The Technology of Consumer Engagement

A few years ago I did a talk around the technology of consumer engagement, but it was very short and didn’t really dig too deep in what was happening today or where technology was leading consumer engagement as much as I wanted. Since this talk is something that has been becoming more and more relevant for a lot of companies, I thought it was probably best to just throw it in a blog post.

Many companies struggle with how they communicate to their customers today. Whether it is through some sort of tool like Intercom or social media, the conversation is usually one-way and provides very little real value to the consumer. It’s not that these tools are wrong or in some way diminish the message the company is trying to communicate. They are just mildly ineffective when it comes to really understanding what your customers are struggling with as it pertains to your service or product.

This is not a new problem. Companies have been struggling with this for years and have used a myriad of tools to help them find balance between product development, providing valuable insight for their customers, and ensuring they keeping an ear to customer concerns. Throughout my career I have seen many companies do this right, and many handle it poorly.

Technology has helped to drive communications better with customers and we at BrightWork have always worked to figure out what we could be doing better. One of the tools we decided early on that has helped us connect with our users faster has been Slack. It is a great tool to give us instant access to our users and what they are struggling with. However, many companies shy away from this tool because it does not provide a real scalable solution to hearing more about what your customers need in a controlled way.

Another tool I have seen used effectively is SMS. Many companies provide this to their support members or associates as a way to connect directly with their customers. Nordstrom is probably the most notable company doing this well today. Their sales associates have an app that uses a 3rd party’s SMS platform which keeps their personal numbers private. This allows the customer to text a question and ensures the company is staying close to their tech savvy customer base.

The future of consumer engagement is constantly evolving, but one thing is certain that there are companies that are utilizing different tools to ensure they keep the lines of communication open and are including their customers every step of the way. Companies that refuse to adapt or move too slowly are finding themselves far behind the curve as more consumers become more tech savvy and demand that the services and products they use adapt with them.

Josh Carter

CEO/Co-Founder @ BrightWork (Techstars Chicago '16), ex-Twilion, Father, US Navy Vet.

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