Pier 1 Imports Customer Spotlight: How To Use Messaging and Get ROI

Watch this short video and share in Laurie’s excitement as to how their business has expanded their contact center portfolio and found messaging ROI.  Laurie Simpter is the Sr. Manager of Customer Relations at Pier 1 Imports and explains in this brief testimonial why they chose Quiq to support their business messaging initiatives.

We love our customers and there’s no better feeling for us than when we see our customers find greater success by implementing Quiq’s leading customer engagement platform. If you’re ready to transform your contact center, see a demo and get started today!

Text Messaging Do’s and Don’ts

Cross-channel communication doesn’t just provide a more seamless user experience — it also keeps customers coming back. Companies who offer a cross-channel user experience have seen over 90% higher year-over-year increases in customer retention, according to Aberdeen.

Cross-channel engagement has been a blessing as well as a burden for some companies. On the one hand, businesses have more ways to interact with prospects and customers. On the other, all of these channels, be it social media or text messaging, requires companies to actually monitor, respond, and engage consistently with customers over all of these channels.      

Cross-channel management doesn’t have to be a cumbersome exercise though. Today, it is imperative to business efficiency and effectiveness for all customer conversations to be in one holistic view.

The companies realizing the most success with cross-channel messaging are seeing a boost in customer satisfaction and revenue, with positive impacts on productivity.  Let’s dive into the ways that cross-channel messaging can be used to engage customers and drive more business.

Why Follow Proper Business Texting Etiquette

Following proper business texting etiquette[3]  is important for a very simple reason — your texts will be read. Unlike emails, which often pileup unread in a customer’s inbox, your text messages are rarely ignored. In fact, SMS open rates are as high as 98%, versus just 20% for email, according to Gartner. This makes the content and timing of your texts critically important in ensuring customer satisfaction. So what can your business do to ensure a positive SMS conversation experience?

The Do’s of Business Text Messaging

Do keep it to the point

SMS is appropriate for short and succinct messages. The length of a single standard text message is 160 characters, so that’s a good limit to shoot for. Of course, you can use rich messaging to send longer messages, but avoid sending walls of text via SMS.

Do ask permission first

Since text messages pop up front-and-center in a customer’s daily life, it’s important to make sure they give consent before getting the conversation started. Your first message can be a simple opt-in request, or your customers can subscribe to your texts via your website. If they send the first message, then their consent to receive a reply is implied but it’s still a good practice to ask permission before sending any unrelated messages, such as promotional texts.

Do stay positive

Keeping your text conversations polite and positive is essential, especially if you’re using the channel for customer support. Certain phrases may be misconstrued by the recipient, so make your dedication to customer satisfaction clear. While you do want to stick to the point, use complete sentences to avoid coming across as terse or impatient.

Do time your texts right

No one likes to be rustled awake by a midnight message, so make sure you send your business texts at an appropriate time. The best time to text your customers is soon after they text you. That way, you know that they are already engaged in the conversation. Similarly, you can reach out to them immediately after they opt-in to receiving your SMS, or right after they submit a support ticket. If you’re sending the first text, you’ll want to be mindful about the customer’s time zone and only message them during normal business hours.

Do get rich

Rich Communication Services (RCS) can transform your business texting into a full-on conversion platform. You can complete transactions, schedule appointments, and send videos to engage with customers in a more powerful way. Quiq’s cross-channel rich messaging automatically transforms your messages into the right format, so you can richly communicate over SMS, web chat, or Facebook Messenger — all from one centralized platform.

The Don’ts of Business Text Messaging

Don’t use unprofessional language

SMS is famous for acronyms but your business texts should avoid using them. Save your “LOLs” and “C U l8rs” for more casual conversations. That said, some emojis may be appropriate, depending on your audience — professional language can also have a bit of fun sprinkled in.

Don’t forget to double-check

For some customers, a misspelled word — or even an innocent typo — is unforgivable. Be sure to review your message drafts before hitting the send button. If your business uses message templates, revisit them periodically to make sure they are error-free and still in line with the tone of your brand.

Don’t wait too long to reply

Text messaging is all about rapid response. If customers don’t hear back from you quickly, they may move on to another service. Quiq’s Adaptive Response Timer prioritizes customer conversations for your agents based on how swiftly a customer stays engaged. If your agent cannot respond in time, the platform automatically hands the conversation off to the next available representative. With Quiq, there is no need to keep customers waiting.

Don’t rely solely on SMS

Text messaging is only one of the many conversation channels out there. Your business should use it as just one part of an overall customer messaging strategy. Understand the benefits of SMS alongside its limitations, and see where it fits in your conversation ecosystem.

By following these tenets of business texting etiquette, your brand can connect with customers in a more powerful way. Discover the true potential of business messaging and try a demo of Quiq today.

How to Engage & Win More Customers Using Cross-Channel Messaging

Cross-channel communication doesn’t just provide a more seamless user experience — it also keeps customers coming back. Companies who offer a cross-channel experience have seen over 90% higher year-over-year increases in customer retention, according to Aberdeen.

Cross-channel engagement has been a blessing as well as a burden for some companies. On the one hand, businesses have more ways to interact with prospects and customers. On the other, all of these channels, be it social media, web chat, or text messaging, requires companies to actually monitor, respond, and engage consistently with customers over all of these channels. Not an easy task!     

Cross-channel management doesn’t have to be a cumbersome exercise though. Today, it is imperative for all customer conversations to be in one holistic view or businesses will fail on business efficiency and effectiveness.

The companies realizing the most success with cross-channel messaging are seeing a significant boost in customer satisfaction and revenue, while also achieving positive impacts on productivity.  Let’s dive into the ways that cross-channel messaging can be used to engage customers and drive more business.

Why does cross-channel messaging matter?

Convenience and choice are the fuel that powers today’s commerce engine. Your customers demand options that allow them to do business on their terms – which is often on a mobile device while they are on-the-go. In a nutshell, cross-channel messaging should matter to you because it matters to your customers and they’re telling you by how they spend their dollars.

According to Shopify, using cross-channel marketing increases revenue by 38% when one additional channel is added, and this number jumps all the way to 190% when three additional channels are used. Quiq’s conversational engagement platform supports over seven channels — all with rich messaging. Rich messaging is just one of the advances in cross-channel engagement that exceeds customer expectations.

Using cross-channel marketing increases revenue by 38% when one additional channel is added, and this number jumps all the way to 190% when three additional channels are used.

Rich cross-channel solutions

The latest developments of cross-channel-messaging involve the use of rich content. Rich messaging is messaging that is “enriched” containing more than just text. With rich messaging, you can complete transactions, schedule appointments, and share different types of media via Rich Communication Services (RCS). Let’s get fancy. Imagine a customer placing an order via text message or rich messaging on their phone, then hopping on their computer to pay for the transaction via web chat. The conversation follows them on whichever channel they use, and a wide variety of cool capabilities can be utilized via rich messaging.

Building an effective cross-channel approach

The modern contact center utilizes customer information from a variety of channels to create comprehensive customer profiles. Businesses are provided with more than just data points when you combine basic information such as addresses and emails, to more extensive information like past order history and customer status. This information allows businesses to provide personalized engagement, which is key to delivering better customer experiences and more effectively driving conversions. 

Creating those profiles from disparate sources can create challenges. The challenges that arise with handling complex cross-channel environments, such as prioritizing channels, necessitate the use of streamlined business messaging software. Quiq enables businesses to deliver true cross-channel messaging experiences to customers across a wide variety of communication services with the efficiency of a centralized platform.

Adaptive response and the use of bots

Customer inquiries flying in from different channels can result in a large number of live conversations, so it’s critical to prioritize the conversations, with the most pressing conversations presented first. Urgent customer service needs must be differentiated from casual queries in order to ensure the highest priority issues are addressed first. One way to measure customer urgency is by how quickly the customer engages in the conversation — if there are long pauses between replies, chances may be the matter is not as urgent or the customer is not able to be fully engaged. Quiq’s Adaptive Response Timer is a unique feature that prioritizes customer service conversations based on the cadence or pace of customers.

Messaging bots are popular for their ability to instantly reply to queries and route customers to the correct human agent. The language that your bots use should be in line with your brand voice — be sure they utilize the same business lexicon that your support agents do. Bots can also be used to welcome users to your site and get them pointed in the right direction. As an important part of the cross-channel toolbox, bots can help shape the experience you deliver, no matter how – which channels – customers are using to get in touch.

Strength in continuity

You don’t have to wait for customers to message you to get the conversation started. Effective cross-channel communication relies on you reaching out from time to time on a customer’s preferred channel. The type of channel you reach out on can be tailored to the customer segment. For example, you can use Twitter direct messages to reach customers who like to stay current within the social media sphere. Cross-channel communication is not just about what you say — it’s also about where you say it. That means engaging with customers on the messaging platforms they prefer.

Cross-channel communication is not just about what you say — it’s also about how you say it.

In the end, true high-quality, cross-channel communication is about delivering a seamless and intuitive customer experience across the entire spectrum of digital messaging channels. When customers have the freedom to engage with your brand on their terms, their sense of loyalty and satisfaction is strengthened. Quiq allows you to have true cross-channel communication with your customers, so you can build brand loyalty and increase customer satisfaction.

To find out more about the ways you can more effectively engage with customers in a cross-channel environment, check out 10 Cross-Channel Customer Service Best Practices You Can Count On.

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eBook: Business Messaging Best Practices

Business SMS/text messaging is the fast, convenient, and preferred way for customers to engage with you.  According to research, “mobile messaging the communications channel with the highest anticipated growth.”

Done correctly, messaging is a powerful tool to help consumers connect with businesses – especially when it comes to customer service.

Business Messaging Best Practices eBook

How To Reduce Inbound Call Volume

The normal sounds of a contact center are usually a cacophony of ringing phones, one-sided conversations, clicks, and keyboard taps. These sounds, or at least some of them, and their association to call centers may soon be fading into the background. According to McKinsey & Company, 57% of executives consider reducing call volumes their number one priority for the next five years, which is music to the ears of customers and contact center employees alike.

57% of executives consider reducing call volumes their number one priority for the next five years.

To achieve this goal, technologies, such as chatbots, live chat, and text messaging, have been identified as the top ways to make that call reduction dream come true. These new channels are highly valuable to reduce calls and costs, as well as necessary investments for this generation of digital-first consumers. Let’s dive into the ways to reduce inbound call volume without sacrificing the customer experience.

Reducing call center volume may get a bad rap in some circles. Some may think of reducing calls as simply a way to cut costs. There’s more to the story than just that. It’s true, you’ll see an impact on your bottom line by reducing inbound call volume. Fewer calls can translate to fewer agents to handle those calls. But that’s not the only way fewer inbound calls can affect your bottom line.

Fewer inbound calls also mean that agents can dedicate more time providing a higher level of service to each customer. Fewer calls equal shorter queues, less wait time, and faster response times, and higher quality interactions with agents. These incredible benefits are also the inherent traits of companies who have made the customer experience the way to differentiate themselves and win repeat business.

Take, for example, Tailored Brands. The retail holding company responsible for multiple brands, including the Men’s Wearhouse and Joseph A. Bank, strives to set themselves apart from their competition based on the service they provide customers. In the highly competitive and fast-moving retail space, that means more than just offering a wide product line, since consumers literally have a world of options at their digital fingertips.

Instead of competing solely on clothing quality, inventory, and price, Tailored Brands implemented messaging to make their customer’s purchase journey a uniquely convenient and easy experience. They aren’t alone in their race to make changes to their customer experience using digital transformation. Customer Experience Futurist, Blake Morgan, reported in Forbes that enterprise decision-makers have given themselves a two-year horizon to make significant changes in digital transformation before they fall behind their competitors and financially suffer.

Enterprise decision-makers have given themselves a two-year horizon to make significant changes in digital transformation before they fall behind their competitors and financially suffer.

When you view your contact center as more than just a cost center, the importance of reducing inbound calls become clear. Reducing inbound calls to your contact center has less to do with cutting costs and more to do with adding value for customer through easier pre and post-sales interactions.

How to Reduce Call Center Volume

Tailored Brands, like so many other companies from retail to financial services, want to make doing business with them much more convenient. Opening up their “messaging doors” with channels like ,web chat, SMS/text messaging, rich messaging, and Facebook Messenger, are how these companies are slashing inbound calls without sacrificing the customer experience. In fact, these channels are enhancing the experience by providing easy, convenient ways for consumers to engage with companies at their convenience.

Here’s how companies are reducing their call center volume with the help of technology:

Give customers the channel they prefer

This one’s easy. Not every customer wants to phone or email you. In fact, almost no customer today wants to call or email a company. For Tailored Brands, the addition of text messaging was a way to adapt to their consumer’s shift from traditional methods of contact, like phone and email, to more convenient engagement channels. Because Tailored Brands is catering to their customer’s preference for digital channels like chat and messaging, they’ve deflected expensive phone calls, realizing a 175% increase in text messages received by each brand.

Let the channel match the customers’ challenge

Other companies, like the popular ski destination Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, have also reduced calls through text messaging. Jackson Hole was specifically looking for web chat as a more cost-effective way to engage with their guests. The company rolled out both web chat and text messaging and saw a drop in calls and emails because many of the customer’s inquiries were simple and straightforward questions like, “What are the tram hours” or “What are the recent snowfalls”. Answering these questions via messaging meant that reservationists were more available to help customers with bookings.

Prepare for spikes ahead of time

Whether it’s tax season, the wake of a big promotion, a product release, or Black Friday, you know when to expect seasonal spikes in call volume within your contact center. As they say, the best defense is a good offense and preparing for those spikes well in advance can help reduce inbound calls.

Some companies, like Williams Plumbing, have the added complication of not knowing when those spikes will happen. Severe winter weather and high volumes of emergency calls used to create spikes for the civil construction and plumbing company with offices across Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. The company now uses text messaging on their mobile site, chat on their desktop site, and Facebook Messenger to ensure that their customers can reach them whenever they are needed. William’s Plumbing has seen their customers choose text messaging rather than waiting on hold, which has helped decrease their call abandonment rate from almost 13% to 5-8% and allowed the company to capture more leads for future services.

Reducing inbound calls has a large impact on contact center productivity. Unlike asynchronous digital channels like web chat and SMS/text messaging that allow agents to handle multiple, simultaneous calls, agent-assisted inbound phone calls must be handled 1 to 1. As consumers shift to messaging, agents will also shift from handling one phone call at a time to 6-8 messaging conversations at a time.

As consumers shift to messaging, agents will also shift from handling one phone call at a time to 6-8 messaging conversations at a time.

According to the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), channel mix is one of the biggest drivers that affect agent productivity. High volume contact centers, like Office Depot have quickly gravitated towards these digital channels to decrease Average Handle Time (AHT), while increasing agent utilization and contacts per agent per month.

The First Step To Reducing Calls in Your Contact Center

Messaging channels such as web chat, SMS/text, Twitter, and Facebook have opened a whole new world of possibilities for reducing inbound call center volume. Quiq enables companies to provide pre-sales service and post-sales support across all of these channels through a simple, intuitive agent desktop that supports agents as they deliver exceptional customer experiences.

If you’re searching for an innovative, cost-effective way to reduce your inbound contact center volume, start by exploring Quiq Messaging. Schedule a demo today.

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Quiq Overview: Messaging in a Minute!

Business messaging is the way top brands and today’s customers engage with each other. Quiq’s Conversational Engagement Platform ensures companies provide consistently jaw-dropping customer experiences across SMS/text messaging, rich messaging, web chat, and social channels. With Quiq, brands can easily orchestrate commerce and service conversations involving both bots and humans.

Check out this very short video to see why Quiq is the leading platform powering conversations between companies and customers. See a demo and get started today!

[Infographic] How to Declutter Your Contact Center

There’s a lot to manage in a contact center – from staffing and training to managing operations and tracking KPI’s. Using Quiq for live chat and text messaging will satisfy your customer’s demand for more ways to engage with your company.

Turn to Quiq Messaging to:

  • Increase conversions
  • Engage more qualified leads
  • Manage seasonal spikes and increased demand
  • Boost agent productivity & efficiency
  • Drive costs down
  • Reduce clutter in current system
  • Help customers engage more easily
  • Improve quality of interactions
  • Increase customer satisfaction

With Quiq…

Customers can choose the channel they prefer to reach your company at their moment of need. Agents manage all of the messaging conversations through one unified desktop UI. Marie can better manage her agents and conversations with Quiq’s collaboration and reporting features.

You’ll look like a rockstar, with these results:

  • 8-10% Increase in conversion rate
  • 25% Decrease in worktime
  • 5-12% Increase in CSAT

Reach a stage of customer delightment with Quiq Messaging.

See a Demo Today

5 Ways To Build A Chatbot To Improve Customer Service

Chatbots, or bots, are at the top of countless Google search results these days. Why so much research and chatter about bots? Faster customer service and a better customer experience are just a couple of the ways companies believe bots can drive results throughout the organization and it’s making a stir.

A lot of people have gone past the point of wondering how to employ chatbots within their organization to actually building them. While there are plenty of tools out there to help you drag and drop your way to an AI-infused representative, you’d be ill-advised to jump right into it. Before you build a bot, there are some important things you need to consider.

In this article, we’ll explore 5 key considerations to get you started on a better chatbot path. Incorporating these concepts into your strategy will ensure you build a bot that improves your customer engagement and their experience.

When To Use A Bot

Sometimes having too many options can lead to confusion and indecisiveness. That’s not the case when it comes to bots. The meteoric rise of the digital channels used throughout companies to drive better customer experience has resulted in exponential demand for chatbots. Chatbots are being deployed from customer service to sales and marketing across channels such as web chat, SMS/text messaging, and social media.

The opportunity to use bots within single or multiple points in the customer’s journey seems crystal clear to many. The question isn’t whether you should use a bot within a conversation. The pressing question seems to be when is the appropriate time within a conversation for a bot to engage with a customer.

Before you answer that, consider these bot must-haves. In our experience, working with clients from a variety of industries, these 5 bot approaches ensure companies deliver better bot experiences.

1.Build A Bot To Offload Repetitive Or Mundane Tasks

What’s your order number? Can I verify your email? What model is it? Can you verify your address? How many times have your human agents had to ask these questions? Short answer, too many. With chatbots, the better question is how many times does a human agent have to ask these kinds of questions? Short answer, zero. Zilch.

These questions, and many more, are super simple and repetitive. The answers are fairly straightforward and necessary to help a customer and move them closer to resolution. One of the first things to do prior to building a bot is to define the parts of the typical customer interaction that could be handled by a bot, where that is prior to, during, or after an interaction with a human/agent.

Quiq clients have realized success by building bots to handle some of these simple questions, with the intent of providing human agents with more information faster to ensure they understand who the customer is and the issue at hand.

2. Build A Bot That Works With Your Current Processes

You shouldn’t have to revamp your entire workflow in order to implement a bot. Make sure your bot or bots work within your current process to improve it.

Consider using bots throughout the customer’s interaction to expedite established processes. For example:

      • Deploy bots at the beginning of customer conversations to collect information, gather relevant details about the nature of their inquiry, and to even route the customer to a specific person, department, or queue.
      • Allow your human agents to transfer to a bot during their conversation. Bots are able to collect information during a conversation to free up human agents for more complex tasks or to help other customers.
      • Let your chatbot close out the conversation with a simple thank you, or even better, a quick survey to gather feedback.

3. Build A Bot That Works Well With Humans

Our messaging clients frequently look to chatbots as a way to help the human interaction, not replace it entirely. Quiq clients have realized a lot of success from using bots to work in conjunction with humans.

As mentioned above, bots can be used in any one or multiple parts of customer interactions. Before you build your bot, make sure you’re creating a seamless experience for your customer as well as your agents.

Quiq’s messaging platform enables agents to transfer conversations to a bot, just like they would another human agent. Once the bot completes gathering whatever information they need, the conversation is transferred back to the human agent.

4. Build A Bot That Plays Well With Other Bots

Just as a conversation can be volleyed between human and chatbot, make sure that your conversations can be transferred to other bots.

Take, for example, a bot that greets your customer, asks how they can help, and presents suggested solutions. Your customer can choose the appropriate topic with a single tap. Based on their response, another bot can pick up the conversation and bring the customer through the selected process.

Quiq is unique in that you can deploy any combination of 3rd-party bots and/or Quiq bots in our system and they are treated the same. The focus is on helping the customer, not on technology.

5. Monitor Bot Performance

Improving customer engagement and experience doesn’t stop when a bot or multiple bots go live. Once you’ve implemented your bot(s), monitor performance the same way you’d monitor a human agent’s performance.

Quiq’s messaging platform reports on bots and human agents the same way. Our platform monitors the customer’s experience and provides actionable feedback, such as the customer’s sentiment during the conversation, regardless of who is helping them. Simple icons alert managers if a customer is using negative words or phrases that signals intervention is needed.

Receive the same types of stats for bots that you have come to expect and demand for agents.

Messaging Conversations Are Ripe For Bots

These critical must-haves for building a better bot should help you answer our question above: “When is the appropriate time within a digital conversation for a bot to engage with a customer?” The answer depends, of course, on the unique needs of your customers and the reasons they reach out to you.

Quiq can help you deploy bots throughout your organization that work seamlessly across chat and messaging channels. If you’re ready to take the next step to building a better bot experience, request a demo.