February 6, 2019
customer engagement, Digital Customer Experience, CEM, churn management, live chat, loyalty, personalization, gamification, segmentation
Companies invest heavily in sales and marketing to grow their customer bases. What they do next to nurture those relationships—especially digital-only customers—leaves much to be desired.
The good news is that’s changing as companies hire Chief Customer Officers who are increasing focus on Customer Engagement Management (CEM). This technology category contains apps and services that help companies develop loyalty in their customers.
Organizations typically have invested in CRM tools, contact center platforms or services, and basic customer service apps to store data about customers, communicate with them, and track service requests. In the Nemertes’ 2018-19 Digital Customer Experience study of 697 organizations, only 20.9% were using CEM tools. Access DCX research study here.
Moving forward, IT and business leaders say they are shifting focus to CEM and customer success as they create or fine-tune their Digital Customer Experience (DCX) strategies.
Functions of CEM
What does CEM actually do for companies? From a high level, they enable companies to proactively reach out to their customers to further engage them. They may invite them to a loyalty program, personalize their experience, manage communities, offer gamification, and more. Customer success analytics tools go hand-in-hand with CEM to measure success of the engagement initiatives (and will be the subject of my next blog).
The Nemertes 2019/20 Advanced Customer Engagement and Analytics research project is underway. For this study, we will examine adoption plans for the above technologies, budgets, success metrics, and organizational strategies, based on input from IT and business executives.
What follows are the sub-categories within CEM:
- Churn management – Which customers are leaving, or showing signs they are about to leave, and how can we keep them or get them back?
- Community management – Building a community around your products or services is an excellent way to solidify loyalty and add value beyond the product or service. These tools manage the communities by providing a platform and structure around the communications.
- Content syndication and management – One way to grow a loyal customer base is to deliver content—blogs, videos, infographics, podcasts, etc.—that will deliver some value. The tools manage any syndication between you and third-party content providers. Also, they manage who gets what, when, and whether they opened the content.
- Customer segmentation – Engaging customers also means knowing who they are, what industry they’re in, and their areas of interest. Companies segment their customers in a variety of ways. These tools help to manage that segmentation, and how you’re reaching out to customers within each segment.
- Gamification – Who doesn’t want another badge or bragging rights. Gamification programs work well once a community is established to keep people in the community. Or, they can attract people to the community by offering gamification.
- Live chat – Though Live chat can be used in reactive mode, it’s also a great tool for proactively engaging someone who is on the website or even at a physical store portal.
- Marketing outreach – This area touches several others, such as email marketing and digital workplace platforms. The basic use is to develop a marketing outreach email, advertising campaign, social media campaign, etc., and then track the results.
- Loyalty (corporate memberships, gift card systems, activity tracking, discount management, membership portals, referrals and reward tracking) – All the tools required to develop a functional loyalty program that rewards people for continuing to do business with a company.
- Personalization (abandoned cart, behavioral targeting/recommendation engine, campaign segmentation/experience management, content analytics, and website personalization) – These tools help make the customer experience more personal, along with the tools to manage what’s working and what’s not, and recommendations for types of targeting to consider.
Numerous technology providers play in this space. Our technology taxonomy also will drill into vendors in this space and the capabilities they offer, while our research participants will rate the providers they use. Among the CEM providers included in the taxonomy:
- Bright Pattern
- Client Heartbeat
- LiveChat Software
- Live Engage
- Loyalty Deals
- Preferred Market Solutions
- Rant & Rave
- Reach Local
- Relay Network