How Messaging Helps Hospitality Get Personal

The hospitality industry is, by nature, a very human business. Whether you’re in hotel and lodging, travel and transportation, food and beverage, or recreation, hospitality is all about creating a unique and personal experience for your guests. Have you considered how technology like SMS hospitality messaging can actually make guest experiences more personalized?

While technology has changed the game, it can sometimes feel antithetical to the warmth the hospitality industry is beloved for. However, when messaging tech is used correctly, it helps you do what the hospitality industry has always done best: Make human connections.

SMS hospitality messaging connects you to guests on their terms.

It’s exactly for this reason that messaging can help transform the customer experience by giving service providers a way to connect and engage with guests in an easy, convenient, and preferred way.

There are major opportunities to leverage SMS hospitality messaging in a way that doesn’t detract from the human connection—but adds to it. Messaging liberates guests from standing in line, waiting for an email, or sitting on hold.

In this article, we’ll explore how you can use SMS hospitality messaging to connect with customers and personalize the industry.

High tech and high touch.

Providing a memorable guest experience is part physical and observable. What thread count are the sheets? What’s the ambiance of the restaurant (do they have table cloths and sommeliers or barstools and air hockey)?

The intangibles are just as important to the overall experience—the care and attention of the staff, the ease of changing bookings, how payments are handled, etc. These smaller details are often your differentiators and play a big factor in how you make your customers feel.

SMS messaging can make all the difference. Instead of forcing customers to stand in lines, wait on hold, or hunt down information on in-room pamphlets, you can bring the service to them.

In fact, guests now expect it as a standard part of their hospitality experience.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruption in the hospitality industry.

While travel is starting to return to 2019 levels (along with occupancy rates and room revenue, according to Accenture), it has permanently influenced customer expectations.

There are fewer business travelers, more local vacationers—and more digital nomads. This is reshaping the hospitality industry in everything from loyalty programs and digital amenities to a demand for SMS booking.

And customer service has only increased in importance.

Accenture’s Life Reimagined report says 53% of consumers think customer service has become more important than price—and 54% of consumers believe it will continue to be so over the next 12 months.

Transparency, clarity, and simplicity have become top decision drivers. More than half of customers who have reimagined life due to the pandemic say they would switch brands if the brand doesn’t create clear and easy options for contacting customer service, according to Accenture’s report.

For hospitality, text messaging is a natural step toward delivering high-touch experiences. Customers are already using their mobile devices to find fun things to do (70%), research destinations (66%), and book transportation or airfare (46%).

With so much emphasis already placed on mobile, a move to messaging is a natural and organic option that customers are likely already looking to do. Continuing to use customers’ mobile devices throughout their stay just makes sense.

In fact, messaging can enhance the customer’s experience across the entire guest journey.

Tap into the power of SMS hospitality messaging.

Messaging allows you to connect and engage with guests in a way that is already an important part of how they communicate daily.

SMS text messaging upgrades your customer communications with more than simple text conversations. Rich messaging brings the hospitality experience to your guests long before they reach your doorstep. With rich messaging, you can:

  • Process secure transactions, from SMS booking for hotel rooms and excursions to in-room upgrades and payments.
  • Send reservation reminders, confirmations, and up-to-the-minute notices.
  • Increase guest excitement with content like images, GIFs, videos, and more.

Easy ways to start using SMS/texting in hospitality.

Getting started with hospitality text messaging may seem overwhelming at first, but there are many ways to introduce it into your existing customer journeys.

Here are some examples of ways you can use SMS hospitality messaging to elevate experiences in hotels, restaurants, and recreational activities.

SMS for hotels.

1. Answer pre-booking questions. While your website is a great booking tool, nothing beats one-on-one conversations. Your guests may have simple questions about things like early check-in or room preferences. Messaging helps you address these questions quickly and secure the booking right from your customers’ text messages.

2. Use SMS booking. Schedule stays and process payments right from SMS/text messaging using rich messaging features. Your guests can book their trip right from their phones without ever having to make a phone call or wait on hold.

3. Get guests excited about their stay. Your guest experience begins before they even arrive. Build the anticipation with a welcome message, semi-personalized itineraries, and local sites and events.

If you know guests are there with children, send them itineraries that include amusement parks, a trip to the local zoo, or some family-friendly live shows. For couples on a romantic getaway, suggest date night ideas, local spas, or more secluded beaches.

Sending a text message with these personalized touches will go a long way to build excitement and make guests feel welcomed.

4. Streamline the check-in process. While we love vacations, traveling to get to them is another story. And it’s only gotten worse in the last few years with travel restrictions, fewer flights, and more crowds.

When travelers finally reach their destination, they’re tired, frustrated, and likely want as little interaction as possible before reaching their beds. (In other words, they’re 3 of Snow White’s 7 dwarves: Grumpy, Sleepy, and Bashful.)

Have guests complete the check-in process through SMS messaging so that all they have to do when they get to their destination is pick up their key. Digital keys are also becoming more popular and complete the contactless check-in experience.

5. Handle in-room requests. Instead of forcing guests to decide between the front desk, guest services, maid services, and other departments on the hotel phone (not to mention waiting on hold), centralize in-room requests via SMS/text messaging.

Quiq’s clients, including those within the hospitality segment, have found that servicing customers via messaging has reduced service costs and work time and increased customer satisfaction scores by 5–10 points.

6. Close out stays with a bang. Offer a contactless checkout, removing the last bit of friction guests face as they leave your hotel. Plus, give them one final reminder of the excellent service and attention they received with a thank you message.

7. Ask for reviews. If you’ve given the guest a memorable experience, they may be enticed to share it with others and become your brand ambassador.

Today, reviews are a critical part of the buyers’ process, and word of mouth can build or block that path to purchase.

Not only is this a great opportunity to instantly address any negative feedback, but you can also send exclusive offers and discounts to encourage guests to come back.

You can also encourage guests to share their positive comments about your business with their social networks.

SMS for restaurants.

1. Accept reservations. Use rich messaging features to schedule reservations right from your guests’ mobile phones.

2. Send reservation reminders. Help customers remember the reservation they made (especially if you’re booked out for weeks) with a friendly reservation reminder.

A text message won’t get lost in junk mail, and you’ll decrease no-shows. SMS hospitality messaging to the rescue!

3. Enable easy cancellations and rescheduling. Instead of holding a table for no-shows and missing out on potential revenue, give guests an easy way to cancel or reschedule their reservation ahead of time.

They’ll be happy with the streamlined customer experience, and you’ll be able to fill those seats with last-minute reservations and walk-ins.

4. Provide directions and parking information. Sure, everyone has Apple Maps or Waze, but parking can be a beast if you live in a high-tourism city. Add a link for directions and parking information to your appointment reminder to ensure your guests make it to your restaurant.

5. Streamline take-out orders. Take-out has grown in popularity over the last few years. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, even fine-dining restaurants have jumped in on the action.

54% of adults say purchasing takeout or delivery food is essential to the way they live, including 72% of millennials and 66% of Gen Z adults, according to the National Restaurant Association’s 2022 State of the Restaurant Industry report.

Use SMS/text messaging to confirm you’ve received an order, that it’s ready for pickup, or that it’s out for delivery.

6. Ask for reviews. Restaurants live and die by their online reviews. Encourage guests to leave feedback on a popular review site and offer them an incentive.

If you’d rather collect feedback directly, send them a link to a survey and be sure to answer any questions and address concerns quickly.

7. Get the opt-in. SMS marketing is a great way to connect with customers, and the open rate for text messages often far exceeds that of email.

Ask for permission to send marketing messages, then craft a strategy that personalizes offers and earns repeat business.

SMS for recreational activities.

1. Book through text messaging. Rich text messaging is a simple way to answer questions, book a reservation, and securely collect payments all in one place.

2. Take special requests. SMS/text messaging is a convenient and private way for guests to ask about special accommodations like wheelchair accessibility, assistance for people who are hard of hearing, or private tours.

3. Send links to helpful information. Don’t send guests hunting for information on your website. Send them links to details, like what type of attire participants should wear, dos and don’ts, parking information, and more.

4. Send reminders. Email reminders get lost in all the itinerary bookings (and junk email) your customers are likely dealing with. Send reservation reminders and any up-to-the-minute notifications via text messaging.

5. Suggest their next adventure. SMS messaging is a great marketing tool for small business operators, like tour guides, but it’s also easy to scale for larger operations. Once your guests have finished their activity, use text messaging to suggest their next adventure.

If they took a ghost tour of downtown, offer suggestions to other haunted hotspots. If they went on a guided hike, suggest kayaking or another outdoor activity. Personalize messages and include timely discounts to increase the next booking.

Disrupt with SMS hospitality messaging or be disrupted.

The time for hospitality text messaging is here. There’s endless opportunity for hotels, resorts, restaurants, and others within the hospitality segment to simplify and personalize the customer experience.

With new expectations born from the pandemic and an ever-increasing number of millennial and Gen Z travelers, it’s even more critical for the hospitality industry to embrace text messaging.

At Quiq, we help companies in the hospitality industry (and others) engage with guests in personal and meaningful ways. Our Conversational AI Platform makes it easy for customers to connect with your business, so you can provide the information they want in the way they want to receive it.

Connect with customers—and let them connect with you—using Quiq.

9 Ways to Reduce Customer Returns with Messaging

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

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

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

So you returned it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The actual cost of returns.

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

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

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

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

9 ways customer service can reduce returns.

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

All it takes is thoughtful and frequent customer communication.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Prioritize unhappy customers.

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

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

4. Get the message to the right person.

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

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

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

5. Be optimistic instead of apologetic.

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

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

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

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

6. Give customers a record of the conversation.

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

Written instructions via messaging are much easier to follow.

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

7. Offer visual and interactive instructions.

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

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

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

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

8. Make it easy to loop in third parties.

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

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

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

9. Identify real problems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reduce customer returns with messaging.

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

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

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

6 Ways to Improve Online Retail Customer Satisfaction with Messaging

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

This meant your customer satisfaction took a hit.

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

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

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

Embrace messaging.

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

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

Why messaging is essential in online retail.

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

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

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

6 ways to improve online retail customer satisfaction with messaging.

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

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

1. Help shoppers find the perfect product.

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

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

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

2. Provide transparent interactions.

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

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

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

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

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

3. Staff for multiple messaging channels.

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

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

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

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

4. Reduce wait times.

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

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

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

5. Delight your visually-driven audience.

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

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

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

See how TechStyleOS integrated rich messaging with Quiq >

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

6. Entice customers to come back.

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

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

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

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

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

Messaging is the way to customer satisfaction.

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

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

5 Types of Customer Service Software for E-Commerce Businesses

Customer service takes more than a team of hardworking agents. It takes a solid technology strategy, too.

E-commerce brands, in particular, face chaotic customer service challenges. Between omnichannel support, the demand for 24/7 availability, and higher overall requests, there’s a lot to manage. 

Unfortunately, it’s getting even more challenging. Many retailers know their customer service needs to improve, and customers aren’t making it easy. Customer engagement is up 14% in 2022, and so are customer standards. 60% say they have higher customer service standards than before, but only 26% say the overall quality of their customer service is extremely strong.

This year is tough. There’s a big gap between customer expectations and reality, and the talent shortage isn’t helping. But there is a way to fill that gap and deliver exceptional service to your customers.

You need customer service software

Dive in to see how you can make things easier for your customer service team while improving customer satisfaction, and see the five must-have support tools that can help you do it.

What is customer service software?

Customer service software helps your support agents serve your customers. From CRM to analytics, you can put together an ecosystem of tools to enable efficient and effective customer support.

What kind of software do you need for e-commerce customer service?

Your support team is spread thin. They’re handling the rapid influx of inquiries, dealing with shipping delays, and stressed customers—plus they’re likely dealing with a short staff.

Give them the gift of efficiency. Here are the five must-have types of software to streamline your customer service.

1. CRM

Customer relationship management (CRM) is software that helps your team organize customer information, from storing historical information to analyzing data to facilitating conversations.

CRM software is a foundational purchase for an e-commerce business. Many of the following tools are available as add-ons or integrations so that everything can work together as one.

2. Ticketing system

Simply put, a ticketing system keeps track of customer issues. It helps customer service agents to organize and manage all customer inquiries, no matter which channel they come through, to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

You can also automate ticketing systems to help route customers to particular departments, prioritize based on category, or even tag using perceived customer sentiment.

3. Conversational engagement platform

Conversational commerce for customer serviceA conversational platform, like Quiq, seamlessly connects agents and customers through a variety of messaging channels. Messaging has proven to be a more efficient and affordable form of customer engagement than voice and enables agents to manage multiple conversations at once. 

You can also use conversational engagement platforms to connect with your customers where they are, like Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp, and more. Zendesk even reports that third-party messaging apps receive the highest average CSAT score (98%).

Quiq also delivers enhanced conversational AI to connect your customers through chatbots. Chatbots lighten the load for your customer service agents, filling in at various points in the conversation.

Designate a chatbot as the welcome wagon to collect customer information and route the issue to the appropriate department, automatically capture customer feedback at the end of an interaction, or even have bots answer common customer service questions. 

4. Analytics software

Every team can benefit from more data. Analytics software helps you understand customer behavior, trends, and pain points. Use this information to identify areas of improvement in your customer service team or uncover problems before they happen. 

For example, if you see a jump in “Where’s my order?” inquiries, test what happens when you send tracking links via text message, which has a much higher open rate than email.

5. Knowledge base

This software allows you to create and manage a customer self-service portal. Customers can find answers to their questions without having to contact customer service. According to a 2022 Zendesk survey, 83% of customers will spend more money with companies that allow them to find answers online—without having to ask anyone.

Knowledge base software can be as simple as a content management system, but there are also specialized services that help you catalog information so that it’s easier for your customers to find. 

How customer service software can all work together

As you piece together best-of-breed solutions for your customer service, look for software that integrates with each other to enhance your workflows. Investing in solutions that play well together is vital for the success of your customer service team.

For example, Zendesk’s Quiq integration enables your customer support agents to work with customers right from the Zendesk interface. When customers send a message to your company, no matter which platform, it automatically creates a ticket and fills in information like assignee, ticket type, priority, and more.

Agents can also use the customer information that’s already in Zendesk to help them solve issues. Access information like order history, past conversations, and more. Quiq will even scan conversations to identify pain points and pull up answers from Zendesk’s knowledge base.

You can find other Quiq integration opportunities here.

What are the benefits of customer service software?

Enhancing your team’s workflows with customer service software provides tons of benefits, felt by your customers, your agents, and your bottom line.

  1. Quicker response times: When customer service agents have the right information at their fingertips, they can respond to customer questions faster. Customer order information or past interactions can be stored within a CRM and automatically pulled up a the beginning of a conversation. Or, when agents are asked a question they don’t know, they can simply search their knowledge base. 
  2. Faster resolutions: Above all else, customers want their problems solved quickly. Since agents have a more comprehensive picture of the customer and their problem, they’re more likely to resolve their issue with fewer messages.
  3. Reduced costs: Automating manual tasks and improving efficiency enables customer service agents can handle more customer requests in a shorter time.
  4. Happier agents: Customer service agents spend a lot of time dealing with unhappy customers, which can really take its toll. Only 15% of agents report that they’re extremely satisfied with their amount of work. When work is easier to manage—and customers are happier—your team benefits, too. 
  5. Improved customer service: Support agents can deliver even better customer service with insights pulled from customer analytics. They can track things like sentiment and easily escalate problems to a manager when needed.

Plus, customers don’t need to repeat themselves when their information and conversation history is readily available. That itself provides a premium customer experience—one they’re willing to pay for. 88% of surveyed shoppers said they would spend more money with companies that ensure they won’t need to repeat information. (Wow!) 
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Start with Quiq

If you’re looking for customer service software to deliver exceptional customer experiences, Quiq’s conversational AI is the place to start.

Unlock the power of conversations with rich messaging, intelligent chatbots, and tools to help your agents thrive. Plus, you can meet customers on whatever platform they prefer. 

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.

How Messaging Creates Seamless Credit Union Member Engagement

Prior to the pandemic, online and mobile banking already represented the primary banking channels for two third of Americans. As the pandemic forced branches to close, credit unions and consumers readily embraced more online banking options including chatbots to provide members with 24/7 automated service. 

Whether it is to help manage account transactions or process loan applications, everything has had to move online. In this post, we’ll show you how credit unions have quickly deployed technology to manage unexpected changes and better connect with members.

Follow The Technology Your Members Are Using

Every company out there has had to take a closer look at how they connect with their customers. Credit Unions have not been an exception. 

Buddy Bennett, COO at Cyprus Credit Union spoke about it during Quiq’s webinar entitled,  “Digital Member Connections That Are Seamless and Compliant”. Buddy recalls how his organization, which manages 1.3 billion in assets, examined how to better connect with their members as part of their strategic planning sessions for a number of years.

The 30 person contact center at Cyprus used to service its 119,000 members primarily through emails and phone calls. The organization wanted to make it easier for members to connect and get the help they need. 

The vision motivated Cyprus to look at text messaging and chat so they can meet members in the channels of communication in which they live. Consumer’s growing reliance on their cell phones and texting made messaging the more appealing option. As Buddy puts it “Really, we felt like to get to members and to be able to communicate with them, text was going to be the way to go.”

“Really, we felt like to get to members and to be able to communicate with them, text was going to be the way to go.”

The accounting group at Cyprus was one of the first groups to use messaging within the credit union. The department uses messaging to notify business members when checks over a certain amount have cleared. From there, the lending department started successfully using Quiq to reach out to members to follow up on loan applications and soon the collections department will use Quiq to notify members when payments are past due.

The credit union has since rolled out messaging to their contact center to manage inbound inquiries from members. Members and employees have welcomed the new channel with enthusiasm and Buddy says they’ve been surprised at the volume they’re seeing in the messaging channels.

Delivering a seamless and convenient customer experience was vital to the future success of credit unions before the onset of the pandemic. Now, there’s more of a spotlight on the vital importance of enabling members to conduct business at a time and place that is most convenient to the member. Messaging is the channel your members prefer that allows self-service to happen on their terms.

Seamless Member Engagements Starts with Simplifying The Experience For Agents

Black Hills Federal Credit Union manages 15 locations throughout South Dakota along with 1.5 billion in assets and 70,000 members. Even before the pandemic, the organization started to see challenges in their contact center which motivated the team to look at messaging.

John Buxton, SVP and CIO at Black Hills recalls how his organization started to see high abandonment rates and long wait times. As he recalls, “it just didn’t feel like we were maybe providing the service that we wanted to.”

Black Hills also wanted something that simplified the messaging channels for agents instead of a bunch of different systems that agents would have to navigate. When Black Hills went live with Quiq, agents were up and running after only 1 hour of training.

As far as agent adoption, John says, “It was very easy to get them involved because they have requests all the time from members – that’s how members want to communicate. And so they were excited to be able to use something that members want. It was literally just go through a power training and then start doing some testing between each other, texting back and forth….it was very quick for our agents to become familiar with it.” 

It didn’t take long for members to notice the change either. John recalls how surprised the team was when the credit union went live with messaging in their mortgage department. “As soon as we text enabled those phone numbers, and we hadn’t even trained our staff internally or announced it, we were receiving messages. Members were just instinctively thinking that they can text the credit union. They were texting the mortgage phone numbers that were on the website before we even trained our staff internally.” 

Black Hills started with messaging in the contact center, mortgage department, card services and are now moving it into their branches. The credit union has also integrated messaging into their IVR. If a member has been on hold for a certain amount of time, they are presented the option to have the conversation via text. 

The conversation is handed off to the messaging channel where it’s easy for the agent to respond. All conversations are handled in one intuitive workspace where agents can use features such as canned responses (also known as snippets), routing, transferring, and response timers to manage conversations. 

Gain Operational Efficiency Throughout Your Credit Union

If making it easier for your customers to do business with you and simplifying workflows so agents can deliver better members experiences isn’t enough, consider this. Messaging enables your credit union to gain operational efficiency and boost productivity, which is a win for everyone. 

For example, IH Mississippi Credit Union uses text messaging in multiple departments including the financial solutions department, the contact center, and within their retail team. The organization rolled out messaging in the financial solutions department first, using Quiq to send out messages to members who were delinquent or on the path to payment delinquency. 

Credit Union member texting representativeNormally, IH Mississippi would use email and phone calls to contact these members. This process was time-consuming and usually didn’t yield a high response rate. The team now uses messaging which has reduced processing time and boosted response rates.

The financial solution team pulls a report of members who are delinquent on payments or nearing delinquency. A CSV file is uploaded and text messages are sent to those members automatically. What used to be a time-consuming process now takes 5 minutes to execute.

The credit union has realized a higher response rate to these messages compared to those delivered through email or phone. Now, members can discreetly respond and let the credit union know when they will make their payment or simply say “Hey, I forgot, can you transfer the funds now?”

Messaging Will Continue To  Be Your Members Preferred Channel

Prior to the pandemic, there was already a high adoption rate of messaging among credit union members. Covid-19 pushed branches and members to adopt digital technology overnight. Your members will continue to seek safe, secure, and convenient ways to bank with you and messaging will continue to be a channel they expect to be available to them.

Quiq’s digital engagement platform is used by top brands and a list of credit unions that grows by the day. Our business messaging, web chat and bot technology helps credit unions deliver an amazing member experience. Before you develop the next phase of your self service strategy, schedule some time to meet with one of our conversation experts to discuss how messaging can go to work for your organization.

Text Messaging for Government: How to Connect With Citizens

It’s more than just reporting potholes. Cities are transforming through the use of 311 by providing citizens with information on anything and everything – from where they can take defensive driving, to when the library on Main Street opens, to getting building permits. When citizens need non-emergency government information, 311 is quickly becoming where they turn. Since its inception, 311 has evolved with technological advances into a multi-channel service that connects citizens with their government, while also providing a wealth of data that improves how cities are run.

Cities are now thinking about 311 as if citizens are customers, and doing a lot of the same things you see innovators in the private sector doing today. Ideas that embrace user-centered design and improved customer experience are becoming a focal point of local government’s strategy.

As a growing number of businesses recognize the ubiquitous nature of messaging, municipalities are asking themselves how they can adopt text messaging as a means to provide better service to their constituents.

Text messaging is surfacing as a clear way to better service by:

  • Reducing wait times for citizens to reach advocates within the 311 call center,
  • Facilitating more effective connections by enabling the ability to instantly collaborate with the right department staff, and
  • Permitting citizens to send pictures, links, and videos to better communicate their concerns

The need for text messaging for government

These are lofty goals to pursue considering the constraints that most 311 departments operate under. If you’re like most 311 departments, you’re running pretty thin and have to do more with less. According to research conducted by the City of Minneapolis, cities that have over 600,000 citizens are fielding an average of 24,150 calls per agent/advocate per year, or close to 70 calls a day. What this all boils down to is when budget cuts occur and service levels spike, everyone suffers.

Before 311, routing phone calls and emails to the right department (hopefully) was the only way to connect with a municipality. There was a lack of consistency, coordination, and citizen focus when handling requests for information and services. Now with 311, citizens have a central place to get the help they need, but the challenge now lies with managing the volume of calls, and delivering a consistently high-quality citizen experience at a good value to taxpayers.

This is the driving force for many municipalities to look at text messaging for government departments as a means to hand large call volumes at a fraction of the cost. As a larger number of people become more comfortable with text messaging as a primary method of communications, both public and private sector organizations will need to adjust.

Improving Citizen Satisfaction through Messaging

Naturally, today’s citizens want to be able to interact with government from their phones ortablets, wherever and whenever they want. Quiq can help you deliver consistently high-quality information and service regardless of the communication channel.

Public sector clients clearly see how Quiq Messaging delivers major improvements to 311 operations:

Greater responsiveness

Accessibility through SMS/Text, Facebook Messenger,  and Web Chat means that citizens are able to submit inquiries or request services using their preferred channel. The ability to attach pictures and links to conversations, a feature most smartphone users are comfortable with in any of these channels, makes each message more effective and helps municipalities understand the issue more clearly and therefore respond more quickly and appropriately.

Agents are able to handle multiple sessions at once, so several customers can be served by one advocate. Solutions like email and phone calls, which can only be handled 1-on-1, typically result in wait times, voicemails, back and forths, and abandoned calls.  With Quiq Messaging, 311 advocates can be working six or more simultaneous text conversations, resolving citizen inquiries faster and more effectively than ever.

Increased transparency

Earning trust and the favorable opinion of citizens can support a strong future for a city. Increased transparency and better communication helps achieve those goals. Cities with improved communications that deliver exceptional customer service attracts more residents, visitors, and businesses because people recognize that the city is responsive and makes customer experience a priority.

Governments can increase transparency and open the lines of communication with Quiq Messaging. Municipalities can send outbound messages to alert neighborhoods of shutoffs to repair water lines or car owners to use off street parking as city plows prepare for winter storms. Citizens can also be alerted of community events, which bolster the local economy by encouraging businesses and citizens to partake.

Providing citizens with the ability to communicate with local government through platforms they already use like text messaging, Facebook and Kik empowers citizens to easily file a report whenever they spot a problem. Collectively, the data that citizens submit through these platforms create a citywide sensing network that gives city officials transparency to where resources need to be deployed.    

Reduced time and cost per inquiry

In 2011, it cost taxpayers in the city of Minneapolis $9.15 for each 311 report. Every broken spotlight reported and question about permits and licenses carried the same burden. As labor and benefit costs continue to increase, the price tag to request government services through 311 have escalated.

One of the biggest hurdles many municipalities face is the cost to run a 311 call center. Staffing 311 call centers with well trained agents increases the cost per contact. These agents, however, can still only handle one call at a time. Deflecting calls to messaging means that costs drop dramatically to pennies per call as text messaging is a far cheaper communication channel and agents are able to handle multiple calls at once.

Employing text messaging has the possibility to touch every dimension of government—from emergency response to public health, and from policing to disability services. Leveraging this technology today can help build a stronger community tomorrow.

Quiq Messaging can help you reduce costs, facilitate more effective customer service by reducing the time to connect with the customer, and enable instant collaboration with the right department staff. Request a demo to see how easily your municipality can implement Quiq messaging.

Update citizens with alerts

It’s important for citizens to stay up to date about what happens in their communities. With a single mass text comprised of a few words, government representatives can send notifications to thousands of people at one time. This standardizes communication and minimizes delays, allowing citizens to access the information they need quickly, right from their mobile devices.

For example, citizens may need to be notified right away about city-related schedule changes and public safety issues. Municipalities can make sure their citizens receive accurate information in a timely manner with the help of SMS texts. Common alerts used by governments may include:

  • Street parking information: If there are any street parking adjustments due to law changes, street cleanings, construction, or other significant events, a quick SMS message can keep nearby residents informed. Municipalities may also provide information on local road closures and detours.
  • Severe weather information: Incoming snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, and thunderstorms can delay travel and pose safety risks. Weather alerts and preparation directories help people stay up to date in case of emergencies.
  • Public safety issues: Quiq SMS messaging solutions allow government agencies to alert citizens of potential public safety issues immediately. Instead of having to turn on the television or check online, residents can simply look at their phone notifications for the answers they need.

Support safety net programs

SMS marketing solutions for governments help agents reach out to residents about local and federal safety net programs. Citizens who may have specific financial or healthcare needs can register to have details sent directly to their mobile devices.

For example, SMS and MMS marketing can extend to SnapFresh benefits. If someone uses food stamps to put meals on the table each month, a quick message can make them aware of nearby stores that accept food stamps. This is an easy way for residents to access affordable grocery items without having to go from store to store looking for support.

Government agencies can also send messages regarding low-income healthcare programs such as Medicaid. This support helps residents learn more about affordable healthcare, and it’s easier to stay in touch with these citizens throughout the year using SMS messaging platforms. SMS text communication benefits the local community while saving time for agents who may have other responsibilities.

Answer Citizen Queries With Quiq

Thanks to Quiq technology, government agencies can gather contact lists and send out mass text messages to the public without having to waste time or resources. Municipality residents deserve to have the information they need at their fingertips, and engagement is easier than ever with the help of SMS communication, social media messaging, app messaging, and live chat. Messaging solutions empower both support representatives and citizens to communicate and develop more beneficial relationships.

Quiq offers a platform designed to appeal to municipality and government communication requirements. For more information, contact us today.

Aspira Stakes out a New Way to Communicate With Customers

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border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”0px” padding_left=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text columns=”” column_min_width=”” column_spacing=”” rule_style=”default” rule_size=”” rule_color=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]Besides technology, Aspira knows a thing or two about adventure and connection. For over 30 years, Aspira’s technology has allowed people to book outdoor recreation experiences at parks and conservation sites all over the US. Aspira’s customers contract directly with them to use their software, marketing services, and sometimes their centralized contact center to manage reservations for many of the most popular state and provincial parks as well as conservation agencies throughout the US.

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

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


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

~Jessica Himmel, Senior Manager


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The Path to Messaging

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

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

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

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

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

Cultivating Connection Through Messaging

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

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

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

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

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

What’s Next

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

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

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

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AFPA Provides First Class Member Service with Messaging

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The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) is the largest independent flight attendant union in the US. The organization, based in Texas, serves over 27,000 members who work for American Airlines and reside all over the world.

The nature of their profession requires members to spend a good portion of their time in transit. Members may be sitting at the back of delayed planes, waiting for flights at the airport, or riding in vans being shuttled from one place to another when they may need information. APFA, run by flight attendants themselves, fully understands the mobile nature of their membership, which is why they sought and found a better, more mobile way to engage with their members through Quiq.

“As we were evolving, so was our membership. We wanted to stay ahead of the tech curve and meet them where they are by using their favorite way to communicate.”

~Erik Harris, National Contract Chair

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The Shift to Messaging

Prior to implementing Quiq, flight attendants were reaching out to AFPA primarily through phone and email. In 2018, the entire union handled over 33,000 calls spread out across 31 representatives. Calls regarding sick leave, vacation, rescheduling, and transfers are still the most common for the reps who each handle an average of 30-50 calls per day.

The organization also implemented live chat as another channel of engagement but was dissatisfied with having to switch between the live chat platform, a Facebook window, Twitter, and their own internal systems to help members

APFA chose to switch to Quiq because it allows them to serve their members on multiple platforms in one unified desktop

APFA chose to switch to Quiq because it allows them to serve their members on multiple platforms in one unified desktop. APFA leadership especially likes that reps can easily handle every incoming message because no matter how, over which channel, the flight attendant connects with APFA, it all comes into the same place and is handled the same way by the rep.

The ability to add text messaging was one of the biggest selling points to selecting Quiq. The organization’s leadership recognized there was a shift to mobile communications that was perfectly suited to their member’s on-the-go lifestyle.

The organization integrated Quiq into their existing website and customized the look with some additional coding. Afterward, they found a night to train their reps who live across multiple time zones. Reps have found the platform easy to use and intuitive, which is critical for a team that rotates out on a monthly basis. When reps return to the headquarters after weeks or months, they waste zero time relearning Quiq’s messaging platform.

To let their members know about their availability on these new channels, APFA promoted messaging multiple ways. The organization sent an email to the union’s 25,000 email subscribers, posted a message on their Facebook page, added copy to their website, and asked leadership to share the news with their respective bases. Immediately, the contact center received feedback from members who “love the convenience of being able to text in” and shared delighted messages like “OMG I’m so glad I can finally text you.”

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Brinks Home Security Customer Success Video

Brinks has been using messaging for almost 2 years now. In that time, the company has improved agent efficiency by automating routine interactions, realized double-digit increases in customer satisfaction, and experienced more engaged customers.

Watch this short video to peek under the hood at Brinks Home Security. Learn the many ways the company is using Quiq messaging and how this channel is making an impact throughout the organization.

See a Demo Today

Brinks Home Security Makes Headlines with Messaging

ZDnet’s recent coverage of Brinks Home Security “Home security firm moves one in 10 customer service calls to Quiq mobile chat channel” highlights the company’s customer-centric motivation that drove the adoption of messaging for home security. The article states that Brinks “wanted to use a communications channel that would be chosen by its million customers to connect with the brand.” And connect they did. The article reports that Brinks has seen at least 1 in 10 of their customers switch from making phones calls to using messaging.

Brinks realized that their customers needed more convenient options to engage with their brand. It wasn’t hard to see messaging as the channel that could provide that and more.

Texting offers immediacy and convenience, highly desirable traits when it comes to engaging with the provider of your security and home automation system. But the requests that Brinks receives over messaging aren’t just the urgent kind. The company also receives messages from customers who need help troubleshooting a major issue or to just replacing batteries in their hardware.

When asked what motivated the company to look to messaging as an engagement channel, the company’s response clearly captured their commitment to delivering a superior customer experience with leadership stating “…We wanted to provide a channel that put the format back in the customer’s control.”

The switch is paying off in a number of ways. The article quotes Chief Customer Office at Brinks, Jay Autrey as saying “By adding the messaging channel, we have seen a double-digit improvement in customer satisfaction, improved agent effectiveness, improvements to the bottom line, and a more engaged customer experience.”

Brinks and ZDnet aren’t the only ones who predict more consumers and companies will prefer to engage with brands via messaging. Other industries such as education and financial services are rapidly adopting messaging to connect with their customers as well.

Read the full article on ZDnet.

How Smith Thompson Handles Multiple Customers at a Time

In business since 1978, Smith Thompson provides home security, wireless monitoring, and pest control. The company is proud to say that it is entirely US-based, requires no contracts, and they do everything in-house. From sales and installations to monitoring and service, this Plano, Texas-based company takes care of its customers from beginning to end.

Company employees are always looking for ways to make it easier for customers to protect their homes, families, and businesses. Even when they are on vacation.

During a vacation ski trip in Jackson Hole ski resort in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, VP of Sales, Ryan Thompson. noticed that the resort was using a text feature on their mobile app. The resort also uses Quiq to provide immediate help to ski resort guests and answers all types of questions about ski rentals, weather conditions, and even which lifts are open – all through the messaging channel.

Discovering Messaging

When Ryan saw how Jackson Hole Resort used messaging to effortlessly communicate with their guests, he was impressed with the ease and convenience this service offered and knew right away it was something he needed to look into for Smith Thompson.  As VP of Sales, Ryan recognized that no one wants to call a company and sit in a hold queue.

Ryan wanted a more welcoming way to engage with customers who otherwise might be hesitant to reach out because they think they are going to sit in a hold queue only to talk to a salesperson in a high-pressure situation. Smith Thompson doesn’t work that way and views messaging as the channel that would allow consumers to quickly and easily get the information they need to make a no-pressure buying decision.

“Consumers want the ability to take the conversation with them wherever they go.”
– Ryan Thompson, VP of Sales, Smith Thompson

The shift from handling thousands of calls daily

handle more customers with messaging

Before implementing messaging, Smith Thompson handled one to two thousand calls a day. Phone calls may fluctuate based on the season, but there is a pretty steady influx of daily email and phone calls handled by just the company’s service agents. After a quick implementation of Quiq, phone calls rapidly started to move to the messaging channel.

Similar to the phone calls received, half of the conversations are service related with the balance being sales inquiries. The company expects to see messaging conversations increase as more customers look to get their new system installed during the spring and summer before heading out on their own vacations.

In addition to phone and email, there was also the occasional Facebook message. Before Quiq, the direct messages received on Facebook didn’t fit into the normal workflow. Agents had to log into the company’s Facebook platform to handle these inquiries. Now, when agents log into Quiq, they can handle and resolve messages received from multiple channels – SMS/text, web chat, and Facebook – all in one place.

When the busy season rolls around, Smith Thompson will be well prepared to handle a spike in conversation volume. With messaging, agents can handle multiple conversations at a time because of the asynchronous nature of this channel. Quiq’s Adaptive Response Timer, which automatically prioritizes conversations based on how quickly or slowly the customer is responding to the agent, is one of many features that helps customer experience representatives increase productivity and handle multiple conversations at a time.

Driving Sales with Messaging

In providing a convenient new channel for their customers and prospects to easily engage with them, Smith Thompson made their sales process better as well. Prior to messaging, customers who wanted to switch monitoring services would have to have a technician come out to see if the security hardware they already had installed was compatible with Smith Thompson’s monitoring services.

Now, when prospects call in and request to switch to Smith Thompson, they can simply snap a picture of their current hardware and send it to the agent during the messaging conversation.

The company reports that the messaging channel converts about 30%-40% of their conversations to sales.

What’s next

Smartphones have become a central part of consumer lives and the ability to control smart devices around your home, such as doorbell cameras and thermostats, have become an often standard part of home security. Smith Thompson recently introduced home automation to its line of products and services, waiting for more the more stable second generation home automation capabilities. The company has just started to promote the new line of services which include full smartphone control of its available locks, lights, thermostats, and cameras with plans to promote this new service more heavily.

In addition to promoting its home automation products, the company would like to use messaging as a way to further differentiate itself in the marketplace. Smith Thompson promotes the messaging channel across its website, as well as on their mobile “Contact Us” page. Smith Thompson sees this feature as a way to set itself apart from competitors. The company has set itself apart from others in the market by making it easy to work with them and sees the ability to text for pre-sales consultation and post-sales support an extension of their ability to serve families. Smith Thompson plans to broadcast the new feature in upcoming ads.

Texas A&M Graduates from Emails and Auto-Dialers to the Messaging Channel

Texas A&M, a public university located in College Station, Texas, has been providing students with quality education since opening its doors in 1876 as the state’s first public institution for higher education. Today, the school is home to over 68,000 students that benefit from its ability to drive innovation on campus.

But innovation isn’t just happening in classrooms and labs, it’s also evident in the way the school communicates with students. Emails had been the official way Texas A&M shared information with students. Realizing that students weren’t reading their emails, the school looked for alternative ways to reach their students beyond the email, phone calls, and auto-dialer they typically employed. A pilot with Quiq to test text messaging students was launched in June and the school isn’t looking back.

“Students are so glad they didn’t have to wait in a phone queue!”

Rachelle McDonald, Director of Customer Service

Successful adoption of messaging at Texas A&M

When asked about Quiq’s implementation and its integration into the schools existing CRM system, Oracle Service Cloud, Texas A&M’s Customer Service Team “didn’t remember even one problem or issue.” Now the school’s call center, which is staffed by 8 student workers, can handle both inbound and outbound texts from new and existing students.

“The student workers love using text messaging,” states Peggy Carey, Director of Student Business Services. The ability to add emojis makes conversations more personal and staff has found this channel to be much faster than phone calls.

The new channel has also been well received by students who appreciate not having to wait in a phone queue with questions. Students are pleasantly surprised that when they text in, staff can see their profile and past interaction history for more information.

Messaging use cases at Texas A&M

So far, university staff has seen an increase in response rates to some of the most common, but critical communications with students, such as reminding students to choose between locked and variable tuition rates or alerting students when they are at risk of being dropped from classes due to non-payment. Messaging conversations, which are usually resolved in 5 messages back and forth, has proven to be a fast and effective way to engage students, especially during busy times of the year.

Other successful examples of messaging at Texas A&M include:

  • When students are missing a photo for their required ID, the school sends an outbound message with a link where students can submit their photo. With messaging, the school has seen a 14% increase in the number of students who click on the message and comply.
  • Students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit to receive refunds. This is also communicated through a link sent via text, which opens directly to the appropriate website. Every student that responds to this request saves the university the workload and expense of having to cut a check for disbursements, which costs about $3 per check.
  • When a student leaves the university with an unpaid balance, collections can send a message that complies with the Fair Debt Collection Practice Act instead of calling, seeing a much higher response rate.
  • New students are offered the option of locked or variable tuition when they enroll, allowing them to align their choice to their education plans.

So What’s Next?

The university has seen a lot of students respond to messaging, but they believe there’s more room to grow. Texas A&M admits to taking things slowly with messaging at first, having initially promoted messaging through outbound texts only. Within two months the school added a “Text SBS” button to their website, so students could text directly from there. Now, the university is ready to push the channel further by promoting the “text us” feature on other mediums and expand on the success they’ve seen. For example, Student Business Services plans to promote the option to text on the emailed billing statements. They also plan to present students with the option to send a text message instead of waiting on hold in their IVR.

Along with added promotional efforts, Texas A&M plans to increase communications over the messaging channel, to both broad and targeted audiences. This summer, when online photo submission becomes a requirement for students, the school will push the message via text to all students. Targeted efforts include informing graduating students when their diploma will be held due to non-payment and notifying students to sign up for direct deposit to receive Title IV student aid funds that have been returned.

Texas A&M continues to push innovation past the walls of the classroom to deliver excellence beyond the athletic fields by offering messaging as a way to better engage with students. The school has realized great success in communicating time-sensitive information to new and existing students and doesn’t plan on looking back.

See a Demo Today

Forrester Webinar: Connecting with Customers Through Messaging and Bots

Today’s consumers’ expectations around engagement have driven companies to “up-level” their accessibility and responsiveness. In this on-demand webinar, Kate Leggett, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research joins Mike Parish, of Brinks Home Security, to discuss how to connect with customers through messaging and bots.

As the leading expert on customer relationship management (CRM) and customer service strategies, Kate shares deep insights into the consumer behaviors that are shaping how many of the leading brands leverage messaging and bots to better engage with their customers. Mike Parish, Director of Experience and Service design at Brinks Home Security reveals the results and surprises from implementing messaging and bots.

How Chatbots Are Revolutionizing eCommerce

In recent years, chatbots have made their way into the mainstream, becoming an integral part of the way modern businesses interact with consumers. In this post, we’ll take a look at chatbots and how they are playing an increasingly important role in eCommerce. We’ll then dive into the ways that businesses can use bots across all channels.

What are chatbots?

Chatbots are software applications that simulate human conversation.  Customers can interact with chatbots much like they would with a human via SMS/text, web chat, social media or in a company’s app. Chatbots can be written to follow simple instructions such as to greet the customer with “Hi, how can I help you?” and ask for the customer’s name. Bots can also execute more complex processes based off of rules or keywords such as gathering order information, routing the customer to a different department, and displaying the customer’s order history to the agent.

The earliest chatbots were simple systems that picked up keywords from a user’s message which triggered certain scripts. Responses may have come across as canned, but the mere fact that a user was chatting with a robot was novel in itself. In the 1960s, computer scientists at MIT developed ELIZA, which emulated a psychotherapist. Many individuals who used Eliza were convinced they were talking to a real person at the time. Though it was initially developed to show the superficiality of human communication, the developers were surprised by the large amount of feedback they received attributing human-like emotion to the machine. Chatbots have come a long way since then. Modern artificial intelligence has made it so chatbots are more helpful than ever, and natural language processing has seen major developments in recent years. Now, chatbots are instrumental to the way that many businesses connect with customers. Through Facebook, SMS, and web chat, chatbots can guide customers through every step of their path to purchase as well as provide intelligent customer support.

How contacting customer service has evolved

Calling and emailing a company for pre-sales questions or post-sales support has gone the way of the VCR. Sure, there are some people out there that still use those channels, but for the vast majority, it’s not the first way people think of when they need to reach a business. Today’s connected consumers demand engagement that’s flexible, convenient, and fast. That’s why consumers are gravitating towards mobile means of engagement, where they can have more control over when and where conversations take place. The availability of smartphones and tablets mean that browsing, buying, and requesting support can happen anywhere there’s a mobile device available and consumers haven’t hesitated to use this freedom to engage businesses whenever and however is most convenient for them. Live chat for business, for example, is frequently used for customers to connect while they are browsing a company’s site.  Further efforts to connect with customers on their own terms has led many companies to enable their landlines to send and receive SMS/text messages since many consumers prefer texting over phone calls. The mere thought of managing conversations over multiple channels would normally keep contact center managers up at night fretting about operations and agents worrying about efficiency metrics.

Quiq’s messaging platform bring conversations from SMS/text, web chat, social, and in-app into one streamlined UI so that agents and managers have one place to manage every conversation. Unlike phone calls and emails that can only be handled on a 1:1 basis, messaging platforms, like Quiq, allow company employees to handle multiple conversations at once. We see employees handle 6 to 8 concurrent conversations at one time. Even with all the efficiency modern messaging platforms provide, human-only messaging systems are limited by things such as hours of operation and the amount of staff available. Enter the chatbot. Businesses are adopting chatbots for every messaging channel, including web chat, SMS/texting, and social channels as a way to route customers to the right department, or to an agent that can help them. Today, advanced chatbots, like those powered by Quiq, are predicted to handle 85% of customer service interactions by 2020, using artificial intelligence to meet the unique needs of customers in increasingly efficient and satisfactory ways, such as greeting the customer and gathering data to better understand the nature of their inquiry.

What chatbots offer to eCommerce

eCommerce is perfectly suited for the features that chatbots offer since the entire customer journey — right up until delivery — primarily happens on mobile devices. Chatbots are available around the clock to engage customers with a welcome message, suggest products or promotional offers based on their browsing history, and help answer any questions that arise. Consider some of these interactions where a chatbot can help augment interactions with human agents:

  • Determining the type of question, whether pre-sales or post-sales, in order to route the inquiry to the correct team.
  • Collecting information on what the customer is shopping for to narrow down a selection or suggest pages that customers should check out.
  • Checking on order and shipping status.
  • Helping customers troubleshoot a technical issue by asking questions to eliminate possible causes.
  • Providing returning customers automated help with a password reset.

If the consumer makes an inquiry or gives feedback which is beyond the chatbot’s capabilities, it can seamlessly and immediately connect the consumer to an appropriate agent. The approach of having chatbots as the first point of contact, to gather data for human agents, maximizes efficiency and frees up resources while still maintaining the human element. In fact, chatbots can be used throughout the conversation, not just as the first contact. Human agents and bots can seamlessly transfer messages back and forth without disrupting the customer’s experience.

Perfecting messaging for business

In fact, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, and Google Rich Business Messaging are all popular avenues for connecting with customers. The more your eCommerce enterprise branches out into these engagement channels, the tighter your connection will be in the daily lives of consumers. Modern customer service is all about providing solutions to customers on their own terms. That means that consumers should be able to reach you whenever they want to, via the channels that they prefer. Quiq enables companies to engage with customers over multiple channels while using live agents, chatbots, or a combination of both. As chatbots become increasingly capable of complex tasks, the expectations that customers have when interacting with chatbots will only grow. Your customer service interface reflects the quality of your eCommerce brand as a whole, which is why it’s critical to use a platform that continues to advance along with the times. Quiq helps your brand stay ahead of the curve with advanced features such as agent performance optimization and real-time reports.

Get Quiq and get chatting

Chatbots will continue to transform the way customers interact with businesses. By connecting with your customers via their preferred modes of text communication, you can ensure that you’re speaking their language and getting your message across. This means increased connections, higher sales, and improved customer satisfaction. If your brand is ready to explore the potential of a perfected chatbot platform, request a demo with Quiq today.

Customer Spotlight: TodayTix

TodayTix is no stranger to bringing more accessibility to experiences. The company started with the goal to provide effortless access to shows. Since launching in 2013, the company has brought theater to a new audience of theatre goers with “thoughtful service at each moment along the way”. There’s no waiting in lines or rushing for last minute ticket sales here. TodayTix provides the convenience of buying theatre tickets online with just a few taps of a button.

As TodayTix continues to see growth in subscribers and sales, it has also seen an increase in inbound calls. TodayTix looked at chat as a way to reduce calls while providing customers the ease and convenience of another channel. Today, the New York-based company uses Quiq’s Chat and SMS/text messaging channels to provide their customers with the kind of 21st century communication they were seeking.

Prior to implementing chat, TodayTix provided support through phone (80%) and email (20%). Since opening the messaging channel, the company has seen a drop in approximately 1,000 calls per month and a decrease in emails. James Potter, Senior Guest Services Manager at TodayTix, says that customers appreciate the quick response they get via messaging versus email.

“We were surprised to see a lot of our repeat customers move over to chat. Many of them have an .aol account, so it was interesting to see that shift.”

– James Potter, Senior Guest Services Manager

After just one day of training and some adjustments to the integration of the their existing Salesforce instance, the company was up and running with messaging. TodayTix still looks to their FAQs to help customers, but placed chat on their support page in the event that any of the 2,500 weekly visitors may need additional help.

The guest services team, which usually consists of 3 to 5 people, love that they are able to see a preview of what the customers are typing, in order to get a head start on helping them. They also love that they can handle multiple cases at one time, with the ability to handle up to 5 conversations simultaneously.

While the majority of questions TodayTix agents handle via messaging involve canceling or modifying an order, the company has also been able to improve their concierge service. For a small fee, customers can have tickets hand-delivered to them 30 minutes prior to the start of the show. Since the company sells internationally, and many times to tourists who don’t have access to their email, messaging helps coordinate delivery if meeting times or locations have to change on the fly.

What’s Next

The company has been pleased to see an increase in their NPS scores rising from the low 60’s to the high 70’s in large part due to messaging. It appears that customers aren’t the only ones noticing how the company uses technology. In 2018, TodayTix was named as one of Deloitte’s 2018 Technology Fast 500. The honor recognizes the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America.

TodayTix would like to take messaging further and implement the chat feature in their app too, as many of their customers are on mobile devices and engaging via the app. The company is also interested in enhancing their IVR by adding an option that would allow customers to initiate a text-based conversation instead of waiting on hold. These improvements will continue TodayTix’s ability to offer thoughtful service for every customer engagement.

Quiq Helps Tailored Brands Dress For Success

Tailored Brands prides itself as a brand that provides a personal, convenient, one-of-a-kind shopping experience. When the company wanted to complement its compelling products, it added the text messaging channel to augment its already world-class service.

Q: What caused you to consider deploying a messaging solution for your brands?

A:  As we look at how people communicate in general, the dominant channel is far and away text messaging. We all text before we call or email each other. So, we wanted to see if that would translate to consumers texting us, a business. We did not decide to add text messaging for call deflection, as we are focused on allowing our customers to communicate with us any way they want.

As Tailored Brands started to look at how people communicate, they noticed a desire within their target market to use text messaging versus the more traditional methods of phone and email. Tailored Brands brought on Quiq Messaging to support its two largest brands: Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Banks. Now these retailers are able to quickly respond to customer inquiries about online orders, products, promotions, and tuxedo rentals – all via messaging, the customer’s preferred way to communicate.

“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. Adding text messaging from Quiq has allowed us to differentiate even more.”

– Melissa Porter, VP Customer Relations, Tailored Brands

The most common way messaging is used at Tailored Brands is for inbound customer inquiries. Customers have quickly shifted their way of communicating from phone and email to text messaging for getting help choosing the right suit, placing an order, tracking a shipment, promotion questions, or setting in-store appointments.

Another way Tailored Brands has implemented messaging is to send outbound appointment notifications and reminders. This comes in handy when scheduling bridal parties or prom tuxedo rentals. Because Quiq Messaging allows customers to reply to an outbound text message, if there happens to be a conflict, the appointment can easily be adjusted in real-time.

Finally, Tailored Brands has integrated the option to text message them into their Cisco phone system. Presenting consumers with the option to text instead of wait on hold has been a popular option and is particularly helpful to the brands when call volumes are high.

Q: What channels did you support before adding messaging?

A: We supported phone calls and email. When we purchased Quiq, we were able to add support for SMS/text messaging, live chat, and Facebook Messenger.

The company has now extended support for Men’s Warehouse to 24/7 coverage, adding more convenience. When customers reach the after-hours message on the company’s IVR, they are given the option to text. Knowing the brands cater to a younger demographic, it’s not a surprise the company has seen more customers go straight to text first versus going to the IVR to initiate a text conversation.

Customers and Agents Love Messaging

The company has seen call deflection as a bonus, but one of the real benefits has been the way employees can now communicate with customers. Prior to messaging, responses through email were formal and felt too structured. Now, employees are able to engage with customers on a more genuine, personal level with text messaging.

“Since most of our employees are Millennials, it freed them up to have the kind of conversations with customers that we’ve been wanting them to have.”

– Melissa Porter, VP Customer Relations, Tailored Brands

Messaging Helps Manage Growth

Quiq’s Messaging platform was a timely addition as the Tailored Brands has recently seen a notable increase in business, both instore and online. During busy times when phone volume increases, the company is happy to see customers shift from their most expensive channel, the phone, to text messaging.

STATS:

  • Phone calls 3x more expensive than texting
  • Agents average 5 text conversations at a time and upwards of 8 when busy
  • Over 175% increase in text messages received for each brand

Their customer service agents love the messaging channel. They are able to respond to customers quickly, typically in less than two minutes via messaging. Many conversations are pretty straightforward, like order and shipping information, and can be resolved in three to four exchanges. The company also sees a fair amount of more complex inquiries coming in over messaging, such as brides texting in to change the vest color for her wedding party.

Easy Implementation & Seamless Integration

Originally supporting phone and emails within Salesforce.com, Tailored Brands chose to integrate Quiq into Salesforce Service Cloud right from the start. This ensures agents use only one desktop interface to resolve inquiries, regardless of channel. With the Quiq Messaging platform, agents can view a complete history of all messaging conversations with each customer to more efficiently answer new questions.

“The Quiq implementation into the Salesforce.com desktop was the easiest I’ve ever done. The Quiq interface is super intuitive and provided the features that we couldn’t get from Salesforce LiveMessage.”

– Melissa Porter, VP Customer Relations, Tailored Brands

Quiq Messaging offers the sophisticated capabilities required to deliver a great experience to Tailored Brands’ customers. With the ability to automatically prioritize incoming and existing text and chat conversations for each agent, Quiq ensures agents respond to customers based on the cadence they are engaging with the brands. Not only that, but having the ability to queue and route, transfer and collaborate, and present real-time, dynamic management reporting made Quiq the best choice.

Tailored Brands has plans to expand text messaging for new use cases and new markets. The company plans to continue to expand its use of messaging to help brides and grooms set in-store appointments for custom and rental tuxedos. In addition, store employees have started texting into the contact center, so employee messaging is now under consideration. FInally, there is interest in expanding to support the French-Canadian market with messaging.With the holiday season always on the retail horizon, the ability to quickly train phone and email agents to support text messaging remains top of mind. The company plans to cross-train more contact center employees to give their workforce more flexibility during peak times.Whatever the next new initiative is for Tailored Brands, you can rest assured they will evaluate it through the lens of their ever-evolving customers. Continuing to set themselves apart and be recognized for their world-class service, Tailored Brands is raising the bar in their industry.