What is real time customer engagement and how does it up your CX game?

Natalie Smithson
AI enthusiast | Tea addict | Focused on using AI assistants to win the working week
A person and an AI assistant are surrounded by data charts, an up arrow and cogs

In today’s connected world, customers expect a quick and personalised service. They’re used to getting what they want at the touch of a button and, so, naturally expect the same level of convenience from you ― it’s a lot of pressure for customer service leaders.

Key to meeting these expectations is using real time customer engagement to deliver exceptional experiences that drive loyalty and growth, but how do you achieve that, exactly?

We’ll explore what real time customer engagement is, how it can improve customer service, and share some tried and tested methods you can start work on today.


  • Real time customer engagement is about seizing the moment to connect with your buyer when they need you most or are most deeply engaged with your product or service
  • Use real time customer engagement to increase customer loyalty by satisfying customer needs and offering personalised services
  • 52% of marketers are already using real time customer engagement and when customers feel that connection to a brand, they spend twice as much as those who don’t
  • Offer live chat support, use social media, send push notifications, use email marketing, use webinars, offer loyalty programs, use augmented reality or virtual reality, offer video chat support, or use live streaming and much more for real time customer engagement
  • Use AI to enhance real time customer experience across every channel simultaneously and make personalisation easy to quickly enhance CX

What is real time customer engagement?

Real time customer engagement is about seizing a moment to connect with your buyer. The moment when they need you most or are most deeply engaged with your product or service.

Increase customer loyalty

Being there for a customer in real time, rather than waiting for them to reach out to you, or getting in touch later when they’re busy doing something else, means you’re able to recognise and respond to customer actions immediately and help satisfy their every need.

A basic chatbot shows a response to the question:

We already know satisfied customers are more likely to stay loyal to your brand.

Personalise your service

Using real time engagement, you can also start to deliver a deeply personalised service for your customers, suggesting the next best action for every individual person. Customers often come to trust in that when it feels like you know and value them. This naturally enhances your relationship with customers and gives your brand reputation a boost.

It’s impossible to meet every customer face to face and in person. To get to know them as well as you’d like to or hear directly about every choice they make, but you can use real time marketing and sales to get as close to that as you can. It’s a way to be right there in a flash of time with your customer, wherever they might be, whatever they want to do, right there and then.

What are the benefits of real time customer engagement?

Improving customer engagement can quickly help bolster strong relationships with your loyal followers, simply by showing up as an approachable, caring brand that listens to and supports them.

Increasing engagement doesn’t have to be expensive either. You can increase customer engagement on a tight budget, and if you can be there in real time too, you’re establishing your brand as one that rejects impartiality and distance. Instead, show you choose regular communication and a positive connection. Salesforce found almost half of customers say they’ll “stop buying from a company if they have a subpar experience,” so keeping customers close is vital.

Three people remove 2 stars from a 5 star rating, alongside the text

Connecting with your customers in real time

According to Salesforce 52% of marketers are already using real time customer engagement. Not only that, but “high performers are 1.9x more likely than underperformers to engage customers in this way“ across one or more channels.

Practicing real time engagement can be associated with high performance because it shows you what customers want there and then. This means you’ll use less of your resources trying to figure it out further down the line or retrospectively, and so please more customers more quickly.

On the left, a woman inside a device screen has a loudspeaker and there is activity happening all around her alongside the text

Using real time engagement to increase sales

When customers are satisfied, you already know they’re more likely to stay loyal to your brand and make repeat purchases, plus recommend your product or service to other people.

This kind of endorsement naturally enhances the credibility of your organisation. Yours is then the one people will come to know, like and trust ― a well-regarded marketing concept that’s often credited with helping to build loyalty and foster long-lasting relationships with customers.

Be present and show up for your followers

Besides the steady financial gains, real time customer engagement also helps humanise your business. People enjoy the convenience of having everything they need available online, but when they lose their way, have a question, or get overwhelmed, they need you to be visible and present.

If you can pop up on request or respond to their query in real time, it’s a more personable experience and encourages people to stick with you. That close connection gives you a competitive edge too, where AdWeek found 70% of people who “feel a connection to a brand spend twice as much as those who don’t”.

A woman carry shopping bags has a loudspeaker with a backdrop of a device screen. Two other people are buying online using their bank card

Overall, real time customer engagement can significantly help to improve your:

  • Business efficiency
  • Sales and revenue
  • Company credibility
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Customer loyalty

Here are 27 ways to achieve it.

27 ideas for real time customer engagement you can start using today

Practising real time customer engagement is a valuable way for you to differentiate yourself from other organisations in your field and create positive customer experiences while you’re at it.

There are plenty of methods to choose from, depending on what industry you’re in and what resources you have, but most importantly, what you believe will matter the most to your customers today. Take a look at our list of ideas:

1. Use AI chatbots

Chatbots, and especially more advanced AI assistants, mean you can provide immediate answers to customer questions, but also save time and money by automating customer service tasks.

2. Offer live chat support

Live chat support means providing people with immediate team assistance, helping to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Use social media

Social media platforms like X and Facebook are often used to respond instantly to customer comments and messages, which can help build relationships with customers and enhance your brand reputation.

4. Send push notifications

Push notifications can be used to send personalised messages and offers to customers, helping to increase engagement and sales.

5. Use email marketing

Email marketing can be used to send personalised messages and offers to people, or educate and support your community. You can go all out on this one to bed in your own style and tone to distinguish your brand from others.

6. Offer personalised recommendations

Since these are relevant product recommendations based on the customer’s browsing history and preferences, it’s one of the most accurate and genuinely helpful ways you can support them.

7. Use webinars

Offer valuable information about your products or services using webinars, so people can see you and hear from you directly. This all helps to develop a stronger relationship with your customers.

8. Offer loyalty programs

Actively rewarding people for their loyalty means people are encouraged to stay loyal, which further increases customer retention.

9. Use gamification

Use gamification methods to give people a fun and interactive experience that encourages them to interact often with your brand. Celebratory badges or digital gifts are just two examples you can use to stay memorable.

10. Use augmented reality (AR)

AR is a great way to present people with interactive experiences that allow them to visualise your products or services.

11. Use virtual reality (VR)

VR offers immersive experiences that mean customers can experience your brand in a way they’ve never been able to before.

12. Provide self-service options

Self-service options empower customers by giving them convenience and control. From transactions to bookings and finding out information, give your customers a way to access services in their own time, when they most have the incentive to act.

13. Offer video chat support

Face-to-face video assistance is another excellent way to turn up for customers at the exact time they need you most.

14. Use co-browsing

Sharing your screen is a great way to guide customers through a process or issue without causing any frustration going back and forth.

15. Use live streaming

Offer a live demonstration of your products or services, introduce an offer, or host an Ask Me Anything (AMA) event to engage viewers directly.

16. Provide personalised content

Personalised content like blog posts, videos, and infographics can be used to share relevant information with the most appropriate segment of your audience.

17. Use retargeting ads

Show people personalised ads based on their browsing history and preferences to keep content 100% relevant, always.

18. Use SMS marketing

This can be used to send customers personalised messages or poignant offers via text message, straight to their phone.

19. Offer mobile apps

Having people interact with your brand on-the-go means you can stay top of mind. Use in-app notifications like hints and tips or messages to keep people engaged.

20. Provide live product demos

Live product demos allow you to demonstrate the features and benefits of your products or services and answer questions at the time when viewers are highly motivated to buy.

21. Run interactive quizzes

Hosting an interactive quiz is an especially fun way for customers to engage with you in real time, but results can also inform your understanding of who your core customer is to keep improving their experience.

22. Offer a consultation service

If customers aren’t sure which of your products or services are right for them, a little real time diagnosis of their situation can help them recognise the right route for them and move quickly through the sales journey.

23. Offer a quote estimator tool

If customers want to calculate the price of an item or estimate their return on investment (ROI) before they commit to your offer, this is a reassuring way to remove objections in real time.

24. Offer free shipping

Free shipping can provide an incentive for people to make that purchase they’ve been deliberating over, helping you increase sales and customer loyalty.

25. Use customer feedback

Ask for people’s opinions and suggestions to help improve your products and services, so you can build stronger relationships with every customer.

26. Create a digital community

Not technically a real time engagement technique, but a welcome space for customers to have meaningful discussions and engage with other like-minded people in their own time, which in turn helps you all stay closely connected with them.

27. Share user-generated content

Encouraging your customers to share their own content in real time can help you build a less formal sense of community if you or they might prefer it.

All of these suggestions are affordable, if not free, and you’re likely familiar with most, if not all of them, so there’s nothing to stop you from giving them a go.

How AI helps you capitalise on your success

If real time customer engagement is about making every customer feel individually heard in the moment they need you most ― whenever and wherever that may be, AI can help you replicate this experience for tens of thousands of customers all at the same time. AI-driven reactions and responses to customer questions become instant and you’re then present 24 hours a day.

Enhance customer experience across every channel simultaneously

It becomes easy with AI to provide a seamless omnichannel experience, catering for every customer on every channel, whether they’re on your website, mobile app, social profile, messaging app, or any other channel you choose to offer.

Before AI, data from all these touchpoints would sit in separate systems, you’d have to develop multiple interfaces and manage them all separately too, but with a next-generation AI assistant on the team, you can access everything you need all in one go and transform your customer insights.

AI assistant with customers central and multiple channels of communication

Make personalisation easy to quickly enhance CX

With a birds-eye-view across all your channels, it’s easy to engage with customers in real time with personalised and targeted offers tailored to their specific needs and preferences. Like Coop, one of the biggest grocery chains in Sweden does. Coop uses information collected by their AI assistant Cooper to give people recipe ideas that complement their food shop.

  • Since Cooper remembers the purchase history and preferences of every Coop customer, it knows not to suggest a bacon recipe to a vegan customer.
  • If the customer buys yoghurt every week, but this week it’s missing from the basket, Cooper can put forward yoghurt as a suggestion.
  • Or if the customer regularly buys Merlot and there’s an offer on their favourite wine at their local store, the AI assistant can send a push notification to let them know.
AI assistant for retailers to help shoppers

Using AI as a wrapper around real time customer engagement makes it easier for you to get the most out of its many benefits ― at scale and across as many channels as you know will be effective.

Getting started is easier than you think

You can use an AI assistant to create new channels or engagement points you’re confident your customers will not only use, but LOVE to use, with personalised suggestions, help and support. And these days, there’s nothing to stop you diving straight into advanced AI:

Bonus: Get our free cheat sheet to help you get buy-in from anyone who’s not yet recognised the impact real time customer engagement can have on your commercial success, or who doesn’t understand the power AI can have in transforming your approach.


What is real time customer engagement?

Real time customer engagement is about being there for your customers when they need you the most or when they are deeply engaged with your product or service. It involves recognising and responding to customer actions immediately to satisfy their needs and build strong relationships.

What are the benefits of real time customer engagement?

Real time customer engagement offers several benefits, including improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, increased sales and revenue, enhanced business efficiency and marketing performance, strengthened company credibility and brand reputation, plus humanisation of your business.

What are some strategies for real time customer engagement?

Real time customer engagement strategies include offering live chat support, using social media, sending push notifications, offering personal recommendations, using gamification, providing self-service options, using retargeting ads, sharing user-generation content, and much more.

How can AI enhance real time customer engagement?

AI can enhance real time customer engagement by providing instant and automated responses, enabling seamless omnichannel experiences, and centralising customer interactions across multiple channels. AI assistants work 24/7, analyse data from various channels, and help personalise interactions, leading to improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.