Why you should rethink your customer engagement strategy in 2021

Emily Hackeling

Emily Hackeling,

Content Marketing at Front

15 December 20200 min read

Customers expect quick, personal replies—so businesses must rise up to the challenge. Read why customers are choosing Front to keep up and deliver value for their customers.

From electric cars to cloud computing, virtual reality to artificial intelligence, the last decade of technology has changed our lives significantly.

With these swift technological changes, businesses are moving faster than ever before. We’re finding information faster, sharing information faster. Getting places faster, working together faster.

Which means our expectations of businesses have changed too. Customers demand faster responses from the companies they interact with.

The speed standard is ASAP.

As customers ourselves, can we blame customers? With every support ticket you submit or live chat message you send, you’re not sitting back thinking, “I’ll check for a response next week.”

You want a reply—fast.

Just how fast is fast? According to a 2018 HubSpot survey, up to 75% of customers expect marketing, sales, and support teams to respond to inquiries in 30 minutes or less. This number jolted up from just 4% in 2016.

We want a simple, person-to-person conversation.

But it doesn’t end there. As screen time increases, not only do customers want answers quickly; but they also demand a personal reply. To be treated not like a ticket number or an avatar on the screen, but as a regular old human.

McKinsey calls 2020 the start of “The Next Normal”—when businesses renewed a push toward using technologies that engage these increasing demands of customers. Today it’s not an option but a necessity: businesses must rise to the occasion to compete.

Customer engagement lives in email

As a consumer, when you want to get in touch with a business, email is probably the first method that comes to mind. It’s the lifeblood of customer communication for almost any company, in any industry, and a whopping 83% of consumers prefer communications from businesses through email.

Teammates spend 28% of the work week on email and check email 10 times every hour, yet only 34% of their time spent using the tool is actually productive.

Since email like Gmail and Outlook haven’t seen much innovation since the 1980s, it’s missing a lot of key functionality that’s needed to power modern businesses:

  • Missed sales opportunities

  • Lower customer satisfaction

  • Lower close rates

  • Higher customer churn

  • Higher MTR (mean time to respond)

The transformative strategy for 2021 and beyond

A customer engagement strategy now looks quite different to meet the needs of modern businesses. In previous years, businesses have tried to compensate for email’s shortcomings by pushing customer communication to their CRM, sales automation platform, marketing automation platform, or customer success tool. But this isn’t the solution.

Customers prefer the simplicity and familiar feel of email. At its full potential, email can power responsive, valuable conversations with customers.

Front, the hub for next-generation customer engagement

In a new report by Mainstay, research shows that businesses can meet the increasing demands of customers. These businesses are using Front to power meaningful connections between teams and customers. Front is dramatically improving the customer experience through some revolutionary differences to regular email:

  • Automated workflows and business rules to sort and route messages

  • Conversation assignments to give an owner for every message

  • Analytics to gain insight into message flow and deploy resources

  • Shared inboxes and drafts to allow teammates to have joint visibility and collaborate quickly

  • Integrated calendar for easy scheduling from your inbox

  • Templated responses to increase productivity

  • App integrations plus APIs and developer tools to embed email, texts, and other customer messages into your inbox

These features are giving customers significant advantages over their competition:

  • 50X increase in sales response time

  • $650,000 savings in customer service productivity

  • 25% improvement in employee retention

  • and more.

Meet Front, a 2020 Gartner Cool Vendor

The innovations and improvements customers are seeing with Front earned it a spot as a 2020 Gartner Cool Vendor in Digital Workplace Programs and Applications. To see how your business can revolutionize your customer engagement strategy through Front, download our full ROI report by Mainstay.

📈 Read Front ROI Report

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Written by Emily Hackeling

Originally Published: 15 December 2020

Stories that focus on building stronger customer relationships