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<p>Source: <a href="https://business.softonic.com/customer-service-crm/customer-engagement-software#top-list" target="_blank">Customer Engagement Market Research</a>, Crozdesk</p>

Best Customer Engagement Software in 2018

To build a strong relationship with customers, businesses need to engage them on multiple communication channels and keep the conversation going. Customer engagement software makes the job easy for SMEs by providing them tools for social media monitoring, email marketing, content marketing, customer data collection and analysis. In the end, this helps businesses personalize their marketing communications and improve the quality of customer service.  Read the full software guide...


Customer Engagement Software Guide

What is Customer Engagement Software?

Customer engagement, in essence, is the means by which a brand establishes a connection or relationship with its customer base in an effort to cultivate brand loyalty and awareness.

Simply put, customer engagement is the extent of the relationship that a customer has with a specific brand or organization. It is the emotional connection between the two parties, the consumer and the brand. This connection is beneficial as an engaged customer will purchase more of the brand’s products and/or services, they will promote it more to colleagues and friends, and they will demonstrate more loyalty further down the road.

Customer engagement is typically accomplished through effective marketing campaigns, engaging and relevant content posted to websites and other social channels, and outreach programs implemented by the brand via mobile and wearable devices, social media, and other creative methods.

In the context of business marketing, a brand’s relationship with its customers normally begins at the moment the customer makes their first purchase, installs an app, or signs up for a service provided by the business. For some organizations, however, that relationship starts the moment a prospective customer visits a website.

There are four key characteristics that determine a highly engaged customer base. The fact of the matter is customer engagement takes a wide variety of forms, but each of these four core characteristics represents a behavior of highly engaged consumers.

First off, engaged customers are purchasers. It is perhaps the most obvious trait of an engaged customer. They patronize the brand and continue to pay for its products and/or services.

Secondly, engaged customers are also evangelists—they willfully serve as an unofficial spokesperson for the brand—referring it to their family, friends, and colleagues.

Thirdly, an engaged customer base responds and communicates with the brand, providing valuable insights to help the business prosper and grow.

Finally, engaged customers are loyal to the brand they follow. Unlike most traditional purchasers, loyal customers tend to stick to a single brand in a particular category. This is ultimately the main goal of customer engagement—building a loyal consumer base.


Types of Customer Engagement Software

The main purpose of customer engagement is to build and strengthen customer loyalty. The ultimate goal here is to retain as many customers as possible, leading them on a journey toward loyalty and evangelism.

However, achieving this ultimate goal is not easy and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort, and effective strategies to build a strong relationship with a customer base. This is where customer engagement software solutions come in.

There are many different types of customer engagement tools available, each one intended to help drive customers to complete core actions that deliver a lasting impact on the brand. It all begins with understanding your target demographic, your target audience, and the tools available at your disposal.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software

Customer relationship management software, otherwise known as CRM software, is a business process solution that allows organizations to quickly and easily manage their relationships with customers including the information normally associated with them in a web-based data center.

Modern CRM solutions are designed to integrate and automate three core functions: customer support, marketing, and sales. To effectively perform such tasks, the CRM software has to collect and store important customer data, which includes customer accounts, contact details, customer history, past sales, and previous marketing endeavors. As such, CRM platforms generally come with features and capabilities for customer engagement.

Social media management software

The main reason businesses and organizations create and maintain a social media profile is for customer engagement. More than anywhere else in this day and age, customer engagement occurs on social media networks.

By using social media-based software, businesses and organizations will be able to manage customer engagements on popular social media platforms. This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more on one fully integrated dashboard.

Marketing and personalization software

Whether a company operates as a business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), or a combination of both, a good marketing software solution can effectively facilitate the automation process in an effort to increase revenue.

With consistent and effective digital marketing, brands will be able to stay relevant in the minds of their target customers. They will be able to attract more buyers as well as personalize their offerings and outreach to meet the needs of each individual consumer.

Live chat software

Live chat applications have a variety of functions. They are typically used to provide tech support to customers, communicate with teammates with collaborative tasks, provide answers to customer queries, and to engage with website visitors in real-time.

This type of function allows brands to communicate or engage visitors to their website—visitors who could potentially become paying customers. A live chat function is essentially a tool for engagement, with the visitor having the option to use the live chat button to start a conversation with an actual brand representative.


How to Choose Customer Engagement Software

Choosing the right customer engagement software solution can be a difficult and time-consuming process. But, it does help to have a complete checklist to guide you in finding a software solution that fits your business processes.

When you’re conducting your research on the top customer engagement software solutions available on the market, it might be good to consider these key categories to make sure you find the most ideal platform based on the needs of your company.

Consider the specific vendor or service provider

While doing your research on different customer engagement software solutions, you might as well try to look up the vendor or service provider and see whether or not they have adequate experience in your specific industry.

You should also take into account the reputation of the vendor as a quality provider. When choosing any software solution, make sure you go with a reputable software provider. One good way of doing this is to read customer reviews and comments online about the vendor.

Customizability and flexibility

Another factor that needs to be taken into account when picking out customer engagement software is the customizability and flexibility of the solution. Does the platform allow for customization, specifically the creation of custom reports? Does it have a rich database of custom templates?

Additionally, you should determine whether or not the platform or the vendor offers dashboard customization, especially if that particular feature is important to your organization. Custom knowledge management, database customization, custom functions support, and personalized customer interaction are factors you should also carefully consider when choosing customer engagement software.

Scalability and resources/support availability

Scalability is crucial for any organization when it comes to software solutions, especially when the company or business is growing at a relatively fast pace. For this reason, you want a software solution that is quick and easy to scale in terms of features and capabilities. The platform has to be able to match the needs and demands of the company’s day-to-day processes.

The availability of critical resources and support are also important. Check if the vendor or service provider offers 24/7 support, as well as if they provide dedicated support personnel for urgent issues your team might encounter regarding their software. Is there phone and chat support available from the vendor? These are things you have to consider when choosing customer engagement software.


Benefits of Customer Engagement Software

Customer engagement is, and has always been, a crucial element for a lot of businesses. Even before the existence of software solutions designed for customer engagement, the concept has always been at the forefront of the marketing efforts of most organizations.

In the past though, customer engagement was essentially a one-way communication model. With the advent of the internet, customer engagement has transformed into a two-way interaction between the brand and it's target customers.

A customer engagement software solution serves as a bridge, a tool, that allows businesses to interact with their target audience in an effort to build and nurture a lasting relationship founded on trust and loyalty.

If a brand wants to build a loyal following, it has to be able to engage and interact with its customer base. A good customer engagement software solution can facilitate the process to make it more efficient, cost-effective, and simple.


Common Features of Customer Engagement

API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Calendar Management Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.
Call Tracking Track which of your online and offline marketing efforts are successfully generating calls.
Chat Live text chat with customers, website visitors, mobile contacts and others.
Click-to-Dial Dial telephone numbers with one click.
Customer Management Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.
Dashboard Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.
Data Export Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.
Data Import Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.
Data Visualization Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
Forecasting Forecast upcoming expenses, sales, revenue, user levels, etc. through the use of predictive methods and past data.
Lead Management Manage business leads to improve sales outreach processes or stay on top of prospect inquiries.
Lead Scoring Manually or automatically assign quality scores to business leads to target / segment sales outreach efforts.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Net Promoter Score The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a tool that can be used to gauge the loyalty of a firm's customer relationships.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.
Scheduling Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.

Latest User Reviews of Customer Engagement

SurveyMonkey
Mark Jameson, Freelance Graphic Designer - Self-employed
"Survey software with great design and dash..."

Survey software with great design and dashboard functionality, it is by far the most ...

LiveChat
Mark Jameson, Freelance Graphic Designer - Self-employed
"Greater than a chat app"

It has an easy setup, with a nice design and easy helpdesk features, you can use it w...

ActiveCampaign
James Meincke, Marketing - Women in Sales
"One of the best automation platforms for s..."

I've been using ActiveCampaign for a few years now, and I love it. We switched from M...

Adoric
Maor Raichman, -
"So good!"

Adoric has an amazing to create and manage popups. -All the triggers and events need...