Companies are paying more attention to online customer engagement than ever before, with three-quarters of organizations (77%) saying that its importance has increased in the last 12 months, according to a survey by E-consultancy and cScape.
The overwhelming majority of companies (90%) now say that online customer engagement is either “essential” or “important” to their organizations, according to the second “Annual Online Customer Engagement Report.”
The research also found that companies are realizing that they need an integrated approach which embraces all the channels used by customers. “A consistent online and offline customer experience” is seen as “essential” or “very important” by 86% of organizations.
Moreover, around two-thirds of company respondents (64%) say the mobile channel will be “essential” or “important” for customer engagement in the next three years.
There is also evidence that more companies have actually been taking steps to deliver a more integrated experience.
Since the first Annual Online Customer Engagement Report, published at the end of 2006, there has been improvement in the number of organizations that are “very advanced” or “quite advanced” at mapping customer experiences in order to identify touch points.
Companies are using, and plan to use, a range of methods to interact with their customers:
- Around one-fifth of companies (18%) say they are already using web-based widgets; a further 39% plan to use them in the future. (The idea of a widget – a third party item that can be embedded in a web page – is attractive to marketers because it can help to achieve off-site visibility and engagement.)
- Just under one-third of organizations (32%) are planning to use social networks such as Facebook, with a further 19% already using them.
- Video-sharing sites are being used by 21% of companies; a further 29% say their organizations are planning to use them in the future.
About the study: The E-consultancy/cScape Customer Engagement Report is based on the findings of a survey of more than 1,000 online marketers, including 456 company or “client-side” respondents and 438 agency participants. The report also contains comment and analysis from a range of digital marketing and web analytics experts, including Jim Sterne, Pete Mortensen, Avinash Kaushik, Dave Chaffey and Andy Beal.