9 Ways to Reduce Customer Returns with Messaging

Looking into reducing customer returns? You’re in the right place.

And you’ve been there as a consumer yourself, I’d venture to guess.

Maybe your nephew is between sizes. Your partner tends to overestimate their technical ability. The 100-lb model does little to show you what the clothing item looks like on the average person. You didn’t realize how big a 9-foot rug actually is. The color of the product looks nothing like the image.

So you returned it.

Returns are a problem for most retail businesses—even more so for online stores. Some larger retailers have even made a successful business out of easy, free returns.

The problem is not every e-commerce business is set up for free, easy returns. But customers expect them to be.

Between 2019 and 2020, online retail sales more than doubled (for obvious reasons).

Shoppers took to the interwebs in drove—much more frequently or for the first time. But with increased sales came a deluge of returns.

The National Retail Federation reported that approximately $102 billion of e-commerce merchandise was returned in 2020. That came from $565 billion in e-commerce sales in the United States.

And 2021 didn’t do much better. E-commerce websites saw a 15% return rate, according to an IRMG report.

It has become a problem. Reducing customer returns is (or should be) a top priority for online, product-based businesses.

While returns are undoubtedly the cost of doing business online, a little customer service problem solving can go a long way. Continue reading for some strategies to reduce product returns with messaging.

The actual cost of returns.

Returns don’t just signify lost sales—they cost you money. The National Retail Federation survey found that for every $100 in returned merchandise accepted, retailers lose $5.90 to return fraud.

But fraud isn’t the only cost of high returns. Here are a few other costs incurred by frequent returns:

  • Shipping costs
  • Warehouse time spent verifying returns
  • Customer service time spent emailing customers
  • Operations time tracking shipping status
  • Warehouse time spent restocking items
  • Lost inventory due to damaged products

Simply ignoring returns and chalking them up to the cost of doing business online won’t work. It’s important your team learns about reducing customer returns—and even how to prevent them.

9 ways customer service can reduce returns.

When done well, customer service problem solving can help customers decide on the right product to begin with and help them post-purchase.

All it takes is thoughtful and frequent customer communication.

Here are 9 ways your support agents can use messaging to prevent frequent returns—and encourage repeat business from your customers.

1. Get ahead of problems with a few simple questions.

The first big question you should ask your customers is why. Why are they returning your products? Some returns are unavoidable, but some can be prevented with a little more information.

Is your sizing chart off? Is there a defect? Are the product photos misleading? Ask these questions with every return to identify easy changes you can make to your website or sales process to prevent them in the first place.

Have a more technical product? Collect frequently asked questions from your customer service team to post on your website or even send to customers once they’ve made a purchase.

Send an SMS/text message with common FAQs to ensure your customers see it (instead of getting buried in emails).

2. Use AI assistants to walk customers through simple troubleshooting first.

Is there an easy fix you can share with customers before they chat with your support team? Use bots and AI assistants to collect customer information, identify their support requests, and walk them through simple troubleshooting.

Make sure to keep it simple: Think “turn it off, wait ten seconds, then turn it on again” type instructions. Then loop in an agent to tackle more complex problems.

This could prevent returns from customers who think they may have purchased the wrong item, might have a defective product, or believe it’s too complicated.

3. Prioritize unhappy customers.

Customers (especially the unhappy ones) hate waiting for customer service. But during peak periods, a short wait is inevitable.

Using messaging and a conversational AI platform like Quiq can help you identify irate customers and prioritize them first with sentiment analysis. Quickly responding to angry customers gives your team the chance to turn the conversation around and troubleshoot issues before it leads to a return.

4. Get the message to the right person.

Another issue that leads to customer frustration: Call transfers. Even though they’re commonplace in call centers, customers hate them. They want you to solve their problems quickly and efficiently, but complex issues require extra help.

The last thing you want is to have frustrated customers giving up and returning their products.

Instead, lean into messaging. If you’re strategizing around reducing customer returns, messaging makes it easy to quickly identify the customer’s problem and get it to the right person (without multiple transfers, extensive hold times, repeating information, or awkward introductions).

5. Be optimistic instead of apologetic.

While empathy is a great customer service tool, you should always follow it up with optimism.

Try swapping out statements like “I’m sorry I don’t know how to fix this” for “Let’s get this solved. I’m going to bring in an expert to help us out.” Customers are more likely to respond to the second statement since it’s outcome-oriented.

Since you lose voice inflection with messaging, showing enthusiasm is even more important.

Don’t be afraid to use exclamation points (if your brand voice allows it). Find a balance between helpful eagerness and to-the-point problem-solving to fix customers’ issues and make them feel good about it.

6. Give customers a record of the conversation.

Giving customers information and directions over the phone is difficult. They could mishear things, skip steps, or forget the instructions immediately after the conversation.

Written instructions via messaging are much easier to follow.

You can walk your customers through troubleshooting at their own pace, and they can refer back to them whenever they need to. You can even email conversations to your customers so they can reference them whenever they need them.

7. Offer visual and interactive instructions.

Are instructions getting lost over the phone? Some customers respond better to visual instructions over voice and written directions.

With rich messaging, you can bring in diagrams, pictures, videos, and even augmented reality to help customers solve their product issues.

Rich messaging also works both ways. When customers have trouble describing their issues, they can send videos and pictures to show your customer service agents.

Your team will figure out the problem and how to fix it much faster than relying on imperfect customer descriptions alone.

8. Make it easy to loop in third parties.

Sometimes longer resolution times are unavoidable. Maybe there’s a system problem that needs help from a developer, or you need to reach out to a third party for replacement parts.

With messaging, customers can pick up conversations at a later date to check-in. Or they can opt to have the conversation emailed to them for quick follow-ups.

Plus, everything is documented. You can easily pass along the conversation to the third party without anything getting lost along the way.

9. Identify real problems.

Messaging makes it easy to track and document problems. This allows you to take a step back and identify opportunities to tweak other pieces of the sales puzzle.

Are shoppers surprised by what the product looks like? Maybe there’s a problem with your product images. Are customers disappointed with the results? Maybe your descriptions are overpromising. Are products arriving damaged? Are you not selling the product to the right demographic?

Use customer service messaging to identify problems that need to be addressed by your larger team, ultimately reducing customer returns.

Bonus tip: What to do when the product is actually defective.

Sometimes it’s not a user error or a problem that can be fixed from afar. Or maybe the customer is just genuinely disappointed with the product. What should you do then?

Restore their faith in your company. When you can’t prevent a return with excellent service, show your customers why they should continue doing business with you.

How companies handle returns (are they gracious and helpful, or do they make it as difficult as possible) has a big impact on customer perception. This is where you earn a repeat customer.

Reduce customer returns with messaging.

You may not be able to get rid of returns completely, but you can certainly lower them.

Messaging is a great way to engage your customers before and after a purchase to ensure they’re getting the right products and know how to use them.

Reducing customer returns starts with a good website, amazing products, and great customer service. Once you have those things in place, it just takes a little strategy.

6 Ways to Improve Online Retail Customer Satisfaction with Messaging

Retailers have had a tough few years. The pandemic threw businesses into a tailspin. If you’re like the rest of the industry, you either had to build an online shopping experience from scratch or seriously ramp up your web-store capabilities.

This meant your customer satisfaction took a hit.

E-tailers were still struggling in 2021. According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, customer satisfaction with online retailers dropped 1.3% in 2021—more than double the 0.5% decrease across the retail industry.

At the same time, customer expectations increased. And online retailers have a harder time building brand loyalty. If customer expectations aren’t met, Microsoft reports that 58% of customers show little hesitation in severing the relationship.

So what’s an e-tailer to do to improve online retail customer satisfaction?

Embrace messaging.

Even if you’ve adopted various forms of business messaging, there are many ways to elevate your strategy and improve your customer satisfaction.

Read on to see why messaging has become a vital part of online retail, along with 6 ways to use it to improve customer satisfaction.

Why messaging is essential in online retail.

Messaging is changing the way online retailers do business, but it’s more than a box that needs checking. You shouldn’t just roll out an SMS/text messaging or WhatsApp program and staff it with customer service reps from your contact center. To make the most of it, you need a well-developed strategy.

Text messaging especially has the potential to improve the online shopping experience. Four out of 5 customers send a text message on a daily basis, and nearly half of consumers prefer messaging as a means to connect with businesses. Your customers are telling you that they want to interact via messaging—why not listen?

Here at Quiq, we’ve seen rapid adoption of messaging by online retailers. Brands like Overstock, Pier 1, and Tailor Brands have experienced tangible benefits, including more natural customer engagement, lower service costs, and a reduced workload.

6 ways to improve online retail customer satisfaction with messaging.

E-tailers struggle with customer satisfaction. There are some aspects out of your control (ahem: shipping and manufacturing anytime after March 2020), but there are things you can do to alleviate your customers’ struggles.

Messaging is a big part of that. Having reliable communications—and using them strategically—helps promote customer satisfaction. Here are 6 ways you can use messaging to improve your online shopping experience.

1. Help shoppers find the perfect product.

The biggest argument against online shopping for years has been the lack of personalized customer service. Shoppers can’t ask for recommendations (and algorithms hardly make up for it), sizing help, or general advice.

Messaging helps your team close that gap (along with the support of chatbots and AI). Yes, it’s great for post-purchase interactions. But customers also want help before they checkout. In fact, nearly two-thirds (64%) of customers use messaging when they want to make a purchase or a booking/reservation, according to our Customer Preference for Messaging report.

Quiq lets you help customers when they need it most. You can provide the on-demand service they need while shopping your site, viewing your products on social media, or browsing your app. You’re giving them that in-store, personalized experience while they’re going about their day. And it doesn’t hurt that helping them before they make a purchase can boost sales.

2. Provide transparent interactions.

When customers call your support line, are they greeted with a “This call may be recorded” message? That’s a great tool for your business, but what about the customer? Once they end the conversation, they have no record of the interaction. They can’t refer back to it later, check to make sure they heard everything correctly, or prove that the conversation even existed. Yes, some companies offer a confirmation number, but that does little to help your customer access the information.

Even popular web chat solutions can be session-based—meaning when the session is over, the conversation disappears. Customers can’t refer back or naturally start the conversation back up when a related question pops up.

We know the importance of asynchronous communication. Customers aren’t always available to respond instantly, and sometimes new questions appear once their first ones have been answered. That’s why Quiq’s web chat conversations are persistent—they start right where they left off. Plus, customers can request to have their web chat transcripts emailed to them.

You get an even longer messaging history on channels like SMS/text and Facebook Messenger.

Mobile messaging adds an additional layer of transparency. Message history can stretch back even further than the last conversation on SMS and Facebook Messenger, giving the customer access to older messages and more conversation details.

3. Staff for multiple messaging channels.

An omnichannel messaging strategy can greatly enhance your online customer experience—when it’s done right. Customers frequently ping-pong across platforms. Zendesk’s 2022 CX Trends report found that 73% of customers want the ability to start a conversation on one channel and pick it back up on another.

Yet, it’s all too easy to add messaging channels and hand them over to your call center agents. While it’s feasible to cross-train your customer support team on both phones and messaging, there’s a little more to it than that.

First, you need to ensure you have available staff to cover multiple messaging channels. Asynchronous messaging does save time over traditional phone calls. But if your team is already stretched thin, adding additional channels will just feel like a burden. Plus, we all know that customers hate to wait.

Try assigning staff members to your messaging channels. While Quiq clients can serve customers on the platform the customers prefer, it takes a trained and available support team for a great omnichannel experience.

4. Reduce wait times.

Speaking of waiting—customers hate it. While you might think the pandemic has made customers more patient and understanding, the opposite is true. Frustrated customers want things to return to “normal” and have higher expectations of all business—e-tailers included. According to Zendesk, 60% report that they now have higher customer service standards after the pandemic.

And with 61% of customers willing to switch brands after just one bad experience, all it takes is one surge in call traffic to create call center chaos and cause you to lose business.

Messaging helps smooth the peaks of inbound support requests when you need it most. Since agents can respond to messages at different speeds, they can handle multiple inquiries at once. A message doesn’t require their full attention for a fixed amount of time. As a result, Quiq clients report work time is often reduced by 25–50%.

5. Delight your visually-driven audience.

Why spend 5 minutes describing a problem when you can take a picture of it in 5 seconds? Phone calls only give you one way to interact with your customer, and emails are too slow for problems that need immediate attention.

Rich messaging is the next step to improving your customer service experience. Found in Apple Messages for Business, Google’s Business Messaging, and more, rich messaging amplifies your customer conversations. From GIFs to images to videos, there are plenty of features to engage your audience visually.

You can even take it to the next level and build an entire customer experience with rich messaging. Process secure transitions, schedule appointments, and send reminders, all through messaging.

See how TechStyleOS integrated rich messaging with Quiq >

Improve your customer satisfaction and boost engagement with these advanced features that are sure to delight shoppers.

6. Entice customers to come back.

Remember those high customer expectations? Unfortunately, customers are quick to switch brands—which means you need to consistently give them the best online shopping experience.

It doesn’t stop at the sale. A good messaging strategy includes post-purchase engagement to encourage customers to come back. While email is currently the preferred method for online retail, it comes with low open rates and even lower click-through rates.

Instead, lean into outbound text messaging for post-purchase communications. Here are a few easy examples to get started:

  • Send an order confirmation
  • Share a shipment tracking link
  • Ask for a product review
  • Send a special discount code
  • Notify them when similar products go on sale
  • Ask them to join your rewards program

With nearly a 100% read rate, outbound text messaging is a more engaging way to connect with customers.

Messaging is the way to customer satisfaction.

Online retailers face many challenges, but engaging with customers shouldn’t be one. Messaging is already helping many online retailers establish a stronger relationship with their customers by tackling common shopper struggles. For many retailers, adopting a messaging platform gave them a customer-centric way to chat with their shoppers.

Messaging has become a vital part of the online shopping experience, and implementing these smart strategies will help skyrocket customer satisfaction. And Quiq is there to help.

How to Reduce Customer Acquisition Costs with Messaging

How do customers find your business?

Does your company frequently sponsor podcasts? Do you heavily lean into paid digital advertising? What about SMS marketing?

Here’s the ultimate question: What do all those methods cost you to get a customer in the door?

That’s right—we’re talking about customer acquisition costs.

It’s a metric every business owner should know by heart, every marketer should base their decisions on, and every customer experience specialist should work to improve.

Deep dive into customer acquisition cost, how to calculate it, why it matters—and tips to help you reduce it.
What is customer acquisition cost?
Customer acquisition cost, or CAC, measures how much money it takes to bring new customers to your virtual door.

It takes all the money you’ve spent to make the sale—from marketing costs to sales—and divides it by the number of customers you brought in.

There are countless formulas that dive into extremely granular and complex details to get exact numbers for marketing, sales, and operations costs.

But here is a simple customer acquisition cost formula:

The customer acquisition cost formula
$$ spent on sales and marketing / # of new customers = Customer acquisition costs

It’s easy to look at your paid advertising and think that’s all you’re spending to acquire customers—but that’s a mistake.

You need to assess many costs to get an accurate picture of your CAC.

Here are some often forgotten expenses to include:

  • Paid advertising
  • Sales staff salaries
  • Marketing staff salaries
  • Marketing vendors
  • Sales and marketing technology

One last tip for when you’re calculating your CAC: Be sure to pick a meaningful time period to assess, either monthly, quarterly, yearly, or lifetime.

If you have a three-month sales cycle, a one-month view of your CAC won’t give you accurate information.
Why does customer acquisition cost matter?
If you’ve ever seen an episode of Shark Tank, you’ve heard hopeful entrepreneurs and even the sharks mention CAC.

Hopefuls often boast high sales numbers only to be cut off at the knees when they admit their customer acquisition (and consequently their business expenses) costs are through the roof.

Why is it such a big deal to the sharks? (And why should it matter to you?)

Because you won’t last long if your CAC is higher than your revenue.

Some business owners pump money into sales and marketing in hopes that it’ll give their business a boost when they’re just getting started.

It’s a sound idea, but you need an exit strategy—a point when your business is generating enough revenue through other means that you can scale back and balance out your customer acquisition costs.

Think of a high CAC as pushing a snowball down a hill.

You need to give it a push to start, but eventually, it continues rolling and growing on its own.

You should get to a point where it takes less capital to get customers in the virtual door and keep them there. That’s the foundation of a sustainable business.
Never look at customer acquisition in a silo.
Your CAC is an important number, but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Like many other KPIs in customer service, you can’t rely solely on the number in front of you.

There are two additional and vital metrics you should keep in mind when looking at your CAC:

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV): You can almost forgive a high customer acquisition cost when you have a high CLV. How long do your customers stick around? How much do they spend over a “lifetime”? Businesses can afford to pay a little more money to get customers in the door if they have a higher lifetime value.
  • Customer churn/customer attrition rate (CAR): Customer churn or customer attrition rate measures how many customers you lose over a given period of time. It’s essentially the opposite of retention. And it’s just as important as your CAC. If you spend all of your money getting customers in the door only to have them shop elsewhere after a couple of months, you’re not in good shape.

Putting these metrics together will tell you if your marketing and sales efforts are working and how your customer service is measuring up.

Then you can figure out when something isn’t working, what it is, and how to fix it.
Why business messaging?
Business messaging is an underutilized tool—and customers are practically begging businesses to use it more often.

That’s not to say business messaging isn’t growing. Juniper Research has found that global mobile business messaging traffic will increase by 10% in 2020 to 2.7 trillion, up from 2.5 trillion in 2019.

Need some ideas for reducing customer acquisition costs? Look no further than business messaging.

Messaging has the potential to be a key pillar in your CAC reduction strategy.

There are ample opportunities to harness messaging, from SMS/text messaging to Facebook Messenger to web chat, to lower your customer acquisition cost.
7 ways to reduce customer acquisition costs with messaging.
Many parts of your business impact acquisition costs, and you can make changes to everything from your advertising campaigns to your products and services to help reduce them.

Here are 7 ways you can use messaging to lower your customer acquisition cost:

1. Get to know your customers better.

The quickest way to a high CAC is to spend tons of money on advertising with no strategy. It’s like a “spray and pray” approach. You’re paying big advertising dollars and talking to many people with a general message.

Sure, sometimes it works—but it fails more often than it succeeds.

Instead, get to know your customers better so you can spend more time talking to the right people with the right message.

With a conversational AI platform, you can use business messaging to collect customer preferences and integrate them with your other CRM tools, like Salesforce, Oracle, or Zendesk.

With better insights into your customers, you can spend less money on general marketing messages to lower your CAC.

2. Shorten the sales cycle with SMS/text messages.

If your sales team works more closely with your customers, the sales cycle quickly gets bogged down with emails, from pitches to meeting invites. It’s easy for them to get lost and go unnoticed.

However, SMS/text messaging is a great way to keep conversations flowing throughout the sales process.

Text messages have a nearly 100% open rate—compared to email, customers are much more likely to read and respond. It’s also more casual than email, and it helps facilitate easy conversations.

Your sales team can get to know customers better before launching into the sales pitch.

Bonus tip: You can even automate part of the lead process to start the conversation and collect qualifying information. That way, you can ensure your sales team only spends their time on hot leads that are more likely to lead to a sale.

3. Be more available to customers at peak decision times.

How easy is it to chat with your customer service?

If website visitors have to go searching through your website or make a phone call to ask a simple customer service question, you’re missing out on sales (and effectively driving your customer acquisition cost through the roof).

Instead, increase your conversion rate by always having your customer service team a click away.

Not only should you have web chat available on your site, but also time it to ask customers questions at peak decision points.

More than two-thirds of customers want an organization to reach out and engage with proactive customer notifications, according to Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service report.

Send a welcome message when customers visit your site, offer product suggestions as they start to add things to their cart, or pop up with FAQs if they land on your help page.

You’re more likely to capture customers, lower your conversion rates, and improve your customer acquisition cost.

4. Lean into marketing automation.

Automation is a great way to continue your marketing efforts at a much lower cost systematically.

You can leverage AI-powered bots to assist your team at various points of the sales process.

Your sales team can use customer acquisition chatbots to engage leads early and even qualify them before reaching a salesperson.

See how General Assembly used Quiq to engage leads with an interactive quiz.

Leaning into automation early will help lower your costs overall and improve your CAC.

5. Improve your omnichannel strategy.

The move to online sales has increased the need for an omnichannel strategy, which can sometimes stretch your marketing team thin.

The majority of customers continue to use 3 to 5 channels to get their issues resolved, according to Microsoft, so it’s vital that you’re set up to serve them across channels.

Offer a variety of messaging options across channels, like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and even your own app.

Being ready to help builds customer loyalty.

Plus, you’ll have more opportunities to upsell and cross-sell with messaging, improving your average order value and CLV.

A conversational AI platform that works across channels will also ensure customers can always pick up a conversation where they left off.

6. Use messaging to enhance retargeting advertising.

Retargeting emails can be too reactive. Instead of sending “Oops, looks like you forgot something” emails, try using SMS marketing instead.

Send a text with rich messaging, and delight customers with friendly GIFs, product images, or even appointment schedulers.

You can even send a timely coupon or discount code to encourage the purchase. Engage customers with more friendly conversations instead of irritating them with abandoned cart reminders.

7. Don’t forget about your current customers.

Customer service is often overlooked when it comes to customer acquisition since it focuses on current customers over prospects.

But improving your customer retention is a sound strategy to help you lower your CAC.

Building customer loyalty through customer service will help improve your customer’s lifetime value. They’re more likely to stick around and continue buying when they feel valued.

You can also use existing customers to bring in new ones. Use messaging to collect customer reviews.

Microsoft reported that 89% of customers globally want to be given the opportunity to provide feedback—so make it easy for them to share it.

Send surveys via SMS/text or send CSAT surveys after customer service interactions.

Turning your customers into advocates will improve your social clout, and it’ll require less advertising spend to get customers in the door.
Message your way to a lower CAC.
Customer acquisition costs touch every part of your business. Without a sound strategy to keep costs low, it’s easy for them to spiral out of control.

Business messaging is a great way to automate processes, connect with customers, and improve sales—all without exponentially increasing your overhead.

Reach out to our experts for more messaging strategies.

Quiq Announces $25million in Series C Funding

We are thrilled to announce that Quiq has raised a $25M Series C round of funding. The round was led by Baird Capital, with participation from existing investors Venrock, Foundry Group, and Next Frontier Capital.

We started Quiq for a simple reason: The huge gap between the way consumers were forced to communicate with their favorite brands and how they preferred to communicate with family and friends. Phone calls are disruptive and time consuming. Email is slow and impersonal. Sending a text is how people get stuff done with family and friends. Quiq was founded to make it just that easy to communicate with businesses, too.

Over the past year we’ve made huge strides towards accomplishing that vision. Our business has doubled as we’ve broadened our solution to handle conversations occurring between brands and consumers across the entire customer lifecycle—from pre-purchase to post-sale, both with human agents and Conversational AI.

Customers don’t want to make purchases or interact with customer service like they did even a year ago. Phone and email volumes continue to decline, replaced by mobile messaging. In the new digital marketplace, brands are engaging shoppers in conversation to help find the right product and then completing the purchase within the same conversation. Later, when a customer needs support, brands are available 24/7 with conversational AI that achieves high customer satisfaction scores.

Our customers include more than 200 leading enterprise brands across many industries and around the globe. From retail/e-commerce and consumer services to consumer finance, and travel/hospitality, we continue to uncover high-value use cases across new industries every week.

Since the beginning our course was clear, to build the next generation of B2C communications. Quiq’s AI-powered Conversational Platform enables brands to engage customers on the most popular messaging channels with bots and human agents. With the additional capital we will grow our organization to meet the increasing demand for digital messaging and we’ll continue to invest to maintain our technology leadership. And it guarantees to our customers that we’ll be here to support them for the long term.

A special shoutout to all of our customers, whose success drives Quiq’s success. And thanks to all of the Quiq team for your exceptional work and tireless drive. Building a great company is never easy, but I am confident we are on the right track.

Sound exciting? We’re hiring across many open roles. Over the past year, our team has nearly doubled, all geographically distributed while remaining connected to our company values. Come join us!

If this news has sparked your imagination about what you can build with Quiq, please get in touch. We’d love to talk with you about how Quiq can accelerate your business and drive a better customer experience.

– Mike Myer, CEO and Founder

Press Release: Quiq Raises $25 Million Series C Funding Led by Baird Capital

Quiq helps innovative brands like Overstock, Spirit Airlines, Brinks Home Security and Blue Nile increase e-commerce revenue, reduce customer service costs and improve customer satisfaction; New funding

BOZEMAN, MT and NEW YORK CITY — APRIL 12, 2022 — Quiq, the AI-powered Conversational Platform that enables brands to engage customers on the most popular messaging channels with bots and human agents, today announced it has closed a $25 million Series C funding round, which brings the company’s total funding to date to $47.5 million. Baird Capital led the Series C round, with additional participation from existing investors Venrock, Foundry Group and Next Frontier Capital. The new funding will be used to extend Quiq’s leadership position in Conversational AI and asynchronous messaging and to invest further in emerging Conversational Commerce solutions. Quiq will also expand its marketing and sales teams to address increasing demand from B2C enterprise brands, both in the U.S. and globally. View a short video of how Quiq works here.

“Our business has doubled in the past year as we have broadened our solution to handle conversations occurring between brands and consumers across the entire customer lifecycle from pre-purchase to post-sale, both with human agents and Conversational AI,” said Mike Myer, CEO and founder of Quiq. “Customers don’t want to make purchases or interact with customer service like they did even a year ago. Phone and email volumes continue to decline, replaced by mobile messaging. In the new digital marketplace, brands are engaging shoppers in conversation to help find the right product and then completing the purchase within the same conversation. Later, when a customer needs support, brands are available 24/7 with Conversational AI that achieves high customer satisfaction scores. I am so proud of what we have developed so far in our journey to the next generation of customer engagement and I am excited to be able to use the new funding to accelerate our progress.”

Quiq currently works with more than 200 leading brands across many industries — retail/e-commerce, consumer services, travel and hospitality, consumer finance and online gaming — demonstrating the applicability of the Quiq Conversational AI Platform for every B2C enterprise. When using Quiq in pre-purchase e-commerce settings, clients’ sales have increased by 35% and average order values increased by 20%. In customer care, Quiq clients have automatically resolved up to 85% of inquiries, agents are three to five times more efficient and CSAT increased by 15%. Quiq has standard connectors for Salesforce, Zendesk, Microsoft and Oracle, enabling brands to utilize existing processes and customer data while modernizing the ways they communicate with their customers.

Recently named one of the fastest growing companies in the Rocky Mountain region by Inc. Magazine, Quiq’s “land and expand” approach to large enterprises demonstrates the value of Quiq’s platform and the power of messaging — an approach that has led to expansions of three to 70 times the value of the initial engagement. The volume of conversations on Quiq has increased rapidly as well, with a six-fold increase since early 2020 and conversations per client increased by 300%. Quiq has developed strong strategic alliances with business process outsourcing (BPO) and system integrators (SIs), contact center consultants and chatbot vendors, with 40% of new business now driven from alliance partners.

The investment in Quiq highlights the “Consumerization of the Enterprise,” a core thesis of Baird Capital’s technology investments and the firm’s history with related customer experience and marketing technology platforms. “Quiq is not just changing how businesses interact with their customers; they are transforming Customer Experience from something static to something dynamic that makes customers feel valued and heard,” said Benedict Rocchio, Partner at Baird Capital. “Baird Capital is excited to be part of this transformation and to watch the Quiq footprint grow through this partnership.”

“Consumers in the US are increasingly comfortable using conversational interfaces — including chat and messaging — to get information, communicate with brands, and even make purchases,” according to a March 2022 report by analysts at Forrester Research. Additionally, according to Forrester’s 2021 Moments Map, “50% of U.S. online adults use chat to make purchases, and the level of use only increases among younger demographics, peaking with 25- to 34-year-olds at 62%. Beyond a desire to shop from the convenience of a device, consumers are also turning to chat to receive real-time clarifications on questions they may have around the product, shipping, and more.”

About Quiq
Quiq is the AI-powered Conversational Platform enabling businesses to engage with customers across the most popular digital messaging channels. Trusted by leading brands and boasting a 56 NPS score, Quiq’s enterprise-grade Conversational Platform supports SMS/text, Apple Messages for Business, Google’s Business Messages, webchat, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, call-to-text, and more. Quiq provides the leading solutions for business communications for the world’s best commerce and care teams. Quiq for Commerce and Quiq for Customer Care combine Conversational AI and digital contact center to help commerce and service teams increase efficiency, drive revenue, and improve customer satisfaction.

Headquartered in Bozeman, Montana, with an office in New York City, Quiq is a privately held company backed by Baird Capital, Foundry Group, Venrock and Next Frontier Capital. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or learn more at https://quiq.com.

About Baird Capital
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Part 2: 10 Criteria for Choosing the Best Messaging Vendor

The Messaging Mandate

This post is part 2 in a three-part series. Part 1 focused on why messaging is so critical for customer service. This article shares how to evaluate potential messaging providers. Finally, part 3 will discuss factors to consider as you implement your new messaging service.

From our last post, you know that customers are demanding messaging options from customer service providers. (When they don’t even call mom, what makes you think they want to call your support agents?)

Your customer service center needs the latest technology to facilitate meaningful, effective communication.

More and more, consumers want to speak directly with brands and businesses in the most convenient ways.

From SMS/text messaging to other familiar platforms like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, your company can provide fun, easy messaging options that your customers prefer.

But first, you need to pick a messaging platform partner.

We know—it’s overwhelming if you’re just getting started. It takes thoughtful consideration, but we’re here to help.

Here’s what you need to know to choose the best messaging vendor for your business.

Determine your business objectives

It’s easy to jump into research without a plan and hit a wall of information overload. Before you even start your search for a business messaging vendor, you first need to decide how you’re going to use it. Start by asking a few key questions:

What demographics are you targeting with messaging?

Who’s your customer? While messaging is on the rise in nearly every generation, how you wield it may change depending on your target demographics.

For example, millennials and those from Generation Z (also known as Zoomers) are more likely to be comfortable with chatbots than their older counterparts.

According to Zendesk, 60% of millennials and zoomers agree that automation/bots are helpful for simple issues, while only 50% of baby boomers do.

And when in a hurry? The generational divide was even larger: 40% of millennials and zoomers said they’d prefer to interact with a chatbot rather than a human agent when in a rush.

In comparison, merely 28% of Gen Xers and 20% of boomers agreed.

Determining your target audience will help you decide which features are a must-have and which you may not even need.

How will you use messaging?

A business sending marketing messages via messaging will have very different needs than one using messaging for customer support.

Are you planning on messaging your customers? Do you also need to give them the capabilities to message back?

Hint: Your customers definitely want the option to message you.

What are your goals?

You know you want to grow your business, but what other objectives do you have for your messaging platforms? Are you simply trying to offer better customer service? How will you measure success?

Don’t forget to identify other peripheral goals, like cost savings.

Identify your cost-savings goals and how you plan to use your messaging platform to meet them.

For instance, do you hope to reduce the volume of inbound customer calls and lower staffing needs?

Which messaging channels will you need?

While many vendors offer multiple messaging channels, some may excel on certain platforms.

If messaging is part of your overall omnichannel support strategy, you’ll need to ensure you’re using the right platforms to reach your customers.

Here are some common messaging channels to consider:

Now that you know who you’re targeting, what your goals are, and which platforms you want to use, you’re in a better position to research and choose the right chat tools for your business.

How to Select Business Messaging Tools and Vendors

You know what you’re looking for, but now you need to start exploring which vendor is right for you.

Here are 10 criteria you can use to make your decision.

1. Experience and knowledge

Practicality wins over flash every time. While long features lists seem like an easy way to benchmark vendors, be sure to ask how those features work in the real world.

Ask for customer stories, previous clients, and reviews. Find out if all those features are tried and tested in real applications.

Also, consider if they’ve worked with customer service teams before. It’s an easy way to ensure that their chat apps have actually worked for your needs.

You’ll also get to tap into their industry knowledge for in-depth insights that help you address your company’s thorniest challenges.

2. Customer-obsessed culture

Make sure your new vendor has the same customer-first mindset you do.

Listen carefully to vendors pitch your organization or walk you through their pilot cycles. Are they asking thoughtful questions about your business?

Your goals should be their goals, so if you’re looking to increase customer engagement, they should have various resources to help you do that.

Do they have genuine insights for improving your customer service, messaging, and overall success?

Even small details of your messaging platform affect how you and your customers communicate.

A vendor that prioritizes customer needs helps you position your organization as a responsive industry leader.

3. Product features and capabilities

Features and functionality are vital factors to help you pick your vendor. To start, you need to know which messaging channels they offer (and ensure they align with your selected channels).

But don’t stop there.

Think about the platform’s functionality and how your customer support agents will use it on a daily basis. Don’t hesitate to spend a lot of your time working through the platform to ensure it meets your needs.

Since features are such an important factor, here is a list of questions to help you determine the right fit.

  • How does the product treat customer requests?
    • Does it create a ticket that goes into a queue, or does it facilitate a real-time conversation with a single customer service agent?
  • How many messaging and chat apps does it support within a single interface?
  • How skillfully does the tool allow agents to move between simultaneous conversations?
  • How well does the system prioritize customer communications? (Does it prioritize them at all?)
  • Can agents quickly consult with a colleague or supervisor when they need help?
  • Can supervisors easily monitor conversations and step in to assist as needed?
  • Do supervisors have reporting tools to help them track agent productivity and results?
  • Can the platform work on its own and integrate with other customer service applications or order management systems?
  • How easily can the platform scale as you grow your business?

4. Security features

Trust but verify. The days of blindly assuming your (and your customers’) data is safeguarded are long gone. The average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million, according to IBM.

Most people today know how vulnerable their personal data is, and they want to ensure it’s protected.

To protect your data and reassure your customers, you need to find a messaging platform vendor that prioritizes security.

When you talk to different vendors, ask them what security protocols they use for their messaging tools.

Inquire about both the technology and servers on which it runs. If you’re looking at cloud-based messaging tools, determine whether the vendors can ensure your data will never mix with other companies’ data.

Pull in your IT team and let them do their due diligence. Ask how often they perform security audits and what they’d do in the event of a breach.

5. Automation and artificial intelligence

If your goals include reducing costs and increasing efficiency, pay attention to this next part.

Automation helps your support agents streamline conversations. And artificial intelligence sends your automation into hyperdrive.

As you research vendors, figure out how they use automation to simplify and streamline your agents’ processes.

How do automation and AI help with your customer support workflows?

For starters, a platform could prioritize customer messages and decide which your agents should engage with next—ideally accounting for customer engagement and SLAs.

See if your platform vendor automates customer messages, no-contact lists, or even full-on conversations. Do they offer a chatbot? And is that chatbot merely a glorified FAQ, or is it powered with AI to answer customer questions?

Talk to your potential vendors about the level of automation they provide and how they tailor the automated solutions to your needs.

6. Ease of use

How easy is it to use the platform? How steep is the learning curve?

A messaging platform should have an intuitive, easy-to-navigate interface. It should offer quick, efficient messaging options and practical ways for agents to move between simultaneous conversations.

Bring in support agents and managers to help you test out the product for yourselves.

You want to ensure you can use it, but also that the people using it every day enjoy it too. It’s likely they’ll also be the ones to help with training new hires on using the platform.

A dense, complicated product will make onboarding a struggle.

The platform should also be easy to implement on multiple devices, such as desktops, laptops, iPhones, and Android phones or tablets.

It needs to provide simple, at-a-glance ways for supervisors to use reports to track agent productivity if necessary.

8. Integrations

A conversational platform works best when it works with the flow of your business operations. Ask if it integrates seamlessly with your CRM platforms like Microsoft Dynamics 365, Zendesk, Salesforce, or Oracle.

With easy integrations, you can do things like pull up customer information, view knowledge base articles to help answer customer questions, and track interactions for next time.

Be sure to discuss your overall business operations and existing platforms with your vendors to determine how well your new messaging software will fit in.

7. Templates

Templates are a great feature to improve messaging software usability. Just like call scripts for agents, messaging templates ensure faster response times and help agents speak with a unified brand voice.

You can collect frequently asked questions and create templates that agents can then personalize during customer conversations.

Ask potential vendors about their templates. Do they have a library of pre-made templates to help you get started? Can you add new ones and customize them to fit your brand? How easy are they to use?

Templates can be a valuable asset to your bag of chat tools.

9. Value

We’d be remiss if we didn’t discuss the price. While you want to get the messaging platform that’s a perfect fit for your business goals, make sure it’s in line with your budget.

The most sophisticated business messaging app in the world, with seemingly limitless bells and whistles, won’t be worth it if it significantly restricts your budget in other areas.

On the other hand, price shopping will leave you with the bare minimum product that you’ll need to upgrade in a few short years.

Be upfront with each messaging provider as you evaluate your options.

Have a realistic idea of your budget, and select a conversational platform that will give you the best return on your investment.

10. Innovation

When you choose a messaging platform, you want to know it’ll only get better and better.

As you talk to vendors, ask about their product roadmap and plans for future development.

Find out what new capabilities they want to see in their tools and how they plan to make those goals a reality.

Does your chosen vendor have plans for increased automation, or does it have ideas for how to make agents more efficient and productive?

Enthusiasm, conviction, and clear plans for the future are valuable indicators. They can often tell you how well you’ll work and grow with your messaging tool over the long term.

Is Quiq on your list?

Choosing the right messaging platform takes thoughtful consideration and careful research.

Ask us these questions and see if Quiq is the messaging platform of your dreams.

Our platform blends performance and value to deliver intuitive, meaningful conversations with your customers.

Get best practices for implementing messaging into customer service in part 3. And if you didn’t catch part 1 in our Messaging Mandate series, go here to read how important messaging is for your customers.