Empathe’tech Growth: How businesses can leverage a SaaS-based approach to drive superior customer engagement
A lack of personalisation can, potentially, hurt engagement and impact brand perception, acquisition/retention, and market performance. This is where SaaS-based integrated communication platforms step into the fray to assist online businesses to manage their customer interactions across channels
When we were young, we were taught certain ‘Universal Truths’ – facts that remain immutable regardless of who states it, or where, or when. The Sun, for instance, always rises in the East and sets in the West. Pure water is always colourless, odourless, and tasteless. Night follows day and vice versa even if, in some instances, the transition can take months.
There are also Universal Truths in the business world. For instance, the customer is king and always right. Similarly, the modern consumer doesn’t need traditional customer service anymore. They can find the answers they need online, and if your business can’t or won’t help them the way they want — quickly and conversationally, without forcing them to wait on hold — they know that there’s another option out there that will. Another immutable truth here is that businesses can only deliver on these customer expectations by embracing digital capabilities. In this sense the last Universal Truth is the need for digital transformation in order to engage with their customers, with precision and accuracy, at all times. No enterprise – emerging or established, in any sector – can escape this quandary if they want to drive long-term growth and scale.
Why? Because modern-day customers across age groups are moving away from purchasing a product or service. Instead, they are buying into the experience, engagement, and satisfaction that a brand offers. They want to be heard, understood, and acknowledged – and businesses that can satisfy this demand most effectively will reap the maximum benefits.
But while all this may sound simple enough, achieving it can be a herculean task.
Contextual, omnichannel, personalised: The new customer engagement paradigm
People assert their digital identities differently across different channels and also like to interact with brands across multiple touchpoints. However, they want these interactions to be consistent and contextual, while being optimally suited to their preferred channels. For instance, Twitter facilitates swift information dissemination through short-form text and threads while Instagram prioritises the sharing of Reels, Stories, images, etc.
This becomes a big challenge for brands as, for optimal engagement, they must strike a fine balance between communication consistency and format-specific customisation. I call this ‘the challenge of persona reconciliation’.
Now, if an online brand caters to just a handful of customers, it may technically be possible to achieve personality reconciliation, with some effort.However, as its operational scale grows, it becomes exponentially harder to manage different customer personas while maintaining a high level of personalisation and engagement – to the point that it becomes impossible.
The result? A lack of personalisation can, potentially, hurt engagement and impact brand perception, acquisition/retention, and market performance. A 2020 survey by Infobip revealed that 74% of the surveyed users felt that brand communication in the digital space lacked a personalised, human touch. Almost half (47%) ignored campaigns that they thought insincere, while a less-than-satisfactory engagement experience led 21% of customers across all age groups to gravitate towards other brands.
Brands, therefore, can no longer rely on the ‘one size fits all’ approach and use the same strategy to drive maximum engagement across platforms. This is where SaaS-based integrated communication platforms step into the fray to assist online businesses to manage their customer interactions across channels.
Personalisation at scale: Why online brands need SaaS-based tools to drive engagement
While SaaS offers a variety of advantages namely accessibility, compatibility, and operational management, SaaS models offer lower upfront costs than traditional software download and installation, making them more available to a wider range of businesses, and easier for smaller companies to disrupt existing markets.
Adopting SaaS solutions for customer engagement has multiple specific benefits – the foremost of which has to be the hyper-personalization of marketing campaigns. Using AI-driven intelligent algorithms and advanced analytics, these solutions analyze historical and real-time data to help brands categorize their customers into different persona buckets. These persona buckets are essential to identifying three aspects: their past behaviour, the triggers they respond to, and changes in behavioral patterns.
Why is it important? Because it helps in understanding the customers’ needs and context at a granular level. Modern customers are hyper-aware when they are being sold to, and they do not appreciate campaigns that reduce them to mere “users” who are devoid of personality and individuality. SaaS-based engagement solutions can help online brands bridge this gap by speaking to their customers’ stated and unstated requirements, preferences, and sensibilities by using cross-channel orchestration.
For instance, they can help online brands deploy event-based campaigns that initiate customer interactions when specific triggers (such as cart abandonment or wishlist addition) are activated. Moreover, AI/ML-driven algorithms can identify the best time,format, channel, and message to begin such an interaction.This, in turn, maximizes the probability, quality, and efficacy of the engagement by personalizing the context and making the customer feel valued.
But the benefits of adopting a SaaS-based approach, for online brands, extend beyond hyper-personalization. AI-enabled self-service chatbots and Contact Centre-as-a-Service (CCaaS), for instance, can allow customers to get their queries addressed at their point of need (website, social media platforms, messaging apps, etc.). This, on the one hand, enhances the individual’s customer experience whilst, on the other, lays the ground-work to build a seamless and robust 24/7 support ecosystem that is accessible and available, near-instantaneously, to all customers.
The impact of hyper-personalized, contextual engagement was highlighted in a recent Deloitte report, which noted that 80% of surveyed customers preferred brands that deliver personalized experiences. A similar percentage was willing to recommend a brand to family and friends if they felt emotionally engaged. In essence, not only were they more likely to purchase from a brand that engaged them but were also motivated to proactively become its evangelists and promote it through word-of-mouth.
Time, channel, content, and context – all of these factors are crucial to ensuring the maximum effectiveness and efficacy of an engagement campaign. Hence, integrating advanced customer engagement solutions is no longer an option but a critical business imperative for modern digital-first businesses looking to boost their bottomline and unlock optimal RoIs.
Authored by Harsha Solanki, Managing Director – India, Bangladesh, SriLanka & Nepal, Infobip