Choosing a solution for business is nothing similar to selecting a household item. It is by no means an emotional choice, yet it may be so easy to fall under the spell of sweet promises made on landing pages and on personal demos. Did you even need all these expensive extra features you’ve been sold, you may wonder post hoc.

To help you make a prudent decision, Pushwoosh Team has come up with a comprehensive checklist containing the essential criteria your optimal customer engagement solution should follow.

What Are You Looking for in a Customer Engagement Platform?

Let’s take it from the top. When you set out to increase customer engagement, which metrics exactly do you pursue? Depending on your answer, quite different kinds of platforms may suit you.

At Pushwoosh, we help our customers to achieve higher engagement with their audiences across mobile and web channels. With this in view, we enable tracking app users’ behavior, processing their attributes, and setting segmentation filters.

By working with this kind of online data, Pushwoosh customers achieve higher relevance of their messaging. As a consequence, companies see improved engagement and increased conversions to target actions.

Are these your current goals too? Keep reading to learn the criteria that define a great customer engagement platform. Use our checklist to make a smart choice.

  1. Data Layer: Get to the Core of a Customer Data Platform
  2. Action Layer: Turn Data into Engaging Messages
  3. Analytics & Prediction Layer: Base Your Next Steps on Historical Data

1. Data Layer: Get to the Core of a Customer Data Platform

Choose a Customer Engagement Platform - Data

At the core of a customer engagement platform, there is a technical system able to collect and process customer data.

Specifics of the data vary: it may be sourced from a mobile application only or be gathered from the web as well.

In either case, to be satisfied with your choice of a customer engagement platform, you need to determine:

Maximum Data Load

What is the maximum volume of data that a platform can process?

The ultimate number will be a compound one, composed of the following characteristics:

Data Retention Period

For adequate segmentation, you need access to a sufficient volume of customer behavior data.

1️⃣ Data on active user devices

If a customer has opened your app at least once in the past 90 days, they are considered active; in Pushwoosh, the data on their device will be stored eternally — as long as they keep opening your app.

Most customer engagement platforms adhere to the same policy: businesses need data on their active app users, so the platform will store it. But what about keeping companies informed of inactive users? This is where customer engagement platforms may differ.

2️⃣ Data on inactive user devices

Pushwoosh will store the data about inactive user devices without any time restriction if they stay opted in for your push notifications. If users have opted out of pushes and stopped opening your app, the data on them will be stored for 90 days by default. This means you’ll still have a chance to re-engage your inactive users until they churn for good.

3️⃣ Data on triggered events

Let us guess: most often, you will target those customers who have taken any specific action in the last 30 days, no more. This way, you keep your communications to the point.

So you need a customer engagement platform that stores event history for these 30 days — this is what Pushwoosh does, in case you’re wondering.

The question to ask yourself:

For how long does the customer engagement platform of your choice store user behavior data?

Will the data retention period be enough for your team to make informed decisions and send effective communications?

Customer Segmentation Capacity: Tags Better Be Unlimited

Find out if a customer engagement platform you consider sets any limits on the number of Tags you can use.

It is also important to know if there are any types of Tags your future platform does not support. For example, Pushwoosh allows its Enterprise customers to create List Tags — something other vendors don’t necessarily provide. This kind of Tags is a must for granular attribute-based segmentation — and even on the basic level, you’ll make use of them too.

The question to ask yourself:

Does the customer engagement platform you lean toward provides enough Tags you need for my customer segmentation?

Data Import and Export

An integral part of a customer engagement platform is its ability to import and export data in various formats.

No provider can expect its users to work exclusively with their solution — the best-of-breed approach is now strong, with professionals switching between multiple tools to do their job. Vendors have to cater to this need, providing easy integrations with the most popular services and secure data exchange between them.

When looking for a customer engagement solution that is worth its pay, consider the one that features smooth CSV upload and download as a minimum.

The question to ask yourself:
Is it possible to import and export data to and from the customer engagement platform of your choice?

The Cost You’ll Pay for the Needed Capacity

A budget holder’d better know in advance how much a company will pay for the use of a customer engagement platform. However, not every vendor provides complete information beforehand.

Some customer engagement platform providers charge their clients for the number of MAU (monthly active users). If it soars, the oh-so-desired growth may backfire your company with unplanned costs.

Other vendors have even more intricate pricing based on data points. This is how it works: each action that a user takes in the app costs a certain number of data points. Some users are naturally more active within the app, and they may get even more active when there is a welcomed UX improvement or a successful user engagement campaign. As the in-app activity grows, the cost of using a customer engagement platform increases too. If only you could predict it…

Luckily, there is a pricing model that leaves no room for such an unpleasant surprise. A customer engagement platform may charge you for the number of push-enabled devices which, normally, doesn’t change overnight. This is the pricing model that Pushwoosh offers — you may check out the plans on this page.

The question to ask yourself:

Are you aware of the total cost you’ll pay for using a customer engagement platform when you sign a contract with a vendor? If not, how much extra can your marketing budget cover?

How much is Pushwoosh?

Researching these core criteria at an early stage will help you choose a platform that meets your business requirements and fits into your company budget best.

2. Action Layer: Turn Data into Engaging Messages

Choose a Customer Engagement Platform - Channels & Content

The next set of questions covers what you can do with the collected customer data — which channels the platform allows you to include in your engagement strategy and how fast, reliable, and easy its implementation will be day-to-day.

Connected Channels: Mobile, Web or, Better, Both

Customer engagement is largely determined by the mobile these days — but not limited to it. So when choosing a communication technology partner, opt for the one that supports both mobile and web channels.

By doing so, mobile-first businesses can win their competition in the uncharted web territory. And those companies that don’t even have a mobile app yet can benefit from forward-thinking. Who knows, in the next 12 months, your far-from-being-mobile-first business may finally see value in developing a mobile application, and you will need to include more channels in your mobile marketing mix. The transition will be smoother if, from the very beginning, you choose a customer engagement platform provider that is competent and experienced in mobile communications as well.

To be more specific, your perfect provider will provide you with mobile and web push notifications, in-app messages (that you may know as “popups” or “popup banners”), and emails. Even more channels are great to have, just make sure they come at a reasonable price that, once again, you will be well-informed of before you sign a contract with a vendor.

The question to ask yourself:

Does the platform support your must-have channels?

  • Mobile
  • Web

Even More of Your Favorite Channels Accessible via Webhooks

If you find a customer engagement platform that allows you to keep working smoothly with your favorite external services, know it’s a perfect match.

You should be able to connect a third-party analytical platform or an SMS provider of your choice to your new communication platform. It’s the easiest when a vendor enables external connections via webhooks — if you’re wondering, this is how Pushwoosh does it.

The questions to ask yourself:

Can I connect my favorite third-party services to the platform?
How much work time will our development team have to spend on that?

Omnichannel Communication

Engaging your customers across multiple channels is good. Keeping them in the loop with perfectly synchronized, multistep omnichannel messaging is even better.

Other things being equal, opt for a customer engagement platform that allows you to follow your audience across their journey and deliver timely, relevant messages through the channels your customers are most responsive to.

The question to ask yourself:

Does the platform enable omnichannel communication?

Deliverability of the Platform

  1. The architecture of a customer engagement platform should enable processing millions and billions of messages daily. So, listen to what a provider communicates as their maximum number of notifications delivered. Pushwoosh, for example, delivers 1B+ messages daily, and the current safety margin is ×10, meaning the platform is capable of sending 10B pushes daily if necessary.
  2. Pay attention to the difference between sending a message and delivering it. Surely, it’s the latter that you expect a customer engagement platform to provide. However, not every provider is capable of delivering push notifications and emails to the gateway with an up to 99.9% guarantee, like Pushwoosh is.

The question to ask yourself:

What deliverability rate does the platform guarantee?

Speed of Message Delivery

Still on the subject of deliverability, the speed of communications matters, especially in the industries like media and sports.

When you need to spread the news fast, your technology provider should not fail. Thousands and even tens of thousands of notifications per second should be considered the gold standard of delivery speed for enterprises with large audiences.

As for media and sports companies, they should be able to have up to 500k push notifications delivered per second. This is the record-breaking speed that allows a Pushwoosh customer ONE.co.il to be the leader in the Hebrew-speaking sports news segment. We give more detail about the high-speed technology behind the company’s success here.

The questions to ask yourself:

How fast is the platform?

- Average speed of message delivery

- Highest possible speed

Content Creation & Use of Rich Media: As Easy and As Elaborate As You Wish

As a team that’s been working in the market for 11 years now, we encourage you to choose a customer engagement platform that allows creating, uploading and editing rich media and email templates internally. From our customers’ experience, it’s a very-much-appreciated feature.

Some day, you’ll need to design an in-app message from scratch; other days, you’ll want to upload an HTML file with professionally designed graphics. You’ll win if the platform of your choice allows you to do both — without any special technical skills involved.

Pushwoosh's ease of use - Pushwoosh customer quote

And, of course, you may want to have all your rich media in-app messages and email templates kept safely on the platform.

The question to ask yourself:

Does the platform allow you to work with rich media?

- via a built-in editor

- by uploading custom-designed files

Visual Builder: Segment, Trigger and Communicate Easily

In 2022, a customer engagement platform of your choice should be more than a solution that works — it should be a solution that you can easily work with! So, a visual flow builder is a must.

A customer engagement platform that is worth its salt must have:

⭐ Features for visual segmentation — Pushwoosh’s Head of Sales Den Zubenko has put it for you in a video:

⭐ Unlimited number of Events for most effective behavioral segmentation

⭐ Ability to start and split engagement flows by Segment

Do we have to stress that a platform capable of all this doesn’t have to look complicated?

Pushwoosh - a simple customer engagement platform for comlicated marketing tasks

The question to ask yourself:

Does the customer engagement platform look easy to use and accomplish tasks with?

3. Analytics & Prediction Layer: Base Your Next Steps on Historical Data

Choose a Customer Engagement Platform - Analytics & Prediction

Here starts the battle of human vs. artificial intelligence.

If you explore a range of customer engagement platforms, you’ll see that some of them offer predictive analytics. Their machine learning algorithms analyze users’ past behavior and try to give you hints on the best delivery time or the ways to reduce churn.

Sounds awesome — on these platforms’ documentation; in reality, though, these intelligent algorithms can be less reliable than an industry-savvy customer success manager. An experienced and dedicated professional, oftentimes, can operate more insights on your market profile and use critical analysis before convincing you that your best time to send is 3 a.m. This is a real case, by the way, when a number of customers were bombarded with push notifications in the dead of night — just because the oh-so-intelligent system recommended it as the most engaging time.

“The rise of the machines” is rare, you may say, and one-time mistakes happen to the best of us. We would agree — if it wasn’t the price you pay for such unreliability. A customer engagement platform with prediction features will always be overpriced.

So if you find a vendor that only provides you with historical and real-time data analytics, don’t hesitate to go with their solution. Better value for money is key to higher ROI and a fruitful long-term partnership. Just study beforehand what actual users of the platform say about support and customer service.

Pushwoosh customer service - Pushwoosh customer quote

The questions to ask yourself:

Does the platform provide comprehensive historical data analytics?

Does it make any predictions? From 1 to 10, how credible are they?

Checklist

Choose a customer engagement platform - Pushwoosh - data
Choose a customer engagement platform - Pushwoosh - costs
Choose a customer engagement platform - Pushwoosh - channels
Choose a customer engagement platform - Pushwoosh - messaging efficiency
Choose a customer engagement platform - Pushwoosh - visual features
Choose a customer engagement platform - Pushwoosh - analytics
Choose a customer engagement platform - Pushwoosh

Choose a Customer Engagement Platform Wisely

Complex tasks don’t necessarily require complex solutions. When choosing customer engagement platforms, consider the one that meets your challenge and doesn’t pose another one.

Contact Pushwoosh Team, and we’ll walk you through the criteria mentioned in this post and show you how easily and effectively your customer engagement issues may be resolved.

Feel free to explore our solution on your own too:

Consider Pushwoosh