Elevating Customer Engagement in a Digital-First World

In today's digital-first environment, our businesses confront steep challenges as we strive for meaningful customer engagement, seeking innovative ways to encourage our customers to interact with us. This approach is pivotal in building enduring relationships and fostering a vibrant community around our brand.

YakChat messaging app image

Crafting meaningful customer relationships for business growth

With multiple channels and touchpoints, it's increasingly tough to get our messages in front of our target audiences; even tougher to get them opened. And every message that's ignored represents a missed opportunity for us to create and maintain lasting, profitable relationships with our customers.

YakChat messaging app image

The impact of communication on customer engagement rates

And fostering strong customer relationships is critical for growth. Not convinced? Check out the results of a study conducted by Bain and Company, working with Earl Sasser of the Harvard Business School. This found that a 5 percent increase in customer retention increases profits by 25 to 95 percent.

Strategies to boost interaction rates and enhance customer engagement

Customer engagement has never been so important. And it's imperative that we fully understand how our customers want to interact with our brands.

In this blog, we suggest some things you can do to measurably improve customer engagement by improving communication between your business and your clients. We also explore the communication channel that consistently achieves the very highest interaction rates.

1.  Send Fewer Emails

YakChat messaging app image

I think we can agree that email still plays a helpful role in reaching out to customers. But this channel suffers from a significant disadvantage: Its average open rate is just 21% across all industries. Not great, then, for your customer engagement.

And that's because we all suffer from email fatigue. Too many emails land in our inboxes. And whether they're from friends, work colleagues, or brands, messages fall unceasingly into our ever-growing inboxes like so much litter. Indeed, according to the most recent calculation, the number of business emails a single user sends and receives each day is 126. And when you add to that the number of daily messages from other sources, it's no wonder that some of us have hundreds, if not thousands of emails that remain unread.

Yet, as we try to take back control by repeatedly weeding out the valuable messages from the junk, our inboxes continue to fill. Inbox zero, it seems, is a false utopia. This constant message bombardment makes it all too easy for us to fall into the stress of email overload.

And if we feel this way, you can bet your customers do, too.

So what's the solution?

If ever there was a time to utilize a channel with a significantly higher open rate (think SMS), it's now. But more on that later. In the meantime, if you must email your audience, reduce the number of messages you send.

2. Maximize reach rates with personalized communication

YakChat messaging app image

Personlize, personalize, personalize. Always tailor your messages to the individual recipients. Not only will you increase your open and click-through rates, but you'll also benefit from higher ROI and revenue. Studies show that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than those without. It's also been found that revenue is 5.7 times higher in emails that employ personalization.

Personalization makes your emails more relevant to your subscribers. Use your CRM system to add recipients' names to every message you send.

Personalize your email campaigns further by using other information and data you've collected, such as past purchases, browsing history, or geographical location.

3. Enhance customer engagement with valuable content

Ensure, too, that any messages you do send add value. Segment your lists based on their interests. Then you'll send targeted content that your recipients actually want to read.

For example, educate them about the products they're interested in or update them about your industry in general. When you provide valuable content, your audience will, over time, come to trust you as a knowledgeable and trusted provider. That means they'll be more likely to prefer your product over your competitor's when they're ready to buy.

4.  Stop Calling: Engagement through innovation

And calling is not going to boost your customer engagement stats. Just look at those around voice: The average pick-up rate for phone calls is only 12%, with just 10% of voicemails returned. And according to Zipwhip's consumer survey (2019), 97% of people reject calls from businesses and unknown numbers.

While your customers want the option to call you to resolve complex issues, they don't want you to call them.

Surprised? You shouldn't be.

YakChat messaging app image

Many of us consider phone calls intrusive and time-consuming. They interrupt our flow, whether at work, at home, or when we're on the go. For many of us, a phone call from anyone other than friends or family is simply an intrusion of privacy.

With Chat or Messaging, it's possible to do other things simultaneously, like engaging in other chats, continuing a conversation with others, or working on your laptop. But voice calls require you to stop whatever you're doing at that moment and give the caller your undivided attention.

The solution? Start employing the communication channel your audience prefers, enjoys using, and on which they're more than happy to engage with you.

So what's the channel? Read on.

5.  Meet Your Customers' Expectations - Effortlessly

YakChat messaging app image

It's often said that a business must be where its audience is to get maximum customer attention and engagement.

But what does that really mean?

Nowadays, most of us live on our mobile devices, and your audience is no exception.

But here's the thing: SMS comes as standard on every cell phone, making it more universal than IM or social media.

And we all love texting. right? We love the fact that it's simple to use, it's super-fast, and it's ultra-convenient. In fact, SMS is the most used feature on our phones today. Which means that as of 2022, SMS is at the fingertips of 91% of the world's population.

In other words, SMS is most definitely where your audience is. Moreover, it represents a considerable opportunity for your business and a massive boost to your customer engagement rates.

SMS is the most immediate form of personalized customer communication: It costs less than phone calls, is more convenient than email, and is more universal than social media and IM. For immediacy and reach, no other channel beats it.

More importantly, your customers want you to text them. Studies show that 85% of consumers prefer to receive brand communications via SMS over a voice call or email.

Unlike phone calls, text messages are not intrusive. Customers can read and reply to a text message at their convenience, though typically, that's within 3 minutes of receiving it.

The bottom line?

Text messaging is no longer a 'nice-to-have'. It should be an essential part of your business's communication arsenal. And not just for the benefit and convenience of your customers.

86% of businesses using SMS find it generates higher engagement than email. On average, SMS open rates are 8 times more successful than voice calls and 5 times more successful than email.

YakChat messaging app image

These impressive figures are primarily because real-time text messages that provide information, such as delivery updates or appointment reminders, feel less like an interruption to us and more like inclusion. And that's why SMS guarantees better customer engagement. Which is borne out by the fact that consumers are 134% more likely to respond to a text message than an email.

Which neatly leads me on to the importance for 2-way text.

6.  Give Your Customers the Ability to Text You Back

It goes without saying that engagement is a two-way process. It shouldn't be just about you texting your customers. Your customers want to be able to text you back.

Two-way SMS offers the ultimate personalized customer experience as it offers consumers the ability to get instant responses. And don't underestimate the value of this to your business. When customers feel heard, they feel valued. And this increases trust and fosters more robust relationships.

And that, my friends, translates directly into increased sales and boosted revenue.

7.  Easy Does It: Streamline engagement

SMS for Microsoft Teams is here. YakChat integrates powerful, comprehensive 2-way SMS/MMS to Microsoft Teams. Now you can text from Teams with your contacts in Outlook, Active Directory, SharePoint, your personal contact lists, and members of your MS Teams channels.

And with the YakChat Power Automate Connector, you can unleash new levels of productivity by creating automated multi-step workflows that include 2-way SMS to eliminate manual, repetitive SMS processes.

YakChat messaging app image