We get it, you probably have questions about customer engagement.  So, to help give some clarity and reduce any uncertainty you may have, here are some answers to help you on your way to more valuable customer relationships.

Q – What is Customer Engagement?

Answer: At Thunderhead, we have defined it as an on-going, value driven relationship between a customer and a business, which is consciously motivated according to the customer’s reasons and choices.

Q - How can I start my Customer Engagement program when I don’t have a single customer view?

Customers today have a plethora of ways in which to interact with your brand. And because of this, you are likely to have multiple data records in lots of places for each and every one of them. Therefore, it can be challenging to get that connected, single customer view. But not anymore.

Answer: At Thunderhead we effortlessly bring customer data and records together from across all your systems and combine that with customer journey-based behavioural insights. Providing you with a unified single view of your customers delivered through our ONE Engagement Hub (ONE) – the only true Customer Engagement platform in the world. ONE then takes these insights and helps you to deliver a connected, continuous and personalised experience throughout every customer journey.

Q - Isn’t Customer Engagement really complicated?

Maybe you don’t know where to start or you need people from other departments to get involved. Maybe you think you need IT to help integrate new systems, or perhaps you simply feel that you don’t have the budget, time or in-house skills.

Answer: In truth, it’s not difficult, time consuming or even that complicated. Our ONE Engagement Hub (ONE) is a cloud solution that can be implemented quickly and easily. All of this without the need for coding or ‘techy’ know-how, it’s been designed so that anyone can use it with very little fuss. ONE complements and scales with the systems you already have in place, providing an engagement layer that connects your business’s communication silos online, on the mobile app, in person or at the call centre.

Q - How can I start my Customer Engagement program when no one person in my business is responsible for owning the customer?

In the age of the customer, it goes without saying that there can be many stakeholders spanning marketing, sales, service and e-commerce divisions all of whom hold a direct relationship with the customer and have a part to play in their journey. So any attempt to create an ‘ultimate customer champion’ is tricky as everyone needs to be involved. So, what do you do?

Answer: Given that every single person in your business owns the customer relationship in one form or another it doesn’t matter who leads the way, the important thing is that someone does, becomes the customer champion and directs the other stakeholders forward. It’s time to stop passing ultimate ownership of the customer around like a hot potato. If you make a start, everyone will follow, we promise.

Q - Why should I elevate our Customer Engagement program when I have ‘more important’ priorities?

You think there are other things you need to sort out first – your website, CRM, CMS… There’s always a backlog of other priorities. The list goes on and on.

Answer: But instead of re-building your website and CRM processes in the hope of meeting your customer’s expectations, why not listen to them first, understand their journeys and then build the relevant infrastructure and experiences around them? You might surprise yourselves, with these extra insights you may even change the direction of those projects for the better. And yes, our ONE Engagement Hub (ONE) can help you do this.

Q - How can I start my Customer Engagement program when all my business silos are disjointed?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Over the years, businesses have done a sterling job, investing in and implementing technologies such as CRM, analytics platforms, campaign management, social listening tools, the list goes on… designed to help manage the customer.

Here lies the issue, unfortunately no one had the forethought to design these systems to effortlessly speak to each other, thus creating an entirely channelled and fragmented view of the customer, contained within each system. So yes, joining up these business and technology silos does sound fanciful… but there is a way.

Answer: Our cloud-based ONE Engagement Hub (ONE) has been designed specifically to easily integrate with your current systems, processes and data records. It’s incredibly flexible with pre-built CRM integrations and API’s designed to quickly connect all your organisational silos, it really is as simple as that.

But don’t feel as though you need to join everything up at once, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever be 100% ready to go all in from the start. In truth, you can easily make big strides by starting small, joining up your web channels to your CRM, immediately helping you understand your customers a whole lot better. The rest will follow…

Q - How can I start my Customer Engagement program when my business struggles to put the customer first?

Surprisingly, this is not uncommon. Many organisations are so wrapped up in their own agenda that they often overlook a simple truth: (happy) customers are the lifeblood to success. Long term profitability and growth of any business depends on it.

With your competitors vying for a piece of the pie, a strong customer-first culture is essential in achieving long-term relationships, helping your business keep its finger on the customer pulse.

Answer: ONE will pull your customers into focus and trigger results quickly. When the value of true Customer Engagement is seen, other company stakeholders will open their eyes to its potential and take inspiration, from which point a real customer driven culture will start to flourish.

Q - Isn’t a Customer Engagement solution too expensive for most brands?

Integrating new technologies, especially ones designed to affect multiple departments, silos, customer channels and touchpoints sounds big, expensive and usually sits within the sphere of big SI and IT projects.

Answer: Technology has evolved with the arrival of SaaS (Software as a Service) and ONE optimises this tech revolution. With our ONE Engagement Hub (ONE) you can easily run pilots that will yield instant results and quickly prove value that can be built on over time. With ONE, you’ll start to see the value of Customer Engagement in a matter of weeks.

Q - How can I start my Customer Engagement program when we don’t have the technical in-house expertise?

The thought of using a Customer Engagement solution may sound daunting if you don’t have IT, data, digital and customer journey knowledge at your team’s disposal. Fortunately, you won’t need to.

Answer: Our ONE Engagement Hub (ONE) was built for the end user, that means you! You don’t need to be a code loving IT geek with two engineering masters from MIT. Far from it, you and your team can use ONE with ease. We’re also going to help you along your journey. We have a crack-team of engagement experts that will be there every step of the way to build your strategy and plan your path to true Customer Engagement.

Q - Why should we bother with Customer Engagement when we already doing a great job?

Maybe you think your current tools paint a pretty clear picture of your customers and you understand all there is to understand about them. You’ve got tools for online analytics and personalisation, you’ve got a CRM system and some social listening tools, so why on earth do you need another system on top?

And maybe you already feel you have a good idea of your customer journeys because you’ve invested a lot of time, effort and resource into customer journey mapping?

Well, you’ve made a good start but there’s still a gap. The tools you have were not designed to provide a unified omni-channel view of your customers across all touchpoints. And we bet they weren’t designed to personalise every interaction based on that insight.

You’ll also be finding that customer journey mapping is very resource-intensive and a huge effort, a bit like painting the Forth Road Bridge, by the time you’ve finished mapping out all the journeys the insight you’ll get from them would be out-of-date. Your customers will have already moved in a different direction while you’re stuck with a rear-view mirror of what they were doing. So if you keep on using traditional customer journey mapping, you’ll never catch up with your customers.

Answer: Our One Engagement Hub (ONE) is different; it places the customer at the very heart of what it's listening too. In doing so ONE enables a brand to understand the context of each and every customer interaction in a way that's shared and standardised across the different technologies and silos so the entire journey is understood by the entire organisation. It doesn't replace your existing tools, it simply adds an insight layer on top that recognises customer intent, desire and needs, enabling the business to respond to them appropriately.

ONE is also different because it gives you a complete view of true customer journeys in real-time, so you’re walking with them and understanding their real behaviour as it happens. You can follow in the steps of individuals, or zoom out to see a complete omni-channel view of all journeys and where they relate to each other. So, you can move on from the huge effort of journey mapping with real-time true journey analytics.

And ONE doesn’t stop there, it uses these insights to deliver relevant and personalised experiences to your customers in real-time.

Q - Isn’t Customer Engagement just the same as CRM, which I’ve already got?

Answer: Despite sophisticated CRM systems, processes and teams, it’s fair to say brands have struggled throughout the decades to manage their customer relationships, forever trying to keep pace with the constantly changing needs and demands of the customer landscape.

Thunderhead was founded on the central idea that all the accumulated insight and intelligence in CRM was of little value unless you could leverage it to reach your customers in a personal and relevant way, and in the way that they wanted, to build stronger more engaged relationships.

In the always-connected mobile and social world of today, real-time context is the key driver and shaper of interactions, and increasingly determines the value of those interactions.

This simultaneously presents a challenge and an opportunity for businesses to build deeper and more lasting relationships with their customers, focusing on the creation of value at every interaction and building true engagement.

At Thunderhead, we are spearheading the Engagement Agenda. Our ONE Engagement Hub enables businesses to build valuable relationships with truly engaged customers.

The CRM system as a system-of-record can’t meet the needs of the bigger task of Customer Engagement. It can form an important layer which sits beneath an engagement layer like Thunderhead’s ONE Engagement Hub. ONE moves businesses beyond the limits of CRM, marketing automation, campaign management and other sub-optimised silos and systems. This means businesses can now extend the value of their systems of record to deliver engaged relationships, loyal customer advocates, brand strength and increased customer lifetime value.

Q - Isn’t Customer Engagement just another way of saying Customer Experience (CX)?

Answer: CX is the perception your customers have of their interactions with your brand. It is interaction-based and is a sub-set of Customer Engagement. A customer could spend many minutes happily interacting with a brand through a variety of touchpoints, each experience taking them closer to their end goal. Within one transaction, or interaction, a customer may perceive they are satisfied. However, all it takes is one negative experience to damage the memory of the entire experience and the association with the brand, which ultimately leads to a disengaged customer.

Customer Engagement provides a broader context for how to drive value for your brand and for your customers. Understanding the customer journey is a source of more value than looking at any separate, individual experiences along that journey. Focusing on individual experiences at isolated points of interaction (CX) will not lead to a value-driven ongoing relationship that meets the expectations of the customer. Many businesses have focused on the performance of specific touchpoints to try and improve customer experience. As journeys happen over time and over multiple touchpoints, McKinsey and Co*. have shown that focusing on the journey – interactions over time and multiple touchpoints – has greater impact on business performance. Journey performance has a 30%-40% greater impact on customer satisfaction than touchpoint performance. Journey performance has a 20%-30% greater impact on value and business outcomes than touchpoint performance.

At the core of Customer Engagement is the principle of measuring customer experience at the whole journey level as opposed to looking only at transactional touchpoints. Customer Engagement goes beyond managing the experience at touch points to include all the ways companies motivate customers to invest in an on-going relationship with a product or brand.

*Source – Harvard Business Review, McKinsey and Co: https://hbr.org/2013/09/the-truth-about-customer-experience

TRUE CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT WITHOUT THE DRAMA – YOUR PRACTICAL GUIDE

Grab a coffee or a cuppa and a piece of cake (that’s how easy it is) and follow our 4 step guide to achieving true Customer Engagement; we’ll have you up and running in a matter of weeks.

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