In the world of internet buzzwords such as Scrum and SaaS (software as a service), you typically will find yourself explaining the meaning behind these new words to your co-workers, friends, and your boss. One of those terms that has been flying around is something called “user engagement platforms.” User engagement platforms, or UEPs for short, are platforms created to meet the needs of your customers.
Whether it is through text messages, push notifications, emails, or a myriad of other tools, these platforms are allowing businesses to interact with their users (or customers) in exciting new ways. As these become more and more popular, your boss might soon be showing up to your office wondering if you should employ one of these user engagement platforms for your own organization.
In order to help you be prepared for when this day comes, we have put together a few answers to the questions your boss is probably going to ask. We hope that by providing you with the things you need to know, you will be able to convince your boss to take advantage of this opportunity to engage your clients in a new way and create better customer relationships.
1. “What does it do?”
First question your boss might ask you when they hear about UEPs is “what does it do?” In order to answer that, let’s take a look at where user engagement platforms came from.
In a nutshell, user engagement platforms aim to get the right message to the right people at the right time. Some do this through proximity marketing, others through targeted advertising, but there are many ways to do it.
For example, if you run a fitness club, the platform will notice when your members haven’t been into the gym in a while. It then automatically emails them with a reminder about coming into the club and potentially a coupon to re-engage them.
It’s a simple idea, but when done correctly, user engagement platforms can make your customer retention woes a thing of the past.
2. “Why do I need it?”
The next thing your boss might say is, “Okay. I understand what it does, but why do I, or the company, need it?” This is a fair question to ask, especially if understanding what a UEP does wasn’t enough to convince them of the need.
With more of the world moving towards mobile, user engagement platforms are only going to become more prevalent and industry specific. However, what this might also mean is that they become more expensive.
Your boss knows that customer retention is important and I’m sure they know that mobile is not going away. By employing a user engagement platform, you are taking advantage of this trend while keeping your customers happy.
Most customers are looking for a company that will meet their needs when they need them. Not a week before, not a week after, but when they truly need them. User engagement platforms allow you to get your product to that person at the exact right time by monitoring their behavior and meeting them at that point.
3. “How much does this cost?”
As someone who used to work in sales, I know that sooner or later someone is going to ask, “How much does this cost?” They could be completely sold on the product and its capabilities, but if the cost doesn’t make sense, that’s that.
Thankfully for you and your boss, most user engagement platforms are relatively inexpensive. For a full-blown email engagement software like Marketo, prices can range from $2,000-$5,000 per month, but for a smaller outfit focusing on mainly SMS and text engagement, the price is somewhere around 1-2 cents per message. Some companies charge 5-6 cents for custom groups, but that is slowly changing as more competitors enter the market.
Regardless of what your goals are, money will always be an issue. However, with the amount of money you will be saving from retaining more customers with an engagement platform, you may not even notice the cost.
4. “How does it work?”
Now that your boss has a good idea of what they will be getting, they might start to wonder how this will work for them. The best part of a user engagement platform is that most of the process is fully automated. While it may take some time to put in customer information and sort users by segment, once that is done, for the most part it’s taken care of.
There is always the option of manual push campaigns for more targeted use of the platform. This would be used by an organization looking to engage with only specific clients that can’t be sorted by an algorithm.
On the flip side, when you work with an automated campaign, anytime one of your users meets the requirements for an engagement, a targeted message or email is sent automatically. By letting the platform work for you, you can focus on more important client issues.
5. “Will I still be in charge?”
Depending on your boss’s temperament, they might be concerned about talk of automation. After all, it seems like there are a few movies every year coming out about robots rising up to destroy us. But don’t worry! Even though the system is automated and your team on the backend will offer suggestions, you will have the end say.
This is actually an enormous value add to your business, as all of your decisions will be based on data and analytics about your customers. User engagement platforms simply seek to do the heavy lifting and grunt work for you, allowing you to make better decisions and meet your customers at the right place and right time.
6. “Who else is doing this?”
Short answer: everyone. Or at least, everyone soon will be. Just look at any restaurant that has begun advertising their own app in their stores. These apps are essentially user engagement platforms that alert you when you are close to their restaurant. Some even present a coupon every time you are in close enough proximity to their establishment.
Before long, user engagement platforms will be synonymous with customer retention. As more and more companies begin to adopt these platforms, it will soon become glaringly obvious who is being left behind. Don’t get left behind. Instead, get ahead of the curve and your competitors by adopting early.
7. “Why haven’t we been using this before?”
The last thing your boss might ask you is, “If this is so great, why haven’t we already been using it?” A valid question. The reason why we haven’t seen even further widespread adoption of user engagement platforms is that it is still an emerging technology and industry. Customer engagement is nothing new, but the definition of what it means to engage customers has changed significantly in the last few years.
As new technology continues to change the way we communicate with customers, these platforms will continue to shift and adapt to the tumultuous sea of mobile and online marketing. Right now, user engagement platforms are at the head of this trend and the best technology available.
It’s impossible to predict the future and what comes next, but for any organization that finds value in building out their community and retaining customers, user engagement platforms are a fantastic way to do so.
What happens next?
Now that you have a better understanding of how to tell your boss about user engagement platforms, the question for both of you becomes, “What happens next?” Whether or not you are ready to start employing a user engagement platform or not, with this information you have a few different paths to follow.
If a user engagement platform does sound like it would be a value add to your business, now you need to find the right vendor for you. There are a lot of emerging companies out there taking advantage of this trend, so you will have plenty to choose from.
On the other hand, if now doesn’t seem like the right time to begin with a UEP but you still want to retain more customers, check out this article on retention for beginners.
Whatever it is that you decide, the most important thing to remember is that your customers want to be engaged by you. They want someone to meet them at the right place at the right time with the right solution. There are plenty of ways for you to go about this, but the most important thing is to start now. Your success awaits, go out there and get it!