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How to Own Customer Engagement… with Automation

With the ever-increasing amount of email automation strategies around today, it’s hard to keep up with the latest trends, what works, what doesn’t and what really makes a difference. That’s why we’ve put together a 101 on customer engagement automation, cutting through the jargon to help you understand the basics, get the best results, and get to the bottom of the benefits customer engagement automation can bring you. Let’s dive in.

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What is Customer Engagement Automation?

Customer engagement isn’t a sci-fi leap into the unknown. It’s just taking your classic ways of engaging customers- through newsletters, service emails and customer service- and automating them to a greater or lesser degree.

The simplest way of defining customer engagement automation is as a way of optimising your customers journey as much as possible. If they get stuck or hesitant along the way towards a sale, you’ll be on stand-by with helpful guidance and advice. Think of engagement automation as a digital equivalent of seeing someone looking at the maps on their phone on a street corner looking bemused and approaching them in a friendly manner to offer them some direction.

Now, there are a few ways of doing this. First you have email automation: service emails and the like that you send out automatically in response to a customer’s action, like buying something from your online store. A little further down the spectrum you have things like automated customer service agents- you know those chat popups you get on websites these days? Those are automated (at least to a point).

Why is Customer Engagement Automation So Important?

So then: what’s the big deal with customer engagement automation? Is it another passing phase? Not at all, and here’s why.

Keep the Conversation Flowing

Instead of just scheduling your campaigns monthly or quarterly, you can tap into the benefits of automated email engagement and send emails that capture your customers interest at the right time. This will help establish trust and develop a relationship with your client over time once they realise how heavily you are willing to invest in their personal customer experience.

You Can Keep an End in Sight

Every marketing campaign should be set up with a clear goal or direction in mind. Of course, the ultimate aim is to push your customers towards completing their purchases through your website, but sometimes, the hard-sell just doesn’t work. Perhaps first, they may need to hear more about your brand in the form of exciting new blog posts on the products which they are interested in. This turns engagement into real sales.

You Can Be Part of the Conversation

Recent studies have proven that brands and organizations who directly engage with their customers often receive 20-40% more sales conversions. Even more impressive is that over 70% of Americans are willing to spend anywhere up to 13% more with companies who provide them with an excellent customer journey and customer service. Your sales pitch falls down to the basic principles of human interaction which are applicable everywhere, whether it’s online or at a high-street store. Using analysis lets you learn about your customer as they go through their journey and send the right emails at the right time, whereas traditional push email campaigns just blast your customers with information that they never actually needed.

How to Put Automated Engagement Into Practice

So if you want to go down the road of customer engagement automation, you can automate emails based on your customers’ activity, behaviours and traits to help guide them through the buying or experiencing process on your website. The golden rule to winning email engagement strategies is understanding that customer experiences aren’t all the same, but that through segmenting your email lists, you can engage with the right customer at the right time, and in the right way too.

Take a customer that’s repeatedly browsed your online store looking at hats. Well, they’ve never put any in their basket, but it’s safe to say that they’re interested at least. Now, with this data, you could go through your list of customers sending out emails manually- otherwise known as a way to spend day after day on menial tasks! With a CRM platform, you can rig up a service email that pings out automatically to customers like this one with special discounts on whatever they might be interested in.

And take another customer who needs some problem or other resolved, so they come to your site. It used to be that they would fill in your contact form and then, well, wait- maybe not even sure that you’d got the message. With an automated chatbot, a customer knows that their message was received. It can even point them in the right direction to online resources on your site if you set it up right.

Where Do I Start?

You can’t automate anything without the right tools to hand. We’re talking CRM platforms, which are all the rage right now. Aside from data collection and analysis, CRMs let you do all sorts of neat stuff, automation included. You can schedule future emails, set emails to go off after particular triggers (like abandoned carts), and set up how your automatic customer service ‘droid’ responds to common customer requests. It all sounds very complicated, but it’s simple when you have the software in front of you, and better yet: you can even start with a free trial. There’s no reason not to!