Counterintuitive Commerce – Why Premium Support Experiences are the Future of eCommerce

In 2020, eCommerce grew by a staggering 44% as shopping experiences typically associated with in-store visits rapidly migrated to digital marketplaces.

While this shift in purchasing behavior has several implications for the retail industry, two changes stand out as particularly significant for eCommerce leaders:

  1. An increasingly digital retail market levels the playing field for brands – With greater access to a wider array of brands online, consumers’ purchasing decisions have become heavily dependent on the quality of their customer experience in addition to traditional considerations like price and product.

  2. eCommerce’s rise has also led to an increase in customer care needs – As more purchases take place online, brands are also facing a sharp escalation in customer care inquiries related to order management and more.

As a result of these two changes, brands’ ability to succeed online and drive more revenue has become increasingly reliant on their capability to deliver premium customer service experiences.

When it comes to poor support experiences, whether care agents are unavailable or self-service chat is not provided, consumers will simply take their business elsewhere, with 89% of consumers trying out competitors after a poor customer experience.

Introducing Counterintuitive Commerce

To unlock more online growth & conversions, modern eCommerce and CX leaders must provide their customers with premium support experiences.

Why? Because care’s impact is no longer isolated to metrics like deflection or CSAT. Today, care IS commerce and, through natural automation, provides online retailers with unexpected opportunities to drive more revenue.

Counterintuitive commerce is the practice of driving incremental revenue through initiatives and tactics traditionally associated with customer care and experience rather than sales and commerce.

Here are 3 examples of how Counterintuitive Commerce can provide customers with enhanced care experiences while simultaneously boosting a company’s bottom line.

1. Reroute Off-Hour Care Inquiries to Self-Service Messaging To Drive Conversions

The lack of instantaneous support during off-hours presents a massive opportunity for improving retailers’ online shopping experiences while increasing conversion rates.

Snaps customer data has revealed that over 47% of online purchases are made during off-hours, which means that a significant volume of online shoppers is left hanging for hours (or days) without receiving answers to their purchase-related inquiries.

To make life easier for online shoppers and increase purchases during off-hours, online retailers can reroute inbound customer support from traditional channels, like email, to self-service messaging that provides immediate support at any time of day.

When shoppers click to initiate email-based customer support, online retailers can trigger an AI-powered assistant to take notice and immediately start a chat engagement.

Through a simple, conversational message like “Hey, I noticed you have a question. While it may take our team a few hours to get back to you, I can provide an immediate answer to your question,” brands can easily transition shoppers to a self-service automated chat, provide quick 24/7 answers to their questions, and increase conversion rates and revenue during off-hours.

2. Transform Order-Status Notifications Into a New Marketing Channel

Automated shipping and order-status notifications present online retailers with one of the most valuable tools for improving customer experience while establishing a new channel for driving revenue.

According to Snaps proprietary customer data, over 60% of customers’ inbound support inquiries are related to order-status questions. By automating order notifications, online retailers can systematically resolve shoppers’ most common need for support and free up agents to help sell more and reduce the total number of inbound tickets.

Additionally, by enabling customers to subscribe to post-purchase updates, eCommerce brands establish a valuable channel to upsell. Through natural automation, digital assistants can recommend additional products to customers based on their purchase history or preferences and encourage additional purchases.

Snaps’ customer data has revealed that post-purchase notifications like these have yielded open rates as high as 98% while driving 30% of shoppers to make an additional purchase within 28 days.

3. Automate Responses to Pre-Purchase Inquiries

Providing shoppers with automatic, instantaneous responses to purchase-related inquiries is another highly effective tactic for improving customer experience while simultaneously increasing onsite conversions.

Through automated, 24/7 support, online retailers can reduce friction and purchase barriers. Simultaneously, customer service agents that would traditionally be required to answer these questions can focus on sales-oriented initiatives instead.

Premium Support Experiences Drive Unexpected Revenue-Driving Opportunities

Ultimately, eCommerce’s sharp rise and evolution over the past several months has blended the worlds of care and commerce. Shoppers’ ability to make an online purchase is now heavily dependent on their ability to get immediate, 24/7 support. Online retailers that do not support these experiences will lose out to those that do.

Interested in learning more about how natural automation can improve your customer experience and drive more conversions? Contact us today.

8 Tips to Improve Customer Retention

The cost of losing one customer is equivalent to seven times the resources used to convert them. It’s imperative to not let it happen by implementing an effective customer retention strategy to improve customer retention..

Customer retention is the key to improving your business’ profitability. In some cases, increasing customer retention by 5% could lead to an increase in profit of as much as 95%. Do the math and then read on to find out some customer retention strategies that can help your business.

Customer retention can be one of the hardest things for companies to do. There are many reasons why companies lose customers, but the fact remains that most companies aren’t doing much to retain their customers. In this blog we will look at why it’s important to improve customer retention and why every company needs to start focusing on this important issue.

What Is Customer Retention?

No matter what your business or industry is, whether you’re just starting out or already running a thriving company, you need to learn about customer retention. A lot of businesses get it wrong and end up spending huge amounts of time and money trying to bring in new customers, but forget about the ones they already have.

Customer retention is the process of attracting repeat customers and keeping them from switching to a competitor. It is an important aspect of business strategy, and it can help businesses gain a competitive advantage.

The goal of customer retention is to maintain the company’s current customer base and increase loyalty by providing better service or more benefits. There are various methods that businesses use to retain customers, including loyalty programs, discounts, freebies, special offers, and targeted marketing campaigns.

Why Is Customer Retention Important?

Customer retention is important because 68% of sales come from existing customers. Loyal customers are more likely to share their experience with the company and they are also more likely to purchase from the company again in the future.

These customers are not only your customer’s best cheerleaders but they help you to better understand your brand. They will provide you with honest feedback about your product and customer service that will allow you to make the necessary adjustments to your business to make it more successful.

Customer retention is important because:

  • Loyal customers who continue to support your brand will increase your profits
  • They will also recommend your brand and give positive reviews to their family and friends
  • Returning customers tend to spend more on your brand over time
  • You get a greater return on your investment (ROI) from repeat customers than trying to acquire a first-time customer

It is important for companies to work on building loyalty because of these reasons. Even though only 12% to 15% of customers are loyal to a single retailer, they represent between 55% to 70% of the retailer’s sales. It is also good for them because loyalty can lead to a higher retention rate. This retention rate, in turn, leads to a higher profit margin which will mean a better bottom line for the company.

Calculating Customer Retention

Want to know exactly what your customer retention rate (CRR) is? You can calculate the percentage of customers you have retained over a period of time. 

Customer retention is the return on investment in customer acquisition. It’s a measure of how many customers are retained in the course of one year, with a view to estimating the long-term profitability of marketing and sales efforts.

The cost per acquisition (CPA) is an economic term used to measure the cost incurred by a company, per new customer acquired. In other words, it’s the cost for a company to acquire one new customer who becomes loyal to their brand, so they keep buying from them.

In order for us to calculate our retention rate, we need to divide our number of loyal customers by our total number of active customers over that same time period.

Customer Retention Strategies

Businesses often lose customers due to poor customer service. If you don’t retain your customers, your business will lose a lot of money. Providing great customer service is just one of many customer retention tips. Here are a few more that will help you to build stronger relationships with your customers.

1. Good Values Build Good Relationships

Your company’s values are important to you. Your business processes, the quality of your products, and how you treat your customers should be a reflection of them. These things should make your values evident to your customers, but it doesn’t hurt to remind them occasionally.

Customers who stated they had a relationship with a brand indicated it was due to shared values. Brands that mirror customers’ beliefs while enhancing their lifestyles will naturally attract them. It’s known as implicit egotism.

Theoretically, people are unconsciously biased towards things they relate to or associate directly with themselves. It’s something all businesses should be aware of.

Let your customers know what you stand for and incorporate it into your brand. Having common values with your customers makes it easier to retain them.

2. Trust Is the Basis for Good Relationships

Creating a brand that is easily relatable is the first step to building trust with your customers. Having something in common fosters trust and this is the key to building a strong relationship and by extension, a successful business.

Use your customer data to find out more about your customers’ needs and provide them with a positive experience. Let it also guide you on the best way to communicate with them so that you earn their trust. When customers trust you, you don’t have to spend time convincing them to buy your product.

Research has shown that 82% of customers will continue using your brand if they trust it and 83% of customers who trust your brand, will recommend it to others. Conversely, bad service and distrust will result in them not only exercising their purchasing power elsewhere, but they will also spread the word that you’re not trustworthy.

The goal is to build a long-lasting, positive relationship with your customer.

3. Build Customer Expectations and Over Deliver Every Time

Seventy-six percent of customers feel that companies should understand their needs and expectations. A good price and quality are no longer enough. Today’s consumers expect much more because they have more choices and can purchase elsewhere if you don’t meet their needs.

There’s now an expectation of personalized and proactive service and interactions as well as a seamless experience across all your channels. The best way to meet their expectations is to know what your customers want. Get their feedback through surveys and reviews and analyze them to see areas that need improvement.

Be honest. If you know you can’t deliver, don’t over-promise. Otherwise, keep your promise. You lose your customers’ trust if you don’t. If you can’t keep your promise, apologize and find ways to compensate your customers.

Build a sustainable business by retaining your customers through customer satisfaction. Keep your customers returning for more by going above and beyond for them.

4. Let Customer Data Work for You

As mentioned, customer data can help to determine your customers’ needs. If you know some of your customers’ pain points, include them in surveys. Use feedback and reviews to provide solutions for your customers’ problems.

Surveys are an effective way to build and encourage customer engagement. It shows your customers that you value their opinion and that you care, and are willing to do whatever it takes to satisfy them. Some of the benefits of conducting customer surveys include:

  • They’re a great way to interact with your customers
  • Customers tend to give honest and open feedback
  • These customers will be more likely to give feedback in the future if they see changes implemented based on prior concerns
  • Survey feedback can result in positive adjustments to your products, services, or processes
  • It can allow you to ensure you’re pursuing the right targeting strategy or assist in re-strategizing your email campaigns

Surveys can help you to identify dissatisfied customers before they decide to no longer support your company. You can create campaigns or offers to help to win them back. You can also treat customer complaints that come through other feedback channels, in a similar manner.

These customers can provide you with information about product defects or deficiencies in your service. It’s a great opportunity to improve these and it’s another way to learn your customers’ expectations. Seventy percent of customers who complain will purchase your product again if their complaints are favorably resolved.

5. There’s Always Room for Improvement

Always strive to provide exceptional customer service. Customers love great offers and discounts, but they love it when you help solve their problems even more.

You can ensure this by providing support to your customers by using the channels that make the most sense for your customers. Exceptional customer service should be present at all levels across your organization, so that no matter who your customer interacts with, they will get the same amazing service.

This includes ensuring all employees understand the key objective is to resolve customer issues promptly. Invest the time and money to optimize your customer service experience and remember that engagement is part of good customer service.

6. Keep Customers in the Loop

You should continuously educate customers by providing up-to-date information about your products and services. This should include sharing product milestones so that your customers know you strive for continuous improvement.

Communicate regularly using various channels including webchats, social media, and text messaging. Personalize your content so they target your various customer segments.

7. Determine Customer Lifetime Value

A key performance indicator (KPI) of customer retention is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). It shows your customers’ worth over a period of time. It helps determine the value each customer brings to your business, otherwise known as customer’s equity.

Returning customers add more value based on the resources you’ve expended to acquire them. They’re usually your VIP customers and their loyalty will encourage them to tell others about your products and services.

CLV can help you determine what you should spend to engage your customers and can also help to predict revenue.

8. Reward Loyalty

Thoughtful gestures go a long way. In addition to discounts and offers, think of things that will make your customers feel good about using your product. A thank you note or any positive acknowledgment can keep your customers coming back.

Treat your customers well and they will respond accordingly. But nothing works better than exceptional customer service.

Want to know exactly what your customer retention rate (CRR) is? You can calculate the percentage of customers you have retained over a period of time.

Customer retention is the return on investment in customer acquisition. It’s a measure of how many customers are retained in the course of one year, with a view to estimating the long-term profitability of marketing and sales efforts.

The cost per acquisition (CPA) is an economic term used to measure the cost incurred by a company, per new customer acquired. In other words, it’s the cost for a company to acquire one new customer who becomes loyal to their brand, so they keep buying from them.

In order for us to calculate our retention rate, we need to divide our number of loyal customers by our total number of active customers over that same time period.

Building Customer Relationships

Customers are the foundation of any business. Without them, a business will not be successful. It is important that after using resources to acquire customers that you invest in customer retention. You can do this by using customer relationship-building strategies.

Building long-lasting customer relationships take time. One of the best ways to do this is through customer engagement. Quiq’s Conversational Engagement Platform will impress your customers during every interaction they have with your business.

Don’t miss out. Find out how our clients are increasing their conversions and retaining customers. Our platform is easy to use. Try it for yourself!

How To Choose The Right Digital Customer Service Channel For Your Business

Over the past year, businesses have been forced to rapidly adapt to consumers’ sudden shift in purchasing behavior. Customer service teams, in particular, have faced significant change with nearly half of customer support leaders experiencing a sudden lift in inbound customer service volume and issues due to the pandemic (Gartner). 

This abrupt spike in customer support needs has strained customer service teams and yielded intolerable wait times for customers looking to reach representatives through traditional channels like phone and email. Recent surveys from NBC and studies from Harvard Business Review illustrate that 75% of consumers feel that customer service has gotten worse amidst the pandemic and that call center hold times have increased by as much as 35%.

The Strategic Opportunity in Digital Customer Service

While the increased demand for customer support has produced many business challenges, it also has presented an opportunity for brands to better connect with customers, provide better experiences, and foster stronger relationships through the channels that they prefer — messaging apps.

Today, when approaching businesses for support, customers are accelerating their shift from phone and email to third-party messaging channels including WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Messages for Business, and more. In fact, Facebook recently reported that 64% of consumers prefer to message a business instead of communicating through call centers or email.

This rapid shift is welcomed news for businesses looking to alleviate the strain on their customer support teams while simultaneously providing customers with faster customer support. That’s because, when paired with highly-intelligent conversational automation platforms, messaging channels are empowered to deliver instantaneous, always-on self-service experiences that modern consumers prefer.

However, with a growing number of messaging services out there, it can be difficult for customer service leaders to figure out where to get started, identify which channels will be most effective, and deploy customer service experiences at scale.

To help brands navigate the messaging space, we’ve outlined some important factors to consider when choosing the right messaging channel as well as key benefits of each of the most popular messaging services. Let’s dive in.

Evaluate existing customer service channels

First, before customer service leaders begin selecting which messaging services will best meet their needs, it’s important for them to evaluate the performance of any of their existing digital channels and understand how they are currently being used. 

Brands should take inventory of each of their existing contact points and understand the kind of customer inquiries most often received on each channel. In addition to the channels that customers currently use most, it is also vital for teams to understand the types of customer support needs that shoppers have when reaching out to customer service. For example, a lot of retail brands will receive phone calls from customers simply wanting to know “Where’s my order?” 

Some brands may find that the bulk of inbound inquiries received are related to new products and product discovery. it will be important for them to consider messaging channels that can support rich data snippets like product card carousels. These rich product presentations provide an enhanced messaging experience and can provide lots of information in a relative tight space.

Lastly, after analyzing the intent of support requests, customer service leaders should consider where the majority of inbound inquiries fall within the customer journey. Are the bulk of customers contacting support for pre-purchase related questions? Or maybe the majority of inquiries reflect customers who have order management related needs? Determining where inbound inquiries are coming from within the buying journey can be extremely helpful when selecting the right messaging channels for support.

By understanding where customers are and what they are asking when contacting support, customer service leaders can make far more strategic choices when expanding into new messaging channels.

Unique customer support benefits of 4 different messaging channels

When selecting new digital customer service channels, brands are faced with a dizzying amount of factors to consider. Each third-party messaging service has its own set of features and functionality, rules that brands must follow, and customer entry points.

To help clarify this fragmented marketplace, Forrester recently published a report entitled Use Popular Third-Party Messaging Platforms For Customer Service, which illustrates the unique benefits of the four most widely used messaging channels in the US for customer service — Apple Messages for Business, Google’s Business Messages, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp. We’ve included a summary of the report’s findings on each of these channels below.

Apple Messages for Business

While Apple Messages for Business cannot boast the volume of business partners that Facebook’s Messenger platform has, Forrester’s report categorizes it as one of the fastest growing customer service channels.

Whether through Apple Maps, Siri, Safari, or an iOS app, Apple Messages for Business has no shortage of potential entry points and use cases. As such, it has broad appeal and application despite being confined within the Apple ecosystem.

Like most of the other major messaging platforms, Apple Messages for Business requires brands to provide human agents in the instance a customer chooses to escalate an inquiry from automated, self-serve support.

However, Apple Messages for Business differentiates itself through transactions, authentication, and privacy. For brands looking to better support shoppers pre-purchase related inquiries, Apple Messages for Business enables brands to drive revenue through product discovery and appointment scheduling capabilities.

In the example above, Men’s Wearhouse leverages Apple Messages for Business to convert general inquiries and product-related questions into website sales and scheduled appointments.

Furthermore, through an integration with Apple Pay, Apple Messages for Business is able to process transactions and provide a fully comprehensive, end-to-end purchasing experience entirely within a chat. With its unique capability to process transactions, Apple Messages for Business is a valuable channel for brands that are looking to better support their top-of-funnel customers and convert inbound inquiries into revenue.

Google’s Business Messages

Google’s Business Messages was the last significant player to enter the world of digital customer service, but it arrives built-in to services that have massive reach and broad appeal — Google Search and Google Maps.

Providing that a business has registered with Google and enabled Business Messages, customers who search for that business on Google can initiate a conversation through a chat icon that appears in Maps or Search results.

Google’s Business Messages differentiates itself through the massive reach of these entry points, including the world’s largest search engine.

For brands looking to resolve a high volume of general inquiries through automated messaging, Google’s Business Messages provides a powerful opportunity to redirect customers searching for their business to a self-service channel.

Similar to Apple Messages for Business, Google’s Business Messages requires human agents to serve as backups in case a customer support inquiry is too complex for automation and requires to be escalated. Google’s Business Messages actually takes it one step further by requiring businesses to respond to users within a 24 hour time period.

Messenger

Facebook’s Messenger service was opened up to businesses in 2016 and, since then, it has surged in growth and adoption. Most recently, Facebook extended its Messenger’s API to support automated business messaging on Instagram, further extending its reach into one of today’s most popular social networks.

With multiple potential entry points for customers, across both Facebook and Instagram, Messenger provides dozens of use cases for customers to initiate conversations to seek customer support. Customers can initiate Messenger conversations with business through their profile pages, Facebook/Instagram shops, story posts, and even from ads.

Through these assorted entry points, Messenger is broadly applicable for supporting customers at just about any stage of their customer journey.

What truly sets Messenger apart from other Messaging platforms, however, is its enhanced capability to proactively address customer support needs. Using sponsored messages, brands can use Messenger to send customers proactive notifications including reminders, information on recently purchased items, and more.

When paired with an automated messaging platform, support teams can even use Messenger to automatically respond to customers’ comments on their brand’s Facebook or Instagram posts and proactively address their needs.

WhatsApp

Since launching on iPhones and Android devices in 2018, WhatsApp has extended its reach through its dedication to customer service over marketing. It’s growth has led to WhatsApp possessing, of all the third-party messaging services, the largest audience of consumers around the globe. Forrester’s report states that 2 billion consumers use WhatsApp including 400 million users in India and 120 million in Brazil.

Like Apple Messages for Business and Google’s Business Messages, the majority of customer service interactions that take place on WhatsApp are initiated by the consumer from various entry points including the business’s website, Facebook Page, or a unique link. However, as a member of Facebook’s suite of messaging products, WhatsApp can leverage Facebook and Instagram ads that include click-to-chat buttons in order to draw more users into branded conversations.

Where WhatsApp sets itself apart from the other predominant messaging apps is in IVR and call deflection. WhatsApp ranks only behind SMS in terms of inbound support calls that are redirected to messaging.

Providing Consistent Customer Experiences Across Digital Channels

Ultimately, while each of these messaging services are uniquely positioned to address specific customer service needs, managing new digital customer service channels is still a complicated process with numerous factors, features, and rules to consider.

In need of more detailed analysis of each channel? Download the full Forrester’s report, Third-Party Messaging Platforms For Customer Service, for a deeper dive into each messaging channel’s capabilities, use cases, and challenges.

3 Tactics For Reducing Service Email Volume

The past few years have yielded massive growth for eCommerce businesses. In fact, McKinsey recently projected an 80% increase in U.S. consumers who buy most or all of their products online. Consumers’ accelerating shift to digital channels has significantly impacted the most popular support channel outside of call centers — email. According to Forrester, email is the most widely used digital channel for customer service and eCommerce brands are urgently looking for solutions to mitigate rising email support tickets to avoid long wait times and dissatisfied shoppers.

To manage spikes in email support volume, eCommerce brands are increasingly turning to automated, self-service channels to be more efficient in their support operations, while simultaneously driving improved customer satisfaction metrics.

Here are 3 of the most powerful, self-service tactics that customer service leaders can adopt today to immediately reduce inbound email volume.

3 Tactics For Reducing Email Service Volume

1. Provide an AI-powered chat option as a first-stop for service.

One of the best methods for deflecting inbound email support volume is to include a strong call to action for customers to get immediate answers to their questions via chat. By including a “chat now” button beside each onsite mention of email support, eCommerce retailers can provide a more compelling option for instantaneous support. Furthermore, by pairing conversational channels with highly-intelligent automation, eCommerce brands like Lane Bryant have enabled a fully self-service channel that yields dramatic improvements in agent efficiency and increases in revenue.

2. Strategically engage shoppers with chat as soon as they select to email support.

An additional strategy takes the same logic one step further. After shoppers select an email support option, an AI-powered assistant can take notice and immediately trigger a chat engagement.

Through a simple, conversational message like “Hey, I noticed you have a question. While it may take our team a few hours to get back to you, I can provide an immediate answer to your question,” users can easily transition to a self-service automated chat instead of filing an email support ticket.

3. Move shoppers to automated self-service channels from email.

Lastly, even if users have submitted an email support ticket, it is still possible to redirect them to a self-service channel before an agent has to address the issue. Typically, when shoppers submit email support tickets, they receive an automated email response notifying them that their question has been received. By strategically incorporating call to action buttons within these emails, providing shoppers with a more immediate chat option, eCommerce brands like TechStyle deflect a significant amount of inbound email by moving shoppers to 1:1 messaging channels.

Why Customers Prefer Self-Service Conversational Automation Over Email

While each of these tactics present obvious value for eCommerce brands in reducing inbound volume, they also provide a far superior customer experience that today’s consumers prefer. In fact, Zendesk recently reported that the use of the popular messaging app WhatsApp for customer service has increased by nearly 150% since February – more than any other support channel.

Why are consumers increasingly turning to conversational channels like WhatsApp? In addition to getting immediate answers and not having to wait for a support agent to address their issue, enterprise conversational automation is capable of providing consumers with a personalized experience without the need for them to describe their issue or problem.

By taking into account what web pages shoppers are on when interacting with conversational automation, or by analyzing products in their shopping cart, a Snaps-powered AI assistant can accurately gauge user intent before they even submit their inquiry. Highly personalized experiences present a significant competitive advantage for eCommerce retailers, which Gartner has found to have a 16% greater impact on commercial outcomes.

Interested in learning more about how to deflect customer service volume to self-service channels? Contact us today.

5 Ways Mobile Shopping Is Transforming Customer Service

These days, the vast majority of consumers have their mobile phones on-hand for every activity — particularly when it comes to online shopping. In fact, it has been projected that purchases on mobile devices will make up the majority of ecommerce sales by the end of 2021

As a result, mobile shoppers are always looking for easy, convenient, and mobile ways to interact with eCommerce brands through social media and third-party messaging services. This increased channel volume  if not managed properly often overwhelms customer support teams, leaving customers frustrated with digital experiences that fall short of expectations and brands struggling to protect their brand image. 

On the other hand, consumers’ shift to digital also presents a valuable opportunity for retailers to deliver targeted customer service solutions and enhanced buying experiences that lead to increased conversions and customer satisfaction. Some brands, like TodayTix, have seized the opportunity to provide their customers a more seamless experience.

Here are five ways that customer support has been transformed by mobile shopping and how brands are adapting to ensure that they’re providing the best possible experiences.

1. A Rise in Mobile Shopping Leads to a Rise in Messaging

When it comes to seeking customer service, mobile shoppers leverage a unique set of channels that have required brands to adopt and adapt to. One of the most popular customer support channels for mobile shoppers is contacting brands through third-party messaging services. Today, nine out of ten consumers want to use messaging to communicate with brands and retailers are quickly turning to WhatsApp, Messenger, Google Business Messages, Apple Messages for Business, and more to provide the text-based experiences that shoppers prefer.

Third-party messaging is only second to the most popular channel for mobile customer support — SMS business messaging. SMS provides mobile shoppers with a direct line of communication to a retailer’s support team to exchange information or transactional details.

SMS offers an additional layer of convenience for consumers. With SMS, consumers do not have to be connected to Wi-Fi to have a convenient online shopping experience.

2. Rich Messaging Provides Precise Feedback and Solutions

Mobile shoppers today expect a high level of personalization in both their shopping and support experiences. In order to deliver on this expectation at scale, eCommerce brands leverage rich messaging to provide personalized experiences for each individual shopper. Rich messaging further boosts engagement through dynamic content like quick reply buttons that anticipate the most popular responses, interactive maps, and more. 

For example, the Facebook Messenger mobile platform allows business representatives to add images to replies and allow consumers to see a product in question. During these interactions, team members can help consumers complete a purchase, schedule an appointment, or share a link with a preview of a product or service page. Rich media ultimately sends consumers to an ideal destination, faster, for a better shopping experience.

3. Mobile Shoppers Expect Immediate Service on Their Terms

Today’s mobile shopper seeks customer support that is available to answer their questions quickly, at any time of day. Currently, 54% of shoppers reach out to brands during non-business hours over messaging channels like Facebook Messenger and brands are expected to respond in a timely manner.

This cycle of always-on, 24-hour customer service means that support teams can no longer refer to traditional business hours to dictate when their business is open or closed. Customer support must always be “open” or else customers will go elsewhere for their next purchase.

This demand for always available customer support and service doesn’t mean you have to staff your support center 24/7. Many Quiq clients rely on technology to help meet SLA’s. For instance, some clients will only show the live chat icon on their website when there are live agents available to respond. Other brands choose to use automation and conversational AI to help customers with simple, frequently asked questions that can be easily resolved through a bot.

If a shopper needs an answer quickly, they can text an eCommerce business, rather than having to tap through webpages, compose an email, or enter a call queue. Mobile shoppers enjoy the convenience of starting a conversation faster, feel they’re receiving personalized attention, and can reply at the rate they prefer.

4. Demand for More Local Customer Service

While mobile shoppers appreciate support experiences that are both instantaneous and always-on, they also have a strong preference for customer service that can assist them at the local level. Mobile shoppers, for example, often seek information on product availability at their closest store based on their phone’s GPS location.

When mobile shoppers contact customer support, it’s important for both automated and human service agents to be equipped with local store data in order to respond to local-specific inquiries. Channels such as Apple Messages for Business and Google’s Business Messages helps consumers find and engage with your business on a local level. Consumers discover businesses through Google, Siri, or Map results daily with searches like “Tuxedo rental near me”. These channels now offer a convenient way for consumers to initiate a conversation with a location near them via messaging.

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5. Increased Mobile Interactions Lead to Further Customer Insight

Through additional interactions and touch points from mobile devices, brands are enabled to build more detailed and personalized customer profiles to reference. Through customer inputs like mobile numbers and location data, eCommerce brands can create a foundation for more tailored, future engagements. Analyzing a mobile shopper’s purchase history, for example, can inform timely offers in the future to reinforce customer loyalty. 

The Most Versatile Platform for Mobile Shopping Customer Service

With its numerous impacts on customer service, there is little doubt that the accelerated pace of mobile shopping will continue to transform the support sector. Adapting to these changes, however, provide significant opportunities for businesses to forge stronger relationships with their customers and build stronger businesses. 

Is your brand looking to modernize your customer service experience? Contact us today to learn how to provide diverse and personalized customer service for mobile shoppers. 

How To Encourage More Customers To Use your Live Chat Service

When company leaders consider implementing live chat support, many in the contact center and the broader leadership team may wonder if customers will actually use it. The short answer is yes. An impressive 30.7% of female internet users say they prefer to contact support using live chat. When the platform offers an engaging experience, helpful agents on demand, and quick responses, those that want to message support will happily do so.

Offering more communication options means more customers can contact support using the channel they prefer. So, it’s crucial to help customers see that chat is an option and encourage them to try it. Following are some of our real-time chat best practices ensures a company’s live messaging feature offers a delightful, engaging experience.

Tips for Encouraging Customers to Use Live Chat

In the United States, 78% of consumers rate their live chat support communication experience favorably. Once people experience a live messaging service, they often feel comfortable using it in the future. By promoting the new tool effectively and offering an enjoyable experience, companies can encourage more customers to use this platform regularly. Here are some tips for driving more customers to live chat.

1. Mention Live Chat During the Phone Hold Message

Customers waiting for phone support are the perfect target audience for live chat support. When customers realize they can text an agent instead of sitting on hold, it’s a huge plus. Consumers who didn’t realize chat was an option can exit the phone queue and receive help using their preferred communication channel.

This feature is excellent for contact centers, too, because they can redirect some callers into chats. Using a messaging platform like Quiq, agents can manage several conversations simultaneously, jumping back and forth between conversations as they wait for specific customers’ responses. They can support a higher volume while freeing up the phone lines for more in-depth support queries.

2. Use a Contact Form to Collect Information Wisely

Using contact forms in live chats can be a bit of a balancing act for many contact centers. For customers with complicated questions and concerns, forms can speed up the time-to-resolution by organizing all the basic information for the service agent. When a customer has a quick question, a contact form can prevent them from asking it. In general, the fewer fields a contact form has, the more likely someone is to fill it out.

One way around this potential hang-up is to use a chatbot to collect information about customers’ specific orders or requests. When a chatbot detects that a request is complex and needs human attention, they can ask for the necessary contact information and order details. This dialog turns the traditional contact form into a conversation and places it further along in the customer service journey so only those customers who need to fill it out will have to use it.

Live agents or chatbots can also answer simple questions from customers without the need for a contact form.

3. Link to Live Chat in Post-Purchase Communications and Other Email Campaigns

One of the biggest hurdles to getting customers to use live chat is that many people may not realize it’s an option. Especially after a company adds a messaging feature for the first time, customers may not notice the icon right away or think about live chat as an option when they need support.

Contact centers that add live messaging features can encourage more people to use the service by adding a link in their email footers. A post-purchase email can even dedicate an entire section to introducing the feature. Live business messaging is an excellent way for customers to track or make changes to their orders quickly. It’s prudent to add a call to action about contacting support via live chat with any concerns about the recent purchase.

When customers submit an email support request, their confirmation email can inform them that they can get help right away using real-time business messaging. Even if it doesn’t call out the live chat service directly, every email can include a link that customers can access from their computers, tablets, and phones with ease.

4. Personalize Your Chat

Marketing and contact teams can work together to craft notifications and auto-generated greetings to fit their brand’s personality. Friendly, on-brand wording within the chat interface can encourage people to take the next step and type out a message. Chat icons often feature an introductory message such as, “How can I help you?” or “Any questions for me?” to let website browsers know their questions are welcome.

Next, these departments should also develop a tone of voice for their service agents. While there may be some scripted language in customer service interactions, most customers expect human support specialists to act like humans. And, since every request or concern is a little different, agents often need to change what they say or how they say it.

Setting rules for tone of voice and word choice ensure the messaging experience is consistent no matter which agent helps a customer or what the conversation is about. People will use live chat features more when they know what to expect and the dialogue feels personable and aligned with the brand.

Many brands do well to make their messages seem warm and conversational. In industries where trust and authority are paramount, like credit unions and insurance companies, agents and bots may adopt a more formal tone. Choosing a tone of voice for the chat feature is a crucial consideration that affects how customers use the service.

5. Promote Live Chat on Social Media

When companies launch any new feature, their social media channels are an excellent way to get that service in front of their core audience. Companies can post about chat features on social media to let customers learn about this new way to access support in real time. Be sure to answer questions in the comments section. Those comments can also be a fantastic source of feedback about what customers think about the new chat feature and if they want to use it.

Meanwhile, with chat integrations through Quiq, customers can contact the support team by direct messaging a company through their Facebook or Twitter page. Contact agents will receive the messages in the same interface that they receive text messages and web chats, making support over social media messaging faster for customers and agents alike.

The contact center and the social media management teams can also collaborate to manage social media direct messages. For example, social media managers can answer general questions about products and quickly direct customers to the company’s official live chat for specific questions. Whoever manages the direct messages can link to the live chat support feature on the company’s website or provide the number for text message support to direct the customer to the correct support channel for complex issues.

6. Add an Image of the Live Chat Customer Service Agent

Besides personalizing the tone, another way to make the conversation feel more natural and inviting is to show visitors who they’re talking to. Many live business messaging interfaces incorporate customer service agents’ names and photos to make the experience more authentic. The profile picture lets customers put a face to the name when they click on the messaging icon. They know right away that they’re getting helped by a real person.

The number of personal identifiers that make sense for any particular contact center will vary. Some brands and chat interfaces may use professional headshots, while others employ more casual photos. Contact center leaders may choose to use their agents’ real names, just their first names, or aliases to protect their agents’ identities.

7. Use a Button for Easy Chat Access

While many websites feature a live chat option on their contact page, they can make it even more accessible by adding a chat button to every page. As web visitors navigate around the site, the button follows them. It may even prompt them with an occasional message like, “Can I help you with something?” to encourage them to interact and let them know messaging is an option. Brands can also insert a button on their emails and other mass communications to bring customers to a conversation with a live agent in seconds.

The key to using buttons to promote chat usage is to give it a prominent location on every page. Most people expect to see the live messaging feature in the bottom right corner or as a pop-out menu along either side of the screen. Pinning the button in the bottom corner lets it travel with the visitor as they scroll down the page, retaining its prominent location for easy access.

When inserting a chat button, most companies choose a color in the brand’s color palette that contrasts with the primary color. That way, the button stands out from the rest of the web design, and more people will notice it.

If the button displays notifications, time them to appear after a certain period of browsing or on pages where users are likely to ask questions. This tactic lets customers know that the chat is there just as they’re becoming invested in the site. Whether they’re searching for products to add to their carts or information on the FAQ page, a notification lets them know a live agent is available to answer their questions.

8. Include Privacy and Data Usage Messages

Customers visiting a new website for the first time often need some encouragement to provide their contact information, shipping address, or credit card number. They want to trust that the company will take every precaution with their private information. Enterprises build that trust on their websites with plain-language data privacy policies and customizable cookie preferences.

Live messaging tools can add a wrinkle because they are often powered by third-party software. Customer service messaging can also require a lot of personal information, making some users hesitant to use these tools.

Companies can quell these concerns by including a short, easy-to-understand privacy message that outlines how it handles private customer data. When a message like this appears at the start of a new chat, customers can see how their data is safeguarded and feel secure while entering personal details.

9. Use Rich Messages

Rich messaging is enhanced text messaging. With an integration like Google Rich Business Messaging and Apple Messages for Business, customers can have an upgraded experience whenever they contact support. Rich communication services (RCS) give companies verified profiles that help customers feel secure when providing details from their phones.

RCS also improves the chat experience by incorporating rich media. Shoppers can use their phones to access a personal shopping service, where agents can show customers product listings directly through their mobile devices. Rich messaging can incorporate Apple Pay or Google Pay, allowing customers to check out right in the conversation thread. Other rich messaging features include the ability to book appointments through a timeslot or calendar interface or to see order confirmations with pictures of the products and tracking capabilities in the messenger.

Rich messaging offers an enhanced experience over traditional text messaging. Rather than sending plain text-based links that customers have to navigate, all messages arrive in a visual, easy-to-understand format. Customers enjoy a seamless experience that makes contacting support through their phone simpler and more enjoyable.

10. Use Live Agents

Now that they’re on almost every website, chatbots have solidified their place in customer service communications. With their sophisticated AI, they can respond to many customers’ common concerns and simple questions with surprisingly human-like answers.

Still, human agents take the top spot in consumer preferences. Even if a chatbot saved them 10 minutes, 46% of internet users would still prefer speaking to a live representative. A skilled, emotionally aware support specialist will outpace a chatbot every time. They can listen to concerns and reply with more helpful solutions faster than even the most sophisticated AI. Their social intelligence also makes them more adept at handling emotional situations and remaining personable and enjoyable to interact with.

Customers demand human conversations, and they’re more willing to reach out when they see a live person on the other end, ready to assist them. After trying the feature and having their issues solved masterfully and with a human touch, they will feel confident contacting support through chat the next time.

11. Schedule Chat Availability Around Agent Availability

Many companies have specific time windows when live agents are available. When support specialists aren’t available for business messaging, it’s helpful to give customers a sense of when they can reach out and expect a response from a live person. If employee representatives are offline, companies can still let customers know when live chat is an option by leaving the button active and communicating the next availability window.

A quick notification can let site visitors see the days and times when live agents are staffing the chat and can even encourage customers to come back another time. Company leadership should decide whether it makes sense to leave a chatbot active when agents are unavailable.

Also, consider investing in a platform that supports asynchronous communication, like Quiq. When agents are unavailable, the platform can keep track of messages received and let customers know that someone will read and respond to the message when representatives are back in the office. While many chat services will not save messages between sessions, Quiq does. That means agents can view messages sent hours or days ago, so customers don’t need to repeat themselves.

When a company schedules agents for certain days and times, it’s wise to schedule that availability around web traffic. For example, many eCommerce stores see a traffic spike on the weekends, when most traditional jobs are off the clock. It makes sense to have more live support specialists on call to answer messages during these busy times. Company leaders should analyze their traffic patterns to decide when to offer live chat with human agents.

Give Customers the Ultimate Live Chat Experience With Quiq

Live business messaging offers many benefits to companies when their customers use it readily. It can free up agents to take more live calls with faster wait times by routing simpler conversations through chat. Agents can manage multiple conversations at once, responding to one discussion while waiting for replies in others. Best of all, it offers a new communication channel, letting more customers engage with support in the way they prefer.

These benefits will offer the highest returns when customers and site visitors use this communication channel often. The best way to increase engagement with live chat is to provide a platform worth engaging with. Staffing a chat channel with live, friendly agents and using a fast, intuitive platform can make all the difference.

With Quiq, contact centers can use rich messaging to improve customer engagement. In one central platform, they can also manage messages coming in from their website, mobile devices, Google My Business profile, social media, and anywhere else they offer a chat feature. That means customers can expect a lightning-fast response however they send a message. Quiq integrations also allow seamless transitions between human agents, third-party chatbots, and native chatbots.

All these features add up to an engaging and enjoyable messaging experience that customers will want to use again. To see how Quiq will improve your live chat, sign up for a free demo today.

How Instant Messaging Is Changing the Way Companies Conduct Business

Instant messaging is a ubiquitous part of daily life for the majority of consumers. Over 41 million messages are sent out from messaging apps every minute while popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are used by nearly 3 billion users.

Naturally, the rapid proliferation of instant messaging over the past decade hasn’t just transformed communication between individuals — it has also had a significant impact on how consumers communicate with businesses. Last year, a study from Juniper Research found that mobile business messaging increased 10% from 2.5 trillion messages to 2.7 trillion while Twilio has found that 9 out of 10 of consumers want to interact with brands through messaging.

The increase in messaging between consumers and businesses has been further accelerated by the pandemic. According to a recent Forreseter report, over 50% of consumers increased their use of third-party messaging and chat to engage with businesses last year while about one in 10 consumers tried mobile chat for the first time.

But how has this shift in consumer behavior affected the relationship between businesses and their customers? Below we’ll highlight some of the most significant impacts of instant messaging’s rapid growth on the business community.

How Instant Messaging Is Changing Business Through Customer Convenience

When engaging businesses, today’s shoppers are migrating from traditional channels like phone and email to instant messaging services due to the unparalleled level of convenience they provide.

Instead of being subjected to long hold times delayed email responses, real-time instant messaging paired with intelligent automation enables brands to address consumers’ concerns and respond to their most common, frequently asked questions with instantaneous feedback. Examples of common inquiries that instant messaging can provide quick responses to include:

  • Hesitancy surrounding shipping details: Potential customers may want more information about shipping related costs and timing to help them commit to making a purchase.
  • Product availability: Customers frequently contact businesses to verify whether a product is in stock and can actually be purchased.
  • Questions about product details: Leads might contact an employee representative with additional questions regarding product features, such as dimensions or materials.
  • Uncertainty about the product’s value: If leads want more information about how the product or service will benefit them, a contact center agent can explain its value.

By providing instantaneous support to these sorts of sales-related questions, brands have seen lifts in conversion rates by as much as 4x when compared to shopping experiences that are unassisted by messaging services.

Instant Messaging’s Impact on Customer Service Team

Instant messaging is a convenient communication method for both the consumer and the contact center supporting them. Through instant message based support, contact center agents are enabled to manage multiple customer inquiries at once rather than assisting shoppers one at a time – greatly increasing agent efficiency.

Additionally, when paired with messaging automation, support teams can provide their customers with self-serve experiences that are better aligned with customer preferences and can substantially reduce the volume of inbound issues that need to be addressed by human agents. By automatically resolving a percentage of inbound issues through automated chat experiences, agents can dedicate a greater percent of time to handling more complex customer inquiries and driving sales.

In the instance that a customer service chatbot is unable to resolve a customer inquiry through self-service, instant message chatbots can still increase agent efficiency by verifying basic customer information, like name or order number, before handing off to the human agent. This seamless handoff process allows human agents to spend more time actually supporting customers instead of capturing routine information.

Additionally, instant messaging-based conversations between consumers and businesses simplifies agents’ processes for following up with shoppers and keeping accurate records of past communication data. All sales or support agents see previous conversations and have the necessary information to tailor and personalized subsequent customer interactions.

Instant messaging makes communications more straightforward for all parties involved. When that convenience influences a consumer’s perception of a brand, they’re more likely to close a deal, renew a service, or make a purchase. In fact, 73% of consumers have indicated that positive and convenient experiences are essential for influencing their brand loyalties.

How Rich Instant Messaging Enhances Customer Support

In addition to its convenience and efficiency, instant messaging between businesses and consumers is also capable of providing superior, more clear support experiences. Providing support through traditional channels like phone can become challenging for both customers and agents, especially if shoppers have trouble describing their needs with words alone.

Rich instant messaging platforms allow consumers to use their smartphone cameras and take photos for support representatives. Rich messaging also enables businesses to embed maps, order tracking information, product catalogs, and more — directly within instant message chat windows.

Explore Instant Messaging Opportunities

Instant messaging represents an evolution in communication methods between individuals and the businesses they shop with. Embracing SMS and third party messaging apps is crucial for businesses to remain competitive and provide the customer experiences that today’s shoppers prefer.

The Quiq Conversational Customer Engagement Platform provides an all-in-one solution for communicating with consumers at their convenience. It enables monitoring and managing conversations, plus keeping buyers interested with images, videos, emojis, and exclusive offers. 

Contact us now to learn more about how instant messaging enhances communications. Trying a product demo is an excellent way to see firsthand how Quiq saves time and money.