8 min read
Nov 09, 2016

How to Create a Customer Engagement Hub With Software Integrations

If you want to create your own customer engagement hub, here are five software integrations that can help you get there. 

Suzie BlaszkiewiczAnalyst

Between customer experience and customer-centricity, new buzzwords are popping up daily in the world of customer service. The latest one making a splash is the customer engagement hub. What does it mean exactly? If customer engagement includes all of the interactions that you have with customers, then a customer engagement hub is the place where you keep track of- and make use of- those interactions.

According to Gartner, a customer engagement hub isn’t just one piece of software, or even a single technology, but a business strategy that uses multiple different software types to help give a better end-to-end customer experience. A customer engagement hub:

  • Is a “system of systems.”

  • Places greater emphasis on the explicit two-way value exchange between the customer and enterprise.

  • Has built-in internal collaboration and channel routing tools to connect employees across departments, employees with customers, and customers with their peers.

  • Provides several layers of analytics to manage optimized and personalized customer interactions. (Source: Gartner )

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How do you create a customer engagement hub?

Software that can be part of a customer engagement hub includes anything from sales, to marketing, to customer service, and even analytics.

But, while a customer engagement hub isn’t one piece of software (or a software at all), your CRM is probably the closest thing you can get to it; it’s where you can store and record all of the interactions that you have with customers, giving you a better idea of your overall level of customer success. What’s crucial to get this overarching view with all the right data, are the right integrations.

Below, I’ll show you how you can create a customer engagement hub by connecting your CRM with other systems you might run in your business to provide the best end-to-end customer experience while maximizing leads, and increasing revenue.

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1) Integrate with your email client

The first step for creating a customer engagement hub is connecting with the outlet that you use most to contact your customers with: email. Email integration comes pretty standard with most CRMs, but it’s very important to set it up so that you don’t have any information gaps.

Zoho CRM is one of many that connects with all of the major email systems including Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo, as well as its own Zoho Email client. With this connection, every email that you receive will be tracked in Zoho CRM, whether or not they’re customers. If they are, you’ll be able to see where they are in the sales pipeline; if not, you’ll quickly be able to add them.

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2) Integrate with customer service software

The next step is a customer service software connection. This also fits the bill of a customer engagement hub nicely- it might not be a contact book, but you’ll certainly have a record of every client interaction. Once you connect the two, you’ll have an even better overview of how your customers are reaching out.

SalesforceIQ and Zendesk are a great example of pairing a CRM with your customer service software. As a CRM, SalesforceIQ will keep track of all of your leads and their progress in the pipeline. With the Zendesk integration via Zapier, you can get tickets automatically imported from Zendesk to those contacts already in SalesforceIQ so that you’ll be able to see when existing customers have made customer service queries.

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3) Integrate with social media

Social media has become one of the key touchpoints for connecting with customers. It’s the place where people go to interact with, engage, and talk about your brand, as well as get customer support. By linking your CRM with social media, you can manage and record these interactions as part of your entire customer profile.

SugarCRM has an integration with Twitter that lets you create cases directly from tweets. Once you set up the connection, you’ll have your Twitter feed available in a small dashboard in SugarCRM, where you’ll be able to read all of the tweets in your stream. From here, you can add Twitter handles to existing contacts, or create new contacts based on who’s reaching out.

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4) Integrate with marketing automation

If marketing is meant to generate leads, it makes sense that you’d want your CRM to be able to incorporate those into your pipeline. Luckily, you can capture it all in one place with an integration between your marketing automation and CRM software.

Pipedrive and ActiveDEMAND are a good duo when it comes to showing off this connection. As a marketing automation solution, ActiveDEMAND lets you send email campaigns, create landing pages, web forms and surveys, and send drip campaigns, among other marketing automation activities. When those campaigns are successful, you’ll have leads that you’ll want to enter into your CRM. That’s where the Pipedrive integration comes into play. Once you set it up, you can automatically port leads into the CRM, or send emails to your sales teams who can claim new leads and automatically get assigned to them in Pipedrive.

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5) Get insights with analytics

What brings it all together are the insights. Once you’re able to see most, if not all, customer touchpoints in one location, it’s important to recognize which channels of communication offer the biggest payoff when it comes to customer experience, lead generation, and revenue.

Domo, a business intelligence solution, offers an integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM to do just that. Pulling in data from Dynamics CRM, you can see how your sales team has performed on various metrics to get an overall picture of what’s working best. It can pull in data from other solutions that are connected with Dynamics CRM as well, providing you with a robust hub where you can see your entire sales pipeline strategies and successes.

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Why create a customer engagement hub?

Providing a seamless customer experience requires communication during the entire process, and it’s not just communication between the customer and your business, but between the different departments and customer touchpoints within your business.

When you integrate all of the software that you use to track customer interactions, you’re ensuring that you get a full picture of the end-to-end customer experience. From there, you’ll be able to provide a holistic customer experience that’ll result in higher quality customer service, better loyalty, and ultimately, increased revenue.

Check out the most integrated CRM systems in GetApp’s Category Leader ranking for CRM.

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