Customers are the backbone of your company. After all, you could not stay in business long if they stopped buying from you. Despite (or perhaps because of) their necessity, customers can be frustratingly difficult. Their needs and wants are constantly changing, as are the channels and devices they choose to interact with you. Where once customers appreciated anonymity, they now want you to "read their minds" about what they want from you. Where they once appreciated notices of sales or special events, many now view text or email blasts as annoying intrusions.
Customers want to be engaged, but they want a greater amount of control over the process than in the past. They want you to provide them with content, but only the content they want to see and at the time they want to see it. They expect the same consistent experience across every channel, even as they continue to drive a blurring of the lines between digital and physical domains.
In other words, your customers want contextual engagement. They want you to provide content to them that is meaningful when their behavior, past history, method of access and location are considered.
Sitecore has the functionality to allow you to engage customers in an anticipatory and contextual manner. Start with the Sitecore context class. Sitecore can use a variety of sources to determine the proper context, and the actions taken can be different for internal and external users. By leveraging the power of Sitecore analytics, you can truly get to know your customers to create a personalized experience for each.
The engagement automation feature enables cross-channel coordination of the customer's experience. It also deals with activities that occur at different times. The feature can be used to automatically initiate an action in one channel based on the customer's actions in a different channel. For example, if a customer used a smartphone to check availability of an item without making a purchase, you could deliver information about alternative products when the customer used a desktop computer to visit your site.
The inline experience management tool in Sitecore is another way that the software can help you engage your customers. You can establish customer personas and even create profile cards to define each persona. Based on personas, content can be manipulated or managed inline for a sleek, seamless experience. You can also use business rules to define the actions. In addition, you can use the same tool to set up inline A/B or multivariate testing on a web page.
Sitecore's engagement analytics includes a qualitative metric called engagement value that can help you measure the performance of your social channels as well as your marketing campaigns. Because each organization can configure engagement value differently, you can tailor it for whatever KPI will be most useful to you. You can assign weight and score outcomes to provide insights on the level of customer engagement or commitment.
One problem that some solutions have is that they are too complex for users who lack strong technical skills. Sitecore, however, has made things easier for users to understand. The incorporated functionality makes Sitecore accessible without making it less powerful.
Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time is the best way to enhance customer engagement. Engaged customers are more likely to be converted from first-time browser to new customer. Current customers can be encouraged to make additional purchases or try new products or offers that are personalized especially for them.
In the future, it is highly unlikely that customers are going to willingly relinquish the control over how they interact with your business. They will continue to demand multichannel engagement and contextual content. Companies that can deliver what customers want, when they want it and in the manner they want should be rewarded with increased revenue and a more loyal customer base.