How to Use Live Chat Throughout Your Customer Journey

How do you connect with customers throughout their purchase journey? Are you using live chat at every touchpoint?

Many businesses see live chat, also known as web chat, as just another tool for your customer support center. Leaders may see it as a necessary expense in order to connect with today’s online customers.

But live chat is so much more than that.

Let’s take a look at how you can use live chat at every stage of the customer journey.

What is customer journey mapping, anyway?

Customer journey mapping is the exercise of laying out how customers engage with your business before, during, and after they make a purchase.

Traditionally, it consists of five stages.

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Decision/acquisition
  4. Retention
  5. Advocacy

In the stone age—that is, back before the age of the internet—consumers would identify a problem, see an advertisement, compare prices, walk into a store, and make a purchase. If they liked the product or the store, they would make frequent trips back and tell their friends about it.

Things are a little more complicated these days. While today’s customers follow a similar path, a few things have changed. Customers often move back and forth between each stage, with many smaller steps in between.

The biggest change is that now your website is the main hub—and it has to do a lot more of the heavy lifting. It’s where you drive all your traffic, convert customers, and impress them enough to come back. It has now become the main pillar of your customer journey.

When mapping your customer journey, your goal is to get people to your website and serve them to meet their current stage. That’s where live chat comes in.

Serve customers at every stage of their purchase journey with live chat.

Live chat typically lives on the bottom right corner of your website, and it can follow customers as they navigate across pages. Based on which pages they spend time on, you can craft unique messaging (using live agents or chatbots) to target where they are in their customer journey.

And it’s vital to meeting today’s customer expectations. According to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer report, 83% of customers expect to interact with someone immediately when contacting a business.

Instantaneous messaging channels like live chat satisfy that need for instant answers.

Let’s take a look at how you can incorporate live chat into your customer journey.

Be helpful during the awareness stage.

The awareness stage is all about customers realizing they have a problem and that there’s a solution out there to solve it. For retailers, this could be as simple as a customer who’s suffering in the heat, so they realize they’re ready to buy an air conditioner.

They likely don’t know what kind, their budget, or where, but they know they want one.

Maybe they searched for top air conditioners and found themselves on your website. While some businesses may see them as a lead to be captured, their not at that place yet. They are simply gathering information.

For customers in the awareness stage, live chat is best spent welcoming a customer and directing them to various resources on your website.

The best way to do that? With a chatbot.

How to loop in a chatbot: At this stage, it might not be feasible for agents to dedicate their time to answering broad questions. Leverage a chatbot to welcome newcomers to your website and direct them to informational resources—like your knowledge base, blog posts, or frequently asked questions.

Quiq’s AI chatbot helps resolve 80% of inbound inquiries, freeing up your customer service agents to spend time farther down the customer journey.

Wow them at the consideration stage.

At the consideration stage, your customers have likely narrowed down the competition but haven’t made a decision yet. Maybe they know they’re going to Hawaii but are still considering whether to go to a boutique hotel or stay at an Airbnb. Or perhaps they’ve selected an island and just need to pick between the swath of available resorts.

This is the point where you need to stand out. Customers are looking to narrow down their options. If you don’t impress them right away, you won’t make the shortlist.

Proactively engage with customers using live chat to help them navigate your website. Ask them questions to gauge their needs and direct them to the appropriate high-converting pages.

How to loop in a chatbot: When customers reach the consideration phase, they’re closing in on making a purchase. While it’s a good idea to engage live agents to help customers one-on-one and close the deal, a chatbot can help get the conversations started. Design the bot to answer simple questions and direct customers to an agent for more personalized help.

Push them over the decision hump at the acquisition stage.

You’ve made the shortlist—heck, you’re probably #1 on that list—and the customer is *this* close to making a purchase. This is when your live chat function is crucial.

Make sure your live chat is visible and engaging with users at key points in the decision-making process. For example, be available when customers get to their cart. That’s typically when they have last-minute questions, and any clicking away from that page could interrupt their momentum.

Here are a few ways you can entice buyers with live chat at the decision phase:

  • After answering a few product questions, suggest a product demo.
  • Remove friction by ensuring easy access to frequently asked questions.
  • Offer personalized incentives on the purchase page.
  • Loop sales team members into live chat conversations.

How to loop in a chatbot: Program engagement triggers that start with your chatbot. If a customer has been stalled in their cart for more than three minutes, send in a bot to answer those hesitations or offer them a well-timed discount code. If a user has bounced around between pricing tiers, send over a blog post that helps them compare. Figure out which obstacles are in your customers’ way and use automation to help get past them.

Increase retention with always-on support.

Customer retention is all about meeting expectations. Did the customer get the results they expected from your product or service? Did they have the experience they were hoping for?

Great customer service is the best way to improve customer retention—and live chat makes that happen with speed and accessibility.

Think about the last time you needed customer service. Chances are, you were in the middle of something and needed immediate help. Your customers face the same hurdles. They’re implementing your software and run into a roadblock. They have to reschedule a guided kayak tour and can’t remember the policies.

Whatever the case may be, stopping for a phone call or waiting hours (or days) for a return email stalls their momentum and complicates their customer experience. Live chat makes it easy for customers (whether they’re in the middle of making a purchase or actively using your product or service) to get quick answers. Quick answers lead to higher customer satisfaction and a better chance they’ll come back for repeat business.

How to loop in a chatbot: Always-on support isn’t realistic without the help of chatbots (unless you hire a lot of agents to cover your chat 24/7. Use a chatbot to respond to customers when your agents are out of office. At the very least, you can design conversations that collect information for agents to respond to when they’re available. You can also have bots walk customers through troubleshooting, answer simple questions, and direct them to helpful resources on your site.

Make advocates out of all your customers.

Not every customer will become an advocate for your company, but you should certainly do everything in your power to encourage it. And live chat can help you do just that.

Since live chat is…well, live…it’s a great tool to encourage in-the-moment reviews and survey responses. Make it easy for customers to leave reviews by including it right in the conversation so they never have to leave the chat.

How to loop in a chatbot: Chatbots are ideal for this task. After your live agent finishes helping the customer, hand off the conversation to a chatbot to collect feedback and encourage reviews.

Embrace live chat in the customer journey.

It’s easy to see live chat as just another support tool. It functions a lot like phone conversations in your call center—and you probably use the same people to staff it. But with the right tools and strategy in place, live chat enhances every stage of the customer journey.

How to Anticipate Customer Needs (With Examples)

When was the last time you heard a story about exceptional customer service? Or an innovative way a company figured out how to meet customer needs?

You know the kind: An observant hotel employee rescues a beloved stuffed animal. The considerate customer service agent sends a gift card to apologize for a shipping error. A software company sees you’re having trouble with their platform and sends you a private video walkthrough.

These are all great examples, but what really makes a difference day after day is simply anticipating customer needs before they become problems.

Some companies seem to have an uncanny ability to get ahead of their customer’s issues. But it doesn’t just happen. Exceptional customer service is designed with dedication and built into company cultures.

We get it. Sometimes merely meeting customer needs is a struggle. Anticipating them? Now that seems daunting. After all, you can’t read minds.

The good news is that your customers don’t expect you to. (In fact, they often find it creepy when you know too much about them.) But they do want you to anticipate their problems and help them reach a resolution as quickly as possible.

For all of the work it requires to make anticipating customer needs happen, the payoff is well worth it. Let’s take a look at how to anticipate customer needs and what it means to your customer service.

What will you gain by anticipating customer needs?

In a word: loyalty.

We’ve touched on customer loyalty before, but we can’t stress its importance enough. In a digital-first age, customers have endless choices—and you need to make them choose you. Winning their loyalty has become more important than ever.

Customer service has become a major competitive advantage. According to Microsoft, 90% of customers say customer service is important to their brand choice and loyalty to that brand.

And should those customer service expectations fall short, 58% of customers show little hesitation in severing the relationship. The days of implicit loyalty are long gone.

While customer loyalty should be enough of a draw, here are some more benefits to anticipating customer needs:

  • Increased revenue. When your customers feel taken care of, they’re more likely to come back. They’re looking for easy, frictionless experiences and will frequent the businesses that give them that.
  • Less strain on your customer service team. You read that right. Making things simple for customers will have a direct impact on your customer service team. Even when you provide more customer service, it’ll still be better for your agents. Customers will have fewer questions, there will be less urgency in their questions, and they’ll be less frustrated overall.

Start by identifying customer expectations.

You’ve probably heard of the surprise and delight customer service strategy. It suggests that the best way to retain customers is to keep them guessing. Following its doctrine, you should go above and beyond the normal call of duty to give the customers something they weren’t expecting. The examples in the introduction are all great cases of using surprise and delight.

While it works when customers are already pleased with your company, it probably won’t make an angry customer come back. And since 55% of customers expect better customer service year over year, according to Microsoft’s Global State of Customer Service report, simply meeting expectations is often a struggle.

Hubspot’s Annual State of Service Report shows even greater numbers. 88% of respondents agreed that customers have higher expectations than in the past, and 79% said customers are smarter and more informed.

So what are customers’ needs? What do they expect from today’s businesses?

Simplicity.

They want frictionless experiences, easy-to-navigate interfaces, and fast solutions to their problems.

But you shouldn’t just take our word for it. The best way to figure out what your customers want is to ask them. More and more businesses are conducting post-purchase surveys to ensure customer satisfaction, loyalty, and more. According to Hubspot, 70% of businesses report they are tracking customer satisfaction/happiness—a jump from 60% in 2020 and around 55% in 2019.

Similarly, a majority of respondents—85%—say customers are more likely to share positive or negative experiences now than in the past.

While CSAT and other surveys can help you improve customer service, expand your research to include those that don’t buy from you. Ask why they didn’t purchase, and dive deep to figure out which of their needs weren’t met—and see how you can meet them in the future.

Give customers convenient service.

Regardless of whether they’re shopping for a vacation getaway, office supplies, or looking for subscription-based fashion, your customers expect convenience and fast service.

When you walk into a store, you expect orderly displays and friendly staff ready to serve you. When you visit a company’s website, you expect the same: A streamlined digital presence, complete with an easy-to-use website and customer service agents at the ready.

Just how fast? According to Hubspot’s Annual State of Service report, 90% of customers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question—which customers define as under 10 minutes.

Here are a few ways to give customers fast, convenient service:

  • Make customer service digital. Customers don’t want to interrupt their day to call customer service, wait on hold to speak to a representative, or spend days waiting for an email response. These slower communication methods are helpful in a pinch, but customers now want something more. They want digital customer service.

You don’t need a crystal ball to see that consumers are using mobile devices to communicate. Implementing business messaging to reduce wait times, deflect calls, and provide faster assistance disrupts and resets the consumer expectation that contacting a company for help is slow and inconvenient.

  • Be easily accessible. It sounds easy, right? If they found your website, surely they can find your customer service contact info hidden on your help page, which is hidden in your footer, or beneath a menu in your header. Yes, customers can probably find you, but make the process easier by being available to them wherever they are.

Have a web chat (also known as live chat) box on your website so customers can instantly chat with a customer service agent—no matter how far down your website rabbit hole they’ve gone.

Don’t stop there. Are your customers on Instagram? What about Twitter? The more places you’re available to answer questions, the happier your customers will be. They won’t have to go searching for help, and you’ll always have someone there when they need you.

Offer proactive customer service. Heading off a problem before it happens is almost always better than waiting for them to come to you. And customers agree— more than two-thirds want an organization to reach out and engage with proactive customer notifications, according to Microsoft.

Being proactive can be as simple as sending tracking links to limit “where’s my order?” inquiries. Consider collecting top customer questions and sharing them during the purchasing process, or feed answers to a chatbot for quick customer service response times.

At Quiq, we help our clients provide convenient ways for customers to engage with a brand and allow consumers to reach out to companies on their terms. Communicating with companies via messaging is still pretty new, and we’ve seen so many consumers respond with surprise and delight at the ability to text a company for help.

Stop communication inefficiencies before they start.

Many customer needs examples revolve around their time. As we mentioned above, inefficient communication just adds to your customers’ frustrations. You’ve likely experienced the struggle of having to navigate IVR systems (those interactive voice response systems that use automation to collect customer information and point them in the right direction). Whether you’re waiting on hold or waiting for an email response, that’s time you can’t get back.

During those moments of need, the last thing your customers want is to interrupt their day. Customer loyalty is won (or lost) in these critical moments.

Anticipate customers’ needs by working within their schedules and workflows. Here are a few ways to get started.

  • Make communication asynchronous. The biggest frustration when calling help centers is that you must put your day on hold to do so. Don’t force your customers to conform to your service center’s schedule. Instead, offer asynchronous messaging.

Communication methods like web chat and voice are helpful for getting answers to more complex questions, but they also require customers to block out their time and respond immediately. Asynchronous messaging, however, lets customers respond whenever they’re available. As a bonus, your customer service agents can handle multiple interactions at the same.

  • Take advantage of chatbots. Chatbots are the key to giving customers the immediate responses they crave without overwhelming your customer service team. They’re always available to provide simple answers to questions or, at the very least, acknowledge the customer’s question and let them know when an agent will be available to chat.

You can also use chatbots to help you anticipate customers’ needs by having them prompt customers with messages as they navigate through your website. Start with a welcome message, offer product suggestions based on browsing history, or provide answers to FAQs during checkout.

  • Eliminate repetitive tasks. Speed up redundant tasks by creating pre-build responses for common questions. Not only will you be able to speed up response times, but you’ll also ensure customers get the same accurate and helpful information no matter which customer service agent they talk to.

Imagine how your customers would perceive your brand if they were able to text a question to your contact center and get immediate help and resolution. No interruptions to their day, no inconvenience or waiting involved.

Aligning your people, processes, and technology to reduce effort and streamline communications will do wonders for your customer service. With each positive interaction, customers will anticipate great service well into the future.

When your customer expects to be taken care of, they can engage with your company without feeling that they have to play offense, which leads to more pleasant interactions for both sides.

Empower CSAs to make the right decisions for customers.

Sometimes, anticipating customers’ needs means understanding that you can’t predict them all. Problems come up, mistakes get made, and website bugs happen. The trick is coming up with a plan to handle things that have no plan.

How do you do that? Empower customer service agents to take action to solve customer issues.

Unfortunately, right now, not everyone has that power. Around 20% of service agents say their biggest challenge is not having the ability to make the right decisions for customers, according to Hubspot. But it’s likely that many more face this issue on a regular basis.

Ensure your customer agents have the authority to do things like:

  • Offer discounts when customers encounter problems.
  • Expedite orders when shipments are lost or damaged.
  • Take as much time as they need to solve customer issues.

Without the authority to make these decisions on their own, agents have to wait for approvals or miss out on opportunities to surpass customer expectations.

Equip your team with the tools to meet future needs.

While you can’t predict every need that pops up (unless you found that crystal ball), you can ensure your customer service is always on point. Set your team up for success with the right tools to meet customer service needs now and into the future.

Regardless of the issue, the one thing you can anticipate is that your customer wants resolution in the fastest, most pain-free way possible. Quiq helps companies across multiple industries do just that with our Conversational AI platform.

Let customers talk to you the same way they chat with their family and friends. Whether a customer needs to text you to ask about an exchange or new car loan, needs assistance via chat in finding and buying the perfect gift, or wants to schedule a service and pay for it through Apple Messages for Business, Quiq messaging powers your customer connections.

Drive Satisfaction and Sales with Google Business Messaging

One of the most impactful—and often overlooked—tools in customer service is Google Business Messages. Google business messaging gives your company the power to take care of customers on their terms.

The result: You foster greater trust and close more sales.

Before we dig into the benefits of using Google Business Messages, let’s back up and review how it works.

What is Google Business Messages, and how does it work?

Google Business Messages is a conversational customer service chat feature that lets you connect with customers in a variety of different channels—starting with Google. Current and potential customers can ask your company questions in real-time directly from Google Search, Google Maps, your Google Business Profile, and even your company’s website.

There are two options for using Google business messaging:

  1. Turn on your business messages chat function directly through your Google Business Profile. This option gives you basic chat capabilities. You can set up an automatic welcome message, but you’ll have to enable notifications and respond manually to each customer inquiry.
  2. Use Google business messaging API to connect via a third-party app, like Quiq. This option comes with more features and functionality, allowing you to switch back and forth between virtual and live customer service agents depending on what your customers need.

3 reasons to implement Google Business Messages.

Great customer connections start with genuine communication. Messaging platforms let you engage with the people you serve in a convenient, casual way.

And Google Business Messages takes those connections to the next level, offering your company powerful messaging capabilities on a grander scale.

Here are three reasons to adopt Google messages:

1. Raise customer satisfaction.

In an increasingly digital, asynchronous world, it’s not enough for your company to be available only through phone and email. You have to cater to customers in the places they spend their time—then communicate in the mode they like best.

For most consumers, that means instant messaging on a mobile device.

Google Business Messages gives your customers an effortless way to ask questions, grab basic business information, and connect one-on-one with your customer support agents for personalized help. Plus, with messaging, customers get a written record of information from your company that they can revisit at their convenience.

When customers have a positive experience with your company, they’re more likely to come back—and recommend you to their friends and family.

2. Capitalize on Google searches.

Google is where (almost) every search starts. Over 92% of online searches happen on Google, and a whopping 96% of those occur on mobile devices. Simply put, Google is where people live when they’re online—and where they get the majority of information about the products and services they’re interested in.

As a company, you can capitalize on the status quo by incorporating Google Business Messages into your customer engagement strategy. When you make your company even more accessible on Google’s pages, you can reach customers—old and new—with minimal effort and maximum return.

Give customers easily visible, one-click access to your customer support team, and they’ll come away with knowledge at their fingertips.

3. Drive revenue and sales.

Google Business Messages isn’t just a conversational tool—it’s also a sales opportunity. A Facebook report found that 65% of people are more likely to shop from a business they can chat with.

At the most basic level, you can program your virtual customer service agents to offer helpful information and solve problems, but you can also use business messages to go above and beyond for customers.

Personalization takes the shopping experience to the next level.

Accenture found that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize them, remember them, and provide personal recommendations. By providing thoughtful product recommendations and guiding customers through the purchasing process, you can convert leads and score more sales.

How to ramp up revenue using Google Business Messages.

Try the following tactics to get more out of Google Business Messages—not just with customer enjoyment, but sales too.

1. Introduce customers to products they love, then entice them to buy.

When customers use Google Business Messages to start a conversation with your business, chances are they’re already interested in your company. But you can turn that interest into a sale—or even repeat sales—by deepening their understanding of your products and the value they offer.

After all, searching through pages of products on a website can be overwhelming, even with excellent navigation tools and filters. And scouring a website for FAQs can be tedious. On a messaging platform, though, customers just have to share a few details, and your customer service agents can take over the conversation from there.

Here are just some of the ways you can entice customers to buy using Google’s business messaging:

  • Answer product questions: Remove friction from the buying process early on.
  • Share product photos, catalogs, and carousels: Give customers new items and options to explore and get excited by.
  • Link blog posts and video tutorials: Build trust with customers by providing extra information, like ideas for incorporating a product into your life or instructions on how to use it for maximum effectiveness.
  • Provide personalized recommendations: Help customers get closer to what they need with tailored suggestions that account for their unique concerns and motivations.
  • Direct customers to sales reps: Connect customers who need more in-depth information or product explanations to your knowledgeable sales reps.
  • Share promo codes: Incentivize customers to take action by dropping a promo code or discount inside the conversation as a thank you.
  • Accept orders and add items to check out: Make it easy for customers to wrap up their shopping experience and press purchase.

2. Give your customer support team more time to create positive interactions with customers.

With Google business messaging API, your customer support team can spend less time addressing minor concerns and more time building bonds.

How?

By taking advantage of AI-powered chats. In Google messages, you can create an automated list of FAQs to send to curious customers so they have accessible information about store hours, online orders, refunds, shipping timelines, and delivery statuses.

When you program virtual customer service agents to address common customer inquiries, your support agents are freed up to focus on high-value conversations. These types of conversations happen when individual customers need help finding specific products, checking out, or handling returns. In those situations, your customers want attentive, personalized assistance—and fast—from a friendly person who’s easy to talk to.

Turning high-value conversations into positive interactions is key to closing sales and keeping customers happy.

3. Uplevel your brand and image by following messaging platform best practices.

Paying attention to the details when messaging can improve your brand reputation and differentiate your company from the competition.

Like any platform, there are strategic ways to make the most of Google Business Messages—and there are easy mistakes to make. You’ll create stronger customer connections and maximize your sales opportunities by following a few best practices.

Here are some to keep in mind:

  • Create an automated welcome message: Invite customers in by greeting them warmly and letting them know you’re available to help.
  • Reply fast: Speed is everything on a messaging platform. Take the time to set up a wide variety of automation that get customers the answers and information they need fast.
  • Be conversational: Use a relaxed and approachable tone in your conversations. Little things—like saying thank you or apologizing for an issue—go a long way toward building trust with customers.
  • Use visuals: Supplement your answers and directions with visual aids. Send product photos and videos, or use screenshots to help customers figure out where to go on your website.
  • Simplify the chat: Use rich messaging features like quick reply chips and typing indicators to expedite the conversation. These and other RCS features reduce the legwork for your customers.

It’s also a good idea to regularly review your Google Business Messages analytics to find out what’s working and where you can make improvements.

If the data shows that a majority of customers drop out of the chat after a few questions, for example, you could try rephrasing the questions, switching their order, or leading with different information.

Or maybe your analytics reveal that customers tend to ask the same easily answerable questions at the top of the chat. In that case, try updating your automated FAQs or opening the chat with quick reply chips that address the common questions.

Even minor adjustments have the potential to make a big impact on customer satisfaction.

Drive sales with Google Business Messages.

Google Business Messages helps you accomplish two separate but connected business goals: delight customers and drive sales.

Not only do business messages make it easier for customers to reach you, but it also makes it easier for you to cater to those customers. Dynamic messaging features and thoughtful automation give your customer service agents more tools and time to do what they do best.

When you partner with Quiq, we’ll help you set up and optimize your Google messaging platform, so you get the results you want.

Comparing Live Chat and Chatbots

How often do you interact with brands online? In-person?

Brand interactions now happen online more often than they do in-person. Salesforce projected that in 2022, 61% of company interactions would be online, and only 39% would be in person. That number has been steadily increasing since 2020.

With more people spending more time in front of their screens (whether mobile or desktop), customers need a convenient place to connect with your business.

And your website is a good place to start.

Live chat (also known as web chat) is the simplest way to connect with your customers online. It usually involves a chat feature that lives on your website where customers can instantly start a real-time conversation.

So, where do chatbots come into play? We get it—with all the jargon thrown around, it can get confusing. (What happened to the days of customer service by phone or email, right?) While live chat is the method of communication, chatbots are the ones doing the communication.

Let us explain.

Say you need to contact an e-commerce company to return an ill-fitting shirt. (Too long, too tight, too orange…whatever the case may be.) Even though it’s a simple transaction, you still need to request a return label. So you go to their website, open the live chat box and type in your request.

You’ll likely get a chatbot responding to your inquiry and helping you through the process.

Chatbots, like the AI-powered ones we implement for our customers, often stand in for live agents when interacting with customers.

But it’s not as simple as implementing live chat, finding a low-fidelity bot, and putting it to work. It takes careful planning and, above all, a fierce customer-first approach to successfully implement a chatbot strategy.

Continue reading as we compare live chat to chatbots, when to use each of them (or both), and how to navigate the customer service experience.

Why live chat is a must.

Where phones used to be the easiest and fastest way for customers to reach you, live chat is quickly replacing it. Live chat is a communication channel where customers can get immediate answers to their questions.

Now, 42% of customers prefer online chat (another name for live chat in this instance) over other communication methods, according to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customers Report.

Compared to other forms of customer service, live chat frequently performs better, with faster response times, higher CSAT scores, and quicker resolutions.

Plus, your customers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat, according to 63% of respondents, reports SaaSworthy.

Why should you use chatbots for customer service?

Customer expectations are increasing. While at the same time, your customer service team is asked to do more with less. Something has to give. Or does it?

Chatbots build a bridge between your stellar customer service team and your customers. When comparing live chat and chatbots, don’t think of them as adversaries. Chatbots aren’t replacement tools for human interaction but merely extensions of your customer service team.

  • Here are just a few things chatbots can do:
  • Answer customer questions.
  • Troubleshoot common problems.
  • Gather customer information.
  • Determine the department to route customers to.
  • Move customers into an agent’s queue across channels.

In fact, 48% of U.S. customers believe AI should make life easier, according to Zendesk’s CX Trends Report. For people ages 25–39, that number jumps up to 80%.

How to make your chatbot stand out using live chat.

The biggest problems you’ll face when implementing a chatbot strategy for customer service are perceptions and expectations.

On one side of the spectrum, many people have high expectations for AI. Pop culture has skewed public perception, making them think AI can do nearly anything seamlessly without much work on their part.

On the other side, some people simply hear (or see) the word “bot” and dismiss it as stupid and useless. (Probably from previous bad experiences with low-end, faulty bots.)

There’s currently a long way to go before AI-powered chatbots meet customer expectations. Here are a few ways AI chatbots are failing customers—and how you can use this information to make your customer service stand out.

Accuracy is everything.

The stat: 47% of consumers report not getting accurate answers, according to Zendesk.

As an extension of your customer service team, customers need to be able to trust the information they get from your chatbot. Customers who don’t trust your chatbot quickly lose faith in your business.

While we like to think that AI is infinitely intelligent, chatbots are only as good as the information you feed them. Just like you have to spend time straining your customer service agents, you need to spend time inputting information, writing scripts, and QA-ing your chatbot.

How to fix it: Ensure your chatbots have access to all the information your customer service agents do, including product databases and customer data.

Speed still matters—even if your agents’ time isn’t at stake.

The stat: 56% of customers say it takes too long for the bot to recognize it can’t help solve their issues.

It’s like listening to the five-minute interactive voice response (IVR) menu before realizing you need to talk to a representative. Forcing customers to answer too many questions or go through too many routing menus is an easy way to frustrate them. Especially when 48% of surveyed consumers in the U.S. believe chatbots should save time when contacting a company.

How to fix it: While it’s a good practice to use chatbots to collect information before connecting with a live agent, keep them as few as possible.

Also, consider measuring chatbot performance, much like you would a live agent. Are they resolving issues quickly? Are they able to solve problems with just one interaction? That way, you can identify weak spots and continue improving.

Don’t make customers repeat themselves, ever.

The stat: 44% of customers say the most frustrating thing about working with a chatbot is when they have to start all over again with a human agent.

We know customers hate to repeat themselves. It’s one of the things they hope AI-enabled bots can prevent. According to Zendesk, 49% of surveyed consumers believe AI should keep people from having to repeat themselves.

How to fix it: When combining live chat and chatbots, make the handoff from bot to agent seamless. Use the information collected by the bots to auto-populate your conversational platform and give agents access to the conversation so they don’t miss anything.

Be transparent and give them a choice.

The stat: 44% get frustrated that they don’t have a choice between speaking with a human or a bot at the beginning of a conversation.

Think about IVR systems. They (almost) always give you an option to connect directly with a live representative, and it’s easy to tell when you’re talking to a live agent.

But it’s not as easy to identify over live chat, and customers can feel deceived when they think they’re reaching out to a person. And when they’re having a hard time explaining their issue, walking through it with a bot can just add to their frustrations.

How to fix it: Name your bot, and have them introduce itself as a robotic assistant. Include an option to connect directly with a live agent (when available) in that welcome message. While you want to encourage customers to interact with your bot in order to reduce the burden on your live agents, you don’t want to force them. Give them a choice.

Infuse bots with brand personality.

The stat: 47% of surveyed consumers believe AI should improve customer service quality.

Admittedly, you’re battling a perception when introducing chatbots into your customer experience. When customers hear “chatbot,” they immediately think of robotic, monotone voices. For web conversations, that translates to personality-less text or poor attempts to sound “human” that end up sounding… fake.

The easiest fix is to create a chatbot experience that matches your brand’s personality, whether that’s enthusiastic, fun, empathetic, or straightforward.

Our client Daily Harvest, a popular meal kit delivery service, knew they needed to create a chatbot to help alleviate their overburdened customer service team. But they wanted to ensure customers got the same excellent customer experience the brand has become known for. They partnered with Quiq to build a custom AI chatbot that not only solved common customer issues but could also interpret customers’ language and syntax, their food preferences, and more.

They ended up with Sage, Daily Harvest’s digital care guide. Besides reducing call volume by 60% (a huge win in its own right), they optimized the customer experience and improved their already extraordinarily high CSAT rate.

Read more about Sage and Daily Harvest here >

Make live agents and chatbots part of the same team.

With the right planning (and the right partner), chatbots and live agents can work seamlessly together to serve your customers.

According to Zendesk, only 38% of businesses use both bots and human agents for live chat. That means there’s a big opportunity for improvement.

Since 83% of customers expect to connect with someone immediately when contacting a company, according to Salesforce, you need to pool your resources to meet (or exceed) customer expectations.

Start crafting your chatbot and live chat strategy by taking these preliminary steps:

  1. Collect customer issues by volume. What questions do you get the most?
  2. Organize them by complexity. Are they simple “where’s my order” questions, or do they take several steps and individual problem-solving?
  3. Identify which can be solved with bots or which needs a live agent.
  4. Figure out how bots and humans can work together to solve problems.

Don’t think of live agents and bots as working in silos. The best tactic is to use them both together at various times in the interaction.

Use a bot to collect information and troubleshoot problems upfront. Then, tap in a live agent when the problem gets complex. You can also pull in a bot at the end of the conversation to close out transactions, ask for feedback, or talk about the next steps.

Empower your customer service team to embrace chatbot interactions, and work in tandem to deliver the best customer experience.

Leverage live chat and chatbots with Quiq.

Quiq’s AI-powered chatbots work just like your live agents. With our Conversational Platform, you can combine native Quiq customer service chatbots, bots developed in third-party frameworks, and human agents any way you like.

The question is no longer if you should choose between live chat or chatbots, but how you can use both to deliver the ultimate customer experience.

How To Add Digital Customer Service

Don’t have a digital customer service strategy? There are no more excuses.

Today’s consumers exist primarily online, and they expect convenient and streamlined digital engagement from brands. With customer expectations increasing almost daily, companies are rapidly introducing digital channels to replace or co-exist with traditional channels like phone and email.

Now is the time to add or improve your digital customer service. Here’s how to add digital customer service to your existing channels:

  • Identify your common questions.
  • Implement the right channels.
  • Simplify your online engagement.
  • Promote your new digital channels.
  • Monitor and analyze conversations.

We’ll take a look at each step, but let’s define digital customer service first.

What is digital customer service?

Digital customer service is the act of providing customer service and support across online channels.

For most consumers, that means messaging—whether in-app, via text messaging, web chat, or social media.

Why use digital customer service?

There’s a lot more to digital customer service than answering a few direct messages on Instagram. In order to improve the digital customer experience, you need a well-rounded strategy that focuses on driving value.

Gartner identified top digital customer service trends in 2022. Here are three to keep in mind as you build out your strategy:

  • Delivering value over simply resolving issues: Digital customer service isn’t merely duplicating a call center. Yes, you’re there to solve customer problems, but you’re also acting as a sales rep for the brand. Validating purchases, offering product suggestions, and upselling/cross-selling should fall into your digital customer service strategy.
  • Privacy-led personalization: While personalization is still important to serving customers online, privacy is also a big concern. This means you should only collect information that’s absolutely necessary and always be completely transparent about what data you collect and how you use it.
  • Service in third-party channels: Brand-owned channels like websites and apps are still a popular option, but customers want to connect with you no matter where you are. Consider an omnichannel solution that brings the entire customer experience to the customer in the platforms they prefer.

5 reasons digital customer service is critical.

Post-pandemic, the question is no longer why use digital customer service—it’s how. Digital customer service is critical to a well-rounded customer experience. Here are 5 reasons you can’t ignore it.

1. You’re building relationships.

Your customers want experiences that are smooth, convenient, and hassle-free, regardless of whether it happens face-to-face or online. Since 230.5 million Americans shopped online in 2021—and the number is growing every year—the digital customer experience is more important than ever.

With the number of options available to consumers in nearly every industry, building relationships is vital to success.

2. It differentiates your business.

Mobile devices have put the power of apps, machine learning, automation, and rich messaging into the hands of pretty much every consumer. Tech-savvy customers are fully aware of what technology can do for them, and they expect to get what they want exactly when they want it.

Putting your digital customer experience first enables your organization to take advantage of this expectation.

We see the proof in our own customers. Companies like Tailored Brands are experiencing success doing just that.

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

3. You’ll upgrade your brand perception.

Customers want fast and easy interactions with brands, but they also want those experiences to be personal. In fact, Accenture found that 91% of customers are more likely to purchase from companies that recognize them by name, remember their purchase history, and provide personalized offers and product recommendations.

The right digital customer service strategy can help you get there. Quiq Messaging enables you to easily integrate messaging into your existing systems or customize the user interface to include data from your internal operations systems.

Your employees have visibility into the customer data that makes interactions personalized, including customer info, order history, and past conversations.

4. You can practice proactive outreach.

Your contact center agents aren’t limited to waiting by the phone or refreshing their email inbox to resolve issues. Digital customer service strategy can now include proactive outreach.

Sending notifications letting customers know that a product in their order is out of stock or that a flight has been delayed is the norm.

By being proactive, you can identify issues and resolve them before they become problems, which reduces the number of tickets you receive

5. It’ll boost efficiency and lower costs.

One-to-one phone calls with your human agents can reach capacity quickly. That’s why so many companies have diversified their engagement channels to provide more convenient options to their customers and cut down costs.

Digital channels not only improve the digital customer experience by providing effortless support and service but also reduces overall costs. Leveraging digital channels to scale service efforts saves on hiring new agents to handle increased volume and the 24/7 service needs from constantly connected consumers. On digital channels, agents can respond to multiple conversations at one time. That’s just not possible on a phone call.

6. You’ll increase revenue opportunities.

The pandemic created drastic consumer behavior shifts toward digital purchasing, and providing digital customer service goes hand in hand with increasing sales.

Even though retail has reopened, many consumers still plan on continuing the digital trends.

An Accenture survey revealed some key insights:

Consumers who increased usage during the pandemic.
Consumers who plan on continuing the trend.
In-app ordering
54% 84%
Social media sales
44% 80%
Curbside pickup
42% 78%
Livechat/chatbot/voice assistance
46% 77%
Shopping on the company website
36% 77%

All of these habits are revenue-generating and rely heavily on digital customer service to drive sales.

How to deploy digital customer service.

There’s a huge difference between offering multiple online channels and offering a seamless digital customer experience. Customers want instantaneous, convenient, and easy engagement—exactly how you should design your customer service experience.

Let’s take a closer look at the steps to add digital customer service to your existing channels.

1. Identify common questions.

The first step in your digital customer experience journey should be to take a look at the most common reasons your customers are contacting your contact center. Most of our clients can quickly identify a handful of the most common questions.

Some inquiries will be obvious like:

  • Where’s my order/when will I receive my order?
  • What is my login?
  • What is my account balance?
  • How do I change my reservation?
  • How do I make a return?

Start by creating digital self-service options. You can start with a simple FAQ page or dig a little deeper and build a chatbot to answer common customer questions and relieve the burden on your call center.

For example, outdoor apparel company Stio mails out 1.2 million catalogs a year. Before they expanded into digital customer service with business messaging, customers had to call customer service to remove themselves from the mailing list.

The company implemented messaging with a bot, enabling their customers to unsubscribe with just a few clicks. No human agent interaction needed. The company saw an immediate 9% decrease in phone calls and saved 83 agent hours in just the first two weeks of implementation.

2. Choose the channels your customers already use.

Once you have a good grasp of your customers and their needs, identify which channels you want to start with. Many of our clients tackle the highest volume channels first, which (surprisingly) often starts with the call center itself.

Think about streamlining the customer experience by getting the answers before they need them and getting them to the right person to solve their problems.

Here are the top 4 things our clients have done to integrate digital customer service:

  1. Integrate messaging into your IVR to give customers the option to immediately abandon a phone call to start chatting with an agent.
  2. Take a look at your desktop vs. mobile traffic. If you see a substantial portion of your traffic visiting your mobile page, it indicates that customers are willing to engage with you via SMS/text messaging. If it is still fairly high on desktop, that may indicate that you should deploy web chat.
  3. Don’t ignore your website traffic. Implement live chat on your website so that website visitors get the same benefits from messaging as your mobile customers do.
  4. Make sure you register with Google Business Messages and Apple Messages for Business so that customers can find and engage with you through search and maps on their mobile devices.

Give customers the freedom to choose their preferred channels depending on their specific problems. You’re also adding more bandwidth to your contact center by encouraging messaging over phone calls.

3. Improve digital customer experience.

Reaching out to engage with your brand should be simple and quick, as customers want their issues solved fast. Make it easy for customers to engage with the right department or agent that can resolve their inquiry most efficiently.

Here are a few things you can do to make it easier for your customer:

  1. Collect information from your customers by asking short questions that allow the customer to respond with a simple tap instead of typing in a response
  2. Implement a bot to collect information and apply rules to route the conversation.
  3. Make conversations sticky. If a customer spoke to a certain agent in a previous conversation, route the customer to that same agent or make sure the conversation history is easy to access for anyone that speaks to the customer.

Quiq makes it easy to set rules to route conversations to specific agents, departments, or queues based on set criteria.

4. Promote your new digital channels.

Let people know once your digital channels are available. Promote your new digital channels across your existing marketing channels:

  • Add a message to your IVR informing callers that web chat or text is available, even if you haven’t integrated messaging with your IVR.
  • Put a message on your website homepage and a “text us” call to action button at the bottom of your mobile site.
  • Make sure that messaging is prominent in the contact us section of your website.
  • Advertise it in your newsletters and social posts.
  • Add a message to the signature of all your contact center agents responding to emails reminding customers that alternate channels are available.

5. Monitor and analyze engagement.

Use analytics to monitor, analyze, and address areas within your digital customer experience that may need work along the way. For example, you can review closed and active conversations in real-time to determine if integration with your CRM or other business intelligence platform will help agents find critical information easier.

You’ll also want to evaluate agent performance on key metrics. Quiq’s messaging platform allows you to monitor the performance of human agents, as well as bots, so you always have a pulse on which types of inquiries may be stumping your team.

We’ve also made it easy to import and export data to and from our software, so you have the data you need, wherever you need it. Our out-of-the-box reports enable you to have an immediate view of your contact center’s performance, or you can combine the data in your BI tool for a broader understanding of your contact center.

Deliver the digital experience your customers want.

From start to finish, your customer experience must deliver. From the moment a consumer becomes aware of your brand to the point they become a customer, your digital customer experience will be a part of it all.

Your customers are trying to reach you on all digital channels—even if you’re not there yet. We’re ready to help you transform your contact center.

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.

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 2021 was $4.2 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.

9 Reasons Why Customers Want to Text You

People love their phones. The average American will spend nearly a month and a half (44 days) on their phones in 2022, according to a survey from Reviews.org. And they check their phones a staggering 344 times per day—up 31% from 2021.

But making a phone call? That they don’t love.

So if people aren’t making calls, what are they using their phones for? They’re checking social media apps, consuming news, replying to emails, and texting. People prefer SMS text to connect with family and friends—even businesses.

In fact, Juniper Research reported that global mobile business messaging traffic hit 2.7 trillion in 2020, up 10% from 2019. And customer service requests over SMS jumped 28% in 2021, according to Zendesk’s CX Trends Report.

Customers know what they want, but businesses are slow to respond. Nearly 93% of consumers want to communicate via text message, says Forbes, yet less than a third of consumers report getting text messages from them.

People want to send text messages. So why do so few companies offer it?

Business messaging includes SMS/texting, but it isn’t limited to it. There are many text apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, as well as messaging support through Google Business Messages and Apple Messages for Business.

What does this mean for your customer service team? It’s time to embrace business text messaging. Your customers want to text you, and here are 9 reasons why.

1. Customers want options.

Too many choices may lead to feeling overwhelmed, but that doesn’t stop customers from wanting them. There are countless ways to reach out to businesses. Customers have tasted the power to choose, and they want more.

People pick the method of communication that fits their problem. According to Zendesk’s 2020 CX Trends report, 40% of customers choose a channel based on the complexity of their issue. Simple questions may only merit a text, while explaining more complex issues over a phone call is probably easier.

It’s important to remember that you’re not replacing your call centers. You’re merely providing another option.

2. Your customers are busy.

Multitasking has become an art form with your customers juggling hundreds of tasks daily. They’ve been taught to maximize their productivity and not let one second of downtime go to waste. They even spend their free time (which they value more than ever) bettering themselves with restorative activities.

So it’s a big deal when they have to drop what they’re doing to call customer service—let alone wait on hold. Calling a support center when all they need is a quick answer breaks up the flow of their day.

Meanwhile, email support still feels like a more formal medium. People spend longer drafting messages, which wastes more of their day. Plus, they don’t know how quickly (or how long) it’ll take to receive a reply.

Customers want businesses to value their time.

Sending a text message fits your customers’ lifestyles and won’t disrupt their hectic days.

3. Your customers don’t want to wait.

They’re too busy optimizing their day for maximum productivity to wait on hold for customer service. According to a survey conducted by Arise, nearly two-thirds of customers say they’re only willing to wait 2 minutes or less before hanging up.

An aside: Though not the topic of the survey, 15% of Arise survey respondents said they do not contact customer service by phone. This implies that these customers never use the phone to connect with brands.

Customers also don’t want to wait for a response over email. That’s why texting is the goldilocks of the customer service world. It falls somewhere between instant in-person answers and delayed email responses.

Efficiency is critical for your customers as much as it is for you. Being able to ask a question, get a quick response, and move about their day will make them more productive and give them the confidence to do business with you again.

4. They just need a quick answer.

Simple questions don’t need a phone call. Getting answers to common queries like, “When will this be back in stock?” or “Where’s my order?” shouldn’t require a phone call and a potentially long wait on hold.

You likely have this information on your website, but you want to make it as simple as possible for customers to get answers. Sending a text is the simplest way for people to get answers—and it’s even faster when you use AI chatbots to tackle them.

Then customers get service without tying up your customer support agents on phone calls or even text responses.

5. Texting isn’t limited to millennials.

If you serve any generation other than millennials and Gen Z, you might think texting doesn’t apply. But it does—messaging isn’t just a young kids’ game.

It’s true that the younger the generation, the more likely they are to send a text message over making a call. But text messaging is still used by baby boomers and older generations.

AARP reported in 2018 that 9 in 10 adults over 50 use their smartphones to send instant messages, texts, or emails—and it’s likely that number has gone up dramatically since.

Because almost everyone uses text messaging to communicate with someone, it’s also a less technical way for people of any age to reach customer service.

Other messaging channels may require downloading an app or using unfamiliar social media. Text messaging, however, is ready to go on everyone’s device.

6. They can text on their terms.

What if your customers have a question outside of business hours? Waiting until 9–5, Mondays through Fridays, crushes their need for instant gratification. More than that, problems rarely occur on a set schedule.

Not only is sending a text faster than connecting over email and phone, but it’s also asynchronous. In short, that means both parties don’t need to be present for the conversation to continue. Your customer can send a message and then go about their day while waiting for a response. They control the cadence of the conversation.

This also benefits your customer service team. Instead of spending all their time on one call, agents can manage up to 8 conversations in the time it would take for one call.

7. They just prefer texting.

We’re all guilty of hitting ignore on a well-intentioned phone call or putting off making an appointment. More and more, people perceive a phone call as invasive and time-consuming.

According to a Bank My Cell survey, 75% of millennials avoid phone calls as they’re time-consuming. And 81% get apprehension anxiety before summoning up the courage to make a call. While millennials have a reputation for being phone-averse, it doesn’t stop with them.

Why do so many of us dread phone calls?

Among many reasons, it’s because they’re unpredictable. A customer service call can take a few minutes or half an hour, so customers don’t know how to prepare.

Business texts are quick and efficient, but they’re also just really convenient.

8. Customers want a better experience.

Your customer service team’s goal is to give your patrons the experience they want. Adding business messaging as a customer support channel and also a tool in your text message marketing arsenal—a relatively moderate lift on your end—will exponentially improve the experience for many of your customers.

In fact, customer satisfaction scores over messaging are 8–14 percentage points higher than other channels.

And the value of a great customer experience is higher than you might think. Customers are even willing to pay for it. PwC reports that 73% of people say customer experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions.

From sending support messages to answering questions and even making purchases, you can create a complete customer experience right within a native texting app.

Plus, you’re likely to improve customer perception and help boost revenue as a result.

9. Customers want more than words.

When you think about business text messages, sending GIFs, emojis, and product videos may not be the first thing that comes to mind.

But it should be, especially if you’re doing SMS marketing, because “rich messaging” (as it’s been named) can seriously boost engagement with your messages. Think about it: How many times do you race to open an incoming message with a GIF or video link, vs. a standard text message?

Rich messaging can mean the difference between customers feeling like they’re texting a business, and feeling like they’re messaging a family member or friend.

By enabling additional media via SMS/text, you can help customers complete a whole slew of actions, including:

  • Completing transactions
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Browsing and selecting products

Your customers want to text you.

What are you waiting for? Companies that have enthusiastically embraced messaging have taken the customer experience to a whole new level.

Texting a customer and accepting incoming messages is one of the best ways to connect with them.

Whether you’re looking to strengthen your customer service game, or simply provide another avenue for customers to share feedback, messaging is the way forward.

Best Practices for Call Center Agents

No, the call center isn’t dead.

In the last few years, digital channels have seen tremendous growth. People can go online to find answers, send a text, chat with a bot, or even reach out on social media.

But while the industry’s focus has shifted to text-based communications, call centers aren’t going anywhere.

Last year, Salesforce reported that customers ranked “phone” as their second most preferred customer service channel. That’s up from their #3 spot in 2019—overtaking in-person interactions (for obvious reasons).

Since customers are still dialing, we’ve put together some best practices to help call center agents shine.

Show customers you care.

Providing great customer service starts and ends with emotions. Answering customers’ questions is vital, but you’re really there to connect with them. And it starts with communicating effectively.

Listen.

Listening is the first step. It needs to be said because it sometimes conflicts with other productivity goals. Take the time to listen to a customer’s complaints before diving into a script. Not only will you be better equipped to solve their problems (without a bunch of clarifying questions), but you also give the customer a chance to vent their frustrations and feel heard.

Demonstrate empathy.

There’s a big gap between customer expectations and reality. Salesforce reports that 68% of customers expect brands to demonstrate empathy, only 37% of customers feel brands actually do.

Make sure to use phrases like “I understand,” or try repeating back what your customer said to show you were listening. These types of responses are especially important over the phone when you can’t rely on visual cues like eye contact and head nodding.

Go off-script.

Scripts are great tools to help call center agents solve customer problems, but they can sound stiff and stale. Customers can tell when you’re reading from a script, and it can immediately put a wall up between you.

While it’s helpful to follow the general outline to ensure you don’t miss any important information, inject some of your own personality and mannerisms into it.

Add humor when appropriate, double-back if a customer didn’t give a clear answer, or pull together language from a variety of scenarios.

Customers will appreciate it. (Just make sure it’s within company policy first.)

Avoid transferring calls.

This one’s tough because it relies on so many other determining factors. But customers have come to expect quick resolutions to their problems, especially when choosing to call customer service over other channels.

In fact, Salesforce reports that 83% of consumers expect to solve their complex problems by speaking with one person.

The truth is, customers don’t want to speak with multiple people to solve their problems. It often means they have to repeat themselves (something customers don’t like), and it increases the time they spend on hold.

The best way to limit transfers?

It often comes down to infrastructure—something that is outside of call center agents’ control. This often includes bigger organizational initiatives like:

  • Setting up a knowledge base: Information should be easily accessible. That way, when you don’t know the answer, you can pull it up in the knowledge base instead of transferring the call to someone who does know.
  • Utilizing call center software: There are tons of call center software options that enhance agent and customer experience alike. Some offer options to notify a manager and have them listen to a call to help agents navigate more complex interactions.
  • Having a system to direct calls: If your company has multiple specialized departments, customer service centers should immediately direct calls to the right person. Call centers can accomplish this using an interactive voice response (IVR) system, web chat, or other self-service tools.
  • Training agents thoroughly: A knowledge base and customer service software are great tools, but they can’t replace thorough training. Agents should spend time learning the ins and outs of the business, in addition to customer service tactics.

Prepare to tackle complex issues.

Call centers aren’t the hub for information anymore. Online communications are growing in popularity.

Between easily accessible information and various other communication channels, making a phone call isn’t the go-to reflex for many customers.

According to Zendesk’s 2020 CX Trends report, 40% of customers choose a channel based on the complexity of their issue. That means when customers have a difficult problem, they’re reaching out to the call center.

Their problem is either too difficult to explain in an email, they’ve tried and failed to search for answers themselves, or they had a bad experience with online customer service in the past. Heck, some people just prefer to talk to someone over the phone. (Yes, they still exist!)

So what does that mean for call center agents? You need to be prepared for anything.

In addition to knowing your products and services inside out, consider conflict resolution training to help upset customers.

Keep these steps in mind when you have to deal with an angry customer:

  1. Stay calm: Easier said than done (we know), but you’ll only escalate the problem if you respond aggressively or defensively. Take deep breaths, and try not to take any of it personally.
  2. Validate your customers’ concerns: Tap into that empathy we talked about earlier. Show you’re listening and actually try to understand the core issue. Most of the time, customers just want to know that they’re talking to someone who can actually fix their problem.
  3. Try not to argue: As much as you want to give the customer all the facts, now’s not the time to correct them. If they’re upset, they aren’t thinking rationally. So trying to rationalize with them won’t make a difference.
  4. Take responsibility: Check with your company policy on this one first, but it’s generally a good idea to accept responsibility. Apologize when necessary.
  5. Find the solution: Once you’ve figured out the problem, try to find a solution that works within the bounds of your capabilities and satisfies the customer.

Sometimes it’s walking them through a difficult application setup. Other times it’s offering a replacement product when there’s failed. Ask call center supervisors for guidance on what’s acceptable to offer a customer to keep them coming back.

Measure what matters.

There are all kinds of measurements used to evaluate call center agents. A lot of them have to do with speed. How quickly do you resolve calls? How many calls can you take in a day? How quickly do you answer calls?

As a call center agent, it’s important to know which measurements matter to management. But it doesn’t stop there.

To blow customers away with excellent service, focus on these metrics:

  1. First-call resolution: Like we mentioned before, customers expect even their complex problems to be solved with just one call to customer service. If you focus too much on speed, this number is likely to drop.
  2. Customer satisfaction: Many call centers send a CSAT survey immediately after a customer service interaction. In this case, that survey reflects directly on the call center agent.
  3. Customer effort score: CES measures how easy the interaction was for the customer. Customers are hoping for easy interactions, so do your best to keep things simple. This often translates to not putting them on hold for too long, not transferring them to multiple departments, and providing answers that are easy to understand.

Call center agents are the frontline.

Call centers are still the backbone of the customer service industry. And the most important thing to remember as a call center agent is this: You are your company’s representatives.

Follow company policy, but don’t stop there. Put these best practices to use to deliver stellar customer service experiences.

7 Tips to Increase Customer Survey Response Rates

You’ve learned about the benefits of customer surveys. (Maybe you even read our blog post 3 Key Metrics to Go After in 2022 and took it to heart.) You decided which surveys are right for your company, put together a few different types, and placed them throughout your customer journey…

…And you got crickets.

Without any responses (or too few to be statistically significant), you can’t measure how well your support team is doing, if a new product is resonating with your customers, or if your online cart experience is frustrating your customers.

You need a way to increase your customer survey response rates.

Keep reading to dive into some top strategies.

Why are customer survey response rates important?

Are you secretly asking, why is this even a big deal? We get it. You’re getting responses, so you have some data to work with. But here are a few reasons your response rates need a boost:

  • A small sample size skews your data: Just because a couple of people don’t like your product doesn’t mean the majority of your customers don’t. The larger the sample size you collect, the more accurately it will represent your customers.
  • Your survey may suffer from non-response bias: There could be something in your survey design, tactics, or questions that makes it more likely for a certain type of customer to answer. Maybe only people that buy kitchen utensils respond, or only people who are at home on Tuesdays, resulting in more skewed data. You could inadvertently skew your service to help respondents and leave non-respondents out.
  • The more data you have, the easier it is to draw conclusions: Just a handful of results all over the place won’t do your team any good. It’s easier to identify trends and craft the appropriate action plan.

What is a good customer survey response rate? According to Customer Thermometer, the typical customer survey response rate is 5–30%, and anything over 50% is considered fantastic.

Tip #1: Pick the right survey.

How many customer surveys are out there? The limit does not exist.

You can emulate tons of surveys, but many in e-commerce and other customer-facing industries focus on three vital ones.

  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys ask customers, “How satisfied were you with [product/service]?”
  • Customer effort scores (CES) ask customers, “How easy was it to interact with [company]?”
  • Net Promoter Scores® (NPS®) asks, “How likely are you to recommend [business/product/service] to someone you know?”

While they all rely on similar rating systems, each question asks about a different aspect of your business.

You’re not bound to these three, but picking the appropriate customer survey for what you’re trying to measure is important. Not only will you get misleading data, but you’re also less likely to get customer responses.

Tip #2: Send it at the right time.

Don’t ask for a CSAT survey weeks after a customer service interaction. By then, your customer has already forgotten how the conversation went—unless it was really good or really bad.

Which surveys you use will dictate when you should send them. Per the example above, CSAT surveys work best when measuring something specific, like a support interaction or a product purchase. You should typically send these types of surveys within a day or two of whatever you’re measuring. Plus, response rates increase, and responses are more accurate if customers take surveys within 24 hours.

However, Net Promoter Scores are asking more about your customers’ loyalty to your brand. In that case, pick a regular interval to send out NPS surveys. It could be once a quarter or once a year—just make sure you’re giving your team enough time to analyze the results and make improvements in between.

Tip #3: Make it as short as possible.

We know you want to get as much valuable information as you can, but long surveys have much worse completion rates.

What’s the difference between survey completion rates and response rates? Completion rates measure how many people start the survey and finish it and compare it to people who began the survey and didn’t complete it.

Response rates simply measure how many people completed the survey against how many surveys you sent out.

Here are what the equations look like:

  • # of people who completed the survey ÷ total # of people who opened the survey x 100 = Completion rate
  • # of people who completed the survey ÷ total # of people you sent the survey to x 100 = Response rate

Both of these numbers decrease dramatically the more questions you ask. That’s why one to two question surveys like the three above are so successful. They don’t ask too much of customers, and customers can respond quickly.

You can still get the information you need to improve your products and services, just maybe not on that initial survey. Consider testing optional responses for the longer, thought-provoking questions, or ask those who complete the surveys if they’re willing to take a follow-up questionnaire or speak with one of your representatives.

Tip #4: Remove the friction.

Since you’re essentially asking customers for a favor, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to fill out your survey.

A great way to help you increase your customer survey response rates is to put your surveys in immediately accessible places. Think: Within your web chat platform after a customer service interaction.

The best part? Some conversational platforms like Quiq give you rich messaging capabilities to enable customers to answer surveys right within the channel. Customers won’t be scared off by unknown links, making it faster and easier for them to respond.

Tip #5: Send follow-ups.

Just because customers don’t respond right away doesn’t mean they won’t. Your customers are busy, and things slip their minds just like everyone else. The survey can land on the bottom of the to-do list or not make it on there at all. Sending a follow-up is not only a good idea—it’s a best practice.

Sending email follow-ups is standard, but try reaching out through other channels if customers ignore your survey. Things get lost in emails, sent to spam, or deleted.

Instead, consider outbound SMS/text messaging as an alternative. While email open rates are around 20%, text messages have nearly a 100% read rate. And you get the added benefit of rich messaging that allows customers to answer the survey questions right within their text messages.

Remember, you’re asking for a favor. Keep it friendly and keep follow-ups minimal. Sending multiple emails with “or else” messaging won’t get you anywhere.

Tip #6: Try incentives.

Incentives might not be a feasible long-term solution, but they’ve been proven repeatedly to encourage survey participation.

Here are a few incentives you could try:

  • Coupons and discounts
  • Free shipping
  • Monetary incentives
  • Donations to a favorite charity
  • Entry into a sweepstakes
  • Free swag
  • Free samples
  • Exclusive content
  • Rewards points

Keep in mind that small monetary gifts for everyone actually incentivizes responses more than entry into sweepstakes with large cash prizes.

Tip #7: Test everything.

You can learn all the best tips and tricks and still not produce surveys that resonate with your audience. How do you determine what will work? Test everything.

A/B test survey subject lines, find out the best time to send them, how long after a purchase or interaction, and even what type of questions you ask and how you ask them. You can even test which incentives work better: free shipping, a percentage discount, or a dollar discount.

A good way to use testing is to figure out how to talk and engage with your customers. Figure out if they like being called by their first names or just their last name. See if incorporating their purchase into the email copy works. Does “How are you liking that new spatula, Jane?” work better than “Rate your new spatula”? Test and find out!

Bonus Tip: Respond to submitted surveys.

A big reason people don’t respond to surveys? They don’t think it’ll make a difference.

Send automated thank yous immediately after the survey (as the bare minimum). But if you’re going through responses and see bad ones that you can address directly, do so and let your customers know. Alternatively, when they’re really good, let the customer know how appreciative you are of their response and their business.

If you’re really adventurous, you can even work their sentiment and feedback into future engagement messaging. If customers had a problem with an app, let them know that you’ve updated it. If they really liked a product, share when you get new color options.

While it might not immediately increase your survey response rate, customers will appreciate that their voice is being heard.

It takes a grab-bag of tricks to increase customer survey response rates.

If your customer survey response rates are low, try implementing several of these tips. It’s no secret that consumers are reaching survey fatigue, so the more you can do to make it easy, appealing, and beneficial for your customers, the better off you’ll be.

Social Commerce 101: Tips and Tricks

You already know that e-commerce is booming.

But what about social commerce?

For years, businesses have primarily used social media for marketing. Now, selling through social media is not just possible—it’s prospering.

Even if you haven’t heard of it before, your company is likely already engaging in social commerce. It falls under the e-commerce umbrella, but it refers specifically to purchases made on a social media platform. Any time you connect a social media post with a product page and end up with a sale, you’re engaging in social commerce.

Social commerce is gradually becoming its own market entirely. Consumers spend more time on social media, and new tools are released regularly to make it easier to complete transactions without ever leaving the platforms.

How can you capitalize on social commerce? We’re breaking down what it is and how to use it in your e-commerce strategy.

What is social commerce?

As we alluded to above, social commerce is when your customers purchase directly on a social media platform, like Facebook or Instagram. It can also include sales made from a social media click.

Social selling is also wrapped up in social commerce, with slight differences. Social selling is when a salesperson reaches out to a customer to engage in the selling process.

The top four social platforms for selling are:

  1. Instagram
  2. Facebook
  3. TikTok
  4. Pinterest

Why care about social commerce?

Social commerce is a growing segment of the e-commerce market, and you should absolutely claim a slice of the pie.

According to Insider Intelligence, US social commerce sales are expected to reach $45.74 billion in 2022, with more than half of adults making a purchase directly on social media.

And eMarketer predicts it’ll reach nearly $80 billion by 2025. (That’s a big pie.)

There are also a lot of opportunities to improve mobile sales. While mobile traffic contributes to more retail site visits, it doesn’t correlate with retail sales. Cart abandonment is much higher on mobile than on desktop.

Social media commerce helps businesses capture those lost sales.

Many customers already turn to social media to discover new products, check reviews, and ask for advice. Social commerce simply closes the loop by making it easy to buy, too.

Not convinced? Here are a few more reasons why social commerce is worth your company’s time:

  • Users don’t have to leave whichever app they’re using to make a sale.
  • Fewer clicks removes the friction of selling online and leads to higher conversions.
  • Consumers are less likely to abandon their carts before completing a purchase.
  • The entire customer journey happens within the platform, improving your customer experience.
  • You can hyper-target your customers with audience tools available on social media platforms.

Tips for capitalizing on social commerce

Social commerce is already happening all around the world. Put together a strategy now to jump on the growing trend.

Start small with a strategic plan of action.

You’re probably already engaging in social commerce, but there are different things to consider when making it part of your e-commerce strategy. The biggest takeaway? Start small.

  • Pick your social platforms: Even if your brand is active across multiple social media channels, start your social selling strategy on just one or two. Not all platforms are great for selling, and you likely have different audiences across each.
  • Don’t make it a second store-front: While smaller businesses might be tempted to use Facebook Shops to open their store, larger retailers should hold off on sharing their entire product catalog. Social commerce is primarily driven by small purchases, and offering too many options to your customers can easily lead to confusion and indecision. Start with carefully selected products and add as you go.
  • Offer platform exclusives: An easy way to drum up excitement for social commerce products is to make them exclusive to a platform. This can help launch your social commerce strategy while you’re getting started. It’s also an easy way to test your campaigns on different platforms to see what sells.

Lean into social media marketing tactics.

There have been tons of blog posts dedicated to social media marketing, so we won’t dive too deep into it here. But there are a few important tactics to keep in mind while driving sales.

  • Engage with your audience: The best thing about social media? It’s social. A great strategy doesn’t just include passive posts. Make sure your team actively asks and answers questions, engages with audiences’ posts, and collects user-generated content. When switching to a commerce strategy, it’s easy to overwhelm audiences with sales messaging. Keeping it social and engaging will keep you from alienating your followers.
  • Use influencer marketing: Influencer culture gets a lot of flack, but it’s a proven method for encouraging your audience to engage and purchase from your brand. According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of consumers depend on influencer recommendations. Whether you target micro-influencers or the big fish, it’s important to find the right balance between social and selling.
  • Test paid advertising: There’s no denying that many social media platforms have turned into pay-to-play channels. Facebook and Instagram especially offer a wide range of ad options that can draw a clear line between advertising and sales. This makes it easy to test out what messages work for your customers and what kind of products work best for in-app sales.

Tap into your customer service team.

It’s likely that you’re already leveraging your customer service team to help answer customer questions on social media. They’re also a great resource to help drive your social commerce efforts.

  • Train your customer service team to convert. Consumers (especially Millennials and Gen Z) prefer the casual nature of social media over retail websites and traditional communication channels. So your customer service team should take a different approach to chatting and selling to customers on social media. Create social media best practices, so your team hits the right conversational notes and genuinely connects with your customers.
  • Sell in the DMs: When customers reach out for specs, sizing recommendations, and the like, empower your customer service team to complete the sale right within the messaging platform.

See how Quiq integrates messaging payment solutions so your team can securely make a sale without the customer ever leaving the app >

  • Personalize the shopping experience: Selling in the DMs or through other social methods allows your team to connect personally with your customers. Be friendly, use your customers’ names, and offer personalized recommendations.
  • Test and collect feedback: Your customer service team is already primed for collecting customer feedback, and social media is a great place to get quick insights in real-time. See which products will sell on social platforms, what type of messages work, and which purchasing methods your customers are most comfortable using.

Convenience is key.

Convenience is the main driver of social commerce’s success. Customers are able to discover, research, and purchase products without ever leaving their preferred social media app. Make purchasing from your company as easy as possible.

  • Provide multiple options to make a purchase: Social media platforms provide a variety of ways for you to capitalize on sales. Facebook and Instagram have shoppable posts, there’s Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Shops, many “link in bio” platforms, and or sell directly in the DMs.
  • Use AI chatbots for quick responses: When your customer service team isn’t readily available, your friendly chatbot is there to help. Answer customer questions quickly, so they’re less likely to second-guess their purchases and abandon their carts.

Quiq’s customer service chatbots will help you connect with your customers when you can’t. See what they can do >

Optimize for mobile: Since most social commerce will happen on mobile, ensure your checkout and website experience is mobile-friendly. You want to avoid any kind of inconvenience during the purchase process or risk losing the sale altogether.

Don’t sleep on social commerce

While this term is relatively new, there’s no denying that social commerce is here in a big way. Developing a strategy to capitalize on this new form of selling can give your e-commerce business the edge. Plus, you’ll be able to capture the interest of younger generations as they increase their buying power over the next few years.

Now’s the time to jump on this revenue-boosting opportunity.

How to Elevate Your E-Commerce with Web Chat Software

There are a lot of moving parts to your e-commerce strategy. Is web chat software one of them?

When customers visit your company’s e-commerce website, what happens? Your company has likely spent many hours thinking about the customer experience. No matter how good your UX designers and copywriters are, your site doesn’t replicate the one-to-one service you get from an in-person experience.

But web chat gets you pretty close.

Plus, customers love it. Customer satisfaction when interacting with agents over web chat is 73%, which is higher than both email and phone.

Dive into web chat software and explore how to integrate it into your e-commerce strategy.

How does web chat software work?

Web chat software, like Quiq, uses a widget to enable chat directly on your website. On the front end, customers see a chat icon they can click to reveal a chatbox to instantly connect with your customer service team. There, they can have a conversation with a live agent to get quick answers to their questions.

Alternatively, you can have chatbots automatically welcome guests to your website, ask if they have any questions, and or provide suggestions when customers have stalled.

What you see behind the scenes and on the backend will vary greatly depending on which platform you choose. Quiq’s robust features include visitor tracking, chat history, chat routing to live agents, sentiment analysis, chat continuation, and much more.

The benefits of web chat software.

Even though we’ve all gotten used to the online shopping experience, there’s still something missing: the human element. Web chat software can help your business connect with customers again, much like they do when they step into a brick-and-mortar store.

A human touch brings many benefits to the online shopping experience. Customers are more likely to make an emotional connection when they interact with a person over your website experience. Your live agent can help with sizing, suggest complementary products, and offer personalized advice that won’t make it into your web copy.

Plus, customers expect businesses to engage them in some way, even when they’re just browsing a website. According to Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customers Report, 59% of consumers expect a company to engage them proactively.

There are also a lot of business benefits on the backend to help your customer support agents and ultimately your bottom line.

With web chat, you can:

  • Connect with customers on their preferred channel
  • Build customer trust and loyalty
  • Answer customer questions 24/7
  • Lower call volumes by engaging proactively with customers
  • Collect relevant information with chat analytics
  • Increase conversions
  • Lower your cart abandonment rate
  • Improve customer satisfaction rates with quick resolutions

How to use web chat for e-commerce.

Your e-commerce strategy is thorough, but without web chat software to incorporate live customer conversations, it’s incomplete. Here are five ways to use web chat to meet your goals, along with tactics to help you get there.

Live-Chat-Software-Chatbot-Messaging-Window1. Prep your team for live chat.

Don’t just convert your team from emails and phone calls to live chat and expect everything to go smoothly. Live chat is a different beast, so you should prepare your team accordingly.

Here are some tips to help get them ready for live text conversations:

Decide on a conversation style: Voice conversations don’t always translate well to text. Sometimes it takes a little extra to convey a friendly demeanor. Share with your team how you want them to write to customers. Will they use exclamation points? Emojis? Text-shorthand? Decide how you want to sound and then give your team examples to help them translate it to chat conversations.

Provide quick access to answers: Your support agents need to be able to access information quickly to be able to share it with the customer. Ensure they have access to a knowledge base within the web chat software or within easy reach.

Give them the right tools: Find web chat software with robust features. For example, Quiq provides features like sentiment analysis and AI-powered text prediction to get fast answers to your customers’ questions. Also ensure your team is comfortable with the conversational tools you’re implementing before opening them up to customers.

2. Initiate conversations, selectively.

Ever walked into a brick-and-mortar store only to be scared away by an overanxious store clerk? No one wants to be the pushy salesperson. It’s the same when customers land on your website. You want them to know there’s someone available to help should they need it, but you can’t be too eager with your messages that you annoy them.

Either welcome a visitor to your website or jump in to help at a key crossroad. It’s best not to send multiple messages when the site visitor hasn’t engaged (other than to minimize the window).

3. Trigger conversations before customers bounce.

It’s perfectly fine to have a welcome message greeting your customers when they first land on your site, but you can also introduce chat messages at key points in your buyer journey.

If there’s a specific page or point in the shopping experience that always has your site visitors jumping ship, automatically trigger a welcome note or a simple “How can we help?” message.

Here are some tactics to think about employing:

On a product page: If your site visitors are stalling out on a product page, it’s possible there’s a question they need answered. Maybe they’re looking for more product specs, or they aren’t sure how to determine their sizing. Program a chatbot to ask if they have any questions after 20 seconds of page idling. You can have your chatbot answer the easier, more common questions, or connect them to a live agent should any complex queries come up.

Part of your website web chat plan should include chatbots. To see how you enhance your customer service workflows with AI-powered bots, click here.

At checkout: Do customers fill up their shopping cart and then stall at checkout? Send in a discount code through your chatbot to encourage a sale. A well-timed coupon can trigger a decision and give your customers a gentle nudge to purchase.

An FAQ page: When customers find your FAQ or contact page, they generally already have a question that needs answering. Be available for customers to ask more specific questions, or get immediate help.

4. Provide personalized upsell opportunities.

Amazon is notorious for attempting to upsell with its algorithms and not doing a very good job. (You buy one country album and you’ll forever see Willie Nelson memorabilia in your product suggestions.)

Customers crave personalization and help from your live agents. And businesses are far from meeting customer expectations. According to Salesforce, 47% of customers say businesses don’t use their personal information for their benefit. Using web chat software to proactively provide product suggestions to your customers can go a long way.

Personalizing your messages is made easier with a service like Quiq. Your live agents get insights into your website visitors’ behaviors and interests. Here are a few ways you can use these features to provide personalized upsell opportunities:

Track page views: Use their search history to get a better idea of their interests and what they’re looking for. If you find your customer is searching for living room furniture and select an armchair, pull matching coffee table or sofa suggestions.

Pick up where you left off: The buyer journey is peppered with interruptions—especially online. If your customer gets called away and returns later, you have their activity history to help them continue the conversation and pick up where they left off.

Provide specialized insights: Do you have several product categories that require different expertise? Pair specialized customer service agents to certain areas of your site. Chat routing ensures conversations are directed to the right agent or bot. That way, you can provide expert help for your customers depending on where they land on your site—and improve conversions as a result.

5. Collect customer feedback.

Collecting customer feedback at multiple points in the customer journey is crucial for business success. You can use chat in many different ways to ask customers for their candid feedback.

Here are a few of the ways you can introduce surveys to your customers through web chat.

Assess agent interactions: Probably the most natural way to ask for feedback is right after a customer has interacted with a live agent. The customer has already established they’re comfortable using the web chat feature, and it’s a great way to evaluate the web chat/live agent experience.

Collect emails for follow-up surveys: Ask customers who are communicating in the web chats to share their email for follow-up surveys. Then you can follow up with more general surveys, like Net Promoter Score® surveys.

Ask about the web experience: Use your web chat to capture a customer’s attention without being as intrusive as a pop-up. Ask about the web experience, offer a CES survey, or ask about general pain points in the buyer process.

What makes web chat with a conversational AI platform especially useful is your ability to ask survey questions and get responses directly within the chatbox. There’s no need to send your customers elsewhere, which would drastically reduce response rates.

Start more conversations with web chat software.

Adding web chat to your e-commerce strategy is a great way to start building customer relationships. Introduce web chat software to your business and bring the human connection.

Using Business Text Messaging? Here’s Why You Should Be!

Business_Messaging_Channels_Text_SMS_Chat_Rich_MobileEmails get buried, hidden in other tabs, lost in spam folders. Facebook can go unchecked. Voicemails ignored. But there’s one channel your customers are sure to notice: Their text messages.

While many businesses rely on email to communicate with their customers, business text messaging is growing in popularity. According to Zendesk’s 2021 CX Trends report, the number of customers who say they prefer text messaging to resolve customer service issues grew 75% in the last year.

And it’s easy to see why. People are connected to their phones nearly 24 hours a day, seven days a week. While there are plenty of opportunities for other messages to get lost in the shuffle, text messages always hit the mark.

Are you using business text messaging to communicate with your customers? Here are the top 7 reasons why you should be.

1. Text messaging crushes other service platforms.

Sending messages through SMS/text messaging is way more effective than other customer communication methods. It has a nearly 100% read rate, compared to an average of around 20% for emails. And 90% of people open text messages within three minutes of receiving them.

Why are text messages so effective? People use text messaging to communicate with those they love most. Because of this, there’s a higher level of inherent trust that comes with a text. Consumers are also typically more protective of their phone numbers than their emails.

There’s also an element of novelty to business text messaging. Since it hasn’t been overrun with spam and marketing messages, like email, people don’t automatically dismiss them.

2. Customers are easily accessible.

Remember a time when everyone just made phone calls because it was easier? That’s text messaging. There’s no going online, no downloading apps, no searching for your brand on social media. It’s nearly foolproof.

Plus, unlike many other messaging platforms, text messaging doesn’t require an internet connection. As long as your customer has a phone plan, they can receive text messages virtually anywhere in the world. This makes it a more easily accessible option for your customers—no matter where they are.

3. Text message conversations are asynchronous.

Texting is a great medium to have two-way conversations that your customers can respond to in their own time. Even though people tend to read and respond to text messages faster than other mediums, it doesn’t require them to sit and wait for a response.

Unlike phone and live chat, text messaging gives your customers a chance to respond in their own time.

Want to know more about the benefits of asynchronous messaging? See how to use it to deliver an exceptional customer experience in this blog post

This facet also benefits your team. Since text messaging doesn’t require the immediate response that live chat does, agents can handle multiple conversations at once.

4. Texting customers increases agent efficiency.

Increase customer service efficiency and let you agents handle multiple conversations at once with asynchronous messaging.Business text messaging isn’t just good for your customers. Your customer support agents benefit, too.

Live communication channels like voice and live chat can bog down your agents’ time. They have to give their full attention to whomever they’re speaking with, which could be an easy answer or a long-drawn-out conversation. It’s an efficiency killer.

Since text messaging is asynchronous, agents can handle multiple conversations at once. In the time it would have taken to complete one phone call, a customer service representative can handle 6–8 conversations. That’s increasing their efficiency seven-fold.

5. Simply put: It’s what your customers prefer.

Most of your customers use text messaging to communicate with their favorite people every day. But they also want to chat with businesses, too.

Not only is it tapping into a medium they already know and love, but it’s also more casual than other channels. Younger generations especially prefer having more casual conversations with brands. Email can feel overly formal and phone conversations even more so. Text messaging, however, strikes the right balance.

6. It has multimedia, or “rich”, capabilities.

These days, there’s so much more to text messaging than just text. SMS/text messaging gives you the ability to give customers engaging and unique interactions.

Are they having a hard time implementing your product? Share a how-to video. Are they loving your service and want to connect with other customers? Send a link to your online community. You can even have them send images or videos to explain their needs so you can provide customized product suggestions. The opportunities are endless.

Want to enrich your text messaging but not sure how or where to start? First, learn more about rich messaging here >

7. Your competitors are using it.

We know what your parents would say… “If Johnny jumped off a bridge, would you?”

Snarky responses aside, there are definite drawbacks to being a late-adopter of a messaging medium. While offering text messaging to your customers now is still considered a differentiator, it won’t be that way for long.

Offering text messaging as a customer support option and enabling customers to opt-in to marketing offers now will give your business an advantage—or at least allow you to keep up with your competitors.

How to begin using business text messaging

So how should you use text messaging for your business? Focus your efforts on three main areas: Marketing, customer service, and customer loyalty.

Marketing

More and more businesses are offering discounts with text messaging opt-ins. And they’re extremely effective.

To market your business through text messaging, follow these important tips:

  • Increase engagement with compelling content: Use all of text messaging’s rich features to spark interest in your audience.
  • Personalize messages: Cultivate the 1:1 experience your customers crave. Instead of relying on mass messaging, experiment with tags and segmentations—group customers based on interests, past purchases, or even locations.

The right conversational platform can even help you turn texting into a powerful revenue generator. See how you can process secure transactions with Quiq

Customer support

Utilizing two-way texting for customer service is a great way to meet customer needs (for many of the reasons listed above). Your customers want to hear from you via SMS/text.

Leverage these tips for amazing customer service over text messaging:

  • Be personable: Customers use text messaging because it’s a familiar and conversational platform. Tap into those feelings with personable communications. Have agents introduce themselves, use appropriate texting shorthand, and even throw out an emoji or two.
  • Customer service messaging chatbotConvert calls to text: Increase efficiency and customer satisfaction by converting phone calls to text messages. Customers can opt-out of long wait times and get their problems solved faster.
  • Integrate chatbots: Part of the appeal of texting is that it’s a 24/7 channel. When your customer service agents aren’t available, ensure there’s a friendly chatbot on the other end that can provide helpful answers or respond with a timeframe for connecting with a live agent.

Customer loyalty

Think beyond customer support and go the extra mile to encourage customer loyalty. Use business text messaging to have conversations with your customers about their purchases, send appointment reminders, notify them of upcoming sales or expiring warranties… There are tons of opportunities to engage with your customers to generate loyalty.

Here are a few strategies to keep in mind:

  • Pick points throughout the customer journey: Sending a coupon is just one step in the process. Reach out to customers at various points throughout their purchase journey. Send them appointment reminders, notify them of re-stocks, ask for feedback, or even offer loyalty perks.
  • Don’t abuse the privilege: Just like other forms of customer communication, too many marketing messages can have the opposite effect.

Remember: Bad interactions weigh heavier on customers’ minds than ones that go above and beyond.

Tap into business messaging with Quiq

No matter how you choose to use business text messaging, Quiq is here to help.

Message one or millions with Quiq’s messaging platform, whether you’re a package tracking link, sharing the latest sale details, or notifying customers of a service outage. Reach your customers wherever they are on the channel they prefer.

7 Ways Chatbots Help Teams Move Faster

For many years, it seemed like “chatbot” was a bad word.

People likened them to automated voice attendants. Many businesses would put chatbots on their websites without much strategy or thought—using them to effectively act as a search engine.

But that mentality has changed. Technology has caught up with the implementation, and using chatbots as part of your customer service strategy is essential.

In fact, Zendesk reports that high-performing customer service teams are 2.9x more likely to use AI-powered chatbots to help with agent workflow.

Now, you can weave chatbots into every part of your customer service to help your support team work faster.

Keep reading to see how bots streamline workflows and maximize agent efficiency.

1. Answer common questions

Chatbots do not replace human agents. They can, however, alleviate the volume of inquiries by answering simple, repetitive questions.

Questions like:

  1. Where’s my order?
  2. Does this come in other sizes/colors
  3. What’s the return policy?
  4. What are your hours?
  5. How do I reset my password?

This list isn’t comprehensive, as you can customize your chatbot to answer common questions your agents receive.

Don’t underestimate chatbots’ ability to answer customer questions. Daily Harvest, a meal kit delivery service and Quiq client, reduced the demand on their agents’ time with a custom chatbot.

Sage, their digital care guide, now assists with common inquiries and contains 60% of conversations.

This means only 40% of conversations were elevated to a live agent—a far cry from what they managed before Sage came along.

See how Daily Harvest and Quiq worked together to get such excellent results >

2. Collect information upfront

How much time do agents spend collecting and entering customer information? Customers message your support team and are peppered with twenty questions before they can even get to the reason for their call.

Instead, use a chatbot as your welcome wagon.

They can help customers instantly and succinctly gather all the information needed to serve them. Just like your agents would, the chatbot can enter it into your conversational platform so that the data is readily available should they need to be transferred to a live agent.

Now that agents don’t have to collect information, they can jump right in to answer questions and solve problems.

3. Improve response times

Whether acting as a welcome wagon or answering questions, chatbots are faster. They have access to all the same databases that your agents do, and they can predict what customers will say as they’re typing.

This means they’re already gathering information for possible responses before the customer even sends the message.

And response times matter to customers.

Over 60% say the most important aspect of good customer service is getting their issues resolved quickly, according to Zendesk.

4. Chatbots are available 24/7

Your customer service team needs to sleep! But chatbots… Well, they don’t.

They can work through the night and deliver the 24/7 on-demand customer service that your customers crave.

Not only does this please your customers, but it also reduces the backlog your employees walk into every morning.

If your friendly bot answered the easy questions throughout the night, there would be fewer customer inquiries come morning.

5. Troubleshoot problems

Did you ever wait on hold for tech support only to be told to turn your computer off and on again? How frustrated did that make you?

Chatbots help keep that from happening to your customers.

Chatbots can walk customers through troubleshooting the moment they reach out without making them wait for a live agent.

If it’s a simple solution, the customers can solve the problem without ever elevating the ticket to a live agent. Customers get a quick resolution, and your team can spend time on more complex issues.

When customers do reach your support staff, they’ve already attempted the quick fixes, saving your team members from having to walk them through simple solutions.

Customers already know they have a significant problem, and agents can get right to work identifying and solving the issue.

6. Customer routing

According to Zendesk’s CX Trends report, 52% of company leaders plan on boosting agents’ flexibility to solve specialized problems in the next year. It will empower agents to dive deeper into customer issues and become better problem solvers.

However, certain agents specializing in specific problems will increase the need for customer routing.

Instead of making a customer wait for a live agent, then figuring out it needs to go to a specialist in another department, a chatbot can handle that in the initial conversation.

Customers don’t have to wait multiple times to reach the right person, and agents don’t spend time routing the tickets themselves.

By the way, this works especially well for companies with a central customer service team and many departments. Handing this task off to chatbots will take one more thing off the shoulders of your agents.

7. Improve agent morale

Morale is a tough subject in customer service. Helping customers (who may be less than courteous) with their problems can take its toll on your team.

Only 15% of agents are extremely satisfied with their workload, reports Zendesk.

One thing chatbots can do is alleviate the monotony.

Answering the same handful of questions all day is bound to dampen spirits and slow down your team. Handling these types of inquiries with a chatbot before they ever get to a live agent will lighten the load.

Yes, questions may be more challenging, but your team will feel like they’re making a difference—instead of answering “Where’s my package” 15 times a day.

Find out what Quiq chatbots can do for your customer service team >

Bonus: 2 more ways chatbots can help outside customer service

Speeding up customer service is a great way to use bots, but there are other opportunities to work it into your company’s workflow.

1. Qualify leads

Chatbots can even assist other teams beyond customer service. Whether people reach out through your same customer service channels or connect through a different channel with your sales team, chatbots can make a difference.

Let’s face it. Not everyone who inquires about your product or service is the right match for your company.

And while the sales team is well-equipped to identify qualified leads, it takes time and effort that could be better spent elsewhere.

Chatbots can assist your sales and marketing efforts by qualifying leads before sending them to your sales team or CRM. That way, your team isn’t spinning their wheels talking to leads that aren’t going to end up in a sale.

2. Process payments

With e-commerce sales booming, businesses have been asking customer service teams to spend more time assisting customers before the sale—and even completing the purchase within your messaging platform.

Instead of sending customers back to their carts (which increases the likelihood of abandonment), bring in a chatbot to complete the sale.

Customers get an easy way to make a purchase and your agents can move on to the next ticket.

Welcome a chatbot to your team

Chatbots don’t replace your customer service team—they work with your team to deliver faster, more efficient customer service.

When you integrate bots into your support workflows, the possibilities are endless: response times shrink, customer satisfaction rises, and agents’ morales improve.

Not a bad word anymore, right?

Asynchronous Messaging: How to Use it to Deliver Exceptional Customer Service

Messaging is good. Asynchronous messaging is better.

Let’s face it. Customers have little tolerance for inconveniences of any kind. Whether that’s waiting around for a response, repeating information, or finding an immediate solution to their problem.

Customer service teams aim to serve, so having the available channels to give customers the exact experience they want is crucial to increasing customer satisfaction.

What is asynchronous messaging?

Imagine you’re the customer. You’re busy but need help returning a pair of boots (that just aren’t your style) that your well-meaning dad bought you for your birthday. A completely random example…

You reach out to the live chat service on the eCommerce website to initiate the return, but you’re interrupted midway through the conversation. There’s an immediate work problem that needs your attention. The kids are fighting. The sky is falling. Whatever it may be, you have to start the process all over again.

Frustrating, right? It’s just a simple return!

Well, asynchronous messaging (sometimes called async messaging or asynchronous chat) takes the stress out of that conversation. It doesn’t require both parties to be present at the same time to complete the interaction. You can simply jump back in once you’ve taken care of life’s responsibilities. This is asynchronous messaging at its best.

SMS/text messages, WhatsApp, and Facebook Chat are all prime examples of asynchronous messaging in action. Conversations can start, stop, and resume whenever either person is available.

At the other end of the spectrum is synchronous messaging. It’s typically a live, one-to-one chat between a customer and a customer service representative.

What makes it so different? There’s usually a clear beginning and end to a synchronous chat. A customer reaches out with a specific question or to find a solution to their problem, and the conversation ends once those needs are met.

Think of it like a typical phone interaction—just using messaging instead of voice. And since synchronous messaging is so similar to phone interactions, it often comes with the same drawbacks.

  • Customers have to wait for a live agent.
  • If the agent can’t answer a question, the customer has to be rerouted.
  • Agents can only serve one person at a time.
  • Complex problems take up more of your agents’ time.
  • If a customer gets interrupted, the chat ends without a resolution.

Now that you know what asynchronous messaging is, keep reading to learn about the benefits for your customers, your support team, and your bottom line.

Getting started: 7 benefits of asynchronous messaging.

Think of asynchronous messaging somewhere between live chat and email. Customers typically expect a quick—but not instant—response. This flexibility allows your team to deliver exceptional customer service in a time that works for the customer and your team.

But that’s not the only benefit. Here are seven benefits of adding asynchronous messaging to your customer service arsenal.

  1. Customers can fit you into their busy days. Life is busy. We’re always multitasking. There are too many distractions—it’s a lot. Asynchronous messaging gives customers the flexibility to fit you into their schedules. They don’t have to block time out of their day for a lengthy live chat or wait for business hours to get someone on the phone. Instead, they can get their support requests taken care of on their own time, at their own pace.
  2. Less wait time. Since agents can jump in and out of multiple conversations—as many as 30 at a time—customers spend less time “on hold” waiting to connect with a live agent. And that is really important to customers. Zendesk reports that over 60% say getting their issues resolved quickly is the most important aspect of good customer service. With asynchronous messaging, customers can get answers while going about their day.
  3. No repeated information. One of the things that frustrates customers the most is to have to repeat their problem. No matter whether they get disconnected from a live chat or transferred to multiple people before they get an answer to their problem, repeating themselves almost always leads to a bad experience. With asynchronous messaging and a conversational platform behind it, customers (and agents) can pick up the conversation right where they left off. There’s no information lost between sessions. Their conversation history is available for agents to reference at any time.
  4. Resolve problems in less time. While asynchronous messaging potentially drags out conversations (depending on how quickly your customers respond), agents often spend less working time per interaction. Quiq clients can reduce work time by 25–40% when converting calls to messaging. This is because agents can quickly address those frequently asked questions that don’t necessarily require a phone call (think password reset process and hours of operations). Simple problems get solved faster, while more complex problems have the breathing room to come to a thorough resolution.
  5. Prioritize customer requests. During peak times, when your team is truly overwhelmed, asynchronous messaging helps your agents triage customer requests. Collect customer information, sentiment, and problem upfront to determine how quickly the problem needs to be addressed. A customer service agent can immediately help an angry customer with a simple problem and close out the ticket quickly. While a neutral person with a more complex question can wait a little longer for your agents to figure out the right response.Asynchronous messaging agent efficiency customer engagement performance channels sms facebook instagram whatsapp conversations
  6. Meet support demands with fewer agents. Much like phone calls, synchronous messaging requires one agent per customer interaction. To meet demand and avoid long wait times, you need a higher volume of staff members at all times. This also means that you likely have to hire extra team members to support peak times. Asynchronous messaging can help with that. Since your support team can take part in multiple conversations at once, you can serve more customers with fewer agents. This is particularly helpful now when baseline support ticket requests have gone up 20% since the beginning of the pandemic, according to Zendesk.
  7. Get more opportunities to initiate a conversation. Since conversations are more flexible, customers are more likely to engage with customer service reps at different stages within the the customer lifecycle. Customers don’t have to set aside big chunks of time for conversations and your team will have more context to help serve them better. From starting a conversation from Maps with Apple Messages for Business or using Facebook Messenger to ask about size options, there’s ample opportunity to serve customers and increase revenue.

How to make the most out of asynchronous messaging.

Messaging as a whole has significantly grown in popularity since the pandemic began, and it has done so at a faster rate than any other channel. Support tickets coming in from messaging channels rose by 48%, compared to a 15% increase from live chat.

If you haven’t embraced asynchronous messaging yet, we have a few best practices to shape your approach and help you get started.

  • Design your asynchronous messaging strategy around your agents waiting for the customer—not the other way around. While it gives your agents the ability to manage multiple conversations, the benefit should really be for the customers’ flexibility. If you use asynchronous chat to spread your team too thin, the experience can end up feeling like email, which no one likes.
  • One way to improve response times and decrease the time agents spend per interaction? Use a chatbot to welcome customers and collect pertinent information beforehand. This way, customers get served quickly, and agents can spend their time problem-solving instead of gathering information.
  • Want to stand out? Don’t treat messaging like email. In 2020, Zendesk reported that it takes more than 11 hours, on average, to close messaging tickets. That’s compared to 30 minutes for voice and live chat and 11.5 hours for email or web form tickets.
    While messaging gives your team more flexibility to respond, customers still expect a response time in under 5 minutes. Try staffing it as you would with voice and live chat to start. Then, adjust as your team becomes more efficient and you invest in other ways to streamline service.
  • Remember to track actual work time. Overall, asynchronous messaging will have high-resolution times since you can resolve issues in two minutes, two hours, or two days. Giving customers the freedom to respond at their own convenience can superficially elevate those numbers. But remember: if a customer is responsible for the delay, a two-day conversation can result in a lower work time and a higher customer satisfaction rate. So take resolution times with a grain of salt. A conversational platform like Quiq can help you measure actual work time.

Start using asynchronous messaging and deliver stellar customer service.

With customers flocking to messaging channels, it’s a great time for your customer service team to adopt asynchronous messaging. The best way to set your team up for success? With a conversational platform, like Quiq.

Turn any messaging channel into an asynchronous experience. With Quiq, you can:

  • Manage conversations across multiple channels
  • Serve customers based on sentiment
  • Increase agent efficiency and boost customer satisfaction

Sign up for a Quiq demo and see how it can help you deploy asynchronous messaging and elevate your customer service.

Top 3 Things to Know About Apple Messages for Business

How much do you know about Apple Messages for Business?

We know what you’re thinking. Not *another* messaging platform.

But hear us out. Business Messages is one of the most organic messaging experiences you can offer your customers.

There’s no denying that Apple knows how to create a great customer experience. From their Genius Bars to their MacBook packaging, there’s care and attention paid to every small detail.

And that extends to their Business Messages feature. We’re answering three basic questions to help you discover what it is and how to use it to improve your customer experience below.

What is Apple Messages for Business?

Apple Messages for Business allows users to connect with your business through Apple’s native Messaging app on their iOS- or macOS-enabled devices. With more than 1 billion iPhone users, you have a simple way to connect with your customers.

When you enable Apple Messages for Business, users get one-on-one access to your representatives directly in Maps, Safari, Search, Siri, Spotlight, and even within your iOS app. All they have to do is click the messaging icon, and they’re taken to their messaging apps.

Your customers don’t need to navigate through an automated phone tree, search for an email address on your website, or download an app—they can simply open up the Messages app and start chatting with a customer service representative right away.

What can you do with Apple Messages for Business?

Besides enabling customers to connect with you as easily as they do with their favorite people, Apple Messages for Business offers a variety of features you can leverage to improve your customer experience.

Rich messaging

So much more than a text. Rich messaging allows you to send images, links, share a location, read receipts and more.

Send a rich link that displays website information from within the message. Customers can verify it’s the information they’re looking for before tapping the link, and they’re provided an easy way to get back to the conversation after they’ve visited the site.

Retailers can use messaging to send product images, insurance companies can ask for pictures of car damage, or you can share nearby brick-and-mortar locations.

Appointment scheduling

Let customers schedule appointments right from within messaging. Customers can see if it conflicts with their schedule, automatically add the appointment to their iCal, and get reminders to ensure they don’t miss it.

Augmented reality

Help customers decide if a product fits in their home. Using their iPhone camera and augmented reality, customers can visualize a product in their homes.

List picker

Simplify customer choice by letting them pick from a pre-populated list. Use it to help them pick locations, item size, color, or service.

pay to chat apple pay

Accept payments with Apple Pay

Eliminate abandoned carts by completing sales right within Messages. You can send payment requests with Apple Pay and make it so much easier for customers to complete a transaction. No more entering in extra information, and no getting up from the couch to get your credit card… Just instant gratification.

Collect (secure) customer information

What’s one thing customers hate most about customer service? Having to repeat themselves and give out their information to multiple people. Apple Business Chat removes this obstacle by providing the customer information you need. Plus, messages are long-lived. No matter when a customer reaches out, their previous conversation will live in the messaging platform so you can pick up right where you left off. Just like messaging a friend.

What are the benefits of using Apple Messages for Business?

Apple Messages for Business provides many opportunities to delight customers while still streamlining your customer support process. Benefits of Apple Messages for Business include:

  1. The ability to encourage messaging with Message Suggest.
  2. Delivery of a seamless customer experience.
  3. Incorporation of both live agents and chatbots.

Encourage messaging with Message Suggest

Typically, customers can message you by tapping a messaging icon. But you can boost messages and reduce your call volumes with Apple Message Suggest. Customers can tap on your business phone number from anywhere within iOS or macOS, including websites, social media, business directories, etc., and they’ll be given the option to message instead of call.

Adding Message Suggest can help reduce call volume and drive traffic to messaging, which is often more efficient and cost-effective.

Deliver a seamless customer experience

Think of Apple Messages for Business as an extension of your brand experience. You control your business contact info the user sees when they search your name, including logo, contact information, and more.

You can even customize the call-to-action text for Apple Suggest. Instead of the standard, “Why call when you can message?”, consider a simple “Text us” or an encouraging “Get faster service when you send a text.”

Incorporate both live agents and chatbots

One of the requirements for having an Apple Messages for Business account is having live agents available to respond to customer inquiries. But that doesn’t mean you have to have someone at the ready at all times. You can still use chatbots at specific points of the interaction to ensure instant service at all times.

Use bots to:

  • Welcome customers
  • Automate the checkout process
  • Gather customer information
  • Troubleshoot simple customer issues
  • Collect feedback

Since messaging can happen at any time, you can use bots to service customer questions 24/7, such as:

  • Checking order statuses
  • Canceling an order
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Confirming account balances

You can still utilize bots to help you deliver the best experience to your customers while tapping in live agents to provide that one-on-one support.

Take a deep dive into Apple Messages for Business.

We’ve just scratched the surface on what you can do with Apple Messages for Business to surprise and delight your customers. By giving customers a way to connect with your business that they know, love, and use daily, you’re creating a comfortable and inviting experience for them. P.S. To use Apple Messages for Business, you’re required to use a messaging service provider like Quiq.

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5 Ways to Outpace Your Competition in 2022

What’s it going to take to outpace your competition in 2022?

We’re heading into the new year, and it seems like there’s a lot stacked against us. But even as talent shortages loom large and supply chain issues continue to slow down sales across industries, it’s your customer service that will help you outpace your competition and keep customers coming back for more.

Reflecting on the last two years, we can all agree that we don’t know exactly what will happen in 2022. But there are two things we can infer:

  1. Support requests are increasing
  2. Customer expectations are rising

Average weekly support requests are up 20% since the start of the pandemic, according to Zendesk’s Customer Experience Trends Report. And despite the increased challenges of the pandemic (or possibly because of it), customer expectations are skyrocketing.

However, it’s a new year, and the possibilities are endless. You’re heading into this stage with knowledge in hand and an opportunity to leverage the right tools to delight your customers.

Discover the top 5 ways you can get ahead in 2022.

1. Boost employee engagement with gamification

Did you think we were going to start with customer tactics? If the last few years have taught us anything, it’s that our employees are the most valuable assets we have, and we need to do what it takes to keep them healthy and happy

“Between December 2020 and July 2021, there was a 21% increase in employee burnout” – meQuilibrium

Just between December 2020 and July 2021, there was a 21% increase in employee burnout, according to a report from meQuilibrium. Coupled with the talent shortage, this puts your team at a disadvantage.

Because of a smaller talent pool, it’s even more vital to keep your current employees happy and working to their full potential.

A good way to engage employees? Gamification

Gamification brings an element of competition and fun to your customer service objectives. Turn objectives and goals into a game with a points-based reward system. Offer rewards like vacation time, restaurant gift cards, or work-from-home perks.

Engaging employees with gamification can help increase their productivity. Companies with higher engagement are 22% more profitable, according to employee communication platform Smarp.

Creating a rewards system gives your customer support agents a clear indication of what’s important and which metrics matter most. Plus, they get an easy way to measure their own performance against fellow agents.

You can also tweak the rewards to help focus on your teams’ priorities. If you’re concerned about the competition outpacing you on resolution times, you can increase the number of points assigned to low-resolution times.

Additionally, you can balance productivity increases with acquiring new skills. If an agent shows low productivity, offer more points for the most tickets served per hour. Once agent performance is in a good place, offer points when they complete a course or module in your learning management system.

In 2022 especially, your team is your strongest asset. Investing in employees and creating new ways to engage them will help you outpace competitors and improve customer satisfaction.

2. Implement AI solutions

We talked about the talent shortage and how engaging with your employees is a good way to increase productivity, but what if customers still face long wait times and your support team is overwhelmed? 

High-performing teams are leading with AI to support their team and get a leg up on the competition.Conversational Customer Service reduce call volume

You can use AI and chatbots in several ways to improve the customer experience.

  • Use a bot to welcome customers to your website or messaging platform and collect basic information to serve them better when an agent becomes available.
  • Integrate bots with live agents so agents can send a customer to a bot to answer questions, and bots can send customers to live agents for more complicated issues.
  • Program chatbots with answers to basic FAQ questions to cut down on the number of tickets your agents must service.
  • Use bots to walk customers through a troubleshooting process to identify and potentially solve issues.
  • Route messages through a chatbot at the end of conversations to collect CSAT surveys.

Zendesk reports usage rates for AI-powered chatbots were still low in 2020 despite their ability to reduce the burden on overwhelmed support teams. This makes it a great opportunity for companies who embrace AI to outpace their competition.

3. Be available wherever your customers are

How easy is it for your customers to connect with you? Do they have to go to your website, find the support page, and send an email? Do they have to track down a phone number?

When a customer has a problem that needs fixing, the last thing they want is to waste time trying to figure out how to contact you. Sometimes outpacing your competition simply means removing that one layer of frustration for your customers.

Provide service and support wherever your customers hang out. Your website is the best place to start, but expand your availability to sites like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Google Business Messages, Apple Business Chat, and more.

According to Zendesk, 64% of surveyed customers used a new support channel in 2020.  And high-performing companies are more likely to offer omnichannel support.

Customers are getting more comfortable using multiple communication channels to connect with businesses, and this trend is likely to continue in 2022. It also caters to customers’ need for instant gratification. As soon as they notice a problem or have a question, they can get an answer from your support team within whichever app or platform they’re already using.

Facilitating cross-channel communications has also never been easier. Support agents can easily manage multiple channels, pick up conversations from one channel to another, and switch between conversations with a platform like Quiq. You’ll provide more customer service options without adding additional pressure to your support agents.

4. Enable conversational commerce

Since removing customer friction is a top priority in 2022, conversational commerce has become a trending topic. 

help agents convert revenue sales messaging payments apple pay google pay facebook pay shopify paymentsIn addition to solving customer problems, support teams are positioned to assist customers before a sale to increase conversions. Putting support agents on multiple platforms gives customers ample opportunity to ask questions about sizing, product use cases, service details, and any other questions that might pop up during the decision-making process. 

And since customers are already primed for a sale once they’ve gotten answers, why not let them complete the sale right within the chat platform? 

Adding payment options to your customer service messaging can improve your customer satisfaction and even increase your revenue.

Enabling customers to make a purchase within whichever messaging platform they’re using makes for a faster and more seamless purchasing experience. For Quiq clients, integrating payments resulted in an 85% reduction in abandoned shopping carts.

Here are a few messaging platforms that allow you to integrate secure payment solutions.

  • Facebook Messenger
  • SMS/text messaging
  • Instagram Direct Messages
  • Web chat
  • Apple Business Chat
  • Google Business Messages
  • And more

5. Lead with values

If the pandemic taught us anything, it’s that customers want to be understood. 

Customers want understanding and empathy when they’re facing a problem—even if it doesn’t have an obvious solution. 49% of customers want agents to be empathetic, according to Zendesk. 

But that understanding also extends to customers’ personal values. With so much social division, customers are more careful where they spend their money and time. 54% want to buy from companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion in their communities and workplaces, and 63% want to buy from socially responsible companies.

It’s never been more important for support teams to embody company values and practice them in every customer service interaction. Take the time in 2022 to give your team practical examples of your company values and how they can share them in each conversation.

2022 is your year to outpace your competitors

2022 represents a fresh start—and a lot to do. Unfortunately, customer service teams are fighting an uphill battle as we ring in the new year. But now’s the time for big leaps.

Take advantage of this new start to set your team up for success and leave your competitors in the dust.

There’s a lot to do, but you can achieve it with Quiq. 

Business Messaging 101: Best Practices by Channel

If you haven’t heard yet, business messaging is a big deal.

We’re moving away from endless phonebanks and multi-hour wait times to multiple business messaging channels. And customers love it. 89% of customers would like to use messages to communicate with businesses, reported Twilio.

The pandemic accelerated messaging popularity in 2021. According to Zendesk’s 2021 CX Trends Report, in-app messaging popularity grew by 36%, SMS/text messaging by 75%, and social messaging by 110%.

While it has become an essential part of your customer communication strategy, it’s admittedly confusing. There are multiple platforms, endless rules, and many nuances between each.

We’ve created a best practices guide to help you embark on your business messaging initiative. It covers:

Adding messaging can elevate your customer satisfaction, increase agent efficiency, reduce call volumes, and more.

Continue reading for business messaging best practices.

The basic principles of business messaging

  1. Start with a plan. What type of goals are you setting? Are you simply trying to lower costs? Reduce call volume? Or do you have a long-term strategy to improve your CSAT and increase revenue? Whether starting with incremental goals or going all in, lay it out clearly in the early planning stages. This will determine which channels you focus on, how you’ll train your staff, and which conversation platform you invest in.
  2. Keep conversations organized. Juggling multiple channels of asynchronous communication gets chaotic. Switching between platforms, monitoring multiple conversations—it just doesn’t work if support agents don’t have a way to keep it organized. Conversational platforms are the way to do this. Quiq’s intuitive interface keeps conversations organized, with easily accessible history, simple conversation switching, and help only a click away.Conversational Customer Service reduce call volume
  3. Stay true to your brand voice and tone. Your customer service agents are the voice of your company, so they should follow your brand voice and tone guidelines when interacting with customers. Some businesses write chatbot scripts to be overly formal: avoiding contractions, using proper English, and completing their thought in one long sentence. But this isn’t an English paper! If your brand voice uses conversational language, so should your chatbot. It’ll feel more natural to your customers AND your support agents.
  4. Create a messaging style guide. Your marketing team has a style guide—what about your customer service team? Give your customer support agents a comprehensive guide covering everything from emoji use (as in, use this ? but never this ?) to contractions to appropriate text-speak (LOL, JK, TL;DR, IYKYK, but never WTF). Utilizing a tool like Quiq’s predictive text can also help support agents with messaging. It’ll help support team members stay on brand, have good grammar, and get answers to customers faster.
  5. Tailor your strategy by channel. Although you want to keep your brand voice consistent, you should tailor your communication strategies to the platform you’re on. For example, talking to a customer using live chat on your website should be a different experience than Facebook Messenger. You get to decide what works best for each platform. Consider message length, emoji usage, and formality when designated platform best practices.

Messaging best practices by channel

Web chat and live messaging

Web chat or live chat is when you embed a chat box directly on your website. Expect this channel to get a lot of action—especially if you’re in e-commerce.

Customers often come to your site for two reasons: to purchase something or get a question answered. Live chat should help them do both.

  1. Send a welcome message. While you don’t want to bombard web visitors with popups, make sure they know live chat is available. Send a friendly welcome message letting them know how they can use the chat function, if they’ll be connecting with a person or a bot, or even a featured sale. The point is not to be aggressive but to let them know they have support whenever needed.
  2. Tailor messages based on where they’ve been. Use Quiq to track which website pages a customer has visited to guess intent. Are they fishing around on your support page? They likely have a question they can’t answer with your knowledge base. You can even get creative and offer sizing help or product suggestions based on the items they’ve viewed.
  3. Make your teams’ availability clear. Manning live chat 24/7 is difficult, but there are ways to ensure your customers get their questions answered. Program a Quiq chatbot to offer away messages when no one’s available, share wait times, or even answer questions and point customers to other self-service options.

Business SMS/text messaging

Text messaging has become an increasingly popular way to connect with customers and often crushes email open rates. And unlike many of the other messaging platforms, text messaging doesn’t require an internet connection. Anyone with a phone plan can receive text messages, making it an easily accessible option for your customers.

  1. Keep it casual. Text messaging is still a primarily personal medium. You use it to chat with friends and family more than businesses, and your customers are the same. This means a casual, friendly tone is best over text messaging. Avoid being too formal and keep messages short and to the point.RichMessaging_Integration_iPhoneX
  2. Personalize messages. Text messaging is all about cultivating a 1:1 experience with your customers. While you can use text messages to send mass communications to your customers, try segmenting based on interests, past purchases, or even locations. And add personalization tags for that extra touch.
  3. Make it a two-way conversation. While text messages are great for communicating deals and exclusive content, customers want to respond and ask questions. According to Attentive, almost 70% of customers say they would be extremely likely or likely to receive customer service over a text message.
  4. Message one or millions. Quiq’s messaging platform can be configured to send one-to-one text messages or reach an entire customer segment. So whether you’re sending a package tracking link, notifying customers of a service outage, or offering a coupon, you can reach your customers quickly, and in the manner they prefer.
  5. Convert calls to text. Give customers who call your busy customer support center the option to send a text message instead. Phone IVRs work well, but giving your customer the option to text when agents are busy is an easy and effective way to surprise and delight them. Instead, integrate texting with your IVR for an easy “press 1 to text” experience.
  6. Embrace multimedia. Over half of customers (51.1%) are more likely to make a purchase if they receive a text message with media (GIFs, images and video), reports Attentive. Show off personalized product suggestions, share knowledge base articles, or have fun with memes—if your brand voice allows for it.

Facebook Messenger

Since 1.3 billion people use Facebook Messenger globally, it’s safe to say you can find your customers there, too. But there are some social media pitfalls to navigate as you go.

  1. Be responsive. Facebook adds “Very responsive to messages” badges to company pages that have a 90% response rate and consistently respond in 15 minutes or less.
  2. Follow the customers’ lead. Judging your customers’ cadence is a big part of messaging on a social platform like Facebook. Some highly active users may expect a naturally flowing conversation with quick answers. But some may jump in and out of the platform while doing other things. When that happens, agents need to be able to pick up the conversation where it left off. Quiq’s intuitive platform keeps the conversation history and pertinent information handy, so agents can jump in and out of conversations without ever missing a beat.
  3. Take advantage of rich messaging. Emojis? Memes? Gifs? Videos? Facebook Messenger supports it all. While you still want to talk to your customers in a way your brand would, there’s more freedom to have a little fun in Messenger. Use these sparingly and in the right setting to appeal to your customers. Fair warning: Overuse can make you sound glib or out of touch. You can also use Facebook’s multimedia capabilities to get to the bottom of a customer issue faster. They can send images of damaged items, and agents can share how-to videos or other resources. Overall you can shorten your resolution time and leave customers happy.
  4. Use bots in multiple ways. Many Facebook users expect the same response times on nights and weekends as they do during the week. Use Quiq’s customer service chatbots to welcome guests and collect information to route them to the right customer service agent. Since social media is the place for quick answers, Quiq’s chatbots can also answer simple questions within Facebook Messenger.

Instagram Direct Messages

While businesses aren’t new to Instagram, Instagram only recently embraced business messaging. 90% of IG users are already following a company, and they often reach out to businesses on Instagram to resolve issues with existing or previous sales, according to Instagram. With Instagram’s API, you message your customers within the Quiq platform.

Many of the same best practices for Facebook and other social media platforms apply to Instagram direct messaging.

  1. Be the trendy relative. Instagram is like Facebook’s cool cousin. It’s more visual, demographically younger, but has relatively the same features as its predecessor. Adapt your voice to fit. It’s still best to avoid “internet slang,” but insert emojis and youthful language where appropriate. IYKYK.
  2. Take advantage of unique features. Instagram offers features that not all platforms have. You can send voice or video messages, drop a pin to a store or event location, and even create chat rooms when appropriate.
  3. Have a Stories strategy. When users reply to Instagram stories, it goes directly into your inbox. It’s a great way to strike up conversations naturally with your customers or potential clients. Ask questions, add prompts, and don’t forget to ask customers to message you.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is another heavy hitter. With 2 billion active users worldwide, there’s a good chance your customers use it—and they wish you did, too.

  1. Follow the guidelines. WhatsApp has strict guidelines as to what counts as spam and how you can use discount codes, promotions, or giveaways. Be sure to read through the guidelines before using WhatsApp for business purposes.
  2. Get consent via an opt-in. Before you can start messaging users, you need both their phone number and an opt-in.
  3. Create groups and broadcasts. WhatsApp gives you two options to reach out to multiple users at once. The first is a WhatsApp Group. It allows you to have exchange messages with up to 256 users. Conversation happens altogether in one big group.

The other is a WhatsApp Broadcast. Broadcasts only allow the broadcaster (you) to send a message to everyone. If other users reply, they’re routed to private messages.

Apple Messages for Business

Apple Messages for Business connects iOS and macOS users to your business in brand new ways. It takes no additional downloads from your customers and provides a holistic e-commerce shopping experience. Customers can find your business and start conversations from Safari, Maps, Search, Siri, or your website.

  1. Support transactions with Apple Pay. Using Apple Messages for Business and Quiq, you can complete sales right within iOS native messaging. It’s secure, and customers likely feel more comfortable using a trusted payment provider.
  2. Go beyond text messaging. Create a fully realized shopping experience. Pair Apple Messages for Business with Quiq to authenticate users, schedule appointments, and collect information.
  3. Use Apple Message Suggest. Message Suggest automatically gives your customers the option to message your business with one tap. Use this feature to shift early conversations to messaging over more costly and time-consuming phone calls.

Take your messaging to the next level with Quiq

Managing multiple messaging channels—keeping track of notifications, ensuring smooth conversations, and providing customer satisfaction—can all be achieved using Quiq’s conversational platform.