Customer Engagement Platform: What Is It + 12 Tools to Watch Out For

Customer Engagement Platform: What Is It + 12 Tools to Watch Out For cover

What is a customer engagement platform? How is it different from a CRM? Why should you have one?

These are the main questions that this article answers. We also introduce 12 customer engagement platforms that your SaaS organization should consider.

Let’s get to it, shall we?


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What is a customer engagement platform?

A customer engagement platform (CEP) is a tool designed to help businesses manage and improve interactions with their customers across various touchpoints.

The aim of such platforms is to create a positive customer experience and foster strong relationships between a brand and its customers.

What is the difference between CRM and a customer engagement platform?

Although there’s some overlap in their capabilities, customer relationship management (CRM) and customer engagement tools differ in their focus and functionalities.

CRM systems are primarily designed to manage a company’s interactions with current and potential customers. Their main goal is to improve business relationships, streamline processes, and increase sales.

In contrast, customer engagement platforms are built to actively engage customers. Their purpose is to build a deeper relationship with customers by providing personalized and meaningful interactions.

The functionality of a CRM focuses on sales, marketing, and customer support functions. This includes managing contact information, tracking sales leads, conducting sales forecasting, and providing customer service.

CEPs, on the other hand, offer tools for communication across multiple channels, like email or in-app messaging.

What are the benefits of using customer engagement tools?

Customer engagement platforms offer a few benefits that are difficult to ignore by SaaS companies.

Granular understanding of customer interactions

As CEPs are equipped with analytics features, they allow you to better understand user interactions with your product.

This allows you to analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of your engagement strategy. For example, you can use them to track user engagement with your onboarding flows and optimize them for better user activation and product adoption.

It gets even better.

Some of the platforms allow you to track and analyze all customer behavior inside the product. This means you can use them to identify the most valuable features, friction points in the user journey, or the happy paths to value.

The customer data isn’t limited to quantitative insights as the tools enable you to collect customer feedback via surveys. This makes it easier to assess customer expectations and needs.

Greater customer satisfaction and customer loyalty

Engaging users with personalized experiences designed based on past interactions increases the chances they use your product competently to accomplish their goals.

By helping them derive the product value, you increase their satisfaction. This is closely linked to customer retention and loyalty.

Stronger differentiation from competitors

Although the benefits of CEPs are pretty clear, not all companies use them to enhance the user experience.

Consequently, implementing a customer engagement platform can help your product stand out and give you an edge over rivals. This is particularly important in saturated markets with fierce competition.

Top features to look out for in modern customer engagement platforms

What features should your customer engagement platform support?

Here are a few of the key ones:

12 best customer engagement software in 2024

With the theory out of the way, let’s have a look at a few of the best customer engagement platforms for SaaS companies in 2024.

1. Userpilot

Userpilot is a product growth platform that ticks a lot of the boxes when it comes to customer engagement.

The platform allows you to design personalized onboarding experiences for your main user segments that reduce the time needed to realize value.

The engagement features include:

You can trigger them at a specific time, for example, for a welcome survey, or contextually, in response to specific events.

A welcome survey created in Userpilot
A welcome survey created in Userpilot.

How do you know the most optimal customer journeys for different personas?

You can find them thanks to Userpilot’s top-notch analytics tools.

Userpilot allows you to track user interactions with individual product features and in-app messages. You can then analyze them via multiple reports (Funnels, Trends, Paths, Retention) and dashboards.

That’s not the end.

Session recordings and AI-powered analytics are coming to Userpilot soon.

Userpilot analytics dashboard.
Userpilot analytics dashboard.

Userpilot supports informed decision-making also through its experimentation functionality: You can run A/B and multivariate tests on your in-app messages and flows to identify the best-performing ones.

Userpilot A/B test results
A/B test results in Userpilot.

Moreover, creating in-app surveys in Userpilot is a breeze: pick a template from the library, customize it in the visual editor, and the job is done. Like in-app patterns, you can choose the time and date to trigger them or do it contextually.

In-app survey created in Userpilot
In-app survey created in Userpilot.

Finally, Userpilot supports a range of integrations, including CRM tools (HubSpot and Salesforce).

2. Twilio

Twilio is a cloud communications platform that enables businesses to engage with customers across multiple channels such as SMS, email, phone calls, and WhatsApp.

How does it work?

The platform offers a robust API that businesses can use to integrate communication features into existing apps or services, making personalized, real-time interactions possible at scale.

For example, you can use it to automate appointment reminders via text messages, conduct customer surveys via voice calls, or provide real-time support with video.

This makes Twilio a very flexible solution enabling tailored engagement strategies.

Best customer engagement platform: Twilio
Best customer engagement platform: Twilio.

3. Salesforce

Salesforce offers a comprehensive suite of tools designed to streamline customer relationship management.

Its features include sales management, marketing automation, customer service, and analytics, all housed within a cloud-based platform.

Salesforce helps teams create a 360-degree view of the customer and enables them to deliver personalized experiences across every touchpoint.

The latter is possible thanks to numerous integrations with email marketing and other engagement tools, including Userpilot.

Best customer engagement platform: Salesforce
Best customer engagement platform: Salesforce.

4. HubSpot

HubSpot is an all-in-one inbound marketing, sales, and service software designed to attract, engage, and delight customers.

It offers a wide range of tools for content management, email marketing, social media, and workflow automation, all centered around its free CRM.

HubSpot is known for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive CRM capabilities, making it an excellent option for businesses looking to enhance their inbound marketing efforts and improve customer engagement.

You can expand its capabilities even further thanks to integrations with popular tools. For example, the 2-way integration with Userpilot allows HubSpot users to engage customers in-app.

Best customer engagement platform: Hubspot
Best customer engagement platform: HubSpot.

5. UserGuiding

Just like Userpilot, UserGuiding is a DAP.

The platform simplifies the process of creating interactive guides and onboarding materials for digital products, enhancing user experience and engagement without any coding.

By providing contextual assistance and step-by-step guidance within the app, it helps reduce user confusion and improve adoption rates.

This tool is particularly valuable for web applications looking to minimize churn and support users through the critical initial stages of the user journey and help them realize value in less time.

Due to its affordable pricing, UserGuiding is a solid option for early-stage SaaS companies.

Best customer engagement platform: UserGuiding
Best customer engagement platform: UserGuiding.

6. Appcues

Appcues is a product growth platform focused on improving product adoption and reducing churn by making software easier to use and more engaging for end-users.

It allows businesses to create personalized user onboarding flows, product tours, and in-app messages to enhance user experience and engagement.

Just like Userpilot and UserGuiding, it’s a no-code tool, which makes it easy to implement.

Its analytics features provide basic insights into user behavior but are no match for Userpilot and are on par with UserGuiding, which is considerably cheaper.

Best customer engagement platform: Appcues
Best customer engagement platform: Appcues.

7. Zendesk

Zendesk provides a suite of customer service tools for customer service teams.

Its features include an integrated customer support ticketing system, live chat, knowledge bases, and a customizable support center. The functionality can be greatly expanded through the Zendesk integration ecosystem.

Zendesk stands out for its ability to streamline support processes and centralize customer interactions, making it easier for customer service reps to provide prompt and informed responses.

Best customer engagement platform: Zendesk
Best customer engagement platform: Zendesk.

8. Drip

Drip is an e-commerce CRM platform that offers advanced email and SMS marketing automation features. It’s designed to help online stores capture and leverage customer data to craft targeted marketing messages that drive engagement and sales.

Drip’s strength lies in its deep integration with e-commerce platforms, enabling businesses to trigger personalized communications based on customer actions and shopping behavior.

This level of customization ensures that customers receive relevant offers and information, increasing conversion rates and fostering loyalty.

Best customer engagement platform: Drip
Best customer engagement platform: Drip.

9. ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign is a customer engagement solution that specializes in customer experience automation.

It combines email marketing, automation, CRM, and machine learning functionality for an integrated approach to customer engagement.

ActiveCampaign’s platform is highly customizable, allowing businesses to design marketing campaigns that nurture leads and drive sales.

Its detailed segmentation, analytics, and predictive content features enable businesses to deliver highly personalized messages at scale.

Best customer engagement platform: ActiveCampaign
Best customer engagement platform: ActiveCampaign.

10. Intercom

Intercom offers a conversational relationship platform that enables businesses to communicate with customers through live chat, email, and social media.

Its real-time communication capabilities enable businesses to offer support, capture leads, and provide personalized recommendations by engaging with customers and prospects directly on the website or mobile app.

Intercom’s use of chatbots for automation and targeted messaging for user engagement campaigns allows businesses to scale their customer service and marketing efforts efficiently, making every customer interaction count.

Its features also include a help desk and you can use it to design basic product tours and onboarding checklists.

Best customer engagement platform: Intercom
Best customer engagement platform: Intercom.

11. Help Scout

Help Scout is a cloud-based help desk software designed to provide an excellent customer support experience and is valued for its simplicity and intuitive UI.

It’s particularly well-suited for small to medium-sized businesses looking for a straightforward yet powerful tool to manage their customer support services.

Help Scout offers a range of features designed to streamline customer service operations, including a shared inbox for handling customer emails, a knowledge base platform for creating and managing self-service content, and live chat capabilities.

Best customer engagement platform: HelpScout
Best customer engagement platform: HelpScout.

12. Hotjar

Hotjar is a user experience analytics platform that helps businesses understand how users interact with their website or product. The knowledge of user experience and behavior enables businesses to make data-driven decisions to optimize their digital platforms.

The platform’s key features include heatmaps, session recordings, and surveys.

Hotjar is invaluable for identifying usability issues, enhancing site navigation, and improving content placement – directly contributing to a more engaging and efficient user experience.

Its feedback tool also allows businesses to gather direct input from users, further informing website improvements and engagement strategies.

Best customer engagement platform: Hotjar
Best customer engagement platform: Hotjar.


Customer engagement platforms enable customer success, support, and marketing teams to analyze user interactions with the brand and use the insights to design bespoke engagement strategies.

This translates into higher customer satisfaction and loyalty and drives business goals.

If you’d like to learn more about Userpilot’s capabilities as a customer engagement platform, book the demo!

Try Userpilot and Take Your Customer Engagement to the Next Level

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