Everything You Need to Know about Using Customer Engagement Platforms

19 min read
May 21, 2024
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Today, companies have access to more advanced enterprise technology than ever. Even so, the basic tenets for success remain simple enough. To prosper in the long term, your business needs an effective strategy that attracts new customers and retains your existing ones. 

The easiest way to retain customers is to approach each of them as a long-term prospect and foster engagement over the course of their journey. The idea itself is simple enough; it’s only the technology that has evolved to become more advanced. 

A customer engagement platform is a state-of-the-art solution to the problem of effectively interacting with customers across this multifaceted journey.

Consider this article your primer on customer engagement platforms. We will cover every aspect of this powerful business solution, including its purpose, applications, and benefits. We also examine actual use cases of customer engagement platforms and show how various companies have benefited from their implementation.

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Understanding customer engagement platforms

To drive up engagement with customers, you must first understand what makes them tick. Building up a profile of each individual customer that outlines their preferences, interests, and shopping habits will help you discover ways to foster loyalty with the customer base as a whole. 

However, as your business grows in scale, it can become challenging to track this massive volume of data using manual, outdated methods like spreadsheets. A customer engagement platform is intelligent software that simplifies gathering and analyzing customer data and then leveraging it to form meaningful connections with them. 

Rather than third-party cookies, which are expected to become obsolete within the next few years, if not sooner, customer engagement platforms rely on first-party data and zero-party data. First-party data refers to information gathered by the company from across its own channels, such as websites or apps. Meanwhile, customers voluntarily share zero-party data by filling out forms or completing surveys.

For example, an online clothes retailer could use a customer’s previous purchases (first-party data) as well as their responses to links in an email newsletter (zero-party data) to make predictions about their taste in fashion. Those predictions can create a more personalized experience for future touchpoints. 

Customer engagement platforms make this process simple by unifying every point of interaction across multiple channels. This allows businesses to enhance their overall customer experience (CX) by interpreting data from various sources to deliver a consistent CX.

Making the case for customer engagement platforms

In a competitive business environment, offering a personalized experience for every customer will set your company apart. As the global pandemic drove a shift toward digital commerce, personalized online CX became a serious difference-maker. For example, in the 2020 edition of the Salesforce “State of the Connected Customer” survey, 62% of customers expected a personalized experience. This preference for personalization has only increased in the following years.

Personalization is a must if companies wish to engage with their customers and encourage them to make repeat purchases. In a PwC consumer survey, 82% of respondents said they were willing to spend more for personalized CX. Furthermore, an engaged customer base is an asset to any organization. In Twilio’s 2024 State of Customer Engagement Report, brands that succeeded in driving digital engagement with customers reported a staggering 123% increase in revenue.

Figures like these clearly show how valuable a customer engagement platform can be to your business. However, managing complex customer relationships is easier said than done. 

If you are a business owner, understanding the finer points of customer engagement platforms will help you make the right decision when choosing one for your company.

Customer engagement platforms vs. customer relationship management

Modern customer engagement platforms share much of their DNA with customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. This is hardly surprising since they evolved out of CRM solutions in the first place. 

As expected, that evolution has led to some key differences arising between the two. A CRM solution cannot deliver the same functionality as a customer engagement platform. Despite this, many companies persist in retrofitting their legacy CRM solutions to work as customer engagement platforms.

To get the best possible results, it’s essential to draw a line between the two. Once you have clearly understood the differences between customer engagement platforms and CRM solutions, you can better use both tools to greater effect and for their intended purpose. 

The key points of difference between CRM solutions and customer engagement platforms are:

Customer Engagement PlatformCustomer Relationship Management
Customer engagement platforms are enterprise solutions designed to streamline every interaction a business has with its customers.CRM is an internal solution used by sales, marketing, and customer support teams.
Customer engagement platforms are both reactive and proactive, leveraging existing data to predict future interactions.CRM relies primarily on reacting to historical customer data and building a profile of each customer.
Customer engagement platforms are used to personalize all future touchpoints.CRM is primarily used for lead scoring, email automation, and sales forecasting.

As you can see, a customer engagement platform has a much broader role to play than CRM systems. Furthermore, since they are designed to promote customer engagement, they can be deployed at scale, unlike CRM solutions, which have limited options when it comes to engaging customers directly.

Five main features of customer engagement platforms

Before making a decision for your company, there are some important, must-have customer engagement features you should look into. These will help a company build valuable customer relationships:

All of these actions promote customer loyalty and will lead to the best customer engagement metrics for your company. 

To achieve these desirable results, your customer engagement platform must include the following features:

  1. Unified customer view

This is an absolute must-have for your customer engagement platform. To gain a comprehensive understanding of customer preferences, you should be able to access consolidated data from diverse sources. All information can then be bundled into a single, unified customer profile that gives you a 360-degree view of the customer, allowing you to personalize each interaction. 

  1. Omnichannel compatibility

Building a unified customer view involves gathering data from different channels. Customers interact with your business through live chats, email, social media, and phone messages. Your customer engagement platform should help you create a consistent experience for customers across these disparate platforms. 

  1. Analytical functions

It’s not enough to simply gather first-party data; you also need to be able to interpret all of this information and leverage it for an effective customer satisfaction strategy. A customer engagement platform should enable users to monitor important engagement metrics, such as dwell time, click-through rate, and conversion rate. Analyzing engagement metrics reveals insights into customer behavior, allowing businesses to make informed decisions. 

  1. Automated customer outreach

The larger your audience, the more important it is that your customer engagement platform has automated features to manage customer interactions. Customers prefer a prompt and relevant automated response over a delayed manual one. So, an automated and autonomous outreach tool like live chat on your website makes it easier for customers to discover information about your company’s products and services.

  1. Integrations

Your customer engagement platform should have a robust suite of integrations with the other applications and software in your tech stack. For example, if you have a chatbot on your website, it should be compatible with your chosen customer engagement platform.

Along with meeting industry requirements for security and compliance, these are a few of the most valuable features you will need to look for in customer engagement platforms. Working together, these features combine to give your company a single, unified platform for managing your entire CX.

Five most popular customer engagement platforms

For companies looking for customer engagement tools, there are plenty of options on the market. In 2022, the customer engagement solutions market was valued at $19.3 billion and is projected to grow further at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8%, according to the research firm Markets and Markets. 

With so many choices available, business owners need to look at what each one brings to the table before selecting which one is best suited for their needs. Ease of use, cost efficiency, and scalability are some of the most critical elements to consider before integrating a certain platform to your existing customer service workflows.

From the diverse range of customer engagement tools available, here are five of the most widely used ones:

  1. Zendesk

Many enterprises across the world trust Zendesk for their customer engagement needs. This software as a service (SaaS) company delivers products that make connecting and communicating with customers much easier. 

Among their offerings, one worth noting is Zendesk Sunshine, a comprehensive and customizable CRM platform that can be used to build a 360-degree view of your customers. Other features that make Zendesk a valuable addition to your company’s tech stack include its built-in Answer Bot. This chatbot is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) with access to your company’s knowledge base to provide answers to most customer queries.

  1. Hubspot

Another popular option for business owners looking for customer engagement platforms is Hubspot’s CRM Suite. This collection of tools streamlines the business-customer relationship across multiple channels. The omnichannel capability of Hubspot CRM Suite is a major selling point, as it compiles all customer communications into a centralized inbox, where your support team can view messages from emails, social media, and other channels. 

Hubspot can also be used to build customer profiles with its contact management feature, which lets users create detailed records of customer engagement. You can also launch automated marketing campaigns personalized for each user. 

  1. Drift

Customer engagement platforms can be valuable to sales and marketing teams as well. If you want to grow your customer base and engage with prospects, then Drift might be the customer engagement software for your company. It’s geared toward engaging with your customers on and off your website. 

When visitors to your website interact with Drift’s live chat feature, the experience of engaging with your company will not end there. Drift’s email playbooks automate email sequences based on specific behavior triggers.

  1. Sprout Social

No customer engagement strategy is complete without social media. And one of the best options for building relationships with your customers on multiple social media platforms is Sprout Social. It’s extremely useful when it comes to monitoring customer sentiments toward your brand, as it comes with an AI-powered social listening feature. 

Sprout Social can also be used to automate replies to customer messages, and then promptly transfer high-priority messages to the support team.

  1. LiveChat

LiveChat is another highly versatile customer engagement platform. From driving customer engagement to growing sales, this SaaS customer engagement solution can add tremendous value to your operations. LiveChat has omnichannel capabilities and can be integrated across all your communication channels. It also seamlessly integrates with ecommerce platforms like Shopify, providing customers with relevant product recommendations in the chat. 

Moreover, LiveChat has tapped the potential of AI to improve customer support teams’ efficiency with automated replies and streamlined customer communications.

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How technology has influenced customer engagement platforms

You can achieve many business objectives using customer engagement platforms. But this wouldn’t be possible without a solid technological foundation to build on. At an enterprise scale, it’s almost impossible to maintain an effective customer engagement strategy without advanced software to help. Some of the defining features and functions of these platforms only work because the technology behind them has advanced far enough.

At the heart of this technological revolution is AI. Enhancing the capabilities of customer engagement platforms with AI makes it possible for companies to deliver a positive experience for all their customers, even at a large scale. 

Here are the ways technology plays a critical role in customer engagement:


CX quality is undoubtedly a key factor that drives consumer decisions. Making customers feel personally valued by a company is a crucial driver of long-term customer retention. 

Thanks to the ability of customer engagement platforms to capture large volumes of data, businesses can enhance the level of personalization in their CX and deliver targeted experiences to their customers. 


Manually communicating with customers can be a very time-consuming activity for support teams. Fortunately, modern customer engagement platforms feature a range of automated features that make this task extremely simple. 

Data-driven decisions

Every customer is a source of actionable data, and you can create a database large enough to draw meaningful insights for your customer outreach strategy. Customer engagement platforms have various analytical tools that can be used to comb through and analyze data to fine-tune marketing efforts and customer support programs.

Technology is critical to effective and efficient customer engagement. As consumer technology evolves, so too does customer behavior. This is why it’s so important to look at the technological framework behind a customer engagement platform before deciding whether it’s the right choice for your business.

How to get the most out of your customer engagement platform

The goal of every customer outreach strategy is to increase engagement, and simply adopting a customer engagement platform is not enough for long-term results. You also need to be mindful of certain practices that complement the tools you are using, which contribute to a culture of high engagement levels over time. 

Here are some valuable strategies to drive up customer involvement through your customer engagement platform:

Promote self-service

Customers don’t particularly appreciate being spoon-fed, and this is especially true for those who spend a lot of time online. According to a 2023 report, 81% of customers would rather use a self-service option to seek solutions before contacting a customer service representative directly. 

You should give your customers the option to exercise that choice by granting them access to a live chatbot connected to your company’s knowledge base. This will also help you serve more customers without having to hire more customer service reps.

Offer customers options

If you want higher levels of customer engagement, you must maintain several touchpoints for customers to connect with your company. Email, live chat, phone, mobile apps—your customers should be able to reach you directly from a multitude of sources. 

Gather customer feedback

The easiest way to improve your CX is by knowing what your customers want. You should be proactive when it comes to collecting feedback on your customer support operations. 

Use the analytical tools provided by your customer engagement platform to gather feedback in a centralized location before studying it to derive actionable insights. 

Empower customer support teams with data

Your customer service representatives can work more efficiently if they are equipped with insights from customer data. Choose a customer engagement platform that comes with an AI assistant to improve your support team’s performance. They can approach every customer interaction with all the relevant information, enabling them to provide a personalized response that builds customer loyalty.

When you pair a powerful customer engagement platform with well-planned strategies, you will see the positive influence reflected in key metrics, like time to resolution.

Six benefits of successfully implementing a customer engagement platform

We’ve covered how customer engagement platforms came to be and their functions. These are comprehensive solutions in the form of enterprise software that help you grow your business. 

Now, it’s time to dig into how customer engagement platforms make a perceptible difference in key business areas for your company. These are the top benefits you will enjoy once you have adopted a customer engagement platform:

  1. Improved CX

Customer engagement platforms have simplified the process of gathering data and converting it into usable insights. This enables your company to anticipate your customer needs and meet their expectations even before they raise an issue. Since CX drives customer loyalty, this is an invaluable benefit.

  1. Trusted source of data

Customer engagement platforms rely on first-party data collected by your own company and zero-party data submitted by customers. These are reliable sources that can be verified easily. With advanced software, you can track customer data in real time, triggering support actions based on behavior to make every step of the sales journey easy to navigate.

  1. Omnichannel engagement

Customers prefer to be in control of their interactions with brands, and this translates to them wanting to choose the platforms on which they can communicate. Luckily, customer engagement platforms can serve as a centralized hub for all of these communications, allowing you to deliver a unified multi-channel experience. 

  1. Customized solutions

Customer engagement platforms provide the flexibility to scale and customize operations according to business needs in real time. By continuously collecting and analyzing customer data, your business can evolve its customer service offerings based on the needs of the hour. The ability to promptly respond to and meet the needs of your user base will drive customer retention in the long run. 

  1. More revenue opportunities

You can watch your sales figures climb once you adopt the right customer engagement platform. The ability to give customers personalized recommendations based on their browsing history and past behavior will lead to a higher number of conversions and more prospects moving through your sales funnel.

  1. Reduced operational costs

Thanks to automation, scheduling, and AI, many tedious tasks in customer support are no longer your problem. Customer engagement platforms help your business save time and costs by cutting down on the need for a huge customer service team. 

You can also study insights gathered through the platform to decide where you will get the maximum returns for investing your company resources.

Real-world examples of customer engagement platforms helping businesses

Customer engagement platforms are valuable tools to take your business to the next level, regardless of the specific objective you are chasing. They are equally valuable in a sales and marketing context as they are in a customer support context. 

LiveChat is a shining example of the versatility of customer engagement platforms. Every LiveChat client chooses the solution to meet their own unique needs and soon discovers that it is a perfect choice.

Using LiveChat case studies as an example, let’s look at how four different companies met different business objectives through the smart use of a customer engagement platform.

Increased order value for Sephora

A small customer service team can make a big difference when given the right tools. That is the key takeaway from this Sephora case study. The makeup retailer adopted LiveChat to help their support agents handle customer interactions and immediately saw their average order value increase by 25%.

Sephora first recognized the need for a solution like LiveChat in 2020, when the brand had to close physical stores during the pandemic. A signature element of shopping at Sephora is browsing their collection with the help of their expert representatives. These customer service reps are very knowledgeable about the products in Sephora’s collection and guide customers toward making the best possible purchase for their specific needs.

With online shopping on the rise, it was clear that Sephora needed a way to replicate a similar experience for ecommerce customers. One-on-one consultations are integral to Sephora’s CX, and LiveChat’s chat tagging feature lets the agents handling communications act quickly on sales inquiries. With agents able to promptly respond to customers over LiveChat, Sephora’s conversions increased significantly. 

Higher customer satisfaction levels for AWeber

AWeber is an email marketing company with over 100,000 clients across the globe. Its massive customer base made it imperative to set up a 24/7 customer support framework. By switching to an always-on customer engagement platform like LiveChat, the company was able to respond to support requests and deliver higher levels of customer satisfaction.

A vital element of this success story was that AWeber assembled a team of more than 35 employees to handle LiveChat duties around the clock. In teams of three to four, these agents were able to handle chat requests across all areas of AWeber’s website. LiveChat features like post-chat user surveys, reporting, and visitor tracking were all extremely valuable in understanding customer needs.

With the adoption of LiveChat, AWeber saw its customer satisfaction levels go from 92% to 95%. AWeber support agents use LiveChat to support current customers while fielding queries from prospects with equal levels of comfort. 

Boosting customer engagement levels for Edmund Optics

With a legacy spanning back to 1942, Edmund Optics is a well-established retailer of precision optics and optical components. Its extensive catalog of specialized optomechanical equipment meant that customers were frequently in need of technical support while making purchases. 

With LiveChat, Edmund Optics was able to bring its customer communications program into the 21st century, adapting to changing consumer preferences and increasing engagement levels along the way.

Adopting LiveChat made a major difference to Edmund Optics’ online store experience. The ability to start a casual conversation with website visitors, understand their needs, and then direct them to the right products in the catalog has helped improve the CX as well as sales. Features like chat tagging, chat transcripts, and post-chat surveys gathered valuable information about customer preferences. 

LiveChat proved to be popular with Edmund Optics’ website visitors, who appreciated the ability to get the support they needed without having to make a phone call or store visit.

Over time, LiveChat has become a central component of the company’s customer interactions. When Edmund Optics first adopted LiveChat in 2011, only 11% of customer interactions took place on this channel. Today, 50% of all customer interactions at Edmund Optics come through its website chat channel. Customer behavior has evolved over time, and the convenience of this solution draws more and more people toward it. 

Driving conversion rates for Luxury Estates International 

For a high-end real estate brokerage, delivering a stellar experience that aligns with the brand image is paramount. The US-based Luxury Estates International was looking for a way to interact with buyers and sellers while delivering first-class service, and their search led them to LiveChat. 

Having a chat feature on their website increased their level of customer interaction and helped the company increase the conversion rate for website visitors. Since LiveChat widgets can be customized, it was convenient to design a chat window that fit the modern and upscale aesthetic of the company website.

Luxury Estates International’s agents who used LiveChat used the desktop and mobile apps to remain proactive and provide instant responses to inquiries. A key LiveChat feature that impressed their customers was file sharing, which allowed agents to send customers brochures or listings over chat.

These features gave Luxury Estates International the ability to convert many website visitors into qualified buyers or sellers. With the adoption of LiveChat, the company saw its conversion rate climb by 30%.

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Grow your business with a customer engagement platform

Customer engagement platforms are essential tools for any business in a digital world. They are the best way to improve CX and guide customer interactions from a single platform. 

Services like LiveChat are versatile solutions that can be used to accomplish various key business objectives. If you are searching for a customer engagement platform, visit the LiveChat website to see how it can benefit your company.

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