Twilio (credit image/Pixabay/Gerd Altmann)Twilio the customer engagement platform has released its third annual State of Customer Engagement Report. The report reflects findings from a survey of 3,450 business leaders and 4,500 consumers across 12 countries. The research demonstrates 72% of UK businesses increased investment in digital customer engagement in 2021, many are reaping the rewards. In fact, those that did invest in customer engagement technology increased revenues by 58%.

The rewards for businesses don’t stop at direct financial benefits. Many businesses reported that these technologies also positively impact customer retention and trust, 40% said that investing would increase loyalty. 42% said it would increase trust.

UK businesses lack digital talent

The research indicates 39% of global businesses cited “lack of in-house talent” as a roadblock to digital customer engagement strategy. In the UK, 47% said that they lack the in-house talent to run digital customer engagement programmes. This is a barrier to resilience in the long run. This is significantly higher than in the US, where one third (33%) said they had a talent gap.

The pandemic has proven that effective digitisation is fundamental for long-term business resilience. Digitisation was not only paramount to empower businesses to continue serving customers when in-person interaction was not possible. It also offered customers greater flexibility in the longer term, which has shaped consumer behaviour and preferences for good. Yet the tech talent shortage has impacted organisations’ ability to digitise rapidly and effectively. This is true in the area of customer communications and engagement as much as any other.

It’s crucial that this issue is addressed now, as customer engagement is going to continue to move over to a more digital playing field. By 2025, businesses expect that digital customer engagement will increase 47% from pre-pandemic levels globally.

Customer engagement impacts the business bottom line

Yet at the same time, strong customer engagement has never been more important. In fact, consumer opinions demonstrate that a failure to engage effectively with your customers could significantly affect the bottom line. 89% of UK consumers would stop doing business with a company after a frustrating customer experience. One fifth (21%) said they’d cut ties if they could not connect to someone from customer support. Furthermore,16% would cut ties if they knew they could get a better customer experience from a different company.

Concurrently, organisations that have successfully invested in their customer engagement strategy have reaped the benefits. UK businesses that did so saw revenue increase by 58%, but other markets saw even greater returns. France saw a 70% raise, the US 79%, Colombia 95%, Brazil 95%, and Mexico 91%.

This research demonstrates what we have known for a long time. Good customer engagement matters,” said Paul Adams, vice president, EMEA at Twilio. “Insufficient in-house talent can be an issue for implementation of customer experience strategies. The research shows that overcoming it has a truly positive impact on a business’ bottom line.

The lack of tech talent in the UK is well documented, but there are ways companies can mitigate this. For example, using partner networks or easy-to-implement APIs that can help stretched tech teams build solutions more quickly. Overcoming the tech skills gap is a long term play. But one that should undoubtedly be prioritised at all levels to ensure long-term digitally-driven company resilience and business success.

Other key findings

  • Globally, utilities, professional services and retail industries saw the greatest digital acceleration as a result of the pandemic. Utilities and energy companies reported that it sped up their organisations’ digital transformation strategies by 7.9 years. 7.6 years for professional and technical services and 7 years for retail and eCommerce businesses.
  • Split globally by industry, construction companies reported the greatest ROI from digital customer engagement strategies with an 88% revenue increase. Telecoms saw an 83% lift and tech 82%.

Report Methodology

The report is based on two surveys conducted by Lawless Research in December 2021 and January 2022. The B2C company survey collected responses from 3,450 business leaders, while the consumer survey collected responses for 4,500 consumers. Both surveys included respondents from Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, Spain, UK and US. There were 200-1,000 responses from each country. The report also included analysis of anonymized, aggregated data from over 1.6 trillion interactions that have occurred on Twilio’s platform. This includes Twilio Segment, over the past several years.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business

The rapid increase of digital customer engagement in the post-pandemic world shows no sign of slowing down. Twilio’s research is interesting and reveals how organisations can adjust strategies to capitalise on these growth trends. The State of Customer Engagement Report 2022 suggests that digital customer engagement has made a significant impact — increasing revenue by 70% on average for companies that invested in it. Unsurprisingly, these same companies expect to almost double their investment by 2025. However, the fast pace of change also means that businesses will need to quickly adapt. Personalization is now essential for customer retention and data protection has taken on greater importance amongst consumers.

Another major shift to pay attention to is the move towards “cookieless.” Firefox and Safari have already blocked access to third-party cookies, and Google Chrome will do the same in 2023. In the coming “cookieless” world, creating personalised experiences will require embracing first-party data. Going forward, embracing first-party data is not just the right thing to do, it’s no longer a choice. The report suggests customer engagement will become an even more important component for any successful business strategy over the coming years. The companies that embrace these lessons. The importance of personalisation, data ownership, and trust will continue to reap the rewards of this new digital age. Consumers will enjoy better, more trustworthy experiences online.


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