Five Key Strategies for Digital-First Engagement

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Five Key Strategies for Digital-First Engagement

When there’s an app for everything, how do businesses stand out?

Brands face increasing competition for keeping customers engaged on a crowded digital landscape. And in a world where a consumer’s first interaction with a brand will most likely occur online, companies have no choice but to reach out to digital-first consumers.

Here, we’ll look at core strategies for keeping customers engaged.

Create a Unified Front

Before developing a sophisticated user interface or app, the entire organization must be on board with efforts to improve customer engagement. If you start with an IT-centric approach, you’re setting up silos of different strategies that won’t mesh into a cohesive strategy. The core of success is having a unified front from an organizational standpoint.

Simply put, when mapping out a strategy, make sure you have the right people in the room. This includes the digital marketing agency representative, the online digital team, customer support leaders, and top-level executives to rally the various teams together. Selecting the right vendor can wait, what’s more important is getting the necessary leaders and departments behind the initiative.

Communicate Effectively

Each team holds information about the customer that may benefit other teams, but legacy systems and databases make it difficult to align those insights. At the same time, not everyone needs access to the same data. Appointing a specialist to act as a liaison between teams is a quick solution to increasing collaboration.

Companies should also begin working on a long-term solution for fostering collaboration and sharing data more efficiently. Establishing protocols for adopting new platforms to avoid creating unnecessary silos can help, for instance. Additionally, implementing a master identifier makes it easier to track customer data across channels. A journey ID, for example, helps consolidate all the information you have about a certain customer and that will be useful for personalizing the experience.

Give Customers What They Want

While companies were once focused on driving app downloads, savvy app developers have realized that continued app engagement is more important in the long run. Over the past five years, there’s been a big shift from pushing app downloads to engaging current users. The emphasis is less on acquisition and more on driving conversions.

Reports have shown that about 80 percent of consumers will only use an app once. It’s the other 20 percent that companies should pay more attention to. What we’re hearing from companies is, ‘we want to invest in a really good experience for the 10 percent to 20 percent of people who actually use our app instead of worrying about the ones who rarely use it.’ Therefore, feedback surveys and other efforts to identify what customers want in an app or other products are critical.

Facebook is Not Your Friend

Be wary of relying on third-party platforms to engage customers. Although it’s important to have a presence on platforms with enormous reach, like Facebook and other social media sites, remember that these are ultimately businesses. There’s an ongoing debate about whether brands should create communities on Facebook, because it’s not a true community if brands don’t have control over the interactions. Facebook is great in many ways, but it’s not your friend. The ultimate goal of the marketer is to convert customers. Social media interactions are an important part of the customer engagement, but it’s not the end goal. If you’re not also bringing customers to your site and trying to upsell or convert them directly, you’re doing a disservice to your marketing strategy. 

Provide a Clear Value Exchange

Most consumers today understand that brands ask for personal information like email addresses and phone numbers to continue the relationship. But consumers will be more likely to share information if there is a clear value exchange. People still get nervous about sharing their information, so explaining how sharing the information can benefit them and that you’re not in the business of selling their data can put a lot of your customers at ease.

Digital engagement can mean a lot of things, from marketing to first-time customers on a website to solving an issue through online chat. Regardless of the channel, the best companies strive to create a consistent and reliable brand experience. Smart companies are thinking of how to break down barriers to create a consistent experience. It’s not a radical concept, but keep in mind that if you’re not thinking this way, your competitors are.


David James is Director of Marketing at Humanify.

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Mike Betzer

Chief Executive Officer

Mike Betzer knows customers and he knows what they want. For his entire career, he has been focused on helping brands communicate with customers the way customers want to communicate with brands.

For 14 years, Mike played a key role in building the sales and service capabilities at MCI including the Friends and Family campaign for 20,000 plus associates. After leaving MCI in 1999 Mike became a serial entrepreneur. He has started multiple companies, as founder and CEO, and has sold a company to Siebel/Oracle and a company Lithium Technologies.

Everything he has done has been around customer experience and customer engagement. And now, as the demands on interactions are changing due to new channels of communications and new competitive demands Mike is leading Humanify to provide technology that will empower brands to deliver engaging relationships with customers on their terms.

Mike lives in Austin, Texas with his wife of 30 years. Their two boys are now grown and chasing their own adventures. Mike holds BA and MBA degrees from The University of Northern Iowa and St. Edwards University respectively.


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Ed Margulies

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Ed Margulies finds joy in industry disruption. For more than 35 years, Ed played pivotal leadership roles at Oracle, Telephony@Work, Dialogic, and CMP Media where he not only witnessed but architected transformative contact center technologies that paved the way for today’s cloud-based technologies.

Two of Ed’s last ventures resulted in successful acquisitions. Oracle acquired Telephony@Work while Ed served as COO and Five9 acquired SoCoCare – an early leader in social customer service technologies.

As a prolific technical writer, Ed has published 18 books encompassing cloud-based technologies, speech recognition, human factor engineering, usability, and computer telephony integration (CTI). He penned the “CT Periscope” column for Computer Telephony Magazine and has written columns for Speech Technology Magazine.

Ed’s passion for technology is equally matched as a founder of a non-profit animal rescue organization in central Texas where he lives with his wife of 20 years plus a literal barnyard of animals including a llama, chickens, donkeys, sheep, goats and a brave barn cat.


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Jeff Gossman

Vice President of Global Sales

Jeff Gossman has spent his career focused on innovation around leadership development, process improvement and technologies that improve customer and employee experiences.

As Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Humanify he is responsible for overseeing direct and partner sales for Humanify solutions.

Prior to joining Humanify in July of 2014, Jeff was Vice President of Marketing for ClickFox Inc., an innovative Big Data Customer Experience Analytics solution. At ClickFox, Jeff worked with Fortune 500 companies in harnessing the power of big data to better understand and transform customer journeys. Before joining ClickFox, Jeff led global pre-sales support for Convergys Interaction Solutions. Jeff has also owned and operated a contact center consulting, project management business as well as managed large customer service organizations at Dish Network, StarTek Inc. and MCI Communications. 

Jeff lives in Westminster, CO and enjoys spending time outdoors and traveling with his family. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Iowa.


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Dave Johnson

Chief Technology Officer

David is a pioneer in the ‘Software as a Service’ and ‘On Demand’ computing industry. He has over 14 years of product development and operations experience building and managing hosted multi-channel customer communications and customer support applications. At Humanify, David is responsible for leading the cloud operations, architecture and engineering teams with a mission to be a world-class ‘Software as a Service’ provider.

Prior to joining Humanify, David was a Senior Director at Oracle where he managed several product development and operation teams within the Service Cloud product area including Oracle’s ‘Contact On Demand’ and Call Center ‘Anywhere’ product. His 12 year tenure with Oracle includes employment with the acquired Oracle companies of Siebel Systems and Ineto Services, where he was co-founder with Mike Betzer. David’s early career includes various product development, engineering and operations management positions at MCI, Bernstein & Associates and AK Steel.

David lives in Colorado Springs with his wife and son. He is an avid mountain biker, amateur photographer and loyal Pittsburgh sports fan. He holds a BS degree in Computer Science from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. 


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Sreeni Alakkapan

Vice President, Customer Success

Sreeni Alakkapan is a software industry veteran with over 16 years of experience building products and software that use technology in innovate ways to solve challenging problems. As VP of Engineering, Sreeni leads Humanify’s onshore and offshore Engineering teams and is responsible for software product development and delivery of the hosted solutions.

Prior to Humanify, Sreeni served as Executive Director of Engineering at Teletech and oversaw all aspects of the Product function including development, quality assurance, support, and training for the InterApp Communication Engine division. Before that Sreeni worked at Empirix as Senior Manager of Software Engineering and managed the development and delivery of their Enterprise Testing and Monitoring platforms including Analytics. He has also worked at many world class organizations like ING, West Corporation where he had successfully led diversified and dispersed software development teams. 

Sreeni lives in Westford, MA, a suburb of Boston where he enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids. Sreeni holds a BS in Computer Science from Madurai Kamaraj University, India and MS in Computer Science from University of Houston.


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Bruce Sharpe

Vice President of Architecture

Bruce Sharpe, a seasoned technologist with over 30 years focusing on innovative solutions to solve customer needs. As Vice President Architecture, Bruce leads the creation of innovative capabilities for Humanify and works closely with Product Management, Cloud Operations and Engineering to drive Humanify’s Expertconnect SaaS solution suite and services.

Prior to Humanify, Bruce held an Executive Director Architecture & Development position reporting directly to the CTO for TeleTech Holdings, one of the world’s largest customer relationship management companies. There Bruce helped pioneer their centralized technology centers through technologies such as; Avaya and Cisco ACD’s, Aspect Workforce, Jive social platform, At Home expert connectivity, speech analytics, social CRM, VOIP communications, to name a few. These pioneering technology centers have elevated TeleTech to remain as one of the biggest companies in the industry.

Bruce started his career as an electrical engineer working for companies like StorageTek and MCI Worldcom, later transitioning into architecture and development for customer relationship management for Red Lion Double Tree Hotels, TicketMaster and TeleTech. 

Bruce lives in Aurora, CO and spends his free time with his wife and children hiking, exploring and in search for the world’s best hamburger. Bruce hold a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, holds 13 awarded and 16 pending patents focused on product, services and support of customers.


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Don Roedner

Vice President of Marketing

Marketing ultimately boils down to effective storytelling, and Don Roedner is all about crafting stories that bring together buyers and sellers in mutually satisfying ways.

During his 20-year B2B tech marketing career Don has gotten inside the heads of audiences in IT, marketing, sales and customer care, and passionately communicated the value of solutions as diverse as developer tools and middleware, web publishing and customer community.

Six years at Pluck gave Don a front row seat to the greatest show on earth. He was privileged to watch – and help to shape – the responses of some of the world’s leading brands to the Web’s profound transfer of power from brand to consumer. That show is still in its first act, and Don is thrilled to tell the Humanify story to farseeing market leaders.

A Boston native, Don has lived in Austin for 10 years with his wife and 10-year old daughter, both native Texans. He’s grateful that his older daughter, Boston-born, shares his love of the Sox and Patriots. Don has degrees from Michigan State University and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. 


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As a recognized leader in technology-enabled revenue generation solutions, Revana helps top brands navigate and profit from change. Through every channel we touch – online, social, mobile – and with every program we deliver, we combine experience and innovation to amplify results. Built on an integrated, data-driven, scalable framework, Revana enables dramatic and sustainable growth. We combine data analytics with technology in an end-to-end sales and marketing solution that adapts to customers’ changing needs and breaks through the clutter.


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CafeX creates software that makes it simple for companies to transform digital engagement. CafeX powers contextual collaboration for websites and mobile applications in an Omnichannel environment and enhances emerging WebRTC technology to create seamless in-app communication experiences across device platforms.


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eLoyalty, a wholly owned subsidiary of TeleTech Holdings, Inc., is recognized industry-wide for 25 years in transforming customer management environments for a wide variety of multinational clients across a variety of industries. eLoyalty has unparalleled experience and qualifications with managed on-premises and cloud multichannel contact center solutions, as well as virtual store and branch integration. Organizations that require advanced voice, data, and multichannel technologies integrated with customer experience strategy turn to eLoyalty for consulting and professional services, systems integration, application development, monitoring, managed services, and transformational customer experience solutions.


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Mutual Mobile is an emerging tech agency that builds breakthrough products for a more connected world. By finding the sweet spot between technologies, people, and brands, Mutual Mobile unleashes previously impossible value.


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Photon is the world’s largest and fastest growing provider of omnichannel and digital experiences. Photon works with over 34% of the Fortune 100 as their digital innovation partner of choice and has the largest digital consumer footprint with over 150mn daily consumer touchpoints. Photon has the largest pool of omnichannel engineers with over 3,600 engineers across offices in the US, India, Indonesia and the Netherlands.


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Salesforce, the Customer Success Platform and world’s #1 CRM, empowers companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way.


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Herve Danzelaud

Vice President, Business Development and Alliances

Herve Danzelaud has spent the last 15 years building technology and distribution partner ecosystems in CRM, Cloud, Mobile and API markets.

As Vice President of Business Development and Alliances he is responsible for building out and managing a network of technology and service providers that leverage Humanify’s Customer Journey Orchestration (CJO) platform to deliver next-generation customer engagement solutions.

Prior to joining Humanify Herve was Director of Alliances at Twilio, the leading provider of Communication Infrastructure APIs, with more than a million developers. Herve drove Twilio’s OEM strategy in the customer care vertical, working with market-leading software providers like Zendesk, LiveOps, NewVoiceMedia, ServiceNow and Talkdesk to re-invent customer care. Before joining Twilio, Herve was Vice President of Alliances at Good Technology. There he designed and scaled the Good Dynamics Developer Program, a mobile containerization SDK leveraged by Salesforce.com, Microsoft, DocuSign, Box, MicroStrategy and 45 other partners to deliver secure mobile applications on Android and iOS.

Herve started his technology career at Siebel Systems and led the creation of Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud AppExchange and recruitment of its first partners.

Herve lives in Portland, OR and enjoys spending time travelling with his family, antique shopping and discovering the Portland food scene. He holds a MBA from University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business.


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