Automate the Customer Engagement Lifecycle

By understanding and automating the customer engagement lifecycle, you can ensure seamless, engaging, customer conversations, every time. Part 2 of a three-part series on how businesses can better engage customers by modernizing their contact center.

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Automate the Customer Engagement Lifecycle

Exceptional customer engagement doesn’t just blossom with one instance of a business interaction: it takes many positive experiences to earn your customer’s loyalty—and only one bad experience to lose it. To stay in good standing, enterprises must embrace a customer-first philosophy. An innovative contact center solution can help connect the dots across departments to support customer engagement, beginning with understanding—and automating—the customer lifecycle.

Today’s customers are as demanding as they are digital: they expect businesses to engage with them on their terms, which is hard to do when you're relying on a customer service mentality using yesterday's technology. Customer service is no longer a standalone proposition. For example, your customers may connect with your company’s marketing team on Facebook, but ask specific questions of sales personnel via a web chat. They may opt to text directly with the delivery person, but choose to phone customer service to resolve an issue. Regardless of whom they spoke with last, or what channel carried that conversation, they expect each contact to build on the previous one. And they expect to be understood without having to repeat themselves or start from scratch each time.

By examining interactions at each stage of the customer lifecycle, you can determine if you should automate many of these processes—delivering the right message with the right app at the right time—all while making every customer feel as if each interaction is tailor-made for them. The trick: employing a completely customizable contact center.

A Modern Contact Center Empowers True Engagement

A vibrant, omnichannel contact center is becoming increasingly important as a tool to attract, engage, delight, and ultimately retain good customers. For true engagement, businesses need to connect and personalize a customer journey across all channels and touchpoints—from marketing campaigns to customer support interactions. But first, it’s important to understand the Customer Engagement Lifecycle so that you can build a roadmap to quickly and easily equip employees with the digital channels—and the data derived from them—needed to build strong, lasting customer relationships.


Marketing paves the way: As the department charged with customer acquisition, marketing campaigns are often a brand's first connection with a prospective customer. Since marketers are spending an increasing amount of time interacting directly with prospects and customers, they need engagement tools that allow them to: - Drive personal and contextual omnichannel interactions in real-time. - Improve conversions by accurately and expeditiously managing and routing leads. - Apply new lead tracking techniques to measure marketing return on investment (ROI) and improve performance. - Design engaging, customized communications and respond instantaneously with simple drag-and-drop interface tools.

Closing the Deal: Once a prospect raises their hand, or an existing customer is primed to spend more, your company’s sales and business development teams are on the hook. Advanced technologies are enabling sales departments to do their jobs better and faster, particularly when leads are properly funneled with more accuracy and insight. Critical for this stage is to: - Easily and dynamically connect to the customer on whatever channel they prefer. - Help vet leads with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems and “conversation assistants” prior to engagement. - Provide dashboards that offer comprehensive customer views and the intelligence that sales teams lean on to fuel insightful conversations.

Delivery rises to meet expectations: Possibly the most challenging aspect of the Customer Engagement Lifecycle is the fulfillment stage, as it directly impacts the customer experience. Given today’s digital age, customers expect faster delivery of a product or service than ever before. Being mobile-first has genuinely made automating many of these processes more interactive and responsive. Companies can now: - Automate and send instant notifications, alerts, and appointment reminders via SMS or IVR. - Provide real-time delivery and tracking information over multiple channels. - Directly connect customers with their delivery handler via a mobile device, leveraging text and voice for more personalized interactions. - Provide agents with real-time dashboards for a comprehensive view of delivery status, payment confirmations, and customer commentary — all with built-in alerts if something goes awry.

Support ensures satisfaction: Support agents directly engage with your customers by responding to questions, resolving issues, processing returns, accepting payments, and handling collection-related activities. This has been made smoother with automation: - Simplify payment collection, agent routing, and feedback gathering through self-help tools, such as IVRs. - Respond to consumer questions faster with automated, context-driven text messages. - Securely funnel callers to appropriate agents by infusing IVRs with real-time contextual analytics. - Delight customers by easily connecting with them on the channels they use every day.

By aligning teams around the Customer Engagement Lifecycle, you can identify a predictive and cyclical pattern across the organization. Once understood, you can automate much of the customer communications process to allow for a seemingly personalized interaction at any stage of the customer journey, assuming you’ve chosen the right engagement technologies to fuel your contact center.

Your Contact Center: The Key to Connecting the Dots

Once you understand the Customer Engagement Lifecycle specific to the way customers interact with your business, you can break down the organizational silos, design a process that empowers employees with tools designed to successfully communicate, and intelligently automate these interactions wherever possible to ensure seamless customer experiences. That starts with choosing the right communications platform to support the evolving needs of your customers—and of your organization.

By designing your contact center roadmap based on the customer lifecycle, you can then build—and automate—customized communications to meet their unique needs. Unfortunately, the classic contact center is based on inflexible and proprietary platforms and doesn’t include multiple touchpoints, the ability to pivot from channel to channel, or the contextual information that provides a holistic view of the customer. To succeed, you’ll want a fully customizable cloud-based contact center, so you aren’t locked into a vendor’s limited roadmap or restricted by the abilities of telecommunications hardware. Be sure you choose a vendor that offers the freedom to build the exact customer experience you want, designed with the specific capabilities you need.

Contact Center Transformation: The ING Group

ING, one of the world’s largest banks, knew that as the financial needs of their global banking customers evolved, they had to do the same. To remain relevant in today’s market, ING understood that they had to completely change the way they communicate with customers. This shift meant restructuring ING’s entire organization to become more agile, which wasn't easy to do with more than 40,000 employees in 40 countries. On top of that, they had the challenge of having 17 disparate legacy contact centers created by different vendors at different times.

For that, ING needed to effectively redesign and rebuild their legacy contact center. Considering all options, ING’s Chief Architect, Henk Kolk, looked to power a next-generation contact center with Twilio's developer-friendly building blocks: Programmable Voice, IP Messaging, Programmable Video, and TaskRouter. And since finance is one of the most highly regulated industries, it was imperative that ING selected a reliable, secure cloud communications provider that ensured industry and regulatory compliance, offered 24/7 service, and was built on a far-reaching, global carrier network so they could scale as needed.

The results? ING was able to consolidate its 17 legacy contact centers into one. Today, their team uses flexible cloud-based APIs to quickly customize applications to deliver the agility, speed, and scale required to stay competitive, and to guarantee successful engagements.

“The only way to speed up in a world of software is to empower your developers.” — Henk Kolk, Chief Architect, ING Bank

Modernize Your Contact Center: Simplify Customer Engagement

Organizations of every size, and in every industry could benefit from rethinking their communication strategies, the software they use, and the tools required to engage customers on a more personal level. To create consistent, dynamic customer experiences across all communication channels, businesses need an omnichannel communication strategy. One that offers the ability to monitor, understand, and quickly respond to numerous interactions during a customer’s lifecycle – all while significantly simplifying the way customer communication is handled.

It bears repeating: your customer service team isn’t the only group who benefits from this dynamic way of connecting with the customer. Marketers are interacting on social media and injecting brand messages whenever and wherever possible. Telemarketing arms are deploying virtual agents to lure prospects. Sales reps are funneled the hottest leads first, and they're closing opportunities that previously may have been out of reach. And IT departments are eliminating tickets faster than before. Undeniably, the quickest and simplest way to reliably improve your customer communication efforts is to optimize your contact center with a scalable cloud communication platform.

“There is nothing like Twilio Flex on the market—we have complete control over every decision when building and can truly own our customer experience.” - Jaime Gilliam-Swartz, vice president of customer experience operations at Lyft.

Automate Engagement With Twilio Flex

To respond to the evolving needs of today's businesses, Twilio has created a new contact center application platform. The first of its kind, Twilio Flex is an entirely programmable cloud-based contact center. It’s a platform for contact center development, not a rigidly packaged contact center SaaS solution. Twilio Flex allows you to develop, customize, and manage your own contact center applications on top of Twilio’s infrastructure in a more intuitive and customer-centric way. And because Twilio Flex is an open platform meant for custom software development—rather than a standard out-of-the-box solution—it’s the perfect choice to design a modern contact center around your customer.

With Twilio Flex, you can:

Ready to engage? Talk to us to learn how Twilio Flex can help you re-engage your customers in a whole new way.

Dive deeper by reading the rest of this three-part series:

Or the following resources: