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Customer Engagement Platform


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Salesforce.com logo
 
While Salesforce has enjoyed popularity across the CRM market, it's Service Cloud was recently named a Leader in the Gartner CRM Customer Engagement Center Magic Quadrant.
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While Salesforce has enjoyed popularity across the CRM market, it's Service Cloud was recently named a Leader in the Gartner CRM Customer Engagement Center Magic Quadrant.
 
ProsperWorks CRM logo
 
ProsperWorks is a cloud-based customer relationship management tool that gives users complete views of their customers. The program is applicable to any industry, including advertising, distribution and real estate. The ProsperWorks... Read More
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ProsperWorks is a cloud-based customer relationship management tool that gives users complete views of their customers. The program is applicable to any industry, including advertising, distribution and real estate. The ProsperWorks... Read More
 
Infusionsoft logo
 
Infusionsoft is a good option for smaller businesses seeking customer engagement CRM options. This solution focuses more on marketing automation than customer service and support.
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Infusionsoft is a good option for smaller businesses seeking customer engagement CRM options. This solution focuses more on marketing automation than customer service and support.
 
Less Annoying CRM logo
 
Less Annoying CRM is a customer relationship management solution that caters to the needs of small businesses. It offers cloud-based deployment, various configuration options and a dashboard that provides an overview of contact information,... Read More
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Less Annoying CRM is a customer relationship management solution that caters to the needs of small businesses. It offers cloud-based deployment, various configuration options and a dashboard that provides an overview of contact information,... Read More
 
Base logo
 
Base CRM is a full-featured web-based solution that allows B2B and B2C sales professionals in many industries to work on the go. It features native apps for most mobile devices and a straightforward price structure.
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Base CRM is a full-featured web-based solution that allows B2B and B2C sales professionals in many industries to work on the go. It features native apps for most mobile devices and a straightforward price structure.

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NetSuite logo
 
NetSuite CRM+ provides a breadth of features for increasing sales, marketing and support efficiency. Managers can closely monitor performance and forecast future sales, while fine-tuning processes for maximum efficiency.
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NetSuite CRM+ provides a breadth of features for increasing sales, marketing and support efficiency. Managers can closely monitor performance and forecast future sales, while fine-tuning processes for maximum efficiency.
 
Claritysoft logo
 
Claritysoft is a customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for midsize and large enterprise businesses. It offers sales automation, customer service and support, marketing automation and social CRM within a single solution. Claritysoft... Read More
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Claritysoft is a customer relationship management (CRM) solution designed for midsize and large enterprise businesses. It offers sales automation, customer service and support, marketing automation and social CRM within a single solution. Claritysoft... Read More
 
CallProof logo
 
CallProof is a sophisticated CRM system with a host of features that effectively organizes all facets of the sales process, from lead tracking to reporting. This system is fully web-based, and is optimized for companies that utilize... Read More
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CallProof is a sophisticated CRM system with a host of features that effectively organizes all facets of the sales process, from lead tracking to reporting. This system is fully web-based, and is optimized for companies that utilize... Read More
 
LeadMaster logo
 
LeadMaster is a SaaS-based all-in-one lead management solution that offers capabilities to capture, track and follow up with leads. The solution comprises of integrated modules for sales force automation, customer relationship management,... Read More
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LeadMaster is a SaaS-based all-in-one lead management solution that offers capabilities to capture, track and follow up with leads. The solution comprises of integrated modules for sales force automation, customer relationship management,... Read More
 
PipelineDeals logo
 
PipelineDeals allows users to manage their contacts, qualify leads, and track leads and deals within a singular, cloud-based program. The system provides both sales engagement and CRM while providing daily pipeline snapshots, real-time... Read More
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PipelineDeals allows users to manage their contacts, qualify leads, and track leads and deals within a singular, cloud-based program. The system provides both sales engagement and CRM while providing daily pipeline snapshots, real-time... Read More

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SalesNOW logo
 
SalesNOW by Interchange Solutions Inc. is a cloud-based CRM platform that can be used on laptops and desktops via web browser or any connected mobile device. The system offers applications designed specifically for Android, iPhone,... Read More
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SalesNOW by Interchange Solutions Inc. is a cloud-based CRM platform that can be used on laptops and desktops via web browser or any connected mobile device. The system offers applications designed specifically for Android, iPhone,... Read More
 
SalesOutlook CRM logo
 
SalesOutlook CRM is a unique and comprehensive Customer Relationship Management and email marketing system that was developed from the ground up to be fully embedded into Microsoft Outlook. This system is the first of its kind, and... Read More
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SalesOutlook CRM is a unique and comprehensive Customer Relationship Management and email marketing system that was developed from the ground up to be fully embedded into Microsoft Outlook. This system is the first of its kind, and... Read More
 
BNTouch Mortgage CRM logo
 
BNTouch Mortgage CRM is a mortgage-specific CRM system that offers mortgage brokers and bankers alike a dependable and robust solution featuring advanced marketing automation capabilities. The software offers features for each step... Read More
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BNTouch Mortgage CRM is a mortgage-specific CRM system that offers mortgage brokers and bankers alike a dependable and robust solution featuring advanced marketing automation capabilities. The software offers features for each step... Read More
 
SAP Digital CRM logo
 
SAP Digital CRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution suitable for small to medium-sized businesses across a variety of industries. Key features include contact, lead and opportunity management, a customer... Read More
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SAP Digital CRM is a cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) solution suitable for small to medium-sized businesses across a variety of industries. Key features include contact, lead and opportunity management, a customer... Read More
 
Chime logo
 
Chime is a marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) suite designed for small and midsize real estate businesses. Chime provides team management features, lead and customer management and content management. Chime sends... Read More
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Chime is a marketing and customer relationship management (CRM) suite designed for small and midsize real estate businesses. Chime provides team management features, lead and customer management and content management. Chime sends... Read More

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Maximizer CRM logo
 
On the market for over 20 years Maximizer CRM is designed for SMBs looking to automate their sales, marketing and service processes. It can be deployed both on-premise and in the cloud.
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On the market for over 20 years Maximizer CRM is designed for SMBs looking to automate their sales, marketing and service processes. It can be deployed both on-premise and in the cloud.
 
1CRM logo
 
1CRM by CRMonCall offers businesses a solution for managing their sales, customer service and business operations. 1CRM combines a CRM system with full order management functionality to develop quotes, track orders, generate invoices,... Read More
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1CRM by CRMonCall offers businesses a solution for managing their sales, customer service and business operations. 1CRM combines a CRM system with full order management functionality to develop quotes, track orders, generate invoices,... Read More
 
Hatchbuck logo
 
Hatchbuck is a sales and marketing solution designed for small to midsize businesses. The integrated solution offers combined sales automation, marketing automation and email marketing features. Hatchbuck is a good fit for a wide range... Read More
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Hatchbuck is a sales and marketing solution designed for small to midsize businesses. The integrated solution offers combined sales automation, marketing automation and email marketing features. Hatchbuck is a good fit for a wide range... Read More
 
Freshdesk logo
 
Offering multi-channel customer support, Freshdesk brings together every customer conversation into a centralized interface, helping customer support agents address and resolve trouble tickets. Whether the interaction occurs over... Read More
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Offering multi-channel customer support, Freshdesk brings together every customer conversation into a centralized interface, helping customer support agents address and resolve trouble tickets. Whether the interaction occurs over... Read More
 
inContact Hosted Call Center logo
 
Used by contact centers around the world, inContact’s Software as a Service (SaaS)-based call center software maximizes the quality and minimizes the cost of each and every client interaction. This call center solution has all of... Read More
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Used by contact centers around the world, inContact’s Software as a Service (SaaS)-based call center software maximizes the quality and minimizes the cost of each and every client interaction. This call center solution has all of... Read More
 

Buyer's Guide

by Craig Borowski,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: March 29, 2017


“Customer engagement” is a term that has seen increased usage in recent years, particularly in the world of customer relationship management (CRM) software. Because the concept of customer engagement is directly tied to the functionality of CRM, the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

However, some CRM software vendors are now providing solutions with a direct focus on customer engagement—designed to foster better connections with customers and add an interactive, dynamic element to what has traditionally been a one-sided relationship. Because this shift can be confusing, we’ve developed this buyer’s guide to help prospective customer engagement buyers navigate the market.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is Customer Engagement Software?
Customer Engagement and Key Business Outcomes
Benefits of Customer Engagement Software
Common Customer Engagement Software Features
Pricing: Web-Based vs. On-Premise

What Are Customer Engagement Platforms?

The emergence of customer engagement platforms marks a shift in the larger CRM market, as mobile and social media have created a wider space in which businesses and consumers can interact.

Whereas traditional CRM products have been rooted in information-gathering and the storage of basic customer data, engagement platforms change this one-sided relationship into an interaction, automating processes that involve customer participation.

Some vendors offer solutions that provide sales and support automation for issue resolution across social channels. For example, some systems integrate customer complaints on Twitter into an overall profile, allowing support agents to gain a wider view of the conversation with that customer.

Other vendors offer marketing automation systems that can adapt along with current or prospective customers—for example, by automatically updating customer segments as their behaviors and demographics change.

Customer engagement platforms encompass a variety of applications and, depending on the product being offered, can include considerably different features. But the common thread tying all customer engagement solutions together is an emphasis on personalizing interactions throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

According to Paul Greenberg, a respected author and CRM thought leader: “When it comes down to it, most of the [vendors] in this market may call themselves customer engagement companies, but [they] don't compete with each other because their products are so different … There is no definition to this emerging market yet.”

Customer Engagement and Key Business Outcomes

People make purchase decisions based on a variety of factors. Some are strictly rational (I need this item and this price is acceptable), while others are entirely emotional (I love this store so I should buy something!). Although it’s a fluid mix that varies between individuals, time and place, researchers in the field of behavioral economics have identified a few general trends that are almost always true.

For starters, highly engaged customers (i.e., those who speak highly of a company because they feel it’s trustworthy and cares about their specific needs) spend more and are more loyal. This is true in both good and bad economic times, as well as across different cultures and industries.

For example, researchers at Gallup report these industry-specific findings:

  • Retail banking: Fully engaged customers bring in 37 percent more revenue per year and maintain higher account balances.
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  • Hospitality: Fully engaged hotel guests spend 46 percent more per year.
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  • Casual dining: Fully engaged customers make 56 percent more visits per month.
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  • Consumer electronics: Fully engaged shoppers visit their preferred retailer 44 percent more often and spend nearly 30 percent more per trip. 

These numbers alone should make any business decision-maker pay attention. But in addition to these bottom-line business benefits, there are additional organizational and workflow efficiency benefits to be had when a company uses a customer engagement platform to improve engagement.

Benefits of Customer Engagement Platforms

Because customer engagement products are so diverse in the range of features offered, they also bring with them a diverse array of benefits for different types of software users. These include:

  • Multichannel customer service and support. Whereas legacy support centers have centered around a team of representatives manning the phones, customer engagement solutions in the customer service and support realm allow these representatives to not only answer calls, but also to respond to complaints on Twitter, resolve customer issues on Facebook and maintain uniform messaging across multiple channels—interacting with customers when and where it’s most convenient for them.
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  • Interactive marketing and sales automation. Some customer engagement products boast the same types of marketing and sales automation features found in traditional CRM products, including email and event marketing, Web analytics and campaign management—but with an interactive component. For example, while traditional marketing automation solutions allow users to send marketing emails, customer engagement solutions allow users to also review past customer email responses and use them to craft new messaging (in some cases, even automatically).

Common Features of Customer Engagement Platforms

Again, because customer engagement solutions are evolving, there is no uniform definition for the features a given product will include. However, a number of solutions currently packaged as customer engagement platforms do offer some of the following features:

Web self-service Allows customers to resolve problems and answer their own questions online, without assistance from support representatives. Can reduce assisted interaction time without compromising the customer experience. (In fact, Web self-service may increase satisfaction, as it can reduce issue resolution time and empower the customer to search for and retrieve exactly what they want.)
Multichannel customer support Integrates customer service and support interactions across different communication channels, particularly social media. Platforms that provide a view into all types of customer interactions at once—as opposed to email or phone interactions alone—allow support reps to easily communicate with customers in whatever way is most effective.
Social media management Creates uniform social media messaging, communications and strategy across a company. This may include social content creation and social media analytics capabilities. Whereas traditional CRM platforms have treated social media as a separate category from a company’s more traditional communication channels, customer engagement platforms tie social into the overall business model.
Customer engagement analytics Analyzes past and current customer sentiment and satisfaction data, to assist with decision-making around future customer behavior. Similar to the customer analytics features included in some traditional marketing software solutions.
Content personalization May include interactive tools that tailor content towards individual customers (as opposed to “one-size-fits-all” content creation). May also include content-monitoring capabilities, to ensure that no duplicates are sent to the same customer and that customers are only getting the number of communications that they’ve indicated they want.

Pricing: Web-Based vs. On-Premise

Pricing for these solutions is dependent on the deployment model, the number of users who need to access the software and the degree of functionality required. Deployment models include:

Web-based, or “Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).” This software is hosted in the cloud, on servers managed by the software vendor, and can be accessed by any user with an Internet connection. It is priced on either a monthly or an annual subscription fee, based on the number of users who will require access to the software. This is the most popular deployment model in the CRM and customer engagement platform markets.

On-premise. This software is hosted locally, on the buyer’s own servers. Buyers must purchase a perpetual license up front for ongoing use of the software; there is no additional subscription fee. However, users might see additional fees for upgrades, customizations or maintenance. While on-premise customer engagement platforms are not a common option, they may be the right fit for certain businesses (especially those that focus on data analytics).

Customer engagement platform pricing generally increases along with the breadth and depth of functionality the system offers. Packages on the higher end of the pricing spectrum tend to include more robust functionality, while those on the lower end more often include less functionality.

Whichever deployment model you choose, one basic rule applies: the greater the functionality of your customer engagement solution, the higher the price will be.

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