New research from analytics services by Harvard Business Review finds that effective customer engagement is critical for business amid economic uncertainty

However, fewer than half of global business leaders rate their current customer engagement strategies as “good” or “excellent”

SAN FRANCISCO, July 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Today Harvard Business Review Analytic Services published a new report sponsored by Intercomthe Engagement operating system, called “Future-proof businesses with modern customer engagement“, revealing a significant gap in how companies engage with their customers. This comes at a time when delivering exceptional experiences is even more critical to retention and revenue, both amid an economic downturn and increasingly – competitive environment.

According to the report, 88% of surveyed global business leaders recognize that customer engagement has a significant impact on their organization’s bottom line. Additionally, 92% consider effective customer engagement to be “very” to “extremely” critical to their organization’s success, but only 9% say they have excellent engagement today. What’s more, less than half are investing in new or improved customer engagement technologies, and only 40% say they’re using data effectively to send customers the right message at the right time through the right channel.

“As customers engage with leading brands that deliver exceptional accuracy in their personalization and recommendations, they expect the same level of service from all companies,” said Blake Morgan, author of The Customer of The Future: 10 Guiding Principles for Winning Tomorrow’s Business. “Accurate engagement today is more than just knowing a customer’s name – it requires a deeper understanding of their preferences, values ​​and demographics to show that an organization cares and can deliver the right engagement.”

Organizations are turning to customer engagement efforts primarily to increase customer loyalty and retention (69%), increase revenue growth and profitability (59%), and improve brand reputation (42%). But the main obstacles preventing businesses from fully realizing these benefits include:

  • Poor cross-functional collaboration: Nearly half (44%) of respondents say lack of collaboration and siled efforts are the main obstacles to successful customer engagement.
  • Strong data: 32% of respondents say their organizations are failing to properly disseminate data-driven customer insights across the organization, and another 32% say customer data is siled or difficult to extract insights from. 60% also don’t think they do a good job of tailoring communications to data customers.
  • Lack of talent: Over half (56%) of respondents have difficulty finding the right staff to manage customer engagement efforts, and nearly three-quarters (73%) of respondents “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that their organization has need for employees with experience and expertise in customer engagement.

“This research shows that while business leaders understand the importance of customer engagement, they face barriers to implementation,” said Alex Clemente, managing director of analytical services at the Harvard Business Review. “Fostering a culture that supports more personalized engagement, eliminating data silos, deploying the right technology and recruiting stable talent are all barriers organizations will need to overcome to achieve effective customer engagement.”

“Engaging your customers and delivering great value to them has always been key to driving retention and loyalty and nurturing a healthy business. In times of economic uncertainty, engagement and retention become more important than ever,” said Karen Peacock, CEO of Intercom. “Now is the time to redouble your efforts to create an exceptional customer experience – one that is personalized, contextual and engaging throughout the customer journey, and to do so in a highly efficient way that saves you money. The businesses that do this are the ones that will thrive and come out the winners.”

To read the full report and learn more about how organizations are delivering exceptional user experiences, please visit the website.


Findings on the value of customer engagement are based on a global survey conducted in April 2022 of 317 business leaders, conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. Respondents are primarily senior or executive level management across a wide range of industries led by manufacturing, healthcare, technology and financial services.

About Intercom

Intercom, the Engagement OS, enables businesses to build stronger customer relationships that drive growth and scale. With its end-to-end customer communication platform, Intercom offers next-generation solutions for sales, marketing and support teams to work together to convert prospects into paying customers, engage customers throughout their journey and provide support world class.

Intercom is redefining the customer journey and bridging business silos to deliver ongoing, personalized engagement through in-context communications. More than 25,000 global organizations, including Atlassian, Amazon and Lyft Business, rely on Intercom to deliver unparalleled user experiences at any scale. Intercom’s platform is used to send over 500 million messages per month and enables interaction with over 600 million monthly active end users.

Founded in 2011 and backed by leading venture capitalists including Kleiner PerkinsBessemer Venture Partners and Social Capital, Intercom is on a mission to make Internet business personal.

About Harvard Business Review Analytics Services

Harvard Business Review Analytic Services is an independent commercial research arm within the Harvard Business Review Group, conducting research and benchmarking on important management challenges and emerging business opportunities. In an effort to provide business intelligence and insights to peer groups, each report is published based on the results of original quantitative and/or qualitative research and analysis. Quantitative research is conducted with the HBR Advisory Board, HBR’s global research panel, and qualitative research is conducted with senior business executives and subject matter experts from and outside the Harvard Business Review writing community. For more information, visit

Contact with the media
Christine Curtin
[email protected]

SOURCE Intercom, Inc.

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