Business Messaging: Hindsight is 20/20

How many times have you said to yourself, “Hindsight is 20/20”?

While the origins of the phrase, “Hindsight is 20/20,” is unknown, its relevance comes out in nearly all aspects of our lives.  One recent example in my life is the Pro Bull Riding event I went to on my birthday up in Big Sky, MT. I have been to dozens of rodeos in my days here in Montana, but this event was off the charts amazing.  After the event was over, I was definitely feeling like, “If I’d have known the Big Sky PBR was that amazing, I would have started coming years ago.” I won’t miss another.

Here at Quiq, we regularly hear these words coming from the voice of our customers.  “If I’d have known that we were going to see these kinds of results, we would have done this a long time ago.”  But it isn’t just the results that they see, it’s the fact that not all Business Messaging is created equally – in other words, being able to send and receive texts is table stakes – what isn’t equal are all the other messaging capabilities Quiq brings to bare.  Most of our customers were using some form of SMS capability before they came to Quiq – some simply using individual cell phones, others using their Contact Center or CRM provider’s rudimentary version of texting, and others trying to build their own.

What is it that Quiq clients discover? There now exists an enterprise-grade business messaging platform that isn’t just a “nice-to-have,” but is an integral part of their business that drives significant value.  Mike Parish, Sr Manager, CX Design & Application Development for Brinks Home Security states, “With Quiq, we (the digital team) have the exact same processes that the call center has today.  However, because of the ease of the asynchronous communication, our CSAT is naturally 14 points higher, on average, than our voice channel in the call center.”  Brinks is also able to reduce the number of agents on the phone, repurposing them to higher value interactions.

“With Quiq, we (the digital team) have the exact same processes that the call center has today.  However, because of the ease of the asynchronous communication, our CSAT is naturally 14 points higher, on average, than our voice channel in the call center.”
~Mike Parish, Senior Manager

Another customer, TodayTix, the premier digital gateway to shows, arts, and cultural experiences in NYC, started with a channel mix of 80% Voice and 20% email. They have a goal of reducing overall call volumes down to just 10% and saw Quiq as their digital communications partner to help them get there. In less than two years, they are seeing that nearly 85% of all communications are now coming through channels other than voice. Incredible!

Conversational Commerce

Let me throw some staggering stats at you. In 2018, it was estimated that 40% of all holiday purchases were made over a smartphone. Early reports are showing this trend has increased by as much as 27% and Statista predicts that number could be as high as 70% by 2020. Most of our customers report that well over 60% of their online traffic comes from mobile. According to Statistic Brain, the number of monthly texts sent has increased more than 7700% over the last decade.

If human “conversations” aren’t happening over voice channels any more, why should we expect anything different with eCommerce and Consumer Services. Messaging for businesses has become a customer experience imperative. Imagine a customer being able to message your business, engage in a buying cycle, and complete the transaction all in one interaction, asynchronously! Wait, huh??

The Power of Asynchronous

Last week I woke up at my normal 6:30 AM. It was going to be a super busy day, so I sent a text to a house painter we are looking to hire. Had I only had the voice channel to work with coupled with the schedule I had that day, I would not have been able to call Ian (my painter) until after 3:00 PM that afternoon. Instead, when Ian was able, he returned my text at 9:09 AM. I then responded at 11:13 AM and he replied at 1:45 PM. Our business was concluded. With asynchronous communication, we communicate at the speed of our own lives – and now, with conversational commerce, brands have the ability to collect payment all inside of the messaging channel – TRANSACTION COMPLETE! Cha-ching.

Rich Messaging

Another, “Hindsight is 20/20” we are hearing a lot these days is how compelling rich messaging is. Customers like have taken messaging to a whole new level utilizing rich messaging to personalize their shipping notifications and post-delivery surveys. Utilizing Quiq’s two-way outbound notifications for product delivery, Overstock continues a personal conversation using a seamless combination of bots and humans to insure complete customer satisfaction, all with “web” quality experiences using rich messaging.

Oh, and unlike emails, these interactions have a 98% open rate (their words not ours), AND have reduced their inbound phone call volumes by 14%!!!

Bots for Dummies

Anyone who knows me well understands that, while I sell software for a living, I am basically “entry level” when it comes to technology. The other day I was watching the demo for our new Designer Bot Builder and was shocked at 1) how powerful it is, and 2) how easy it is to build your own Bot in the Quiq platform. Our customers, like Nintendo and Stio, who participated in our Beta program are already seeing tremendous results (see our Bot Webinar). I promise you, if you knew how easy it is to build a powerful Bot that interacts with your customers and agents, as an agent, you’d be building one.

So now you know…

“But, where do I start?” We get that question a lot. The lame answer is that it depends on the business. In the Credit Union industry, we see mortgage and lending as a great starting point, later moving into the contact center. In the Retail/eComm space, we see everything from organizations like starting with delivery notifications to others who put Apple Business Chat, Bots and SMS on mobile experiences for pre-sales support. We see business and consumer services organizations, like HVAC and Plumbing, start with appointment reminders. Many other organizations start in their contact center. Without fail, we always find that organizations have areas of the business where customer communication is changing and messaging is the answer.

Customers’ lives are connected and on-the-move. The phone channel is becoming more and more inconvenient. Quiq brings an array of asynchronous channels into a scalable, enterprise platform designed to serve the customer at the moment of truth. In a world where bots and humans are both considered “first-class citizens,” the expectation for customer satisfaction is morphing. Synchronous phone conversations are giving way to digital interactions that are real time, yet spread out within our busy schedules. Businesses on the forefront of customer experience have figured out how to meet their customers where they are, and both are discovering that communicating has never been more enjoyable.

Aspira Stakes out a New Way to Communicate With Customers

Besides technology, Aspira knows a thing or two about adventure and connection. For over 30 years, Aspira’s technology has allowed people to book outdoor recreation experiences at parks and conservation sites all over the US. Aspira’s customers contract directly with them to use their software, marketing services, and sometimes their centralized contact center to manage reservations for many of the most popular state and provincial parks as well as conservation agencies throughout the US.

Camping in Florida? Fishing in Ohio? Aspira is the technology behind many of those adventures
that connect individuals and families to the experiences they love.

When it was time to embark on an adventure of their own to discover new ways to connect with their customers, Aspira investigated business messaging with Quiq. The company wanted to look for ways that might help save money through reduced call volumes but also wanted to find a way to engage with their traveling, “on-the-go” customers. Aspira knows that customers who are on their way to a campground, setting up a site at the park, or preparing for a day of fishing don’t want to call in and sit on hold to get a question answered.

“You constantly have to think about the customer experience. Messaging lets us engage with customers who are active and mobile. This is the direction that people are going. If you’re not looking at innovating, then you probably aren’t going to get very far.”

~Jessica Himmel, Senior Manager

The Path to Messaging

Aspira securely facilitates nearly 50 million transactions between people and outdoor experiences each year. The process involves fielding over 1 million phone calls to their contact center annually. There could be a many as 250 agents handling calls during the peak season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. During the fall and winter, the number of agents can dip to about 100.

With that call volume, Aspira knew that messaging was a move in the right direction, but wanted to see what would happen in this uncharted territory. The company started with a soft launch that included 3 park locations that Aspira manages in New York, Delaware, and Ohio. Implementation of Quiq Messaging as a standalone platform went smoothly and launched on May 31, 2018. 

The new text messaging channel was promoted through Aspira’s private label websites including: and A “Contact Us” button was added to the private label websites showing visitors on desktop computers the phone number to text for questions, and if visitors are on their mobile website, they can text directly from their phone.

Visitors to are greeted with an invitation to text if they seek help through the “Contact Us” button.

Aspira has been surprised at the volume of calls they’ve been able to deflect to the text messaging channel. The company has now added messaging to 14 of their reservation sites and receives about 300 to 400 messages a day. Aspira conducted a survey at the end of every text message conversation and discovered that nearly 70% of the customers who texted would have called in if the “Text Us” option was not available.

Cultivating Connection Through Messaging

Since Aspira manages reservations for many of the most popular state and provincial parks, as well as conservation agencies throughout the US, about half of the inquiries that the company receives in the call center is about campsite availability. Although adventure seekers can go online to to check availability and reserve a campsite at over 35 camping, fishing, or hunting locations, they would often call to ask if what they saw online was accurate. 

With Quiq, instead of calling, customers can connect using their preferred channel: texting. Jessica Himmel, Senior Manager at Aspira, says the company finds it “extremely valuable that we are able to deflect a lot of these calls to the messaging channel. We prefer to text the customers who are just confirming availability because it’s such a quick and easy thing to respond to.” 

It’s not just booking availability inquiries that are handled quickly through the messaging channel. A lot of people want to cancel reservations, change dates or site location, while others want to know about facilities and amenities at specific locations. In general, Aspira finds that messaging conversations are a lot shorter and faster than phone calls. Agents have observed that it usually takes just 10 messages back and forth on average to get to a resolution. 

The company’s investment to make it easier for customers to engage with their agents is definitely getting a return. Aspira has seen a 4% decrease on the number of calls from their private label sites, as well as a 4% increase in reservations made online. With the volume of calls they receive hovering around a million per year, that’s no small feat.

Customers aren’t the only ones reaping the rewards of messaging. Agents really like being on the messaging channel and there are agents who ask to work that channel. This is great news for Aspira who hopes to increase staff for the messaging channel by 67%. Anytime there are extra hours that need coverage for the SMS/text channel, agents volunteer, due in part to how easy it is to use Quiq’s messaging platform. Agents not only handle multiple, simultaneous conversations at once but can use productivity-enhancing features like snippets to quickly share links to campsites and park policies. 

What’s Next

Results like these have Aspira looking for more ways to leverage messaging. To start, Aspira is exploring ways in which they can take payments over messaging, integrate Quiq into their workforce management system to help predict staffing, and expand the messaging channel to more of their contracts. One of the first things the company wants to do is to simply expand the hours messaging is available and supported. The company suspects that a lot of the messages they see come in during off-hours could be handled if messaging was available for just a couple more hours at night. 

Looking ahead to tornado, hurricane, and wildfire season, Aspira thinks that an increase in volume due to weather events may be on the horizon. The company anticipates a higher volume of questions such as “Is the park closed?” and “My site is flooded, what do I do?” In fact, Aspira is considering using outbound messaging as a proactive way to notify customers going to a park or location where the weather could adversely affect their reservation. If 

Aspira leadership believes it’s an exciting time for messaging and Quiq couldn’t agree more. The number of companies adopting business messaging continues to grow as more consumers demand the convenience, ease, and speed of the messaging channel. From the shopper that needs help with a purchase, to the camper that needs to make sure their dog is allowed at their campsite, messaging has become the preferred channel for our busy lives.