Think You Need An App For Your Company? Think again.

Remember when businesses thought they needed an app? Your favorite clothing brand, that big retail chain, your neighborhood grocery store, and even your babysitter started to jump on the bandwagon and build their own app. It probably made you think “Hmmm, do we need to build an app for our business?” If you’re still considering this question, you may want to consider another option before you invest the time and money into an app.

It can be tempting to join the many businesses that have built apps so you can add your own logo to the sea of colorful icons available in the app marketplace. Proceed with caution. The last thing you want to do is create an app that adds to your expenses, drains your time, and becomes a strain on your customer’s experience. This article will take you through some of the lessons learned from working with brands who deliver world-class experiences within and outside of apps.

Why do Companies Build Apps?

There are some great reasons to build an app. An app can help keep your business top of mind if customers engage with your app frequently. Apps can build loyalty towards your business by offering users exclusive content and may also help boost revenue as a direct marketing channel by providing users with special promotions and offers.

According to Gartner, as many as 75% of the worlds global enterprise businesses had built, customized, or virtualized mobile apps as of 2017. But apps aren’t just for large companies anymore. Building and launching apps has become more affordable for small to medium businesses and an estimated 50% of small businesses have adopted mobile apps to increase sales or improve customer service.

Richer Customer Experiences Without an App?

With all of the upside possibilities of an app, you may wonder what the downside is. Well, first let’s talk about cost.

  • Cash: While building an app has become more affordable, the complexity, platform availability, and talent used to create the app will all play a huge part in the upfront costs.
  • Resources: In addition, there is maintenance to consider. Apple is continuously upgrading their OS and unless you stay up to date with your app, it will quit working and/or be seen as a black eye on your company. Unfortunately, you don’t just build an app and move on. It is a cost-forward forever.

After all the planning and expense involved in building an app, there is, of course, the big wildcard: user adoption. Most U.S. consumers just don’t download new apps. In fact, they download about none a month. Zero. It’s a hard sell to get consumers to try new apps and according to mobile data and intelligence provider Localytics, 65% of users abandon an app a month after downloading it. Ouch. That’s a lot of trees falling in the woods with no one around to hear them. 

While that figure is disturbing, it isn’t intended to make this article anti-app. In fact, a lot of our clients create great apps that are sticky because they provide ongoing value to their customers. These clients are able to reach a whole set of people at their moment of need and build trust as they continue to look to the app for help.

These same clients have also found that there is an alternative way to engage with customers outside of their app. Most of the features that motivated the creation of an app in the past can now be accomplished through business messaging. Tasks such as providing a personalized experience, making payments, and getting pre-sales support, or post-sales service can now be handled through business messaging.

Rich business messaging, for example, is the next generation of mobile business messaging, which allows companies to provide a consistently rich experience to iOS and Android users. Companies can share interactive media like images, interactive cards, emojis, and video that enhance every business messaging conversation with compelling content.

Both Apple and Google are making rich business messaging accessible for consumers and companies because of the ease and convenience rich business messaging provides.

While rich business messaging is growing in availability and adoption, it’s not the only way that customers can get a rich experience outside of a custom app. Clients using Quiq are uniquely equipped with a conversational engagement platform that provides rich experiences to users across chat and business messaging channels. This means that companies can provide content-rich, personalized experiences across SMS/text business messaging, web chat, Facebook, Twitter, Kik, and even within their own app.

If Apple and Google can agree on this, can you afford to ignore it?

Business Messaging Instead of an App? Yes.

If you’re on the fence about building an app, consider using business messaging first. Business messaging is the perfect proxy for an app for many companies. There are some very compelling reasons why companies and customers prefer business messaging over apps:

  1. Companies don’t have to build it. The work is already done.
  2. Customers don’t have to search for it, download it, and learn how to use it. Everyone is already using business messaging every day.
  3. Customers don’t have to be in the app in order to get messages and notifications. In fact, since most people read text messages within 3 minutes of receiving them, there’s far less of the chance that you’re message will get ignored.

Business Messaging for a Better In-App Experience

If you’ve decided an app is still the way to go, then you may want to consider business messaging to improve your in-app experience. There are plenty of examples where an app has clear value for the customer and an obvious takeaway for the audience, like an enhanced experience. Think of how much easier it is to search for homes for sale in your area, find vacation rentals, and book travel through the popular apps out there. Many of these companies will find business messaging as the perfect complement to their app.

Take an airline, for example, if a customer has a question about what seats are available on their flight, you can give them the specific place in your app to view seat selection.  Instead of just directing them to the app, to navigate their way through solo, you can send a business message with a deep link to a specific section of your app.

“What if they don’t have my app?” you say. Great question and we’re glad you asked.

Business messaging gives you the ability to promote your app. Send customers a response that has a link to download your app. Follow up with the message to help direct them to the exact information they need.

Around here, we like to use this analogy, pushing your customers to your app may feel like giving them a whole book of information. With business messaging you’re able to give them the book, but have it open to the exact page they care about at their moment of need.

Engage Customers With or Without An App

The main goal of most apps is to help build long-term relationships with customers. Whether you choose to build an app or not, business messaging supports this goal by providing the information, support, and help at the customer’s moment of need, regardless if they have your app open or downloaded at all.

Quiq powers conversations between customers and companies across the most convenient and preferred engagement channels. In the absence of an app, Quiq enables companies to have meaningful, timely, and personalized conversations with their customers that can be easily managed in a simplified UI. If you do have an app, Quiq can be used In conjunction with it by keeping app users active and engaged with business messaging built seamlessly into your company’s mobile app.

Ready to see how business messaging can help you engage your customers with or without an app? Request a demo or try it for yourself today.

Live Chat Best Practices for Exemplary Service

Don’t deliver good customer service. Aim for the exceptional service that sets you apart from your competition. Customers demand convenience, speed, and ease when they need to engage with a company. When it comes to live chat, it’s critical to provide an experience that welcomes the customer to engage with your brand.

Live chat serves as your front line to the customer on your website. This messaging channel allows you to engage with your customers at their point of purchase for higher conversions. With live chat, customers can reach your brand at their convenience and receive the pre-sales support or post-sales service they need. This article gives you the 11 live chat best practices to deliver the ultimate customer experience.

11 Live Chat Best Practices to Deliver the Ultimate Customer Experience

#1: Be Transparent With Your Availability

While larger brands may have a customer support team working 24/7, other businesses may have limited hours. If you’re one of the companies that limits the hours of support, make sure that you simply disable live chat when your team is unavailable or when your company is closed. Quiq’s chat feature allows you to remove the chat bubble on your site during non-supported hours.

If your chat function isn’t available 24/7 and you prefer to receive after hour messages, tell your customers that you’ve received their message and let them know when you will get back to them.

#2: Choose the Right Place For Your Chat Button

To ensure that your customers know you are easily reachable through chat, one of the best live chat best practices to implement is to place the chat button on the bottom right side of the screen. You should also make sure that the button isn’t too big. You don’t want it to be a distraction. You will, however, want to use a bright color, so your site visitors have a visual indicator that it’s there.

While you don’t want your chat to be a disruption to your customer’s experience on your site you don’t want them to stall for too long in their process searching for help. Sometimes, your customers may need an invitation to start a conversation with you. You can offer proactive chat based upon predetermined criteria such as time spent on a page, page view history or customer segment.

In addition, you should place the chat button on every page of your website, not just the home page. You never know when your customers may have a question or need your help.

#3: Collect Information Upfront

Make it easy for employees to provide a more personalized experience to your customers by collecting a little information upfront. Use a short web form to collect information. This information can be used to route incoming conversations to the best queue or employee. Not only that, this extra information will help your employees identify the customer and the nature of their inquiry immediately instead of having to spend valuable time asking for it. Knowing full name, account number, topic category, or order number will help your team know who they are talking to and allow them to get a jump on helping the customer faster.

#4: Personalize The Experience With Images And Emojis

Today’s connected consumers gravitate to modern chat platforms that allow them to send hi-res images, videos, gifs, and emojis. These are the elements that make live chat conversations more personal, expressive, and fun.

Quiq allows your team to share images, videos, gifs, and to enable approved emojis so that messaging conversations always stay on brand. Customers and agents can use all of these visual elements within chat conversations to provide better context and to more effectively resolve inquiries.

#5: Always Be Ready To Respond

Customers want answers fast and at their pace. That’s one of the reasons they’re avoiding the phone and having to be tied to it. With live chat, customers can send messages in at their pace, whether they do so in 3 minutes or 3 hours. Companies can set service level agreements (SLA’s) so that everyone understands what an acceptable response time is for customers when they do reach out.

Quiq helps employees meet those SLAs with our Adaptive Response Timer (ART). This feature not only provides visual cues to notify employees when a conversation needs attention but it also automatically prioritizes multiple conversations based on how slow or fast the customer is responding to messages. This is critical because chat agents tend to handle 5 or more conversations at one time. Staying on top of the right ones is easy with Quiq.

#6: Never Get Disconnected

Your customers are busy and at times, may need to step away from a chat conversation. Sometimes, it’s only for a few minutes while they check another tab on their desktop. At other times, it may be a lot longer. When customers don’t respond after a certain time limit, most chat platforms will “time out” of chat sessions requiring the customer to initiate a new chat session and start their entire process from the beginning.

Unlike many traditional chat tools, Quiq’s chat platform is asynchronous, which means conversations never end and never have to be restarted. This avoids customer frustration of having to restart a chat conversation and agent uncertainty when a customer goes dark. Customers can return to the chat conversation whenever it is convenient for them. This conversational continuity gives your agents and your customers peace of mind.

#7: Present The Chat Conversation History

Sure, some customers may only need to contact you once, but there are some who need to reach you on a more frequent basis. It’s important that a record is kept of all the past chat interactions you’ve had with a customer. This conversation history serves as an excellent reference point and helps agents or employees know what kind of issues the customer may have encountered previously and the guidance they were given.

Quiq presents the entire chat conversation history to the agent, along with the most recent inquiry. Let’s say a customer starts a conversation with one agent, walks away during the conversation and comes back while that first agent is on break, the newly assigned agent will have the same latest interaction, as well as past interaction history, presented.

#8: Provide A Seamless Experience

From time to time, one of your employees may not know how to answer a specific question from the customer. So, they will need to transfer the customer to another team member. When this happens, you need to guarantee that the customer doesn’t have to explain her question or problem all over again. The new team member should have access to the previous conversation and simply continue the conversation.

Quiq’s transfer and collaboration features allow employees to ask for help behind the scenes from peers or managers. Customers can be easily transferred to other team members with or without them even knowing. Anyone invited to help with the conversation can see the entire history of the conversation and any additional information available on the customer. These features create a seamless experience for your customers while optimizing efficiency.

#9: Provide a Seamless Human-Bot Experience

Bots have gained a lot of attention lately, and with good reason. Bots have become time-saving customer experience superheroes helping companies serve customers more efficiently. From greeting customers to helping troubleshoot issues to soliciting feedback, bots are being used in a myriad of ways.

Consider using a bot to automate some of your redundant live chat processes to reduce the time and money it would take for an employee to do the same thing. Simple and repetitive tasks, such as gathering an order number, updating an address, or even finding the right department to route the customer to, can all be done via bot.

Deliver a seamless experience where humans and bots co-exist peacefully within conversations. Quiq treats bots and agents both like first class citizens. Bots can welcome customers and gather additional information for routing or in order to have an order proactively pulled up on an agent’s desktop. Agents can transfer to a bot during an active conversation and the customer doesn’t even need to know. The bot can collect a few pieces of information and then return the conversation to the agent. During that time, the agent can be assisting other customers. Bots will help you reduce the time to serve your customers and delight your agents as well.

#10: Use Sentiment Analysis

Use sentiment analysis to understand how customer conversations are going. This is particularly important for companies that may have a large number of chat conversations to manage. Managers can see at a glance which conversations are going well and which may be at risk.

Quiq uses simple visual cues that identify if customers mood shifts during a conversation. Agents and managers can quickly see if a conversation needs extra attention or needs to be prioritized.

#11: Ask For Feedback At The End

Your customers’ feedback or opinion about how the live chat interaction went is definitely a best practice. You trained your team members to provide the best service they could but the ultimate test will be what your customers thought about their overall experience. This is a timely way to know that you’re on the right track, as well as a great way to continuously improve your live chat experience.

Live Chat Is Your Front Line

It wasn’t so long ago the only way customers could get in touch with a company was by picking up the phone and calling. Now, with live chat and messaging options, customers can simply click-to-chat with a representative who can provide the pre-sales support or post-sales service they need.

Being available to your customers at their “moment of need” is where businesses turn visitors to their website into customers who love their product and service and rave about their experience. Live chat may be one of the first interactions your customers have with anyone from your company. Make sure you leave a great first impression by implementing these 11 live chat best practices.

Customer Spotlight: TodayTix

TodayTix is no stranger to bringing more accessibility to experiences. The company started with the goal to provide effortless access to shows. Since launching in 2013, the company has brought theater to a new audience of theatre goers with “thoughtful service at each moment along the way”. There’s no waiting in lines or rushing for last minute ticket sales here. TodayTix provides the convenience of buying theatre tickets online with just a few taps of a button.

As TodayTix continues to see growth in subscribers and sales, it has also seen an increase in inbound calls. TodayTix looked at chat as a way to reduce calls while providing customers the ease and convenience of another channel. Today, the New York-based company uses Quiq’s Chat and SMS/text messaging channels to provide their customers with the kind of 21st century communication they were seeking.

Prior to implementing chat, TodayTix provided support through phone (80%) and email (20%). Since opening the messaging channel, the company has seen a drop in approximately 1,000 calls per month and a decrease in emails. James Potter, Senior Guest Services Manager at TodayTix, says that customers appreciate the quick response they get via messaging versus email.

“We were surprised to see a lot of our repeat customers move over to chat. Many of them have an .aol account, so it was interesting to see that shift.”

– James Potter, Senior Guest Services Manager

After just one day of training and some adjustments to the integration of the their existing Salesforce instance, the company was up and running with messaging. TodayTix still looks to their FAQs to help customers, but placed chat on their support page in the event that any of the 2,500 weekly visitors may need additional help.

The guest services team, which usually consists of 3 to 5 people, love that they are able to see a preview of what the customers are typing, in order to get a head start on helping them. They also love that they can handle multiple cases at one time, with the ability to handle up to 5 conversations simultaneously.

While the majority of questions TodayTix agents handle via messaging involve canceling or modifying an order, the company has also been able to improve their concierge service. For a small fee, customers can have tickets hand-delivered to them 30 minutes prior to the start of the show. Since the company sells internationally, and many times to tourists who don’t have access to their email, messaging helps coordinate delivery if meeting times or locations have to change on the fly.

What’s Next

The company has been pleased to see an increase in their NPS scores rising from the low 60’s to the high 70’s in large part due to messaging. It appears that customers aren’t the only ones noticing how the company uses technology. In 2018, TodayTix was named as one of Deloitte’s 2018 Technology Fast 500. The honor recognizes the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America.

TodayTix would like to take messaging further and implement the chat feature in their app too, as many of their customers are on mobile devices and engaging via the app. The company is also interested in enhancing their IVR by adding an option that would allow customers to initiate a text-based conversation instead of waiting on hold. These improvements will continue TodayTix’s ability to offer thoughtful service for every customer engagement.

Quiq Helps Tailored Brands Dress For Success

Tailored Brands prides itself as a brand that provides a personal, convenient, one-of-a-kind shopping experience. When the company wanted to complement its compelling products, it added the text messaging channel to augment its already world-class service.

Q: What caused you to consider deploying a messaging solution for your brands?

A:  As we look at how people communicate in general, the dominant channel is far and away text messaging. We all text before we call or email each other. So, we wanted to see if that would translate to consumers texting us, a business. We did not decide to add text messaging for call deflection, as we are focused on allowing our customers to communicate with us any way they want.

As Tailored Brands started to look at how people communicate, they noticed a desire within their target market to use text messaging versus the more traditional methods of phone and email. Tailored Brands brought on Quiq Messaging to support its two largest brands: Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Banks. Now these retailers are able to quickly respond to customer inquiries about online orders, products, promotions, and tuxedo rentals – all via messaging, the customer’s preferred way to communicate.

“Retail is a highly competitive space, so we strive to set ourselves apart based on the service we provide our customers, whether online or in-store. Adding text messaging from Quiq has allowed us to differentiate even more.”

– Melissa Porter, VP Customer Relations, Tailored Brands

The most common way messaging is used at Tailored Brands is for inbound customer inquiries. Customers have quickly shifted their way of communicating from phone and email to text messaging for getting help choosing the right suit, placing an order, tracking a shipment, promotion questions, or setting in-store appointments.

Another way Tailored Brands has implemented messaging is to send outbound appointment notifications and reminders. This comes in handy when scheduling bridal parties or prom tuxedo rentals. Because Quiq Messaging allows customers to reply to an outbound text message, if there happens to be a conflict, the appointment can easily be adjusted in real-time.

Finally, Tailored Brands has integrated the option to text message them into their Cisco phone system. Presenting consumers with the option to text instead of wait on hold has been a popular option and is particularly helpful to the brands when call volumes are high.

Q: What channels did you support before adding messaging?

A: We supported phone calls and email. When we purchased Quiq, we were able to add support for SMS/text messaging, live chat, and Facebook Messenger.

The company has now extended support for Men’s Warehouse to 24/7 coverage, adding more convenience. When customers reach the after-hours message on the company’s IVR, they are given the option to text. Knowing the brands cater to a younger demographic, it’s not a surprise the company has seen more customers go straight to text first versus going to the IVR to initiate a text conversation.

Customers and Agents Love Messaging

The company has seen call deflection as a bonus, but one of the real benefits has been the way employees can now communicate with customers. Prior to messaging, responses through email were formal and felt too structured. Now, employees are able to engage with customers on a more genuine, personal level with text messaging.

“Since most of our employees are Millennials, it freed them up to have the kind of conversations with customers that we’ve been wanting them to have.”

– Melissa Porter, VP Customer Relations, Tailored Brands

Messaging Helps Manage Growth

Quiq’s Messaging platform was a timely addition as the Tailored Brands has recently seen a notable increase in business, both instore and online. During busy times when phone volume increases, the company is happy to see customers shift from their most expensive channel, the phone, to text messaging.

STATS:

  • Phone calls 3x more expensive than texting
  • Agents average 5 text conversations at a time and upwards of 8 when busy
  • Over 175% increase in text messages received for each brand

Their customer service agents love the messaging channel. They are able to respond to customers quickly, typically in less than two minutes via messaging. Many conversations are pretty straightforward, like order and shipping information, and can be resolved in three to four exchanges. The company also sees a fair amount of more complex inquiries coming in over messaging, such as brides texting in to change the vest color for her wedding party.

Easy Implementation & Seamless Integration

Originally supporting phone and emails within Salesforce.com, Tailored Brands chose to integrate Quiq into Salesforce Service Cloud right from the start. This ensures agents use only one desktop interface to resolve inquiries, regardless of channel. With the Quiq Messaging platform, agents can view a complete history of all messaging conversations with each customer to more efficiently answer new questions.

“The Quiq implementation into the Salesforce.com desktop was the easiest I’ve ever done. The Quiq interface is super intuitive and provided the features that we couldn’t get from Salesforce LiveMessage.”

– Melissa Porter, VP Customer Relations, Tailored Brands

Quiq Messaging offers the sophisticated capabilities required to deliver a great experience to Tailored Brands’ customers. With the ability to automatically prioritize incoming and existing text and chat conversations for each agent, Quiq ensures agents respond to customers based on the cadence they are engaging with the brands. Not only that, but having the ability to queue and route, transfer and collaborate, and present real-time, dynamic management reporting made Quiq the best choice.

Tailored Brands has plans to expand text messaging for new use cases and new markets. The company plans to continue to expand its use of messaging to help brides and grooms set in-store appointments for custom and rental tuxedos. In addition, store employees have started texting into the contact center, so employee messaging is now under consideration. FInally, there is interest in expanding to support the French-Canadian market with messaging.With the holiday season always on the retail horizon, the ability to quickly train phone and email agents to support text messaging remains top of mind. The company plans to cross-train more contact center employees to give their workforce more flexibility during peak times.Whatever the next new initiative is for Tailored Brands, you can rest assured they will evaluate it through the lens of their ever-evolving customers. Continuing to set themselves apart and be recognized for their world-class service, Tailored Brands is raising the bar in their industry.

How to Use Simple Automation to Streamline Customer Conversations

Customer expectations have grown surrounding the three most important aspects of customer experience: convenience, ease, and speed. Incorporating simple automation into customer conversations that exceed these expectations has proven to be the solution for Quiq’s clients. Quiq is focused on helping brands engage in conversations with their customers over messaging, the preferred channel by, well, everyone. Quiq’s messaging clients have taken advantage of features like “bots” and “snippets” to streamline customer conversations that are repetitive in nature to help save valuable employee time, making them more efficient.

The key to success for the companies deploying automation for employee-to-customer conversations is the calculated use of Quiq’s automation features that not only optimize productivity but subsequently improve the customer’s experience. Now, before you start thinking that automating customer conversations leads to soulless interactions and customer frustration (yes, we’ve sat in one too many phone queues), let’s focus on just one automation feature that is making the customer’s experience better – snippets.

What are “snippets” and how do I use them?

Snippets are pre-built responses to common questions that can be accessed by employees with a few keystrokes. Snippets eliminate the need to retype the same answer to the same questions. and can be fully customized for your unique workflow.

At Quiq, we developed our product with the experience in mind, not just that of your customers, but for agents and employees too. We developed snippets to make it easier for employees to share greetings, ask follow up questions, and address common questions like “What’s your return policy?”. With snippets, employees can create custom responses tied to common questions using shortcut keys, thus reducing the time it takes to look up information and share it with customers.

Snippets can be created at a company level as well, not just by agent. Company-level snippets ensure that information shared across the organization is consistent and accurate. If, for example, you have a promotion running Monday through Friday that you’d like reps to share, a snippet containing details or a link to the promotion will guarantee the same message is shared. Now, let’s say the promotion date is extended to Sunday, the snippet can be quickly updated and then everyone immediately has the same up-to-date information.

Another feature that allows employees to increase efficiency while improving customer service across all channels are Quiq Replies. Quiq Replies are the suggested responses that allow customers to answer common questions with a tap of a button. Quiq Replies are visual presentation of what the customer will see and are created as snippets to keep the conversation moving on both ends.

Share pre-built “rich messages” within snippets

Employees and customer service reps used to save answers to frequently asked questions on a digital notepad that they would pull up and then just copy and paste answers. Quiq has taken these plain text, flat responses and gives you the ability to easily create rich messages.

Rich messages take plain text and add captivating visual elements like images, buttons, and suggested replies to bring context and interaction to every conversation. Quiq allows you to build your own rich messages and to even share those as snippets.

Want to see for yourself? See Snippets in action.

Snippets have been very thoughtfully designed to be easy to use and manage:

  • Employees can access snippets with keyboard shortcuts that are easy to customize and search for.
  • Snippets can be created as plain text or as rich messages.
  • Snippets can be shared across any messaging channel, defaulting to the most visually appealing format supported by the respective channel..
  • Managers can easily see what snippets have been created and exactly how they will appear to customers.
  • Snippets can be used at any point in the conversation to help the conversation progress more efficiently – beginning, middle, or end.

Ways to use snippets or automated responses to streamline customer conversations

Once implemented, automation features such as snippets can improve agent effectiveness, improve customer satisfaction, and differentiate your company. We’ve found this to be true across all industries and company sizes.

Greeting a customer at the start of a conversation and closing a conversation with a standard sign off are pretty obvious uses for snippets, but here are a few other ways snippets can be used by industry. Skim over these examples and you’ll probably find that many of these use cases are applicable to your company as well:

Retail

  • Where is my order (WISMO):Customers checking on order status is a common occurrence that can comprise 70-80% of calls during peak times, like the winter holidays. These types of inquiries may have tighter service level agreements, so the ability to quickly respond quickly is critical. Create a snippet with an embedded link to share and allow customers to track their order.
  • Return policy:Even if you have your return policy stated on your website, you may still get questions from customers who need clarification. Common questions include: “Do I need an RMA number?” or “What address should I ship my return to?.” Snippets ensure that answers to these standard questions have consistent answers. What’s more, employees can use snippets to build out questions to dig a little deeper into the customer’s issue such as “What’s the reason for the return?” or “Was there anything wrong with your shipment?”

Service & Subscription Companies

  • Password reset:Customers who have to log in to an account will appreciate easy access to help if they ever need to reset their password. Create a snippet with a link to your process or to a page that customers can use to reset their password.
  • Save/Cancel:If a customer is inquiring about canceling, you may want to create a snippet that helps the agent gather additional information from the customer to better understand the reasons they would like to cancel and to provide an offer to persuade the customer to stay. For example, if the employee determines price is the main reason for the cancellation, there may be another snippet with a special promotion for the agent to present.

Financial Services

  • Payment guidance:Again, snippets can be used at any point in a conversation. Customers engaged in a conversation about say, a late payment, may want to know where they can pay online. Send a link to quickly guide the customer to the right place.
  • Routing to the right department:Create rich snippets, such as the example shown below, to determine the nature of the customer inquiry. Quiq’s intelligent snippets aren’t just simple canned responses. Snippets with Quiq Replies can leverage the customer’s response and route the customer conversation to the appropriate agent or department.

Higher Education

  • Segmentation:In the same vein as the example above, higher education can use snippets to segment inquiries based off of student status. For example, A Quiq Reply can be used to determine if the person is a parent, prospective student, current student, or alumni. It could also be used to understand the topic of their inquiry in order to route the conversation to the right department.
  • Easy resource reference:Contact information and program details can be stored as a snippet and recalled with keyboard shortcuts. Faculty within Student Affairs, for example, can use snippets to keep a handy reference of the diverse range of programs and resources available to students. Whether students need help with tutoring or finding a support network, the information can be available with just a few keystrokes.

Travel and Hospitality

  • Customer orientation:If you have obtained permission to message a customer, you can use Quiq’s outbound messaging to point out available amenities at your resort after they have booked their stay. Instead of a resort having to list out popular add-ons, like a trip to their spa, available guided tours, or restaurants on site for each guest, a rich snippet can be used to help the customer find and book services that add value to their experience.
  • Follow-up survey:Employees can send follow up surveys to guests after their experience. Quiq allows agents to gather this information and take action immediately. If the guest in the above example had some issues during their dinner and gave their stay a 2-star rating, the conversation could be routed to the appropriate person to address the issue.

Conduct engaging and streamlined conversations with your customers

The simple automation examples presented above are a few easy ways to reduce friction for your customer. Quiq features like snippets and Quiq Replies help streamline the customer experience without losing the human connection that customers want.

Implementing automation doesn’t have to become an overwhelming task but it can have substantial results for your bottom line and customer satisfaction rates.  If you’re ready to improve productivity within your organization with a few simple automation within your customer experience, request a demo.

Brinks Home Security™ Monitors and Responds to Changing Market Demands

Q: What motivated Brinks to look at messaging as a way to connect with customers?

A:  More than 90% of all of our transactions were phone-based. Taking time to make a phone call was a rigid, inflexible pain point for our customers. We wanted to provide a channel that put the format back in the customer’s control.

Unlike phone calls, customers and agents are able to exchange and share attachments, links, gifs, and emojis making the interaction context rich. These rich messaging interactions help agents understand the question faster and thus ensure customers quickly receive the help they need to resolve their inquiry and get on with their day.

ROI From the Start

Messaging has dramatically and positively impacted the contact center. The first thing to note was the fairly immediate shift of 10% of phone calls to messaging. There is also a significant difference in agent productivity. With phone calls, agents can only handle 1 at a time, but with text messaging, the agents handle from 4-6 unique conversations at a time. Even with an increase in the number of conversations each agent has, there has still been a 14 ppt.(avg.) uptick in CSAT. In fact, Brinks is watching the satisfaction rate with text messaging continue to climb, all while seeing staffing savings.

“In a short 5 months with Quiq, we converted 10% of phone calls to messaging, and we are on track to move 20% of our inbound calls to messaging.”

Mike Parish, Sr. Manager Customer Experience & Service Design, Brinks Home Security

Giving Control Back to Customers

Converting 10% of their inbound phone-based customer contact to a digital messaging experience in 5 short months, the company saw a noticeable difference in how customers and agents interact. Messaging allows customers to have conversations at their desired pace, while enjoying an experience that is as familiar as texting with family and friends.

Brinks proactively promotes and encourages their customers to engage with them via text messaging. Visitors to brinkshome.comare able to initiate a conversation with an agent through a “Text Us” link displayed prominently above the fold under “Contact Us”. Website visitors may also choose to engage by clicking the “Chat with us” icon on the lower right hand side of the screen displayed on every page.

As with any new software implementation, Brinks had a number of assumptions going into their exploration of the messaging channel:

  • Our customer base is older and will not utilize text
  • Customer’s want to call or email us, not text
  • Customers will want to text for this, but not for that

What Brinks discovered as a result of implementing Quiq Messaging was a reality that was a very pleasing contradiction to those beliefs.

Across their customer segments, text has continued to ramp, regardless of age-related demographics. In fact, the slowest month-over-month growth for the messaging channel has been a 135% increase, with the highest monthly increase at 329%. Not only has the messaging channel proven to be a preferred method of engagement, but agents handling the exact same contact types on the messaging channel as they did with phone with a higher average CSAT score.

Messaging Rollout Recommendations

Q: Based on your experience with messaging, what are some key takeaways you would share with CX leaders who are considering opening the messaging channel?

A: One of the biggest lessons learned from the messaging channel has been promoting the channel. It is important to leverage every engagement or touch point to help build awareness and grow a new channel.

That may mean promoting it via social media, outbound emails, newsletters, on the primary website, mobile website, and even in your IVR messaging. Just letting customers, who are calling in, know that they can hang up and text your brand directly will immediately shift calls to text messaging.

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When promoting the messaging channel, Brinks also recommends that companies alter their campaign approach monthly, starting with awareness, next adoption, and finally growth. However, the most important thing to do is to avoid letting assumptions prevent success and to lean on your Voice Of Customer (VOC) data to drive you.

Focus on Continuous Improvements

In an effort to measure and continually improve on the digital experience, Brinks built out a short survey and implemented it by automatically sending a link at the close of each text message conversation. The survey questions emulate the main questions used to calculate customer satisfaction rates (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS). Issuing a satisfaction survey via text instantly yielded a 10% completion rate, which is a 60% increase over surveys delivered over traditional channels.

“Our messaging solution started out as an alternative to offload high call volumes and repetitive tasks, but now we have now expanded the implementation and smart routing throughout the entire enterprise.”

Mike Parish, Brinks Home Security

A smooth implementation of Quiq’s Messaging platform set the stage for the high adoption rate of messaging among agents and customers. Brinks has been pleased with how quickly their customers has embraced the messaging channel.

The company plans to continue promoting the channel so that at least 20% of their interactions are over messaging or web chat, as well completing Quiq’s integration into Brinks’ IVR system and introducing automated SMS notifications for service updates. The company had originally planned to hit that 20% target in 12-18 months, but with the rapid acceptance and use of messaging by their customers, Brinks expects to hit that goal much sooner than expected.

Customer Spotlight: Warners’ Stellian

Warners’ Stellian has been providing families in the St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota areas quality appliances with exceptional service and value since 1954. As a family-owned business, they take pride in their knowledgeable staff and expert technicians because they know those factors contribute to excellent customer service like no other.

Warners’ Stellian wanted to extend that exceptional service by providing more ways for their customers to engage with them. The appliance retailer partnered with Quiq to add SMS/text messaging and web chat to their mobile and desktop sites.

          Q: What prompted Warners’ Stellian to deploy a messaging solution?

          A: We have such high call volume, so enabling customers to have more touch points was the goal.

Warners’ Stellian contact center, which normally receives a high volume of calls, uses messaging to deflect some of the inbound calls for customer support. This capability proved itself to be valuable after a particularly busy summer where they experienced an increase in calls and wait times. The contact center was able to redirect some of the pent-up call demand to text and chat, allowing them to address customer issues much faster.

Getting Started With Messaging

Prior to offering customers SMS/text messaging and web chat for customer support, the company’s call center agents supported phone, online forms, and email. By partnering with Quiq to open the messaging channel, the company has increased efficiency by converting inbound calls to text messages for both sales and service.

Warners’ Stellian promotes messaging on the website’s “contact us” page and during the message the customer hears while on hold. The company has been surprised at how much customers, who initiate conversations via messaging, want and like these new options.

The customer service team has found that customers waiting on hold to talk to a customer service agent would often just hang up to text. When customers were given the option to chat for assistance versus waiting on hold, the company saw a spike in the number of chats created.

Quiq allows the company’s 45 users, which includes 20 call center agents, 20 sales associates in 2 store locations, and select administrative and sales associates to handle all the active messages Warners’ Stellian receives at any given time. When things get really busy, agents will easily handle 4-5 conversations at a time.


Messaging Adoption

The majority of the inbound conversations are related to repairs. “When a customer reaches out, they’re really looking for help on a very specific problem, it could be functional or cosmetic,” states Kurt Duhn, Customer Service Manager for Warners’ Stellian. Either way, the customer support team is able to respond in a faster, easier way.

Internally, the customer support team is learning how to most effectively communicate using this new channel. The support team has learned that there needs to be a focus on written communication skills, such as succinctly responding and engaging without the use of slang or abbreviations, as well as determining when to transition from text or chat to speaking directly with the customer.

The ability to easily share photos and videos, which customers can use to explain their situation, has improved conversations. The customers can take a photo and quickly send it within the conversation to reduce some of the back and forth.

“It’s much more convenient to get photos and we get photos immediately. Now, we can make images more conversational”

Kurt Duhn, Customer Service Manager, Warners’ Stellian

What’s Next

Since many of the conversations are about repair issues, contact center agents spend a lot of time reviewing warranty information. The company wants to explore whether a simple bot can be used to help pre-qualify or at least collect the information needed to determine if the customer is still within their warranty.

Warners’ Stellian would also like to use Quiq Messaging to push more “how-to” links and more routing options. If a customer initiates a conversation referencing “Whirlpool” and “microwave”, the customer can be directed to a website resource, like a knowledge article, to look up that information before continuing on to engage an agent.

2019: This Is Your Year to Improve Customer Experience

We’ve all been there. February 15th rolls around on the calendar and all of those great intentions for the new year begin to slowly fade into memories. This year will be different. This year hasto be different, especially if you’re one of the many business leaders who are determined to create a better experience for your customers in 2019.

Now, we’re not saying you should ignore those aspirations to organize your closets, meditate every day, or strive for more balance. Those things are really important too, but if you have plans to create a better customer experience (CX) in 2019, there is no better time to become laser-focused on this goal.

There is one sure-fire way to improve the customer experience that is actually fairly painless. Add the ability for your customers to have conversations with you via messaging – text messaging, rich messaging, and live chat. We are here to tell you that this is the latest holy grail in customer experience – save money by shifting phone calls to messaging, increase your customer satisfaction scores with the loved messaging channel, and close more business faster.

In this post, we’ve pulled together the most popular resources and advice to transform the way your customers can engage with your company.

Messaging conversations have grown over 450%

Over the past few years, we have been working really hard here at Quiq to make interactions between customers and companies just plain easier. We’ve seen first-hand, with clients like Brinks Home Security, Overstock, and Pier 1, the amazing impact of adopting technology that allows customers to have a more convenient and effortless experience with a brand.

Although we beat the effortless customer experience drum all year long, we’re putting a little extra weight on it in 2019. Why?

  1. Because customers are demanding it. Did you know that top brands who added messaging channels to their business have seen customers naturally adopt and clamor to the channel? In our client base alone, the number of conversations our clients have had with their customers grew over 450% over 2017.
  2. Not only are customers expecting the ability to message brands, but the introduction of Apple Business Chat and Google Rich Business Messaging has also put the biggest names behind the growth in the messaging channel.
  3. There is no doubt that mobile usage and the desire to communicate with companies over mobile devices continues to increase.

Messaging is quickly becoming the standard method to communicate with companies and the companies who don’t adopt this channel will simply lose customers.

But, you don’t have to take our word for it. We’ve gathered advice from some authorities in the customer experience space to save you the time of hunting and gathering the information yourself. Let’s start with the general outlook for customer experience and then look at what the industry experts have to say about improving customer experience in 2019.

There’s going to be a dust-up over customer experience

According to Forrester, 2019 is a pivotal time for customer experience. Less than impressive gains in CX quality, coupled with rising customer expectations, will drive some significant watershed events this year.

  • Stagnant CX quality levels will cause short, destructive price wars as some companies decide not to differentiate on CX and start a “race to the bottom” fueled by slashed prices.
  • The need to present more sophisticated business plans to leadership will be critical for CX pros who want to maintain support for their CX transformations.
  • Hot job markets may see more movement for CX pros who look for firms willing to invest in CX.

In order for companies to improve CX quality, Customer Experience leaders will have to put themselves in their customer’s shoes and understand them on a deeper level. According to Shep Hyken, customer service/CX expert, keynote speaker, and NYT bestselling author, one of the ways to do this is by making it easier to do business with your company. Providing customers with ways that are convenient for them to contact you such as webchat, social channels like Facebook and SMS/text messaging.

“A large portion of your customers want – and expect – a quick answer or resolution to a question or problem, and unlike an older generation (as in Baby Boomers), they don’t want to make a phone call to get it.”
~Shep Hyken

In Shep’s recent Forbes article, “Ten Customer Service/Customer Experience Predictions for 2019”, he predicts customers will continue to get smarter and compare companies against their competitors, as well as the best service they’ve ever received. He encourages customer experience leaders to identify who they personally enjoy doing business with and use that as a benchmark to bring their own organization to the same level.

What about Bots?

There were a few recurring themes that popped up while researching this article. One of the biggest themes woven into all of the trends and predictions for 2019 is the increased use of technology. With so many companies focused on creating a more customer-centric organization, it makes sense that leadership will look for ways to provide speed and efficiency with uncompromising attention to delivering a great customer’s experience.

Adopting technology, such as Quiq Messaging and our bot approach, enables companies to do just that. According to customer experience speaker, futurist, and author Blake Morgan, the increased use ofRobotic Process Automation or RPA(think chatbots) will allow humans more time to dedicate themselves to tasks such as innovation, problem-solving and giving customers the human interaction they crave.

“Most of those changes are driven by consumer demand. Customers crave personalized, frictionless experiences, and companies are sprinting to deliver them.”
~Blake Morgan

International market intelligence company,Aberdeen Group, recently surveyed top CX leaders to understand what technology they plan to adopt in 2019. The top 10 technologies include a few classic tools that have been utilized by customer service and experienced leaders for a long time such as live chat, knowledge management, and customer self-service tools. Although these tools have been around for some time, more than a quarter of the respondents stated that they plan to employ them in 2019.

Other tools such as artificial intelligence, real-time decision assist and guidance, and workflow automation come to the forefront. At Quiq, we’ve seen how the automation trend has developed over the years and created our platform to provide many of these features and providing tools to increase productivity.

Take the Quiq Bot API, for example, which allows clients to create their own custom bot to help augment interactions with human agents. Bots can be used to collect information to help inform the agent/customer interaction, determine the nature of the customer’s inquiry and route to the appropriate department or agent. Depending on the nature of the customer inquiry a bot can even handle a customer conversation from beginning to end.

We’ve also included workflow automation features, such as the ability to route conversations based on pre-set rules and our Adaptive Response Timer, which automatically prioritizes conversations based on how quick or slow customer’s responds to agents. These features greatly improve the overall customer experience by increasing the speed companies can respond to customer needs.

A look ahead at 2019

Synthesizing all of the information above, we can see there are three really strong forces that are acting on the customer experience in 2019:

  1. The market demands more convenient, frictionless interactions that rival the best customer experiences they’ve received.
  2. Companies are searching for ways to deliver those experiences as a way to differentiate themselves in hyper-competitive markets.
  3. Technology, such as Quiq Messaging, provide the tools that increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction and reduce service costs. These outcomes add up to a very compelling business case that can immediately impact a company’s bottom line.

We predict that more companies will join the likes of Brinks Home Security, Pier 1, Tailored Brands, Overstock.com, and Tile to provide their customers with the convenience of the messaging channel. If you’re ready to join other high-performing CX brands, request a demo.

Author:

Marciela Work-Time-Calculation
Marciela Ross

Marciela is the Sr. Content Marketing Manager at Quiqwhere she gets to use her love of writing to share how messaging is changing the face of customer service. When she’s not writing, Marciela spends time with family, crafting and looking at dog photos on Pinterest.

Improve Average Handle Time Using This Key Metric

The way customers can contact companies has multiplied over the years, which has changed the way contact center agents do their work. Previously, Average Handle Time (AHT) was the metric that indicated how long it took to complete an interaction with a customer, which in turn decided staffing levels.

Back in the day, when contact was made primarily via the phone or email, handle time was more straightforward. Now, customers can engage with a company via web chat, sms/text messaging, in their app, or on social media. This kind of asynchronous communication means that a conversation with a customer can span 2 minutes, 2 hours, or 2 days.

Improve Average Handle Time with ‘Work Time’

At Quiq, we’ve developed a metric dubbed “Work Time” that captures the intent of traditional handle time metrics, while accounting for the nuances of the messaging channel. In this article, we’ll dive into the Work Time metric and show you how it’s calculated.

How much time are agents spending on customer interactions?

That is a fundamental question of the contact center. The messaging channel poses new challenges when answering this question owing to its asynchronous nature and a high degree of concurrency.

Agents using Quiq Messaging can typically handle 5 or 6 conversations at one time. Add to this the ability for customers to step away from a conversation at any point and resume the conversation with the agent at a more convenient time, and you can see how calculating agents handle time gets a bit complicated. Quiq Messaging simplifies the calculation and does the work for you through the Work Time metric.

Why is Work Time important?

The way customers can contact companies have changed but the way we measure the success of that contact hasn’t changed much. Regardless of the channel, successful conversations end with a resolved issue and a satisfied customer.

Part of the customer’s satisfaction can be attributed to how long they wait to engage with a representative and how long it takes to resolve their issue. The Work Time Metric helps contact centers track and evaluate these activities to improve the performance of your team and identify what can be modified to make things even more efficient.

How Work Time is measured

When an agent is engaged in a messaging support conversation, he or she might look up an order or do an inventory check. In either case, the work is ultimately represented by a message sent back to the customer. When an agent sends a message, we measure backwards from the time of the message to the most recent of the following events:

  • The oldest unsatisfied¹ customer message on this conversation
  • The most recent message sent by this agent on any conversation
  • The assignment of this conversation to this agent
  • The last reactivation of the conversation (from inactive to active status)

The interval between the most recent of these events and the time of the current message represents a work segment that is associated with the current conversation and agent. These segments will always exclude periods when the conversation is inactive. The diagram below depicts how work segments are calculated with awareness of simultaneous customer interactions by a single agent.


1An unsatisfied customer message is a customer message with no subsequent agent messages

In some cases, the work segments extend back from an agent message to the unsatisfied customer message. In other cases, the segments are cut short due to activity on another conversation, or an event such as assignment.

The sum of all work segments on a given conversation is the total work time and is computed progressively as a conversation proceeds. Quiq exposes this information at several integration points and visualizes it in the Quiq Reports tab.

How to use the Work Time Metric

Work Time is a key productivity metric that can help you manage your workforce in an age of omni-channel engagement. Here are the three main use cases you’ll want to keep an eye on this metric:

  • Staffing Forecasts

Understanding the average work time requirement of customer interactions will allow you to staff appropriately as you direct more interactions to the messaging channel or in anticipation of busy periods.

  • Workforce Assessment

Work time can be used to evaluate individual agents or entire teams. Agents with the same responsibilities but disparate average work time metrics are indicative of under or over-performing agents.

  • Agent Workload Tuning

Quiq allows you to configure how many simultaneous conversations an agent may be assigned through a configuration known as the agent ‘soft limit’. The ideal number of simultaneous conversations varies by use case. Watching the average work time of your interactions while adjusting the soft limit will allow you to identify the optimal configuration. If the work time increases significantly after an increase to the soft limit, you know that agent context switching is taking a toll on your customer interactions.

Measure the productivity of your digital engagement

Messaging is a workforce management game-changer. With messaging, you can do a lot more with your existing staff. That includes decreasing Work Time, while actually increasing customer satisfaction scores. Customers prefer messaging because it puts them in control of the conversation and allows them to engage with a company on their time.

Just because the customer is in control of the conversation, doesn’t mean your contact center productivity is out of control. Agents will have the efficiency of asynchronous messaging and managers have Quiq’s Work Time metric for the data and insights to manage their workforce.

Customer Texting – 23 Reasons Everyone Loves Texting for Customer Service

Love is a pretty strong word. For those who think that it might be too strong of a word to describe the way consumers feel about text messaging, take a look at these stats:

  • Over 6 billion text messages are sent in the U.S. each day.
  • 90% of text messages are read in 3 minutes or less
  • Texts have an astounding 96% open rate
  • Texting is the most widely-used feature on a smartphone – even more than making calls

Considering these stats, maybe obsession is a better word.

Regardless of what you call it, the attachment to texting is real. But it’s not just customers who love texting. Companies, from retail to credit unions to consumer services, and everything in between, have increased engagement, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction by using business to customer text messaging.

Effortless, Connected, and Proactive Customer Experiences

Messaging enables companies to deliver exceptional customer support by providing what has become fundamental tenets of customer-centric companies:

  • Effortless
  • Connected
  • Proactive

We feel so strongly about messaging and how it can transform customer experiences, we wanted to dive into those three points a little deeper. We’ve pulled together a list of 23 reasons everyone, and we mean everyone, from customers to agents to company leadership, loves business to customer texting.

Some customer service leaders may be hesitant to disrupt the status quo. We wanted to make it clear that there’s already a disruption underway. If you’ve been looking for a reason to implement messaging for your customers or a reason to disrupt the status quo, here are 23 of them.

23 Reasons Everyone Loves Customer Texting

    1. Just Human EnoughIt’s not that your customers hate human interaction, it’s just that they’d rather interact with their family and friends instead of waiting on hold to talk to one of your customer service representatives. Messaging delivers interactions that are just human enough. Customers know that there is someone on the other end who cannot only sympathize with their situation but serve as their advocate.
    2. On-demand
      Customers expect to get the support they need, however, and whenever they want it. It can be frustrating for customers to have to work around your business hours. Messaging provides customers an outlet to engage with a company on their terms.
    3. Asynchronous
      We get it — sometimes customers have to step away from the computer in the middle of a chat session. That’s why our chat platform is asynchronous, meaning conversations can be picked up at a later time, right where they left off. There’s no need to restart the conversation — just keep it going!
    4. Convenient
      Waiting on hold to talk to customer support is no one’s favorite pastime. Cut out the holding music and let your customers get in touch through their preferred messaging channel. Customer texting doesn’t require a huge time investment or just the right conditions. The asynchronous nature of text messaging allows the customer to send a text message while they go about their day. Your customer can be on a noisy train, in a room full of people, or just on the go and too busy to make a call.
    5. Intuitive for Agents
      Nearly everyone, including your agents, uses text messaging on a daily basis. That includes your agents. That makes training agents for text support a breeze — often taking less than a day.
    6. Natural for Customers
      There’s no need for customers to download an app or follow any complex instructions. All they do is shoot you a text. In fact, your customers are probably trying to text you already. When Quiq clients get started with business text messaging, they are usually surprised to find that their customers are already trying to message them on their 1-800 number.
    7. Easy
      Finding the right number to call for help, taking a break from your day to call customer support, waiting on hold, and navigating a confusing IVR presents hurdles for your customers. Messaging removes those hurdles by making it easy for your customers to contact you.
    8. Succinct
      People who use customer texting are conditioned to be succinct and to the point. Agents don’t necessarily have to sacrifice the personable, “get-to-know-you” messages with customers but those conversations won’t go too long on messaging.
    9. Fun
      Emoji’s and gifs are a fun way to interact with customers. Agents can set a more casual tone to a conversation with these fun features. Rich text messaging can even allow exciting augmented reality experiences.
    10. Fast
      Quiq clients have discovered that many of the conversations received on messaging are relatively quick questions, like order status. These conversations can usually be resolved in just a couple of short exchanges and take a lot less time than making a phone call.

More Benefits of Texting for Customer Service

    1. Affordable
      Via text, customer service agents can handle multiple conversations at a time — often up to 8. Add in the convenience of AI-powered chatbots, and you have a customer support system that is affordable, efficient, and easy to implement.
    2. Accessible
      We may not all check Facebook regularly or use web chat when it’s available, but everyone has their mobile phone for the majority of the day and will consistently check SMS messages.
    3. Flexible
      Messaging provides multiple ways to share information. PDFs, links, videos, and images can be easily exchanged within a conversation.
    4. Enhanced Interactions
      The rich media offered from Apple Business Chat and Google Rich Business Messaging extends the interaction to include rich cards and list pickers that help customers choose open appointment times or browse a catalog. They can even complete transactions via Apple Pay or Google Pay.
    5. Interactive
      Customer texting provides a way for customers to interact with your company. There’s a natural back and forth, just like a phone call. Messaging gives your customers a way to converse and interact in a way that an FAQ page cannot.
    6. Discreet
      There’s just some information that people are more prudent about discussing, especially when they are in a public place. Instead of sharing their home address or phone number with a company while waiting in line, where anyone can overhear, messaging allows private information to stay private.
    7. Responsive
      In today’s always-on world, you’re either instantaneous or you’re out. Your customers can get a response from a chatbot immediately after they send you a text, and they can then be routed to an appropriate agent if necessary. Quiq messaging helps agents prioritize conversations based on how fast the customer expects a reply.
    8. Unobtrusive
      Making a phone call means a customer has to take time out of their day, to do business on your terms. Customer texting is an easy, convenient, and unobtrusive way to engage with a company where the customer is in control of the conversation.
    9. Efficient
      Agents who use Quiq Messaging have powerful tools that increase efficiency at their fingertips. Tools like pre-written snippets can help agents avoid retyping the same answers to frequently asked questions. This feature really helps customers by ensuring they receive consistent, up-to-date responses.
    10. Effective
      The nature of customer texting requires messages that are brief and clearly expressed. When customers need a quick reply on a simple question, messaging helps the customer and agents get to resolution fast.
    11. Personal
      Quiq clients and the customers they serve have told us that they love the outbound message feature available in the Quiq Messaging platform. Clients who use Quiq messaging are able to send targeted and personal messages that are more relevant to their customers, like appointment confirmation and order status.
    12. Easy to reference
      Customers are able to reference previous messages sent and received by simply scrolling through their conversation history. Agents have the same advantage of having conversation history so there’s no need to ask customers to repeat themselves. Also, a transcript of the conversation is available after the interaction has ended that agents can send via email.
    13. Insightful
      Managers who use Quiq messaging love the insight available to them from the reporting dashboard. Data on customer wait time, the amount of customers in the queue, and information on agent activity helps managers make more informed decisions for their contact center.

Customer Texting: The Way Forward

As you can see, customer texting is rife with benefits to businesses of all kinds. When you’re ready to explore the potential of texting for customer service, click the button below to see it in action!

Top Customer Service Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Customer service is often overlooked, but inevitably one of the most important parts of a business. Often, it is said that good customer service is the best kind of marketing. And every organization should strive to excel at their customer service.

But, it is easier said than done. Customer service is highly challenging, very dynamic and at-times super frustrating job. In this post, we will discuss the top customer service challenges and how to overcome them. Let’s jump right into it.

Top Customer Service Challenges

  1. Understanding Customer Expectations
  2. Exceeding Customer Expectations
  3. A Customer Demands Something You Cannot Do
  4. Handling Angry Customers
  5. Choosing the Right Channels and Tools
  6. Dealing With Service Outage Crisis
  7. Hiring and Training Service Professionals

1. Understanding Customer Expectations

A business caters to a large variety of customers. Every customer is different and has different expectations in terms of product and service. Their desires, expectations, must-haves are all different from one another.

You need to put real effort into understanding what your customer expects from you. The best way to understand is to remain in constant contact with your customers and understand their concerns. You can choose whichever communication channel fits you best. While there are many options to choose from keep in mind, text messaging is the next frontier of customer communications.

Prior to that, setting the right customer expectations would help a lot. If you do not provide 24/7 support, provide only email support or have dedicated account managers — make that clear at the initial touchpoints.

2. Exceeding Customer Expectations

In this fiercely competitive market, you should not stop at just meeting your customer’s expectations. Rather, you should go the extra mile to exceed expectations. But how to do so proactively, is one of the biggest challenges in customer service.

This could be as small as sending a freebie to a slightly disappointed customer or extend the trial period for potential customers if they were unable to utilize the designated trial period fully.

If you constantly meet and exceed your customer’s expectations, the chances of them remaining loyal and turning into promoters shoot up. A word of caution here: In your quest to exceed customer expectations, do not promise the customer something you can not do. Let’s discuss this in detail.

3. A Customer Demands Something You Cannot Do

At times, the customers demands for a discount you can not give, a feature you can not build or some customization you can not do. Customer service professional often finds themselves in these scenarios.

First, you need to  whether the demands made by customers can be met. If yes, then what will the cost of it — in terms of resources, time and money. And finally, you need to weigh it against the amount the customer is going to pay you. If it justifies the equation — you may go ahead.

If not, then you can politely say no to the customer and explaining them honestly that whatever they are demanding is not economically feasible for your business. In most cases, they will understand.

4. Handling Angry Customers

Things go south and customers get angry. This is a common story in the customer service world. The challenge is  to gracefully handle angry customers. Your response can make the customer a good or bad promotion for your business.

Whenever you come across an angry customer, make sure you empathize with them and do not lose your cool. Always remember, the customer is frustrated with the company and products, not you. Don’t take it personally.

Keep your approach fact-oriented and always moving towards providing a solution to the customer. Give a freebie to the customer after the conversation ends. It may help. Here is a detailed guide to effectively handling angry customers.

5. Choosing the Right Channels and Tools

Choosing the right channel and the right tools is immensely important for any business. Just because your closest competition is using phone support, you shouldn’t. Choose the right channels which support your business use case.

There are various channels such as phone, email, live chat, self-serve and community support. Choose the right ones and pick out toolsfor facilitating customer engagement.

You can also tier the channels based on the money a particular customer is paying you. For example, you can provide self-serve support and email for the free and or low-value customer, live chat and 24/7 email for mid-value and phone and previous other channels for high-value customers. Customer service is a costly affair and you should be smart about it.

6. Dealing With Service Outage Crisis

Well, technology can be as reliable as it can be. You may incur a crisis when your service is down. At that time, you might face the wrath of your customers.

You can not do much in this case but honestly convey to your customers that your team is putting all their effort into getting the service back on track. It is a fair expectation that your customers will get frustrated, but make sure you do not over promise about the situation.

Asses with your tech team and give them a genuine timeline. Do not make a false claim just to escape the momentary frustration of customer. The worst thing would be to repeatedly promise false timelines and not achieving them.

7. Hiring and Training Service Professionals

Customer service is a very dynamic career option and the median time to stick with one company is less than a year for customer service professionals. So, do not just hire customer service professionals because they speak well. Hire them because they can relate to your business and fit your culture.

In addition to hiring the right candidates, training them to aptly to fit your business is equally important. You should train them about your company culture, policies, business practices and processes involved in handling the customers.

Right hires will save you more money than you imagine, so choose your customer service professionals very wisely. They are your company’s face in front of customers.

There are numerous more challenges but the aforementioned ones are the most frequent and important. Like every other aspect of a business, customer service has its own challenges and we should thrive to gracefully overcome for the betterment of our customer and our business together.

Credit Union Messaging Guidelines to Build Trust With Members

There is an undercurrent of distrust around promotional emails and robo-calls. Consumers are beyond annoyed with these invasive methods and have turned to text messaging as the preferred way to communicate with businesses. Messaging has earned consumer’s trust. For your credit union to maintain that trust and encourage engagement with your members, we’ve put together some simple credit union messaging guidelines.

The popularity of messaging has spurred a growing number of credit unions like Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Unionand Community First Credit Union in Floridato turn to SMS/text messaging to reach their members. In this article, we’ll explore why the adoption of text messaging has increased so rapidly among credit union members and how to protect your members and the trust they’ve placed in this communication channel.

Reach Members Easier With Messaging

If it feels like it’s getting harder to get in touch with your members, you’re probably right, and you’re not alone. Phone calls from unknown numbers are ignored and emails hitting the “spam” box are growing, so even if your members have requested information, it is likely you won’t get through to them. Add to that, the sheer volume of incoming emails and phone calls, and it’s possible that your members may just miss you.

Most of the 20+ credit unions that have implemented Quiq Messaging have done so to deflect expensive calls. According to creditunions.com, a growing number of credit unions are “modernizing existing systems by introducing new mobile and text-based services…”which has resulted in the filtering of simple tasks and questions to the less expensive messaging channel. These institutions, as well as many others in retail, travel, hospitality, and others, are not only realizing a lower inbound call volume, but are experiencing higher engagement rates with their customers through messaging.

Messaging has made it easier for credit unions to engage with their members since most consumers keep their phones nearby and will check their phone an average of every 12 minutes, according to The New York Post. In addition, text messages have a 98% open rate compared to email open rates, which are often south of 20%.

While consumers and credit unions are rapidly adopting text messaging to engage on everything from expediting loans to discussing options to bring collection accounts current, there are still scammers out there that are phishing consumers.

What Is Phishing?

The scamming epidemic continues as consumers are bombarded with calls from the IRS and emails filled with promises of unclaimed assets fill their inboxes. Consumers have grown weary of overstuffed inboxes and calls from unknown numbers. Scammers know this and try to leverage consumers love affair with their phone, sending text messages to elicit personal information, known as phishing. To be clear, phishing also applies to emails, but we’ll focus on text messaging for now.

Phishing is when fraudsters attempt to impersonate a legitimate business in order to trick consumers to disclose sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. These details can then be used for nefarious reasons that can wreak financial havoc. According to the FTC, 1 in 5 people lost money in 2017 due to imposter scams.

While this situation seems daunting, there is hope. Credit unions that institutionalize messaging can help educate their members on phishing scams by creating messaging norms to help members recognize legitimate requests from their credit union. Here are 5 credit union messaging norms to adopt to avoid looking phishy.

4 Credit Union Messaging Guidelines To Follow

  1. Educate your customer

When it comes to scammers, the best offense is a good defense. The first line of defense should be education. As a credit union, advancing the financial education of your members is a top priority.

Make them aware of common phishing scams and what kind of messages they can expect to receive from you. Promote the numbers that your members can use to text by placing them on your website, social, and written collateral so that members can become familiar with them. Encourage members to save these numbers within their contact list so they can have them handy whenever they have a question. Whether it’s a question, as simple as hours of operations to something more complex regarding their first mortgage, your members always have your number handy as a trusted, reliable source.

  1. Systematize messaging

Text messaging is the easy, convenient way that your members are used to communicating with family and friends. The ease, acceptance, and accessibility of the messaging channel make it the prime vehicle to interact. While it might be tempting for a loan officer to use their personal cell phone to contact a member to remind them to submit required documents for their loan, that type of one-off outreach can be hard to manage and may be confusing to a member.

Quiq Messaging can help you systematize messaging. Instead of messages coming from a personal number, you can provision your existing credit union landline or create new ones, to send and receive text messages. Your members will be more trusting of a message that comes from a local number or one that they may already be familiar with and have stored in their contacts.

  1. Don’t use a shortcode

Shortcodes are the short sequence of numbers, usually 5 or 6, that many businesses use for SMS marketing. Since shortcodes are used mostly to send bulk SMS marketing messages, some consumers are annoyed as soon as they see them since so many unsolicited messages are sent via shortcode.

We recommend using a phone number. Not only will using your credit union’s phone number present a send ID the member can quickly look up to associate with the credit union, but also allows for two-way communication. If the member receives a reminder to submit documentation for their loan but has questions about what they should send, they can respond to the reminder to ask their question and even attach the documentation right in the messaging conversation.

  1. Provision specific numbers

Some Quiq clients have designated or provisioned specific phone numbers by department. This can add another level of trust to your communication. If, for example, your credit union assigns a particular number for loan processing your members can save the number in their contacts and know precisely which department is trying to reach them.

Members will also have the full history of their conversations with each department available for review.  If a scammer tries to send your member a message claiming to be from your institution from a different number or a shortcode, this should be an immediate red flag from your consumer.

Set High Standards For Your Credit Union Messaging

Texts from banks and credit cards are commonplace nowadays. A growing number of consumers have become comfortable with the messaging channel as a place they can receive instantaneous updates from a financial institution.

Quiq Messaging can help you set a high standard for your credit union messaging that scammers will find hard to replicate. If you’re new to messaging and would like to understand how you can offer this feature to your members, let’s set up some time to talk.

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Quiq Announces Three Brands on Apple Business Chat

BOZEMAN, MT, October 17, 2018 — Today Quiq, a leading provider of business messaging software for customer communications announces that three of its retail clients, Overstock.com, Jos A. Bank, and Men’s Wearhouse are live on Apple Business Chat. Quiq is one of the early Customer Service Platforms (CSP) to support Business Chat, a new way for customers to communicate directly with businesses using the Messages app on iPhones and iPads.

A Customer-Centric Partnership

Quiq is excited to recognize Overstock, Jos A. Bank, and Men’s Wearhouse for leading the retail industry by using Apple Business Chat as a customer experience differentiator. Apple Business Chat makes it easy for consumers to initiate a conversation with a company when searching for a business on their mobile device. Business Chat allows users to ask a question about a product or service, schedule deliveries or appointments, or make a purchase using Apple Pay.

“Overstock is continually looking for ways to use technology to help our customers have the most convenient shopping experience,” Jimmy Budnik, Vice President of Customer Care at Overstock.com. “Utilizing Apple Business Chat via Quiq helps us deliver a unique benefit to the customer journey, providing more ways for our customers to contact us and resolve any problem they may have.”

“Our top priority is to provide an amazing customer experience to shoppers. We are excited to support Apple Business Chat through the Quiq Messaging platform.  Our agents easily handle multiple messaging channels, including Business Chat in Quiq’s cross channel UI,” said Melissa Porter, Vice President, Customer Relations. “Apple Business Chat enhances conversations with customers and we expect it to become the preferred customer service channel.”

The Quiq Messaging platform enables brands to connect with customers via Apple Business Chat and other popular messaging services, as well as live chat. When consumers message a business using Apple Business Chat, the Quiq Messaging platform routes their inquiries to agents to quickly answer questions, schedule an appointment, or help them make a purchase with Apple Pay.  Agents are presented with unified, multi-channel workspace to easily handle consumer conversations.

“The things that make text messaging the most popular communication channel with family and friends also make it the preferred medium for customers to engage with companies,” said Mike Myer, CEO and Founder of Quiq. “Adding support for Apple Business Chat allows connected customers to engage with businesses in a way that is personal, secure, and easy. Apple Business Chat is a new channel in Quiq’s multi-channel business messaging platform, allowing agents to seamlessly interact with customers across many messaging channels.”

Quiq’s multi-channel messaging platform provides organizations a robust set of features including routing and queuing rules, service level prioritization to ensure that conversations are responded to within their expectations, and a rich management interface that includes observation, collaboration, and performance metrics. Quiq seamlessly integrates into Oracle, Salesforce, and Zendesk, as well as other internal systems through easy-to-use API’s so that agents have access to customer data during messaging conversations.

For more information on how Quiq Messaging is helping Apple Business Chat work for top brands, please visit https://quiq.com/apple-business-chat/.

About Quiq

Quiq makes it easy and convenient for customers to contact a business via messaging, the preferred channel already in use with friends and family.  In return, companies get a unified, multi-channel platform to communicate with customers. Quiq integrates seamlessly with Salesforce, Oracle, Zendesk, and other internal systems.  Learn more about Quiq today at quiq.com.

How to Measure Customer Success KPI’s

Customer success is vital to your product or service achieving the desired goals you or your company has set. Customer success is the methodology you take to ensure that your customer’s needs are met in a manner that aligns customer, vendor, and company goals. If you are implementing your customer success correctly then you will see your pipeline activity increase and your customer metrics improve. So, the question is, how can you be sure your customer success initiatives are performing? The way you can be absolutely sure how well your company is performing and what areas are performing well is by tracking the correct metrics, gathering them, and then analyzing them. You cannot properly gather, organize, or analyze your data if you do not know which metrics to look for. That is why we wrote this article.

This article looks at which metrics are most important to track the health and vitality of your customer success initiatives. Customer success key performance indicators (KPIs) will not only speak to the health of your customer success strategy, but they will also speak to the health of your relationship with your customers.

Background

Traditionally, the disciplines that were used to measure customer success KPIs were customer service and customer support. Customer service and support have been previously been labeled as ‘cost drivers’ but now, due to advances in customer success technology, service and support are seen as potential sources of revenue generation. The shift in perspective on customer service and support is also due to the paradigm shift in the customer journey. Previously, customers have only had interactions with businesses at certain points in the funnel, but now businesses are finding it extremely valuable to interact with every stage of the customer journey.

This increased focus on the granular aspects of the customer journey has led to an increased focus on the metrics associated with customer perceived value; this is a technical way of saying businesses are now more focused on their customers and their customers’ desired outcome. Companies are making customer pain-points a higher priority than ever before, pouring company assets, time, and capital into strategies and solutions that look to address the concerns of their clients. All of this effort, focus, and investment requires an awareness of the measurements that indicate success or failure. Leaders want to know if their customer success efforts are working. In order to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns, they are analyzing key performance metrics associated with customer success.

Top 5 Customer Success KPIs

Identifying key performance indicators (KPI) for your customer success programs will allow you to track, measure, and properly analyze your customer success initiatives. Being able to properly assess your customer success campaigns is vital to ensuring their effectiveness. So, let’s jump right in.

1. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

This is the metric that indicates how likely customers would be to recommend your product or service to their friends and family. A good net promoter score means that your customers are more likely to promote your brand via word-of-mouth. You generally want a score that is in the 50 or higher, with 75 being a great score (keep in mind that no company scores 100).

While there are many different ways to gather this information, the most popular way is through a survey of customers. The survey is comprised of one question. Yep, you guessed it: “How likely would you be to recommend this product or service to your friends and family?” The respondents would be asked to rate their willingness on a scale of 0 to 100, the NPS is then calculated by taking your “promoters” (those who give higher scores) and subtracting your “detractors” (those who give lower scores).

Net promoter score is important because it indicates the health of your pipeline and your brand. Just as it is cheaper to retain employees, it is also cheaper to retain customers. Your NPS is THE metric for showing how well you are treating your customers and how likely they are to promote your product or service.

2. Upselling and Cross-Selling Rate

These metrics speak to the number of sales you have made through an alternate offer. Amazon attributes over 35%of its revenue from upselling, and JetBlue used its upselling program to generate an additional $190M. Shoot for a 1-2 percent additional increase in revenuethrough upselling and cross-selling. Upselling your customers is a great way to generate more revenue, but it cannot be accomplished effectively without your customers feeling valued. Customers want to be in a relationship with companies who will meet their needs, both from a product or service fulfillment standpoint and a customer success standpoint. A customer’s willingness to pay for additional or alternative products is very indicative of how well you are doing in the customer success department.

3. Revenue Per Customer (RPC)

This straightforward, but important metric looks at the average revenue a customer brings the business over a certain period of time. In order to calculate this important data, we need to gather the total amount of revenue generated in our period of interest and divide it by the total number of customers in the same time period. Knowing your RPC is a great way to benchmark your revenue objectives and analyze your strategy. Facebookand Apple both use this metric as key portions of its investor reports, these giants both know the importance of knowing your revenue per customer metrics. Customer success initiatives can be judged on the amount of revenue per customer; whether it increases or not is a great indicator of how your customer success program is actually impacting your bottom line.

4. Rate of Returning Visitors (RVR)

RVR is a very meaningful metric for retail, travel, gaming, consumer services, or other consumer-oriented B2C industries. The rate of returning visitors calculates the number of returning visitors to your site. In order to calculate RVR, look at the number of repeat visitors to your site and divide that number by unique visitors. This metric can provide additional insight into your customer success strategies, especially as they relate to your content and user experience. Customers that like the onsite experience and can easily navigate to resources will return again and again. If your RVR is low, you may want to consider options to increase the overall experience of your site.

5. Customer Effort Score (CES)

There is perhaps no other metric more important for customer service accountability than customer effort score. CES refers to the amount of work a customer had to go through in order to accomplish a certain task, like return an item, upgrade their subscription, or any other task that can be accomplished on the client side of your business model. This metric is measured through surveys, where customers are asked “How much effort did you have to put in to make a purchase?” The answers are then scored on a scale of 1 to 7, or 1 to 5, with one being low effort and higher scores indicating higher effort. CES is a great way of examining any barriers or pain points in the customer journey. Once pain points have been identified by CES, it is up to you and your team to fix them.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, there are many different metrics that can be tracked and analyzed in order to gain a more granular perspective on different aspects of your customer success strategy and execution. The above KPIs should be viewed as a foundational starting point for gauging the health of your customer success program and for a way to gain insights into areas of your business that can be augmented with additional customer success solutions. If you should want more information on how to gain an even deeper, more impactful look at your customer success programs, you can reach us here.

What is Digital Customer Service and How to Improve It

In today’s climate, customer service is an essential part of any business. With so many  choices and resources at a buyer’s fingertips, companies must continue to invest in their customer service infrastructure in order to get ahead of the competition. That’s where digital customer service comes in. If you’re asking, “what is digital customer service?” then you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will define digital customer service, provide some examples, and discuss ways you can improve your own customer service across the digital channels your customers care about. So, without further ado, let’s dive in.

Definition

The most basic definition of digital customer service is the practice of meeting customers’ needs across digital channels and platforms. Customer service can take place across multiple digital channels, such as live chat, SMS/text, or Apple Business Chat. The popularity of direct messaging with brands on social channels like Whatsapp, Facebook, and Twitter have also opened up new ways for consumers to engage with companies.  

The channels that are best for your business will depend on your customer’s preferences. For some businesses, offering live chat on the company’s website may be the best way to serve your customer, while others may find consumers reaching out to them on social media. The biggest benefit of digital customer service is deflecting phone calls to lower cost digital channels. Reducing customer wait times and automating part or all of a conversation resulting in higher agent productivity are huge benefits that Quiq’s clients have realized in addition to higher customer satisfaction scores 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s look at a few examples of digital customer service channels and dig a little deeper into the benefits they provide.

Digital Customer Service Channels

Business Text Messaging

One of the most popular channels for digital customer service is business text messaging. SMS text messaging has grown exponentially in terms of popularity and use due to the fact that 66% of consumers prefer text messages over calls. 

Consumers use their cell phones for everything from banking to shopping. Business text messaging gives customers resolution in 25% less time than a phone call or an email. From an operational standpoint, messaging is a real boost to agent productivity, With asynchronous messaging, agents can handle multiple simultaneous conversations.

This is accomplished largely through the automation of routine tasks that were once handled with expensive manual labor. Make sure you are automating every routine task in your customer service pipeline. This will free up labor hours to work for you in another, more profitable area. When digital customer service is done right, it saves you and your customer both time and money. 

The ability to engage with a brand over social media has become a foregone conclusion for most consumers. It shouldn’t come as a shock that people expect to see the brands they trust on these apps since they spend so much time interacting with others. For example, Facebook Messenger has over 1.3 billion monthly users and Twitter has 145 million daily users 

It’s also not a shock that companies have responded by meeting their customers where they already are.There are 60 million active business pages on Facebook and 92% of companies tweet more than once a day. That’s a lot of activity and companies have seized the opportunity to engage with their consumers.

Live Chat

Using your website as a portal for customer service issues is a great way to make use of the digital infrastructure you already have in place. You can efficiently meet customers’ needs by being exactly where they expect you to be, waiting to talk with them about their needs or concerns. While this feature used to be a high-priced upgrade, it is now considered an essential part of a web presence by 44% of online consumers.

If a customer is browsing your site and has a question, it is much easier for them to click on a chat bubble than to call your contact center With messaging you can offer customer service without having to interrupt their  experienceAs with SMS or social chat, customer service agents can handle multiple conversations.

Now that we’ve looked at a few examples of digital customer service, let’s talk about what you can do to improve customer service channels. Since everyone’s business, market conditions, goals, and budget are different, the best way to approach the improvement of your digital customer service channels is to ask yourself a few questions:

Are you accessible…enough?

When you look across the channels that are available to your customers do you see lengthy queues or spikes in abandonment rates in any channel or during certain times of the day? These are definitely signs that your customers aren’t reaching you on their terms. There may be others you should keep an eye out for but Quiq clients have found long wait times and abandonment rates are the tell tale signs that they aren’t being accessible enough.

Many of Quiq’s clients have implemented messaging to reduce wait times and help customers after normal business hours. Messaging, along with features like routing rules, suggested replies, and bots have helped Quiq’s clients manage conversations with the efficiency their customers  need.

Do you know what options are available to you?

Have you done your research on the latest digital channels? Offering SMS/Text, live chat, and social media channels are the basic channels that your customers expect. Are you familiar with verified SMS, Apple Business Chat, and Google’s Business Messages?

These messaging channels are some of the latest developments that help brands present customers with trusted, secure channels to get pre-sales support or post sales service. For example, Apple Business Chat and Google’s Business Messages are rich communication services (RCS) that can expedite appointment scheduling and shopping. These messaging channels even enables customers to complete transactions without ever leaving their conversation.

Are you keeping it simple?

By encouraging you to keep things simple, we’re not advocating for you to rely on traditional channels like email and phone calls. Quite the opposite actually. We’ve seen companies simplify engagement by adding digital channels. Adding digital channels or implementing more advanced features like chat bots are not as complex as you may think and makes initiating and managing conversations simple for both your agents and your customers.

Quiq’s messaging platform has an intuitive agent desktop that makes it easy for agents to manage multiple, simultaneous conversations across all of our supported channels. Your customers get the freedom to choose their preferred channel to engage with your company while agents have the technology they need to deliver great service.

Quiq customer service messaging platform on mobile and desktop

Final Thoughts

As you begin to investigate your digital customer service strategies and methodologies, remember that the fundamentals of customer service have not changed. People still want to be treated fairly, with respect, and in a professional manner — they just want to get that treatment when and where they want it. As you look to vendors to help you accomplish your customer service goals, look for those can provide all of the things your customers are looking for in a manner that is seamless, fast, and integrated.

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10 Omni-channel Customer Service Best Practices You Can Count On

Today’s purchaser has evolved to a savvy, well-researched shopper who is quite comfortable online. With the prevalence of personalized options and experiences across the wide range e-commerce sites, your buyers are not only used to a personalized experience — they expect it. Therefore, it stands to reason that your website must be able to live up to the expectations of your customers. That means you need to offer up a seamless customer service experience that is both customer-centric and intuitive. You must create a customer service infrastructure that can take into every channel because you never know which channel your sales will come from.

This means developing an omni-channel customer service experience that you can count on. That’s why we made this list of 10 omni-channel customer service best practices. Use these best practices to increase the performance of your customer service platforms and continue to meet the expectations of your customers.

10 Omni-channel Customer Service Best Practices

1. Make the Digital Experience More Appealing

Shoppers today expect their experience on your website to be just as appealing, if not more appealing, than their experience in-store. That means your website needs to be simple, easy to navigate, and overall pleasant to look at. It has also has to be able to handle a wide array of support capabilities that the customer cannot see. In order to pull this off, you really need to understand who your target customers are and then create product descriptions and visualizations that appeal to your target customer’s point of view. Among other things, you will also need to enhance your onsite navigation with features like site search and an automated chat feature that assist your visitors in real-time. Providing a great user experience will alleviate many customer service pain points, freeing up time, resources, and energy that can be directed at more complex issues.

Make the digital experience more appealing

2. Provide a Self-Service Section

Another way to augment your customer service strategy is to let your customers find the information they need, without using your customer service agents. Empowering your customers is a great way to save time and resources, while also serving the customers needs. Set up a self-service section that your customers can access. This area will include a multitude of digital assets that your customers can reference including product images, PDFs, white papers, operator manuals, frequently asked questions (FAQs) and answers, instructional videos, or anything that is specific to your business you feel would be a great resource for your customers.

3. Share Information Across Departments

One of the hallmarks of a great customer service program is the ability to enable your sales team to perform better. The best way to create an organization where the customer service department is an asset to the sales department is by installing a framework that allows for the timely transfer of information across departments. Customer service portals, agents and chat windows, are filled with customer insights that you or your sales team can use to better plan and message your value proposition to potential customers. All of that purchase history, search terms, and website analytics needs to be shared across departments so that it can support the omni-channel experience.

4. Have a Responsive Web Design

This is a fundamental and extremely critical aspect of customer service. Responsive design allows your customers to access your website in any format, whether it be a tablet, cell phone, or desktop computer. Mobile usage surpassed desktop usage over 2 years ago and shoppers are researching and making purchases on their phones more than ever.

Allowing for responsive design will not only make it easier for customers to get in contact with you, as well as allow customers to do whatever they need to on their mobile device. This is more convenient for your customers and will result in a great experience that keeps them returning.

5. Know Your Buyer

Just like your product or service catalog is set up with messaging that is directed at your target buyer, so too must your customer service strategy be positioned in a way that speaks to your target buyer. Millennials are now the largest generation in the US workforce and are handy with every type of digital resource. Not only that, the new generations have the power of customer reviews at their fingertips. Before the dawn of review sites, businesses were solely in control of their brand image. In the modern market, new buyers have the power of social media and review networks.
Millennials have high expectations. They demand great mobile experiences and expect to be able to access the information they need whenever they want. If their expectations are not met, they will let the world know about it. This should underline the importance of providing a stellar omni-channel customer service experience that speaks directly to these influencers.

6. Centralize Internal Information

This best practice goes hand-in-hand with number 3 (share information across departments). No matter what business model you operate under, maintaining and organizing every single source of information related to your business in a single location allows customer service employees to know where they can find the “truth” their customers are after. No matter which channel your customers choose to reach you through, your customer service representatives will be able to access the central hub of information for any of the resources they need to resolve the issue. A centralized hub for your internal information will ensure the consistency of the answers and information that is being put out to customers, whether from a person, automated chatbot, or another messaging system.

Centralize internal information

7. Create a Highly Adaptive Environment

The nature of the modern technological environment all but guarantees that there will be advances in technology, shifts in customer perception, and market factors that demand flexibility. When you are designing your customer service infrastructure, make sure that you create it in a way that allows for additional adaptability and flexibility. If you make your structure to rigid, you will find it difficult to adapt to future trends, technology, or market conditions. Make sure you use technology that is easy to implement and can be configured easily to ensure a smooth transition into the future.

8. Facilitate a Real-Time Environment

Customers are trying to get their problems solved quickly. In fact, per CCW Digital’s recent customer experience study, 70% of customers demand resolutions on the first contact. Making your customer service an omni-channel environment that supports real-time conversations is, without a doubt, one of the best features you can incorporate.

When a customer wants help, its imperative you interact and solve their issues before they find another company who will. With technology like text messaging, web chat, and social messaging, you can have your customer service agents solving your customers’ problems as soon as you become aware of them, increasing customer satisfaction and brand loyalty in the process.

9. Prepare for the Next Generation

Preparing for the next wave of customers is paramount to your business’ future success. A streamlined self-service capability is a great way to do just that. Setting up your customer service strategy to let customers handle any account specific issues like updating permissions, address changes, and other administrative duties themselves is a great way to ensure that the next generation can solve their problems quickly and easily.

10. Use a Data-Driven Approach

Off all the best practices, this is perhaps the hardest yet most valuable best practice you can implement. Think about it from a strategic perspective for a second: data should be influencing your decisions across the wide spectrum of your business. Data is what supports your decision to market towards a certain customer segment, its what directs your attention to growth opportunities — it should be no different for your customer service strategy. Allowing data to guide your approach means that you prioritize the gathering, storing, and analysis of data. Throughout your customer service platform channels, make sure you that you are using the appropriate solutions. Are you using the right solution? You are if it meets customer needs AND provides quantitative feedback.

How do you know if your customers are abandoning the customer service pipeline if you are not tracking the abandonment rate? That is challenge businesses face: how do we collect data from multiple channels and organize it in a manner that we can act on? The first step is to make sure your solutions are able to provide you the data you need to take actionable steps on reporting metrics.

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