designed to show the brand really cares about the relationship. Retailers are also using AI algorithms to analyze a customer’s past activities to provide powerful next-best-engagement prompts that align closely with their interests, preferences, wants, and needs, creating a stronger brand-customer relationship.
- Mitigating personal information risks: As personalization becomes more sophisticated, organizations must prioritize data security and privacy. Measures such as encryption and malware protection are essential to safeguard customer data. For example, a financial institution could implement strong encryption protocols to secure sensitive customer information and builds trust by being transparent about data protection practices.
- More interactive and game-like customer experiences: Customers expect a seamless experience across physical and digital channels. Organizations are increasingly leveraging approaches like gamification to enhance customer experiences, even going so far as manufacturing carefully managed frustration purposely designed specifically to deepen engagement and ultimately provide greater long-term satisfaction (called “funstration“).
Designing expert customer journeys is a pivotal skill required for any company to be successful, yet numerous brands grapple with providing truly impactful interactions despite their best endeavors. As customers increasingly demand seamless and personalized experiences, mastering the art of customer engagement becomes all the more crucial. By understanding and addressing the diverse touchpoints along the customer journey, businesses can create a harmonious and delightful interaction that fosters loyalty, drives revenue, and sets them apart from the competition. Embracing the challenges and opportunities of customer experience orchestration will undoubtedly pave the way for a prosperous and customer-centric future for any forward-thinking organization.