The typical small to medium-size business story: you get the best developers you can find on the team, put all your effort into marketing, establish a god-tier sales team, and return to every support call yourself if you have to.
You pour your heart and soul into your brainchild only for the users to sign up and never come back.
What went wrong? Was it your marketing team that flopped? Did the sales reach out to the wrong people? Was it not you carefully solving each and every customer problem?
Was your customer experience so bad, really?
The sad truth is: yes, it probably was.
Because however much you hand-hold your customers during the acquisition period and however many times you solve their problems tirelessly, if your customer engagement is poorly designed and monitored, you are going down.
Sooner or later.
And that’s why today, we are looking at the best user/customer engagement platforms and tools you can use to make your customer satisfaction and customer retention skyrocket while keeping customer churn at a minimum.
Jump straight to the tools here:
- UserGuiding – no-code onboarding and analytics
- Hotjar – heat maps, user behavior, session recording
- Typeform – customer feedback
- MailChimp – email marketing
- Zendesk – self-service, knowledge bases, service hub
- Optimizely – A/B testing, digital experience
When it comes to tools and platforms to enhance your user/customer engagement strategy, here are my top picks:
Best User Engagement Tools for Better Customer Success in 2022
When it is user engagement we are talking about, the tools and platforms to use should have one simple motive when in use: to get the target audience more and more hooked to the product.
So basically, the motive is to pick the tools that will show problems against customer success and eventually enhance customer loyalty.
To do this, there are various ways.
But here we have the most crucial elements of highly optimized customer engagement: better onboarding experiences, user behavior monitoring, customer survey solutions, marketing automation, service and live chat solutions, and finally, product optimization.
Let’s take a look.
1- UserGuiding – no-code onboarding and analytics
It will take a new sign-up less than a minute to decide that they don’t understand your product and leave.
Showing value to a user and educating them about your product are not so surprisingly parallel practices. And UserGuiding is the perfect tool to bring the two even closer for maximum engagement through onboarding experiences.
UserGuiding is a no-code user onboarding solution that helps you create a seamless onboarding process, look into onboarding insights, and leverage customer segmentation.
Among some prominent features of UserGuiding are:
✅ product tours and walkthroughs,
✅ guides with interactive content,
✅ tooltips, hotspots, modals,
✅ onboarding checklists,
✅ resource centers,
✅ onboarding analytics,
✅ segmentation and targeting,
✅ powerful customization options, and more.
How much is UserGuiding?
UserGuiding offers three different plans and a free trial.
- Basic Plan – $82/Month (billed annually)
- Professional Plan – $333/Month (billed annually)
- Corporate Plan – $583+/Month (billed annually)
If you think you can save some money by keeping the onboarding customer experience in-house, Shepherd.js is a free, open-source solution.
Though Shepherd.js does not have many features and steers clear of bigger deals like product experience as a whole, its user onboarding tours can be good enough for a budget-friendly alternative.
You might have to take matters into your own hands (your developers’, to be precise) with this one; at least you don’t have to deal with third-party tools.
Shepherd.js is an open-source tool that is maintained by GitHub users all around the world, and it is completely free.
2- Hotjar – heat maps, user behavior, session recording
We might be discussing many different sides of customer engagement solutions, but the truth is, it has a lot more to do with user behavior than anything else on this list.
So, I give you Hotjar. The perfect solution for not just observing your users’ behavior but also session recording.
Using the main features of Hotjar, it is easier for businesses to pinpoint customer interactions, look into good and bad experiences, and understand how engaged users behave. Moreover, Hotjar has many integrations and a survey and feedback feature as well.
Hotjar has a freemium plan that includes 35 daily sessions. The other plans are:
Plus – €31/month (100 daily sessions, billed annually)
Business – starting from €79/month (500+ sessions, billed annually)
Scale – custom
Alternative: Google Analytics
Though Google Analytics is not necessarily an exact alternative for Hotjar, it is still the best alternative for those looking for a tool that will show them more about user behavior and daily numbers.
With Google Analytics, users can see live data on when and where users are accessing their product, their customer journey inside the product, their interests and devices, and more actionable insights.
Google Analytics has a very capable free version, but it can be scaled to Google Analytics 360, which costs around $150.000 annually.
3- Typeform – customer feedback
Typeform is a very capable customer survey and feedback collection platform that any company can use to see the feelings and opinions of their customer base upon a change in product features or just any time.
Typeform is easily a fan favorite when it comes to collecting actionable feedback, but they also offer tons of templates, use cases, applications, integrations, and recently even an interactive video conversation feature. Basically, it is an all-around customer relationship channel for you.
Basic – $25/month (billed annually)
Plus – $50/month (billed annually)
Business – $83/month (billed annually)
Alternative: Google Forms
Yet another Google product that works well as a sufficient alternative is Google Forms.
While the tool has all the basic survey and feedback options, it also has the advantage of working perfectly with other Google products.
Google Forms is available for free; however, for a more holistic business view, it can be purchased inside the Google Workplace plan for as low as $6 per user/month.
4- MailChimp – email marketing
Email marketing is possibly the best way of keeping users engaged even when they are outside of your product. So it is no wonder that MailChimp is also an important user/customer engagement tool.
MailChimp is among the most recognizable email marketing tools thanks to its enormous popularity gained through, well, marketing.
Moreover, MailChimp is now rebranding itself as a full-on marketing solution, so you know it will be great for email campaigns AND other marketing campaigns. Among its most important capabilities are creative tools for email marketing and social media marketing, audience management, marketing automation, and analytics.
MailChimp has a free plan as well as another three plans:
Essentials – starting at $11/month
Standard – starting at $17/month
Premium – starting at $299/month
Alternative: Zoho Campaigns
There are many good alternatives for email marketing solutions, but if you’re on a budget, Zoho Campaigns easily has one of the most giving freemium plans. Ever.
Among its main features are contact management, signup forms, automation, and campaign management. Plus, it has a large directory of integrations.
Apart from the freemium with 6,000 emails a month to 2,000 contacts, there are two other plans:
Standard – starting from €1.69/month (billed annually)
Professional – starting from €2.81/month (billed annually)
5- Zendesk – self-service, knowledge bases, service hub
Good user engagement cannot exist without good customer service. Unless, of course, your product is so flawless that users never need customer service.
And when customer service is so crucial, you go with a tool that takes it seriously.
Zendesk is possibly the best in the game for those looking for a holistic view of customer service. With functionalities like live chat, chatbots, knowledge bases, and powerful analytics for customer support, Zendesk can be the only tool you might need.
While Zendesk does not offer a freemium plan, it has a free trial before users can convert to:
Suite Team – $49 per agent/month billed annually
Suite Growth – $79 per agent/month billed annually
Suite Professional – $99 per agent/month billed annually
Suite Enterprise – $150 per agent/month billed annually
While Zendesk is quite complex with a matching price, LiveAgent is a similar, simpler, and more affordable alternative.
The main feature of LiveAgent is a help desk, but other functionalities like knowledge base, live chat, and social media can be added on. The tool also has great integrations like Slack and MailChimp.
LiveAgent has a freemium plan as well as:
Ticket – $15/agent/month
Ticket + Chat – $29/agent/month
All-inclusive – $49/agent/month
6- Optimizely – A/B testing, digital experience
Recognized by Gartner and Forrester reports as a leader in the market, Optimizely has a beautiful digital experience platform that can be used to experiment, produce, and optimize web and product experiences.
Optimizely introduces three separate parts of the platform: the content cloud, the commerce cloud, and the intelligence cloud. Especially the intelligence cloud has key features similar to Hotjar, while the content cloud lets users design experiences they then can publish anywhere.
Optimizely has a free trial plan as well as four other plans that require buyers to get in touch with the sales. These are content management, web A/B testing, feature management, and commerce plans.
More functionalities can also be requested.
Alternative: Google Optimize
Google Optimize is a simple solution to figure out what parts of your site need to be optimized. It works in tandem with Google Analytics for the best results and has sophisticated targeting tools for its caliber.
Google Optimize is a part of the Google Workplace plan, which costs $150.000 annually. However, the tool without its advanced features can be used for free as well.
To Wrap It Up…
Designing a user/customer engagement model and a tech stack to go with it can be a tough task.
Still, it doesn’t have to be as long as you know exactly what your users need and what your business can afford; whether it be an onboarding process, email marketing solutions, app engagement campaigns, or anything else to reduce your churn rate.
Hopefully, this list gives you a good idea of how you can build your very own user engagement tech stack.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is user engagement software?
A user engagement software is any tool that can be used to engage users and make them loyal customers. This can range from a customer relationship management tool to content marketing tools. As long as it increases product usage and enhances user experiences, it can be called a user engagement software.
What are the types of user engagement?
There are different explanations regarding the types of user engagement, but we can say that the four types; contextual engagement, engagement of convenience, emotional engagement, and social engagement, are the most popular types.
What is a good example of user engagement?
It is a great user engagement practice when a new feature is launched and the company first announces it via email marketing and on its website, then uses an onboarding flow to familiarize active users with the feature, and utilizes a design that makes the feature stand out on the product. This is a good example of user engagement on the level of features.