Customer Engagement

An in-depth exploration of customer engagement from the experts at Twilio Segment.


What is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is a measure of how effectively a business is communicating and building relationships with its customers across online and offline channels. Essentially, it’s a barometer for how invested people are in your brand, which can be a strong predictor for customer loyalty.

Different teams throughout an organization tend to focus on different metrics for customer engagement. For example, marketing may look at content downloads, social media shares, or email open rates, whereas a product team would look at active vs. non-active users or new feature adoption.


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Examples of customer engagement methods

The best customer engagement strategies often span multiple channels, while creating a consistent and seamless experience for the user. Here are some examples of different methods you can incorporate into your strategy.

Welcome email messages

A welcome email is the first email your company will send to a customer. It can be to kick off onboarding, confirm a purchase, or say someone has successfully subscribed to your newsletter. And while these emails serve as your company’s first impression, they’re also an opportunity to keep customers engaged with your brand. 

Depending on your business, the messaging in these emails may vary. For instance, an e-commerce store may offer a discount code along with a customer’s receipt, while a SaaS company could include links to a product tour after a user signed up for a free trial. 

Customer feedback surveys

Customer feedback surveys are often used to measure customer satisfaction, a product’s ease of use, or rate a recent interaction (i.e. the helpfulness of customer support). One popular way to survey customers is with Net Promoter Scores (NPS), which measure customers’ loyalty and how likely they are to recommend your product or brand. 

This feedback is invaluable for understanding what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to the customer experience, and how you can adjust your engagement strategies as a result (e.g. are users running into bugs when using your platform? Did customers love having the option to chat with customer support, rather than call?)

Social media

Social media engagement refers to how people are interacting with your content across different social channels (i.e. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). It’s tracked through a variety of metrics, including likes, comments, shares, clicks, and so on (which can also offer insight into brand awareness, and what topics are of the most interest to your audience). 

Actively publishing content and responding to users on social media is crucial for stoking engagement. In fact, 79% of customers expect a response on social media within 24 hours, and not responding to social media comments can increase churn rates by 15%

This is why businesses often use social media listening tools to know when their company, products, or relevant industry topics are being mentioned – rightfully using these moments as an opportunity to interact with customers. 

Milestone messages

A milestone message acknowledges a noteworthy event or customer achievement; it can be an email wishing a customer happy birthday and offering a discount, or an in-app message celebrating the first time a new feature was used. 

Milestone messages should remind people of the value they’re gaining from your business, and why they should remain loyal customers. (A masterful example of this is with Spotify Wrapped, an annual campaign that breaks down how many minutes users spent listening to music on their platform, along with a personalized report of their favorite songs and musical tastes). 

Customer Support interactions

Customer Support plays a crucial role in customer engagement, specifically with retention and customer satisfaction, by helping people quickly realize the value of your product or service, while resolving any issues that may arise. In these interactions, speed and personalization become all the more important, which is why Support teams benefit from having multiple options for customers (i.e. chat, phone, email, etc..) and the ability to automatically route people to the right agent or documentation (to avoid long wait times or bottlenecks). 

Other examples of effective customer engagement strategies for Support teams include personalized onboardings, proactive interventions (i.e. reaching out to users that have become increasingly inactive in the platform), sending milestone messages, and regularly sending out customer feedback surveys.  

New feature announcements

A new feature announcement is a great opportunity to engage both current customers and prospects. In these instances, success is often defined by product adoption (but, of course, demo requests, email open rates, click-through rates, etc. can be benchmarks as well). 

For these announcements, you need to have a solid understanding of your target audience (i.e. who would be most interested in this feature? Is it a tool better suited to marketers or engineers?). Being able to segment users based on their role or persona will ensure that you’re sending the right message to the right person to drive engagement. This is important for your follow-up messages as well. For example, a customer that’s already using a new feature would likely benefit from more tactical documentation than another promotional message. 

Customer loyalty programs

Customer loyalty programs offer perks or rewards to their members, often in relation to how much they spend with a brand. Examples of this include a customer accumulating redeemable points after each purchase, or having exclusive access to deals and promotions. 

These programs are an effective form of customer engagement because they incentivize people to keep interacting with your brand to reap these added benefits. 

In-app messages 

In-app messages are personalized notifications sent to users at various stages in their customer journey. They’re a strategic way to engage customers, and create a more seamless customer experience. 

For example, with first-time app users, these notifications can act as a quick interface tour, giving the rundown on need-to-know features so users aren’t stalled in onboarding. Other examples of using in-app messages to engage customers include notifying users of a new perk they’re eligible for, or asking for a quick product review or rating. 

Frequently asked questions

There’s a long list of benefits when it comes to customer engagement, including increased customer satisfaction, increased upsell and cross-sell revenue, reduced churn rates, higher customer loyalty, and a stronger brand reputation.

Improving customer engagement often depends on your team and specific goals (e.g. growing your social media audience vs. encouraging more downloads of gated content). But a few ways to improve customer engagement include:

  • Establishing a single view of the customer to gain a deeper understanding of their behavior and interests (in real-time).

  • Personalizing each customer touchpoint.

  • Actively engaging and responding to customers on social media.

  • Regularly asking for customer feedback via NPS, surveys, etc.

A customer engagement platform (CEP) is a single solution for launching personalized, omnichannel customer communications.

Customer engagement is directly tied to the health of your business. When customers feel a positive, emotional connection to your brand they’re inclined to spend more, stay loyal, and refer your company to friends or colleagues.

Twilio Engage is a centralized platform that powers one-to-one personalization at scale. Combining a scalable customer data platform with extensible communications APIs (while offering 400 integrations), Twilio Engage allows teams to launch omnichannel marketing campaigns that are built on real-time, first-party data.