Is Your Service Center Busy? Don’t Turn Off Messaging!

Knee-jerk reactions happen. It gets busy. You see your agents struggling. And when your agents are overwhelmed, it’s natural to want to go back to what you know. So you turn all your agents to the phone while turning messaging off.

But this can make things ten times worse.

Instead of controlling the funnel of customer requests, you simply create a ticket backlog that frustrates your customers and further overwhelms your team.

Hear us out about why you should resist the urge to suspend messaging when you get busy. 

Don’t turn off messaging. Here’s why.

1. Customers prefer it.

Business professional woman holding a cell phoneGlobally, messaging has increased in popularity significantly in 2021. According to Zendesk’s 2021 CX Trends Report, in-app messaging popularity grew by 36%, SMS/text messaging by 75%, and social messaging by 110%.

While customers value human connection, younger generations don’t consider emotional connections and text communications mutually exclusive. 

If your customers are used to messaging options, they’re likely to get frustrated when you take it away. The worst-case scenarios? They become unsatisfied, switch to a competitor, or take their complaint to social media.

2. Messaging is more efficient.

It might seem counterintuitive. Rather than focusing on a single call, agents are juggling multiple customer messages at the same time. But with the right tools and sufficient planning, messaging can be a lot more efficient.

With phone calls, agents can only serve one person at a time. They’re wholly tied down to one call. And they may or may not know how serious the problem is, the customer’s mood, or how long it’ll take to resolve their issue. It’s often a crapshoot. 

But messaging gives agents the ability to serve six to eight requests, compared to one phone call. They can prioritize messages based on urgency, dollar amount, VIP and more. Plus, agents can chat with other customers while waiting for one to respond, maximizing their time.

3. Messaging is asynchronous.

Except for live chat, messaging doesn’t require an immediate response. It lands somewhere between phone conversations and email. Customers often send a message but rarely wait for a response. This gives customers a chance to go about their day while having their issues resolved or their questions answered. 

Your customer service agents then have more flexibility in their responses. You can afford to slow down communications without upsetting the customer.

Yes, it’s good to answer customers as quickly as possible. But when it’s busy and your agents are overwhelmed, taking longer to respond to a text message is better than leaving them on hold for the same amount of time.

4. Integrate chatbots to alleviate urgency.

The biggest advantage messaging has over phone calls? Chatbots.

Online customer service chatbot conversations with a customerSalesforce reported that 66% of service professionals credit self-service for reducing call volumes—and that includes chatbots. There are many ways to integrate bots and AI into the customer support experience to reduce the burden on your agents. 

Chatbots can act as your first line of defense, greeting customers and collecting information on their issues. During busy times, you can triage support issues. Customers with urgent problems can be helped first, while those with simpler problems can wait a little longer. For frequently asked questions, you can even write a script for your chatbots to respond and complete the ticket without involving your team at all.

Chatbots and agents can also work in tandem, tag-teaming a conversation when agents get overwhelmed. Chatbots can ask questions or provide scripted responses, and agents can jump in with the solution. Plus, agents can see the entire conversation with the chatbot, so the transition is seamless, and there are no redundant questions.

5. It’s just better customer service.

If you’re a Friends enthusiast, do you remember the episode “The One with the Screamer”? Stay with us. In short, Phoebe misses Joey’s play because she’s on hold for hours trying to claim a warranty that’s about to expire.

While that’s poor customer service taken to the extreme, it’s still very relatable. A Zendesk survey found that  56% of customers say that long hold/wait times are one of the most frustrating customer service experiences. No one wants to wait on hold for hours. And when your support agents are busy, that’s a possibility. Sending a message allows your customers to go on with their day while waiting for a response.

What doesn’t work with messaging

While integrating messaging into your customer service is a great strategy, it’s not a silver bullet. It doesn’t solve all your support problems without some help. 

Here are some ways messaging can go seriously wrong.

1. You only use live messaging.

Live chat is a great way to engage with customers, but it’s not the most forgiving during busy times. Synchronous messaging (instant communication between you and your customer) requires both parties to be available and provide instant responses. It doesn’t adequately replace a phone call. When you’re busy, synchronous messaging can take up more of your agents’ time.

2. You’re using chatbots ineffectively.

Pairing chatbots with synchronous messaging lends to a lackluster customer service experience. Using simplistic chatbots in your web messaging often turns into hold messages (i.e., “Someone will be with you in 20 minutes”) or a glorified search bar (i.e., “What can I help you with?”).

Chatbot scripts and messaging trees are also vital to their success. Filling it with copy that lacks empathy, is too formal for your audience, or confuses them further will also create a bad experience.

3. You’re not adequately preparing your team.

According to Salesforce, 55% of agents say they need better training in order to do their job well. Messaging customers and handling issues over the phone are two different skill sets. There are many cues you can pick up on through someone’s voice to determine their state of mind. Your customer service team was likely trained to listen for these cues and respond accordingly. 

But messaging is different. There are fewer ways to pick up on a customer’s mood and fewer ways to build a rapport. If your team isn’t prepped to respond quickly while expressing empathy, it can come off as detached or fake.

How to ensure messaging success

Don’t panic. When you see a busy season on the horizon, there are a few things you can do to set your customer support team up for messaging success.

1. It’s all about the prep work.

It’s not a good idea to plug your current customer service strategies into a messaging platform as is. You need a strategy that works across voice calls and messaging, so you can transition customers between them seamlessly. 

2. Set up triage ahead of time.

Messaging Chat Bots Help Customer ServiceBefore the avalanche hits, decide how you’ll handle customer support questions. Who gets to go first when you can’t get to everyone right away? Will it be the most urgent problem? The VIP customers? Whoever has a problem that can be solved the quickest?

Then determine how you’ll assign issues to different service agents or even different departments. Lean into conversational AI and chatbots to help automate those decisions.

3. Reduce call volume with call-to-text.

Integrate call-to-text with your interactive voice response (IVR) system to give customers the option of transitioning to text instead of waiting on hold.

4. Ensure seamless integration across platforms.

It’s easy for customer communications to become fragmented. Silos can form between different messaging platforms, phone calls, and web chat. Find a communications platform that keeps track of customers across multiple channels so your agents have a complete history of the conversation before they jump in.

5. Create an escape plan.

Okay. Not an actual escape plan. But you should have a strategy in place to help get your customer service agents out of the hole—that doesn’t involve turning off your messaging entirely. Have some remote agents on call to take the overflow. Or try enlisting other team members to help out when your team is overwhelmed. Maybe even try turning off your phones and relying on messaging services until you catch up.

Whatever you do, set yourself up for success with better options than shutting down your customer service messaging and weathering the storm.

Master your messaging with Quiq

Don’t hit the panic button. Even if your team is under fire, resist the urge to go full phone. Instead of solving the problem, you may be creating several more.

What does it really take to reach customer service messaging success? A conversational platform that enhances your agents’ ability to deliver exceptional customer service. Prepare for the busy days ahead with Quiq.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of messaging channels out there. Regardless of how your customers or prospects engage, Quiq manages it all within our multi-channel conversational engagement platform.

Get a Quiq demo today.

Turning Chatbots Into Virtual Shopping Assistants

Turning Chatbots Into Virtual Shopping Assistants

These days, brick-and-mortar retail is quickly giving way to online shopping. By 2022, eCommerce sales are projected to reach over $850 billion — and it doesn’t seem like the growth of online shopping will be slowing down beyond that. Many consumers have a preference for convenient shopping experiences — and what’s easier than shopping from the comfort of home? However, what hasn’t changed is the fact that shoppers want assistance if they have a problem or question. That’s where virtual shopping assistants shine.

Virtual shopping assistants are support bots that can directly support consumers as they browse. While being available around the clock, these assistants can answer questions, resolve problems, and provide suggestions to consumers, all from the convenience of a chat window.

In this guide, we’ll provide all the details on virtual shopping assistants, including the benefits to shoppers and retailers, how retailers are using chatbots as virtual shopping assistants, and how to get started with Quiq.

What Are Virtual Shopping Assistants?

A virtual shopping assistant is essentially a chatbot that converses directly with online consumers. These assistants work by using a combination of machine learning and language processing software to understand shopper queries and match them with appropriate solutions. As these assistants conduct more conversations, they learn more about consumers’ preferences and language patterns, making the bot more effective over time.

Digital shopping assistants are commonly installed on a store’s website. When a new visitor comes to the website, these assistants automatically greet the shopper through a chat window, offering assistance and notifying them of any current promotions. The potential consumer can then type responses into the chat window to ask questions or request recommendations, which the assistant will answer in a matter of seconds.

Why Do Consumers Like Virtual Shopping Assistants?

Sixty five percent of American shoppers prefer self-service through tools like chatbots.

Virtual shopping assistants are quickly becoming a staple in the retail industry, especially with younger generations. There are many reasons for this preference, ranging from response time to personalized answers. As a result, 65% of American shoppers prefer self-service through tools like chatbots.

Here are a few specific reasons why consumers enjoy communicating with an online shopping assistant:

  • Quick responses: Digital shopping assistants provide instant answers to all questions a consumer may have. Chatbot assistants can pull information about orders and deliveries, provide recommendations, and even assist with common problems and complaints. If a shopper has a simple question, they won’t have to wait for a response to a customer support ticket, which can possibly deter them from making a purchase altogether.
  • Round-the-clock assistance: Virtual shopping assistants don’t have to work in a certain timeframe. These bots can provide information around the clock, no matter the time of day. Bots can also handle hundreds of inquiries at once, meaning consumers don’t need to wait for the next available agent to answer their questions. With a virtual assistant, consumers can get the answers they need when they need them.
  • Personalization: Chatbots can store information based on shoppers’ accounts, allowing for enhanced personalization. These virtual assistants can use data regarding a consumer’s past purchases and behaviors to make informed recommendations.
  • Faster experiences: Virtual assistants can quickly pull information to answer consumers’ questions, allowing consumers to make faster shopping decisions. Some chatbots even allow consumers to complete purchases from the chat window, making for a speedy shopping experience.

On top of these benefits, younger generations are more open to embracing new technologies like digital shopping assistants and are more excited to use platforms that integrate AI.

Benefits of Virtual Shopping Assistants for Retailers

Benefits of Virtual Shopping Assistants for Retailers

In addition to benefitting consumers, digital shopping assistants can also give retailers an edge in the market. These platforms help retailers achieve advantages like cost savings and increased sales, so an investment in chatbots makes a real difference. Additionally, retailers that want to be on the cutting edge of eCommerce technology can expect to reach and develop relationships with consumers who enjoy those new features.

Some of the most significant benefits online shopping assistants offer retail businesses include:

  • Cost savings: Virtual assistants take the workload off live agents by automatically handling the majority of inquiries. Instead of hiring new members for an internal support team, retailers can implement a virtual shopping assistant that handles most questions and complaints. This concept reduces the number of live agents needed, allowing them to focus on the most complex problems and inquiries while the chatbot resolves questions.
  • Data collection: eCommerce chatbots can easily collect information about consumers and their preferences by saving their behaviors and purchases in a database. This information is invaluable to retailers, providing demographic and preference information that can be used to create powerful targeted marketing campaigns.
  • Improved consumer relationships: Virtual assistants provide 24/7 support and a personalized experience, which helps to create more positive experiences for shoppers. As a result, retailers have a chance to build relationships with shoppers, encouraging them to come back in the future.
  • Increased sales: Online shopping assistants can also help generate more sales through upselling and cross-selling, offering upgrades and related purchases at the check-out window. Additionally, online shopping assistants can send out reminders to consumers that have abandoned their carts, encouraging them to follow through with their purchase.
  • Competitive advantages: All of these benefits equate to an advantage over competitors, especially those that don’t use chatbots. If a shopper sees that a retailer has chatbot capabilities on their website, they’ll be more likely to stay on their website and make a purchase.

Due to the significant benefits of virtual shopping assistants for both retailers and consumers, it’s easy to see why these tools are quickly taking over the retail industry. eCommerce chatbots are expected to increase consumer retail spend to $142 billion by 2024, meaning more retailers will likely adopt chatbots over the next three years. With the continuing boom of eCommerce, retail businesses can use chatbots to meet consumer expectations going forward.

How to Use a Chatbot as a Virtual Shopping Assistant

With all the benefits of digital shopping assistants, many retailers are looking to implement their own within the next few years. While there are many advanced options available, eCommerce chatbots are still the most common type of virtual shopping assistant. These tools are popular due to their versatility and relative ease of implementation.

It’s key for retail leaders to understand how to use a chatbot as a virtual shopping assistant to ensure they maximize their effectiveness. These assistants have several capabilities. As a result, retailers may want to use them differently depending on their unique needs.

Some essential functions chatbots can fulfill to become virtual shopping assistants include:

  • Engage visitors: Chatbots are a great way to engage new visitors on a site without being intrusive. Shoppers can interact with the chatbot as much or as little as they want, but they’ll always have the option available to them. Retailers can also ensure every chatbot offers the same level and quality of information to consumers, whether that’s information about products and promotions or updates on orders.
  • Respond to questions: One of the most common ways to use chatbots as virtual shopping assistants is as an interactive FAQ page. Visitors can type in their questions, and the AI will determine the best response. This way, consumers don’t need to get frustrated while hunting down information — their virtual assistant can provide them learn more about products, shipping costs, refund policies, and store hours with a simple query.
  • Provide product recommendations: Virtual shopping assistants can also be programmed to provide product recommendations. Using data collected about a shopper’s immediate needs and past behavior and preferences, virtual shopping assistants can show one or more product options that would likely suit the consumer. This chatbot feature is a surefire way to enhance consumer experiences, as product recommendations both simplify and speed up the shopping process.
  • Order information: Every online shopper is excited after they place an order online, and are looking forward to getting confirmation and information about their order’s progress. While consumers often get this information via email, retailers can also set up online shopping assistants to provide this information when prompted. This way, consumers can easily track the progress of their order, get tracking information, and check in on updates.
  • Promotion and sale information: Virtual shopping assistants can also be used to offer deals and coupons to shoppers. Different coupons and promotions can be offered at different stages of the shopping experience, depending on the consumer in question. For example, first-time shoppers may see a welcome discount to encourage their first purchase, while repeat consumers may see seasonal offers and product-specific discounts based on their previous purchases. If a shopper abandons their cart, the assistant can even offer a discount as an incentive to complete the purchase.
  • Cart retrieval: Nearly 85% of online shoppers have abandoned a purchase. Virtual shopping assistants can help reduce the rate of cart abandonment by checking in on consumers and answering their questions. If a shopper abandons their cart, online shopping assistants can send reminders when the person revisits the site or social media page. The assistant can even be programmed to offer discounts to encourage consumers to complete their purchases. These types of messages are less likely to be ignored than emails, leading to a higher conversion rate.
  • Subscription management: Chatbots can also be programmed to help with subscription management for consumers with retail accounts. All shoppers need to do is provide their credentials, and a chatbot with this capability can look up their profile and find member benefits, coupons, and rewards. These chatbots can also be programmed to provide information about points systems, including how many points shoppers have, how many points they need for their next discount, and how many points they’ll earn from their current cart. Chatbots can also be programmed to assist with subscription management, helping shoppers increase or decrease their membership levels and subscription schedules.

Many chatbot programs are available for retailers to explore, and they can customize them to fulfill one or more of these functions.

How to Get Started With Chatbot Implementation

How to Get Started With Chatbot Implementation

Virtual shopping assistants are invaluable to online retailers and will be a necessary platform for forward-thinking retail businesses. However, each retailer is unique, so it’s essential to understand how to effectively implement eCommerce chatbots for each retail business’s needs.

Some of the key items to consider before pursuing a chatbot as a virtual shopping assistant include:

  • Functions: First, consider what core functions the chatbot needs to fulfill. Does the retailer have subscriptions or memberships that need to be managed? Is chat-window purchasing a feature that would benefit the retailer? Knowing the most important functions to enable will help inform a retailer’s choices when they start designing an online shopping assistant program.
  • Integrations: Think about the types of integrations the digital shopping assistant will need. What systems does it need to plug into? Does it need speech-to-text or text-to-speech capabilities down the road? Look for solutions that are flexible enough to take on new integrations as the retail business evolves.
  • Updates: Consider how frequently the chatbot will need to be updated. Does the retail business’s product line rotate regularly? Are there new promotions that will need to be added to the system? Look for systems that automatically update product information and can easily undergo manual updates. This way, retailers can communicate the most updated information to their consumers.
  • Start small: Retailers shouldn’t try to implement a robust chatbot system from day one. Instead, focus on the most important functions first, such as a customer support chatbot. From there, the retailer can add more functions over time, testing thoroughly as they go. As a result, they won’t waste time and effort implementing features they don’t need.

On top of these recommendations, retailers should be sure to work with an experienced chatbot provider. An expert provider will help with programming and implementing a virtual shopping assistant, making recommendations for functions and integrations and helping update platforms as the retailer grows.

Demo Quiq Today for Your Retail Business

Virtual shopping assistants are effective tools that help improve consumer experiences and generate sales, all while improving productivity and reducing the strain on retailers’ internal teams. With current generations increasingly favoring online shopping experiences and consumers warming up to AI chatbots, now is the perfect time for retailers to try shopping assistants for their unique needs. There are numerous ways to implement digital shopping assistants in retailers, and various platforms to choose from. If your retail business is looking for a comprehensive solution that can help you get started with chatbots, Quiq is here to help.

Quiq is a conversational customer engagement platform designed for the retail industry. The goal of Quiq is to help retailers deliver exceptional shopping experiences with every interaction, and our chatbot system does just that. The Quiq platform supports messaging across a range of channel types, including text, web chat, social chat, Apple Business Chat, and Google’s Business Messages. Retailers can use as few or as many channels as they need to communicate with consumers effectively.

With multiple chatbot options, rich messaging experiences, and various integration options, Quiq is here to help you build the best virtual shopping assistant for your retail business. Try Quiq for yourself by scheduling a live demo today.

Demo Quiq Today for Your Retail Business

7 Ways to Get Ahead of Holiday Customer Service Issues

Do you hear that? The tingling of bells… The unpacking of thousands of twinkling lights… the entire retail industry taking a deep breath in anticipation of customer service issues…

While everyone is jumping for joy at the coming holiday season, you’re a little less enthused. You know that while it’s lucrative, it’s also extremely tough on your customer service team.

The holiday shopping season is basically here, but there’s still time to get ahead of the avalanche of customer service issues that await you.

40% of retail executives expect double-digit online growth.

Between pandemic pressures and logistical issues, this year might be tough. Even though brick-and-mortar stores will see more business than in 2020, shoppers continue to do most of their shopping online. 40% of retail executives expect double-digit online growth, according to Deloitte’s 2021 holiday retail survey.

This could put even greater stress on your customer service team. Now’s the time to come together and strategize the next few months with your team.

Keep reading for seven key tactics to get ahead of the holiday rush.

1. Start preparing now

So, the holiday shopping season has effectively started.

With inventory and shipping delays, shoppers are worried about getting their holiday gifts in time this year. According to Deloitte, 68% of shoppers plan to shop before Thanksgiving this year, compared to 61% in 2020. 

Of those looking to start shopping earlier this year, 49% cite potential shipping issues, and 47% say stockout issues are responsible for their early-bird habits. With holiday shopping already underway (and the cash register already chiming), the support messages will be a-ringing

If you haven’t already seen an uptick in customer support issues, you’ll likely see it soon. This means you need to start preparing now. With just a few weeks before we’re deep into Christmas cheer, any strategies you plan to implement must be simple and work seamlessly into your existing workflow. Whether you need to scale up your team or invest in technology, you’re running out of time.

2. Strategize based on last year’s performance

It’s easy to get through a holiday season and never look back. You’re tired, your team is exhausted, and you have another year to plan for. But now’s the time to (quickly) pause and reflect.

Take another look at last year’s numbers. What can you learn from them?

Customer service KPIs

  • Revenue: Was last year a high-performing year for the business? Use this along with market indicators for 2021 to predict how busy the holiday season will be. 
  • CSAT: How did your team perform last year? If you had high customer satisfaction scores, continue putting effort into your current strategies. If customer satisfaction dipped over the holidays, identify the contributing factors. facebook messenger
  • Wait times: How long did customers have to wait to connect with a customer service agent during your heaviest service windows? If your wait times suffered, see what processes you can put into place this year in order to save some time. Be upfront with your customers about their expected wait. You may need to hire more staff to cover the extra volume.
  • Popular platforms: Which platforms received the highest volume of customer support issues? Did you receive a lot of Facebook messages? Email questions? Prioritize resources and training for the types of communications with the most action.

Take a second to look at this information and see what insights you can extract from last year’s data. It’ll give you a great starting point to help you build your 2022 strategy.

3. Improve your knowledge base

Sure, not all customers will bother searching for the answer to their questions before reaching out to your overwhelmed customer service team. But some will. And some even prefer it over chatting with a team member.

Add seasonal information to your knowledge base to help answer frequent holiday-themed questions. Add articles on Black Friday, holiday shipping, your return policy, upcoming deals, holiday service hours, and any other questions you can get ahead of.

If you haven’t built out your knowledge base yet, a simple homepage banner and/or link in the footer can work in a pinch. Even if only 5% of customers view this information, that’s 5% fewer conversations your team must navigate.

4. Make your return policy easy to find

 The holidays already inspire more returns, and online shopping just adds to the mix. While some online retailers like to hide their return policy as an (ill-advised) strategy, customers notice—and it might just turn them away.

More than a third (34%) of consumers surveyed by PowerReviews say that refund and return policies will have more impact on their holiday purchase decisions this year. Even more indicative of the current shopping landscape, 44% said return policies even influence which gifts they purchase.

So making your return policies easy to find and easy to navigate benefits your team two-fold: It can prevent customer service issues and potentially increase sales.

5. Provide holiday training

The holiday rush can get the best of even your most senior support staff. During a good year, customers are stressed and in a hurry to buy their gifts and refocus their energy on their families. And this year… It’s even more brutal.

Combine 18+ months of pandemic fatigue with the inventory shortages and delivery delays, and you get customers with a much shorter temper. And according to Deloitte’s survey, 21% of consumers hold retailers and sellers responsible for delays, which could make for some very aggressive conversations.

This is a great time to get the team together for a short refresher. Remind your team that they’re valuable, but also reinforce your customer sensitivity. Some patience and compassion will go a long way to elevate your customer experience.

6. Embrace automation

One of the best ways to support your team is with automation—and no, that’s not a dirty word. Live-Chat-Software-Chatbot-Messaging-Window

You can use chatbots and AI in a variety of ways to reduce the burden on your team and increase customer satisfaction while maintaining a human connection your customers crave.

Here are some ways you can integrate automation into your holiday customer service strategy:

  • Answer simple FAQs
  • Route questions to the appropriate department
  • Suggest similar items to those in your customers’ carts
  • Estimate shipping times
  • Notify website visitors of specials, deals or delays
  • Tell customers when items they’ve viewed are back in stock
  • Gather customer feedback

There are endless ways you can integrate chatbots and other automation tools into your customer service tech stack. The goal is to simply solve issues at scale without burning out your support team.

7. Prep your social media team

It’s vital that you take a look at all your customer service channels before the big holiday rush begins—especially social media.

Sprout Social predicts an 18% increase in average social media messages in November and December this year. This includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, with the latter expecting the most significant holiday boost at 44%. 

Enterprises see the biggest social media message jump over the holidays:

  • Small businesses: 15%
  • Mid-sized businesses: 12%
  • Enterprises: 23% 

These numbers tell us you can’t forget to include social media in your holiday planning. Customers flock to social media for gift guides, influencer suggestions, and more, so it’s vital you meet them where they are and provide optimal customer service. 

  1. Provide your social media team with training to assist customers.
  2. Write a script for commonly asked questions and standard responses.
  3. Share a routing map with them so they know which team member to send which issues to.
  4. Create an elevation plan for when issues need to be taken up the ladder for resolution.
  5. Assign customer service team members to manage your social media inbox. 
  6. Set up auto-responses that are tailored to frequently asked questions, such as “Where’s my package?” and “What’s the return policy?”

Since social media platforms are highly visible, it’s important to service these questions thoroughly and quickly to improve customer satisfaction.

Holiday shopping is already here

Your window for getting ahead of the customer service rush is quickly closing. With holiday shopping already starting, the pressure on your team is mounting. 

When you work in e-commerce, it takes grit to get through the holiday season. With the shopping window getting longer and pressures getting higher, it’s going to be extra tough to solve customer service issues with a smile.

We hope these strategies help you put together a concrete plan so you and your team feel more prepared and more confident in tackling the rest of the year.

More than just streamlining work processes, don’t forget to take the time this season to show your team how much you appreciate them. Be sure to show your support throughout the holiday season.

Get ahead of customer service issues with Quiq

When you need help connecting with your customers across multiple messaging platforms, Quiq can help. Quickly get up and running for the holiday season, integrate with your CRMs, and build messaging trees to elevate your customer experience instantly.

Facebook Messenger for Business 101

You’re connecting with your customers via email. Your customer support team is available by phone. And now you’ve heard you need to be on Facebook Messenger for business—but you’re left wondering: What is it, and how does it work?

We’ll break it down for you, along with some tips and tricks for getting the most out of the platform.

What is Facebook Messenger for business?

Messenger is Facebook’s app and platform for sending text, pictures, video, and link messages. Using Facebook Messenger for business allows your customers to message you directly (and vice versa) using your company page from the Messenger mobile app or the chat window via desktop.

There are several ways Facebook users can reach out to you using Messenger. They can: Facebook Messenger app displayed on three aligned smartphones

  • Send a message from your company’s Facebook page
  • Search for your business’ username in the Messenger app
  • Engage with a click-to-messenger ad
  • Follow a messenger link
  • Follow a QR code

In order to mitigate spam, Facebook requires users to reach out to your page via Messenger first before you can send a message.

Why should you use Facebook Messenger?

Adding Messenger as a way for customers to communicate with your brand is just the next evolution of customer service. Here are four ways Facebook Messenger enhances your customer experience and improves your business.

1. Be more available to your customers.

Customers are more likely to engage with your brand in the same way they engage with family and friends. You’re available the moment they wish to connect with you, and in a platform they’re already using. You’re more top of mind, and it takes less effort to take quick action.

It’s as simple as being available where your customers are: Facebook. 64% of people across generations said they prefer messaging to a call or email, according to a Facebook IQ survey.

Customers expect customization and personalization from brands, and that’s expanded to when and how they communicate with you. Many shoppers today like the personal and informal service that messaging inspires. It allows them to get immediate responses from a brand without having to respond instantly themselves. They’re in control and can connect quickly but still at their leisure.

2. Give your customers a better experience.

The customer experience is super important, especially for e-commerce brands that have few opportunities to impress their base. When it comes to creating a good customer experience, Facebook Messenger for business hits multiple targets.

Messenger improves the chances of your company hitting three of the top four criteria customers say indicates a “good customer experience,” according to a Zendesk survey:

  1. Resolve issues quickly (61%)
  2. Support is available 24/7 (i.e., in real-time) (42%)
  3. Support is available through my desired contact method (32%)

And the data proves that messaging produces results. It has a CSAT of 98%—the highest across channels, according to Zendesk.

3. Resolve customer issues faster.

Messenger provides the perfect opportunity for chatbot integration. You can provide quick information to your customers while easing the stress on your support team.

In our own survey of Quiq clients, 70–80% of inbound inquiries via Messenger are resolved with automation. Where’s-my-order inquiries have an even higher automation resolution rate at 86%.

When Facebook users first head to your page, you can have a welcome or get-started message waiting for them. Putting together a few pre-programmed responses will go a long way. Your customers get the quick answers they need, while your customer support team is free to spend more time providing high-value service. 

4. Increase sales.

Yep, you read that right. Using Facebook Messenger can actually help you increase sales. 

Sometimes it’s as simple as being available when your customers need you. 65% of people said they’d be more likely to shop with a business they can contact via chat, according to Facebook IQ.

And 69% of surveyed Facebook users who message businesses say it makes them feel more confident about the brand, according to a Facebook-commissioned survey.

Plus, you can tap into a variety of creative strategies to increase conversions and even sell to your customers with Messenger. 

How to use Facebook Messenger.

If you’ve used Facebook in the last ten years, getting started with Messenger should be fairly simple. But we’ve provided some basics to get you started.

  1. Make sure messaging for your business page is turned on. (It’s on by default.)
  2. Create a username for your page so users can easily search for it in the Facebook Messenger app.
  3. Tell users you’re active on Messenger by earning a “Very Responsive” badge. Keep your response times under 15 minutes and maintain at least a 90% response rate to see this appear on your page. (This should be very easy to do with the right bot integration.)

An important note for using Messenger: Facebook requires users to send the first message before you can chat with them, so it’s crucial you give them ample opportunities to make the first move. 

Here are a few ways to encourage messaging:

  • Add the “Send Message” button to your page and your posts
  • Create a welcome message that will appear when users head to your Facebook Page.
  • Create click-to-messenger ads on Facebook. These ads will appear in your prospects’ feeds and encourage them to start a conversation with you.
  • Add your Messenger link or a QR code to various marketing materials when you want to start a conversation.

Once a customer messages you, you only have 24 hours to respond. After the 24 hours elapses, you can send one additional non promotional message before the conversation expires.

Facebook Messenger enables creative strategies to increase sales. 

Like with all customer communication platforms, it’s important to have a solid strategy to provide top-tier customer service and capitalize on sales.

Adding organic conversations to your customer journey is a great way to build trust and brand loyalty. 

  • Create a post advertising an attractive discount or fun quiz and instruct users to click on the “Send Message”  button to receive the offer. Once they’ve initiated the message, you’re free to send additional promotional messages over the next 24 hours. (But avoid spamming!)
  • Personalize messages with information from the platform, including name, location, age, and other demographics.

Facebook’s robust advertising capabilities extend to Messenger for business. Any information you gathered during conversations with your target audience can be used to increase the efficacy of your Facebook ads.

  • Create a target audience using the conversations in Messenger. Start with users who have sent messages, and start refining the information you gained from those conversations. What type of apparel do they buy? What products did they show interest in? You can also use demographic information within Facebook to narrow down your audience even further.
  • Create a lookalike audience of the customers who have messaged you and target them with similar messaging. 

Quiq: Your CX wingman.

We get it. Adding another messaging platform to your already-full customer experience seems daunting—but we have your back.Quiq's Facebook Messenger user interface

Quiq is the future of business-to-consumer messaging. Our leading conversational AI platform will help you connect with customers at scale.

  • Support customers directly in Messenger
  • Route messages between chatbots and live agents
  • Continue conversations across channels

See what you can do with Quiq.

Using Conversational Commerce as an Alternative to In-Store Shopping

Using Conversational Commerce as an Alternative to In-Store Shopping

Conversational commerce isn’t just a catchy alliteration — it’s a trend taking the retail world by storm. Conversational commerce refers to transactions that take place between consumers and brands through digital conversations. These conversational commerce platforms can be powerful tools, especially in a market that’s increasingly moving away from in-store shopping.

In this article, we look at how to use conversational commerce to enhance online retail experiences. We’ll dive into the market trends regarding in-store and online shopping, the benefits and uses of commercial commerce for online shopping, and how conversational commerce works so retailers can enhance their consumers’ online retail experiences.

COVID-19’s Impact on Retail Businesses

Retail shopping has primarily relied on in-store experiences in the past. In brick-and-mortar locations, consumers can physically view items and get help from in-store employees. However, COVID-19 has quickly and dramatically changed the retail landscape. With stay-at-home orders and social distancing and sanitation guidelines, new shopping trends have emerged.

As the world has started to heal from the global pandemic, country-wide lockdowns have begun to ease up. However, in the aftermath of lockdown, consumer behaviors and priorities have shifted. People’s income, values, and exposure to alternative shopping methods have shifted their preferences significantly, powering numerous market trends since the beginning of the pandemic.

Some common changes in consumer behavior and preference include the following:

  • Focus on health and safety: While consumer concerns about health and safety are slowly decreasing, many consumers are still uncomfortable visiting public places, especially stores they visit less frequently. In fact, nearly 70% of consumers in markets where the pandemic is stabilizing are still concerned for the health of others.
  • Focus on digital experiences: The lockdowns that resulted from the pandemic created a surge of eCommerce, especially from new consumers who’d previously never used online shopping options. Now that more consumers are aware of their online shopping options and how to use them, consumers will likely continue using these services and push toward improved online experiences.
  • Increased convenience: Even before COVID-19, consumers were moving toward more convenient shopping experiences as a collective. The pandemic rapidly pushed this trend forward. As a result, many retailers had to quickly implement services focused on conveniences, such as online shopping options, curbside pickup options, and delivery services. Even as the world emerges from the pandemic, consumer preferences for convenience will likely push retailers to maintain or expand these services.

The challenge for retailers is that they need to leverage these trends and adjust their practices with changing consumer preferences. Conversational commerce is one way that retailers are working toward these adjustments.

The benefits of conversational commerce for shoppers

The Benefits of Conversational Commerce For Shoppers

Conversational commerce has risen as a consumer and retailer favorite since the beginning of the pandemic. Conversational commerce works by using chatbots, brand specialists, and messaging platforms to enable conversations between consumers and a brand. These conversations often occur on messaging platforms like web chats, text messaging apps, Apple Business Chat, and even Facebook Messenger. Chatbots power many of these operations, which process messages from consumers to provide relevant responses, involving a live customer service representative if needed.

Conversational commerce platforms provide consumers with an on-demand shopping interface that enables them to engage with a live or virtual representative that can assist them with anything they need. This convenience presents shoppers with a wide range of benefits, including the following:

  • Enhanced customer support: Conversational commerce platforms give consumers access to a live or virtual assistant at any time, anywhere. The assistant can answer their questions, help them preview products, and even complete transactions using the digital channels consumers prefer, including text, live chat, and social media messaging platforms.
  • Faster resolution: Chatbots in conversational commerce platforms also help streamline the problem resolution process. Bots can answer the majority of common questions and route consumers to a live specialist if the problem is more complex. This process results in quick resolution times — many people use chatbots for quick problem resolution when they are concerned with their shopping experience.
  • Less research: Chatbots also help streamline the shopping experience for consumers. Instead of browsing page after page to find what they want, consumers can give a description of the product to a chatbot. The chatbot’s artificial intelligence then uses the description to find a product that best suits the consumers’ needs, which reduces the time they spend browsing for products, making the experience more pleasurable.
  • Greater personalization: One of the big trends among consumers today is a desire for personalization. Today, nearly 80% of consumers want more personalization from retailers to enhance their shopping experience. Conversational commerce helps with personalization by connecting consumers with support teams that offer specific product recommendations and offers.
  • More touchpoints: Conversational commerce gives consumers multiple points of communication to reach brands. Retailers can add chatbots and text messaging communication to email and phone calling methods, maximizing the touchpoints available for consumers. This way, consumers can talk with their retailers in the way they’re most comfortable.

These benefits have already significantly impacted the online retail world, especially when considering that more consumers want shopping experiences that offer messaging services for support. In this way, conversational commerce is incredibly helpful for shoppers.

The benefits of conversational commerce for retailers

The Benefits of Conversational Commerce for Retailers

In addition to benefitting consumers, conversational commerce helps retailers improve their eCommerce operations. Some of the most significant benefits retailers experience from implementing conversational commerce include:

  • Improved responsiveness: Conversational commerce presents an effective way to generate engagement with consumers. When retailers send in-app messages to consumers, they can get five times more opens than push notifications. As a result, consumers are more likely to respond to those messages.
  • Enhanced efficiency: Chatbots are also cost- and time-efficient compared to live chat options. Chatbots can handle the majority of questions quickly, respond to hundreds of consumer questions at once, and are running around the clock. This efficiency saves time and labor for the customer service team, allowing them to direct their efforts toward the most complex tasks and problems.
  • Enhanced consumer relationships: Because it’s available 24/7 and offers enhanced consumer experiences, conversational commerce helps create more positive user experiences. This feature generates goodwill between retailers and their consumers, making them more likely to be repeat buyers.
  • Streamlined selling: Chatbots can promote and upsell products based on consumer queries. For example, if a buyer is looking to buy a specific type of shirt, the chatbot can show the consumer potential accessories, pants, and jackets to create a complete outfit.
  • Reduced abandonment rates: Cart abandonment is a common problem for online retailers — consumers may be distracted and forget to check out, may not find an answer to a question they have about the product, or simply second-guess themselves. Commercial commerce helps reduce cart abandonment by offering responses to questions quickly, reaching out to consumers with unfinished orders, and checking in on consumers as they browse a website.
  • Abundant data: Commercial commerce platforms are also valuable sources of consumer data. Tracking behaviors, issues, and questions can help strengthen retailers’ ability to create powerful marketing campaigns and improve their online platforms.

With these numerous benefits to both consumers and retailers, it’s no wonder that conversational commerce is booming. The market size of conversational commerce platforms was estimated to be around $5.94 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to $30.45 billion by 2027.

Eight ways retailers can use conversational commerce

8 Ways Retailers Can Use Conversational Commerce

Conversational commerce is a powerful way to address the changing priorities of consumers. The question is how to use conversational commerce from a practical perspective, which will be different for every retailer.

There are multiple ways retailers can use chatbots and automated conversations in their retail stores. Below are eight conversational commerce examples retailers can use to help improve various aspects of their stores:

1. Provide Fast Customer Service

One of the common ways retailers use conversational commerce is as a customer service program. Using this approach, retailers automate responses to consumer questions, which can include everything from product questions and sales to order problems. The system can also be set up to route the shopper to a live support specialist if their issue is more complex.

If retailers can provide quick access to reliable, helpful customer support, consumers will be more likely to make a purchase, as they won’t have to wait around for an answer to their question or concern.

2. Share Product Updates

Retailers can also use conversational commerce to share product updates with previous buyers. New models, software updates, and sales can all be shared via SMS or messaging services, keeping consumers informed about their options and encouraging them to buy or upgrade. This feature allows consumers to continue buying from the same retailer rather than seek out another store when they need a new product.

3. Communicate Current Promotions

Many consumers report that discounts affect their decision to complete an online purchase. Retailers can lean into this trend by using conversational commerce to communicate promotions. Send out text messages to consumers notifying them of sales and use a website chatbot to alert visitors when they arrive on the landing page. Retailers can even set it up so consumers at the checkout screen see a notification of applicable discounts when they start the checkout process.

4. Obtain Post-Survey Responses

Every retailer wants feedback from their consumers, especially if they’re looking to make a change. To ensure they get plenty of accurate responses, retailers can set up a conversational commerce platform to reach out to consumers and visitors for surveys. Retailers can send surveys for products after consumers have received them or set up a questionnaire on their website to ask consumers how they can improve.

5. Cross-Sell and Upsell

Upselling and cross-selling strategies help retailers earn more money by selling products to consumers at the checkout page. Retailers can set up a bot to suggest items commonly purchased with the products in a consumers’ cart or notify them of an upgrade option. Shops can also utilize messaging services to notify recent purchasers of accessories they may want for their new product.

6. Automate Cart Recovery

Abandoned carts are a common issue for retailers, but commercial commerce can help. In the event that a shopper abandons their cart, a retailer can set up their system to send out an automated message to the consumer. Retailers can also program commercial bots to offer a cart recovery option, so it’s even easier for the consumer to return to their potential purchase. Discounts can also be effective in this situation, so retailers may want to push discount offers to people who abandon their carts as an incentive to finish buying.

7. Offer Accurate Order Updates

Everyone knows the feeling of anticipation when they place an order. Stores can generate goodwill with their consumers by offering order updates to let them know when their order is processed and sent out. Delivery notifications are also a practical option. Retailers can set this feature up through text, messaging services, or email, so their consumers get the information they need using their preferred communication method.

8. Increase Customer Reviews

Reviews are a powerful marketing tool for consumers — 91% of younger consumers between the age of 18 to 34 rely on online reviews. Therefore, it’s essential to collect reviews for your products. Conversational commerce is a powerful way to automate reaching out for reviews. Set up automated messages after a shopper has received their product asking for quick reviews or surveys. Be sure to ask questions consumers can easily answer from a mobile phone, such as satisfaction ratings, photos of the product, shoutouts on social media, and short written or video reviews.

How to use conversational commerce depends highly on a retailer’s priorities and operations. Before crafting a solution, retailers should consider their store’s goals, identify opportunities for improvement, and look at their current contact options. Some conversational commerce methods will work better than others, so it’s essential for retailers to develop a solution that addresses their unique needs. Testing specific variables will ensure retailers get the most out of their conversational commerce solutions.

Now is the perfect time for retailers to enhance their online stores with conversational commerce. If you’re interested, Quiq is here to help you get started.

Explore conversational commerce for retail with Quiq

Explore Conversational Commerce for Retail With Quiq

Conversational commerce is an ideal way to address the changing needs of consumers in a post-pandemic world. But even beyond COVID-19, your retail business can benefit. This type of platform offers a personalized experience for consumers while improving productivity, supporting customer service, boosting retention, and increasing sales. There are many ways to implement conversational commerce in your retail store, and Quiq is here to help you every step of the way.

Quiq is a conversational consumer engagement platform that helps retailers deliver exceptional customer experiences. Our platform supports messaging across text messaging, web chat, social, Apple Business Chat, and Google’s Business Messages, so you can use as few or as many channels as you need to communicate with your consumer base. With easy integration, multiple bot options, and rich messaging experiences, Quiq has everything retailers need to incorporate conversational commerce into their stores.

Try Quiq for yourself today by scheduling a live demo.

How to Increase Sales While Managing the Holiday Rush

Are you tired of hearing it yet? The holiday season is just around the corner. This year poses a lot of challenges, from broken supply chains to slow shipping to stressed-out customers. But among the overwhelming support requests is a golden opportunity to send sales skyrocketing. Continue reading to learn how to increase sales while managing your customer service this holiday season.

Expect a holly, jolly holiday for sales.

Last year’s holiday shopping was hard to predict. But according to the National Retail Foundation, sales jumped 8.3% from 2019, surprising everyone. And e-commerce sales grew even more, with a 23.9% increase, despite pandemic-related difficulties.

This year, the retail landscape is even more uncertain, but the future’s still bright. Deloitte predicts a 5% year-over-year increase in holiday spending. And 40% of surveyed retail executives expect double-digit online growth.

And with more digital sales also comes more customer support requests. From “where’s my order” to “which size is right for me,” there’s no doubt your agents will be swamped with incoming communications.

Now’s the time to prepare your support team for the influx of business and set them up for success. Here are some ways you can give your team what they need to manage the higher service volume and capitalize on those conversations to increase sales.

1. Get ahead of low inventory and slow shipping.

While shoppers are returning to stores, there’s no shortage of pandemic-related problems. And customers are aware of the looming challenges. 74% of shoppers are concerned about stockouts, according to the Deloitte survey.

Since shoppers know to expect delays, that’ll likely be a deciding factor for which retailer they choose to shop with. Who has a track record of delivering on time? Who is the best at predicting inventory shortages?

And since you as the retailer can anticipate these concerns, you have an opportunity to provide top-tier customer service and attract more customers to your site.

What’ll it take to appease customers and increase sales? Full transparency. Be as upfront with your customers as possible with up-to-date inventory, proactive shipping notifications, and quick service should unexpected delays occur. 

Not only will proactive communication alleviate the strain on your customer service team, but it’ll leave customers feeling taken care of during a stressful time—making them more likely to shop with you in the future.

2. Tighten up customer service response times.

We probably don’t have to tell you response times matter. A customer call shouldn’t be put on hold for too long, an email needs a quick reply, and a text message requires almost an immediate response.

It’s just good customer service. It’s even the most critical factor customers use for determining what “good service” even means. A 2020 Zendesk survey reported that 61% of customers say quickly resolving their issue makes for a good customer experience. 

Just how fast of a response do customers expect?

Less than 5 minutes Less than 1 hour More than 1 hour
Phone 51% 34% 15%
Chat 28% 55% 17%
Text messaging 8% 44% 48%
Social media 7% 42% 51%
Email 6% 37% 57%

*Percentages are estimates

The scary part is that it only takes one bad experience for roughly half to switch to a competitor. This means tightening up your response times is vital to retail success.

3. Offer multiple ways for customers to contact you.

How many ways can your customers contact you? 

Looking back at the Zendesk report, 32% of customers said a good experience offers support through their preferred communication method. Yet, less than 30% of companies provide self-service, live chat, social messaging, in-app messaging, bots or peer-to-peer communities. 

This is a golden opportunity to stand out from the competition and offer communication channels that your customers prefer. 

While some retailers might be concerned that more communication channels will lead to a more complex contact center, a multi-channel engagement platform will help your team stay on top of conversations no matter where they occur. You can provide your customers with the multiple conversation channels they crave while simplifying management on the back end.

When you give your customers options, they’re often more likely to engage and continue shopping with you.

4. Enhance your team with chatbots.

Give your customer service team what they need most: TIME. The influx of sales goes hand in hand with an increase in customer service requests. If your team spends most of their time answering questions, they can’t provide the proactive service that makes customers want to come back for more.

Instead, bolster your team with chatbots. Use them to welcome customers and route requests to the correct department, ask for customer feedback, and more.

Switching seamlessly back and forth between chatbots and humans will manage your agents’ time while also giving your customers a complete experience.

5. Streamline omnichannel support.

Offering multiple communications channels is vital for excellent customer service, but the real magic comes when you use it in your sales process, too. 

Boost your holiday salesDeloitte predicts that 62% of shopping will be online this holiday season, while 33% will be in-store. This is actually a slight increase in in-store shopping over last year as shoppers begin to feel more comfortable in public spaces.

With customers spending more time in stores, they’ll be looking to embrace an omnichannel experience once again. 70% expect companies to collaborate on their behalf, according to the same Zendesk survey, which is often made more difficult with additional communications channels. 

Streamlining omnichannel support does two things:

  1. It saves your customer service team time since they have access to previous conversations, purchases, etc.
  2. And it can help customers make a purchasing decision and increase sales.

6. Accept payments right from messaging platforms.

Turn your busy customer contact center into a source of income. While agents answer questions and provide top-tier support, let them capitalize on a great customer experience by completing the sale right in a single messaging platform.

Integrating message-based payments into your messaging platforms is a great way to turn your already-busy contact center into a solid sales strategy. Help customers decide between sizes or answer product questions and then convert the sale right then and there. 

Not only will it show customers your team goes above and beyond for their convenience, but it will also help reduce abandoned shopping carts and increase sales.

Pair these tips with Quiq to increase your holiday sales.

Surviving the holidays in the retail world is always a balancing act. You need to provide excellent customer service amid the influx of last-minute shoppers and stressed-out customers. But you still need to focus on increasing sales and capitalize on the season.

Quiq is a conversational platform that helps you:

  • Connect with your customers on whichever platform they prefer, all from one streamlined interface.
  • Integrate communications with your CRM of choice, including Oracle, Zendesk, Salesforce, and more. 
  • Use context-aware AI to increase conversion rates, shorten wait times, and increase your average order value.

To learn how you can unlock the power of conversations and help increase sales during the holiday season, schedule a Quiq demo today.

Modernizing Customer Experience with Order Management Automation

eCommerce businesses are continuing to experience rapid growth in online orders in 2021. As a result, customer service teams have become overburdened with a rising volume in “where is my order?” (WISMO) queries and other order-related inquiries. At the same time, consumers have also grown increasingly frustrated with long wait times and the inconvenience of using traditional channels, like phone support, that have proven to fail in meeting shoppers’ expectations for immediate answers to simple, order-related questions.

To solve for both of these operational and customer experience oriented challenges, eCommerce brands must turn to automated, self-service solutions that successfully contain order-related inquiries while providing instantaneous order updates through the messaging and conversational channels that today’s customers prefer. 

Here are some of the most popular examples of automated experiences that today’s leading eCommerce brands leverage to provide instantaneous WISMO responses:

Automated Experience for Single Order Lookups

Automated, single-order lookups enable customers to immediately get order status information on their latest purchase through conversational channels like web chat, Facebook Messenger, SMS, and more in just 3 easy steps.

Customers simply need to start a conversation through their messaging channel of choice, enter their email to verify their account, and select “View Order”.

Automated Experience for Single Order Lookups by Snaps

Through an integration with popular shipping APIs like EasyPost, conversational automation solutions can instantly provide consumers with their most recent order status.

Proactive, Automated Order Status Updates

Today’s leading eCommerce brands also leverage proactive order notifications through conversational channels to keep their customers informed on the status of their order as it progresses towards their doorstep.

Proactive, Automated Order Status Updates by Snaps

In the example above, a customer opts in to automated Facebook Messenger order status notifications from their initial order confirmation email. After opting in, the customer is sent a series of push notifications through Facebook Messenger that informs them of each change in their order status.

Seamless Transitions to Customer Service Platforms

Of course, while conversational automation is highly effective at successfully containing the vast majority of order-related inquiries, not every inbound issue can be resolved through self-service channels. For the remaining inquiries that are too complex to be solved through self-service channels, automated experiences must also be able to sync with popular Customer Service Platforms like Zendesk, Oracle, and more to provide seamless transitions to live agents.

By connecting with popular CSPs, automated experiences can greatly drive agent efficiency by verifying account information before inbound tickets reach the agent and by supplying them summaries and key details from customers’ interactions with the conversational AI.

The Benefit of Providing Automated WISMO Responses

By providing customers with the option to get fast, self-service responses to WISMO inquiries, eCommerce brands like TechStyle Fashion Group have been able to successfully contain over 85% of inbound, order-related inquiries while simultaneously driving 95% customer satisfaction.

Is your brand experiencing an overwhelming volume of WISMO inquiries? Contact us today to learn how we can work with your customer service team to deploy a highly-intelligent automation solution in a matter of weeks.

5 Examples of Omnichannel Strategies That Will Boost Your Holiday Sales

This year, holiday shopping will be more digital than ever before. As consumers continue their shift to online channels and major retailers cancel in-person Black Friday sales, brands must quickly adapt through new omnichannel tactics that capitalize on surges in online traffic. Here are five strategies for doing just that.

5 Examples of Top Retailers with Brilliant Omni-Channel Strategies For Holidays

1. The Gift Recommendation Engine – Guided Selling

Digging through endless product listings, looking for the perfect gift, is a tedious and challenging process for holiday shoppers.

However, AI-powered assistants, used by leading brands like Nike Jordan and Lane Bryant, make it easy and frictionless for shoppers to find the precise gift for their recipient.

Deployed on your web site, in apps, or social channels like Facebook Messenger or SMS, these intelligent automated agents can quickly interact with users and recommend some great options:

Earlier this year, one of our customers, an Iconic jewelry brand did just that leading up to  another gift-heavy holiday: Valentine’s Day. In previous seasonal campaigns using Facebook Messenger, the retailer’s social managers and sales associates were swamped with the need to respond to customers’ inquiries.

To address this, the retailer deployed an AI-powered conversational shopping feature on Messenger that made personalized gift recommendations at scale. They quickly found that consumers were 4X more likely to make a purchase when they receive such guided sales assistance, compared to those who are unassisted.

By clicking on a social ad, shoppers were seamlessly guided to Facebook Messenger and offered a brief interactive quiz with gift recommendations based on who the gift recipient was, the gender and the price range, selected from a group of products chosen by the retailer for those profiles. The AI-powered assistants also handled free text queries, and customers could shop for products online at the retailer’s site or find the nearest physical store.

Tiffany's Guided Selling Experience

We’ve all had that experience when shopping for a friend, where you discover a product or item that you’d prefer to be on the receiving end of rather than giving. To address this, the iconic retailer also provided shoppers the option to send their friends and family links and images of on Messenger gifts that they want for themselves, accompanied by a small note: “Hint hint…This is at the top of my wish list.”

Drop a Hint Feature - Conversational AI

The results: Half of the quiz takers received a gift recommendation, leading to a 28x return-on-ad-spend (ROAS).

And, because AI-powered assistants love to work all the time, they also helped relieve customer service by efficiently handlings FAQs.

2. Gift FAQ & Customer Service Engine

Gifts purchased over the holidays are wrapped not only in ribbons and pretty paper but are enveloped in countless questions about sizes, style options, and prices. The season of joy is also the season of customer service, a stressful time for brands to handle the massive volume of inquiries.

In fact, 54% of customer service requests are taking place outside regular business hours. A vast number of those requests are happening on messaging platforms since those are channels that consumers already use.

That’s where conversational AI comes in this holiday season. Intelligent chatbots work diligently and accurately day and night, providing a front line for all queries from customers and passing on some queries to human agents only when they get too complex. This allows your team to focus on driving sales and new purchases instead of an endless queue of customer service inquiries.

Gift FAQ & Customer Service Engine

3. Digital Holiday Coupons

One of the best traits of intelligent chatbots is that they never get tired of pointing out the great holiday offers you have. This means that brands can reinvent promotions.

Regional grocery chain H-E-B did just that with their conversational AI. The grocery reinvented discount coupons by delivering them to more than 13 million customers weekly, personalized to the declared shopping needs of the recipients.

Automated notifications let customers browse the deals through button clicks or free text requests, even when they were standing in the store. The open rate for the notifications: 77%. Percentage of opened deals that were saved by users: 70%.

Digital Holiday Coupons

4. Convert Holiday Enthusiasm into Sales

Facebook is a platform designed for engagement and, during the holiday season, that engagement kicks into high gear with shoppers expressing their excitement through post-likes and comments.

This holiday season, Facebook is also offering a nice new gift for marketers. Facebook Messenger is expanding its capabilities to allow marketers to privately message shoppers who have left positive comments on their brands’ posts.

All of those shoppers commenting “this looks awesome!”, “I’ve got to get this for my sister!” can easily be turned from mere commentators into new customers. Combined with conversational AI, this opens up a whole new channel to convert positive comments into sales at scale. See this experience below:

Contact our conversational experts to learn more about this experience.

Contact our conversational experts to learn more about this experience.

5. Turn the Holiday Rush into Real Consumer Insights

The rush of consumers during the holidays is like a large polling sample that can provide tons of answers — if brands can only figure out the questions.

A rush of customers looking for this season’s hot gift item, for instance, could answer a number of questions that help uncover and define your target customer persona.

But the trick is efficiently capturing holiday shoppers’ information, at scale, and quickly turning it into insights.

Take California wine and spirits brand E. & J. Gallo Winery. To engage shoppers of their new Rosé product line, they developed “Rosé Your Way” AI-powered experience, which was introduced to consumers via targeted ads on Facebook Messenger, Facebook Newsfeeds, and Instagram.

Gallo Turning the Holiday Rush into Real Consumer Insights

The digital assistants guided consumers through a series of questions to recommend the ideal Gallo Rosé, followed by personalized content that included the best recipes to go with the recommended wine and finished with a customer satisfaction survey.

The results: 90% of the 25,000 engaged consumers completed the Rosé recommender. Gallo was able to determine the most popular Rosé flavor preferences, drinking styles, and occasions. When follow-up push notifications were sent based on those preferences, 60% of the messages were opened.

Unwrapping It All

With some planning – and the use of intelligent, automated, always-on conversational helpers – brands can soar through the holiday season by building a dedicated fan base attracted to personalized recommendations, customized deals, and prompt customer service attention.

And, when the rush is over, the brand can quickly assess what worked, what didn’t, and what was missing.

Ready to boost your sales and drive higher performance this holiday? See which strategy is the best fit for your organization. Learn more.

Three Ways Conversational AI Can Boost Your Customer Service During the Holidays

With the holidays quickly approaching, eCommerce brands are bracing for an unprecedented volume of online orders. With this influx of sales, however, brands can also expect a massive influx of unmanageable customer service inquiries.

In recent posts, we’ve talked about how conversational AI can help boost revenue during the holidays.

But, as we approach the year’s end, there are three big reasons why AI-powered agents can prove critical to your customer service during the holiday season.

1. Order Personalization

Automated customer service can not only handle a large volume of inquiries, but it can do so with a level of personalization that would be difficult for human agents to accommodate at scale.

Integrated with backend order systems, Quiq’s Conversational AI can immediately pull up the details shoppers are looking for when contacting customer service, such as when the order will arrive. As wonderful as the holiday season is, it’s a stressful time for consumers as well as for brands, and this kind of frictionless order info, at any time of day or night, can make the experience a pleasant one.

Holidays Customer service-1.png

Shoppers are also more likely to engage with personalized customer service responses. Our team at Quiq has found that consumers respond to personalized engagement with a clickthrough rate that is almost three times higher than otherwise.

2. Instant Reminders of the Season’s Hottest Products

It wouldn’t be a real holiday season unless some item was the star – the product that everyone wants, but that sells out too quickly.

Intelligent automation helps brands handle and manage this surge in demand. They can minimize the effort to find out if this year’s hot product is still available while providing the immediate option to subscribe to notifications about future product availability leading up to the holidays.

Holidays Customer service-2.png

Automated agents can also intelligently steer the demand toward similar or complementary products that are in stock, as an addition to, or a substitute for, that hot item.

Through these finely tuned efforts, automated agents can help keep consumers favorably engaged with your brand, turning the experience into a rewarding one even if the product they initially were searching for was out of stock.

3. Proactively Addressing Holiday Friction

Like any relationship, customer relationships require steady maintenance and the ability to respond instantly if needed.

Automated agents can help support that kind of consumer-wrangling, such as through the recently available ability to send messages to users on Facebook Messenger right from the comments about your brand’s posts on a Facebook page.

Holidays Customer service-3.png

These public comments, of course, are often occasions when customers ask questions or vent their frustrations, so they’re not always flattering. A quick response automatically sent through messaging can defuse an adverse situation and demonstrate to others that your brand is responsive, proactive, and ready to improve their shopping experience.

Conversational AI Makes Sense for the Holidays

AI-powered automated agents make sense for customer service – especially during the holidays when there is a surge of inquiries, orders, and complaints. These agents help brands maintain constant, 24-hour contact with customers and would-be customers over their preferred communication channels. Especially for younger consumers, those channels involve texting or messaging.

Intelligent automation can handle many of the mundane inquiries, handing off the communication to live agents for the more complex ones. They also provide a steady stream of high-level personalization, offer detailed analytics to showcase what responses worked best and provide a more difficult target for fraudsters than do human agents.

During the holiday season, brands must bring their varsity team to the field. AI-powered chatbots from Quiq know how to run the right plays, again and again, at any time of day or night. Learn more from our conversational consultants.

6 Ways to Drive More eCommerce Sales This Holiday Season

This year, holiday shopping will shift to eCommerce like never before. Once again, eCommerce sales are projected to grow this holiday season as consumers continue to transition to cyber-week sales.

To capitalize on this season’s unprecedented spike in online traffic and digital purchase behavior, top eCommerce brands are turning to automated shopping assistants that act as key revenue drivers and provide the sort of highly personalized assistance shoppers would traditionally receive from an in-store experience.

Deploying highly intelligent, automated shopping assistants during peak seasons has proven to increase sales conversion rates as high as 4X.

Here are 6 of the most common ways that leading eCommerce brands leverage automated assistants to drive more revenue during the holidays.

1. Proactive Product Suggestions

Highly-intelligent, automated assistants are capable of identifying shoppers with high purchase intent and proactively engaging them with upsell opportunities that increase Average Order Value (AOV). For example, when online shoppers add new products to their cart, automated onsite assistants can initiate a conversation and suggest additional products that are frequently purchased along with the items recently added to the cart.

1. Proactive Product Suggestions powered by Snaps

Through such highly-personalized engagements, in a conversational format, eCommerce brands can lift AOV while providing convenient suggestions that support their customers’ journeys.

2. Guided Gift Recommendations

For shoppers unsure of the right gift or product to buy this season, automated shopping assistants can provide personalized suggestions that guide shoppers to the perfect holiday present. Automated onsite shopping assistants can deliver unique gift suggestions through a series of quick questions that touch on the shopper’s price range as well as the gift recipient’s gender, age, and preferences.

2. Guided Gift Recommendations powered by Snaps

Automated gift recommendations have been proven to drive 4x higher sales conversion rates across shoppers who engage in guided sales assistance when compared to unassisted shoppers.

3. Simplify Repeat Purchases

eCommerce brands can also leverage onsite assistants to make the repeat purchase process as seamless and straightforward as possible. By developing persistent profiles based on each shopper’s personalized data and repeat site visits, intelligent shopping assistants can proactively initiate new conversations with returning customers looking to make a repeat purchase.

3. Simplify Repeat Purchases powered by Snaps

By leveraging personalization data to identify and engage repeat customers, eCommerce brands can significantly reduce friction and provide a premium shopping experience for their VIP and returning customers with high purchase intent.

4. Reengage Cart Abandons

As holiday shoppers contemplate a variety of different offers and products, it’s inevitable for some online purchase processes and shopping carts to be abandoned. By leveraging conversational re-engagements, however, high-intent shoppers can be reminded of products waiting in their carts and be offered special discounts that nudge them into returning and completing their purchase.

4. Reengage Cart Abandons powered by Snaps

By leveraging conversational automation to re-engage abandoned carts, eCommerce brands have been able to effectively recover up to 20% of incomplete purchases with reminders, promotions, and other automated messages.

5. Automate Responses to FAQs

Leading up to the holidays, shoppers have no shortage of questions and concerns related to online shopping, with “will my order arrive on time?” being one of the most frequent. By providing shoppers with automated, 24/7 support that can instantly answer some of their most frequently asked questions, brands can reduce online shopping friction and common barriers to purchase.

5. Automate Responses to FAQs powered by Snaps

Additionally, by leveraging conversational automation to resolve frequently asked questions in a way that is entirely self-service, customer service agents that would traditionally be required to answer these questions can focus on sales-oriented initiatives during the peak holiday season instead.

6. Convert Sales Receipts into Ongoing Channel for Commerce & Care

Lastly, after a purchase is completed, brands can leverage automated shopping assistants to send digital receipts to customers through conversational channels. By doing so, eCommerce brands can convert traditional receipts into a new avenue for ongoing care and commerce.

6. Convert Sales Receipts into Ongoing Channel for Commerce & Care

This post-purchase conversational connection gives shoppers access to an automated channel for order management or to even purchase additional, related products.

Reinventing Online Shopping for the Holiday’s Most Digital Season Ever

The 2020 holiday season will be eCommerce’s most significant moment to date. More than half of US shoppers have indicated that they will not return to shop with a brand following a poor customer experience, so it is vital for CX and eCommerce leaders to deliver the best possible experience during the season’s rush of new online shoppers.

Interested in deploying an enterprise onsite shopping assistant for your brand? Contact us today to learn how you can deploy a bespoke solution for your website and other conversational channels in a matter of weeks.

How to Leverage Direct Messages on Instagram to Engage and Convert Shoppers

For eCommerce brands, the long-awaited arrival of automated business messaging on one of today’s most widely used social platforms presents a massive opportunity to deliver seamless, end-to-end shopping experiences.

To help illustrate this opportunity, we’ve outlined several key points throughout customers’ online shopping journey for eCommerce brands to incorporate highly-personalized and automated conversations — entirely within Instagram.

1. Engagement: How To Start Conversations on Instagram

Perhaps one of the most important new features of Messenger’s API support for Instagram is that it enables customers and brands to initiate automated conversations through various entry points on the platform.

Customers can start conversations with eCommerce businesses through the brand’s Instagram profile page.

Message from Brand's Instagram profile

Instagram Stories have also been enhanced to provide an additional opportunity for brands to initiate automated 1:1 conversations with customers.

Message from Brand's Instagram Story

Customers browsing Instagram Shops can also start conversations with brands when they have product or shopping-related inquiries.

Message from Brand's Instagram Shop

eCommerce brands can now initiate 1:1 conversations with shoppers who leave questions and comments on brands’ posts.

Messenger API for Instagram-Blog-4-Reply.png

By integrating Messenger’s API Support for Instagram with highly-intelligent conversational automation, eCommerce brands can initiate conversations at each of these entry points and deliver highly-personalized messaging experiences — entirely at scale.

2. Consideration: Addressing Product Questions and Concerns

After driving shoppers to 1:1 conversations on Instagram, eCommerce brands can leverage conversational automation to provide answers and responses to customers’ frequently asked questions.

Quick FAQ Responses

By addressing customer inquiries directly within Instagram, eCommerce brands can further ensure a comprehensive online shopping experience within the platform.

3. Purchase: Helping Shoppers Find the Right Products

eCommerce businesses can also use automated conversations within Instagram to help drive shoppers to purchase.

Guided Shopping experience on Instagram

By leveraging Messenger’s API support for Instagram, brands can provide shoppers with guided shopping experiences that deliver highly-personalized product suggestions based on their conversational inputs.

4. Care: Seamless Order Management and Support

Lastly, after making a purchase, customers can also leverage conversations within Instagram to get post-purchase order updates and more.

Automated Order Management

Through this experience, shoppers can receive immediate responses to their current order status and more.

A Comprehensive Shopping Journey – Entirely Within Instagram

By combining highly-intelligent automation with Messenger’s new API support, eCommerce brands can now use Instagram to provide the sort of personalized conversational experiences that shoppers love.

Almost as importantly, by partnering with an enterprise conversational automation provider like Quiq, eCommerce brands can deliver this sort of highly-personalized, 1:1 experience at scale, which enables them to build deeper relationships with their customers in a way that is both manageable and efficient.

As a Facebook partner, Quiq has worked closely with the team at Instagram and several leading eCommerce brands to test and deploy conversational experiences that leverage Messenger’s new API support. To learn more about these experiences and how your brand can get started with conversational automation on Instagram, please reach out to us by setting up an inquiry.

Successful Strategies for Google’s Business Messages: Customer Service, Marketing, & Omnichannel

For retail organizations, Google’s Business Messages feature presents a powerful new opportunity for various teams to forge 1:1 connections with consumers, at scale, through the world’s largest search engine.

But which teams stand to gain the most, in both the short and long term, from this new messaging channel?

To answer this question, the Quiq team recently sat down with Katie Osberg at Google for a webinar discussion on what are some of the successful strategies and how different retail teams should use Google’s Business Messages.

Top Google’s Business Messages (GBM) Strategies for Customer Service, Marketing, & Omnichannel

Here are a few examples she cited of how customer care, marketing, and omnichannel teams can be successful with Google’s Business Messages:

Care & Service Teams: Instantly Answer Questions That Customers Are Searching For

In the short term, customer care teams will be the immediate beneficiaries of this technology. This is largely because Business Messages has the capability to resolve customer questions through Google Search, decrease inbound call volume, free up care agents for more sophisticated troubleshooting, and delight customers with fast and reliable answers/solutions.

One way customer service teams can leverage Business Messages is to provide answers to frequently asked questions, which could include questions related to store hours, COVID policies, and more.

Google's Business Messages FAQs

By responding to customers’ most common inquiries through Google, care and service teams can route a significant amount of potential volume to a channel that is entirely self-service.

Care teams at retail and eCommerce organizations can also use Google’s Business Messages for handling customers’ order management inquiries.

Google's Business Messages: Track My Order example

Through this channel, customers can get immediate updates on the status of their previously placed orders and even have the capability to set up order returns or exchanges.

Marketing Teams: Re-Engage Shoppers through an Innovative New Channel

It is projected that marketers will also become one of the largest beneficiaries of Google’s Business Messages. Since the channel is asynchronous and users can return to brand conversations and pick up right where they left off, marketers can use Business Messages as a new channel for re-engaging shoppers.

After a shopper has started a dialogue with a brand through Business Messages, Marketers can leverage the channel to reconnect.

Google's Business Messages: Marketing example of reengaging shoppers

By reconnecting with customers in this way, marketing teams are empowered to strengthen their brand’s identity and create meaningful relationships with their customers through an interactive channel.

Additionally, marketing teams can also leverage Business Messages to target past customers with highly-personalized product suggestions.

Google's Business Messages: Personalized Marketing example

By re-engaging shoppers in this fashion, marketers can support their customers’ journey and reinforce brand loyalty in a way that is both innovative and assistive.

See which strategies could work best for your business. Learn More

Support Omnichannel Customer Experiences with Messaging on Google Search

Retail operations, both in-store and online, have been anything but normal in 2020 and the demand for seamless omnichannel customer experiences has increased drastically. Shoppers’ points of friction have included standing in line outside of a store, the inability to find in-stock products, and more.

To support shoppers searching on Google for information related to an in-store visit, CX and omnichannel teams can leverage Business Messages to enhance the experience and seamlessly blend both online and offline touchpoints.

For example, CX teams can leverage Business Messages to digitally facilitate in-person appointments — from the initial booking to check-in, and more.

Google's Business Messages: Schedule an Appointment example

By extending this automated, self-serve functionality to Google Search, CX teams can ensure a much wider adoption of an omnichannel experience that better suits the needs of today’s modern shopper.

With Google Business Messages retailers brands can also provide shoppers with real-time updates on product availability.

Google's Business Messages example: real-time updates on product availability

By extending product availability information to Business Messages, CX and omnichannel teams can improve customer satisfaction by properly setting shoppers’ expectations for their upcoming in-store experiences.

Getting Started with Google’s Business Messages

Ultimately, Google’s Business Messages offers massive potential across multiple teams within the retail enterprise. To learn more about this exciting new messaging channel, check out our on-demand recording of a recent webinar discussion we had with Google on key tactics and best practices for getting started with Business Messages.

Of course, you can also contact us for a free consultation and a personalized demonstration of how your team can incorporate Google’s Business Messages.

Getting Started with Google’s Business Messages

Ultimately, Google’s Business Messages offers massive potential across multiple teams within the retail enterprise. To learn more about this exciting new messaging channel, check out “What You Need to Know About Business Messaging.”

Of course, you can also contact us for a free consultation and a personalized demonstration of how your team can incorporate Google’s Business Messages.

Quiq achieves 100% 10DLC compliance

Quiq is proud to announce that all of our customers are now 10DLC compliant. Over the past several months, the Quiq team has worked with each of our clients to register their brands and campaigns to meet the October 1, 2021 Campaign Registry deadline.

By achieving 10DLC compliance we’re ensuring that our clients’ messages avoid any filtering or deliverability penalties that will be imposed on non-registered numbers. Compliance also ensures our clients will receive a higher throughput and deliverability rate.

If you’re unfamiliar with 10DLC, or looking to get more information about it, we recommend you download “The Complete Guide to Messaging With 10DLC.” This comprehensive guide will help you navigate the ins and outs of 10DLC and provide you with a step-by-step outline to ensure compliance. We also invite you to reach out to us and speak directly to one of our conversational experts.

Why is Quiq committed to 10DLC compliance?

The Quiq team has always made it a priority to ensure that the ten-digit long codes used by clients to send and receive messages adhere to the latest regulations and standards. 10DLC is the new standard for sending business SMS through Application-to-Person (A2P) messaging and making sure that our clients are 10DLC compliant validates our continued commitment.

Earlier this year, Quiq joined The Campaign Registry, the reputation authority that governs the 10DLC process, and incorporated the registration process into Quiq’s messaging platform. With this new process, brands can register their numbers and inform The Campaign Registry of the kinds of messages that will be sent. The 10DLC verification process validates the sender and message before the text is transmitted to the end consumer. The new system was created to protect the SMS channel from spam, junk, and fraudulent activity.

The objective of 10DLC is to register, verify, and track organizations and their messaging campaigns to create a higher-quality messaging experience. And that’s a goal we can get behind. We see it as a win for the brands we serve, their customers, and all stakeholders who want to ensure the continued scale, stability, and deliverability of those messages.

Why is 10DLC compliance important?

SMS is an excellent way to effectively turn potential customers into sales, and Quiq simplifies this process by combining human agents with artificial intelligence and automation.

However, due to changes in FCC rules and carrier requirements, many legitimate business text messages will soon be blocked before they reach the customer. Starting October 1, 2021 text messages that don’t comply with new regulations may be labeled spam and never reach the intended consumer.

Using The Campaign Registry’s verification process, Quiq establishes a campaign ID to validate the sender’s use case before texts are sent over the network. Mobile Operators will then confirm that these IDs are legitimate through their SMS reporting. These steps give companies confidence that their messages are being received by the intended recipients.

How does this affect Quiq clients?

Now that all of our clients are 10DLC compliant, they can use their sanctioned ten-digit long codes for business SMS and expect higher throughput and deliverability. 10DLC will provide transparency and ensure that brands are in complete control over their registrars, domain names, and messaging campaigns.

Since security and trust are a core part of what we do here at Quiq, we’re optimistic that the 10DLC system will keep business messaging secure and compliant. Not only will consumers see a decrease in the number of spam messages, businesses will see an even greater return on messaging with more messages being sent to and received by their target audience.

If you need help registering your brand to be 10DLC compliant, please contact us. We are experts at optimizing messaging across multiple channels and can help you navigate the constantly evolving FCC regulations and carrier requirements.

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

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

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

  1. An increasingly digital retail market levels the playing field for brands – With greater access to a wider array of brands online, consumers’ purchasing decisions have become heavily dependent on the quality of their customer experience in addition to traditional considerations like price and product.
  2. eCommerce’s rise has also led to an increase in customer care needs – As more purchases take place online, brands are also facing a sharp escalation in customer care inquiries related to order management and more.

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

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

Introducing Counterintuitive Commerce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Automate Responses to Pre-Purchase Inquiries

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

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

Premium Support Experiences Drive Unexpected Revenue-Driving Opportunities

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

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

8 Tips to Improve Customer Retention

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

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

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

What Is Customer Retention?

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

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

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

Why Is Customer Retention Important?

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

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

Customer retention is important because:

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

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

Calculating Customer Retention

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

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

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

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

Customer Retention Strategies

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

1. Good Values Build Good Relationships

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

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

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

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

2. Trust Is the Basis for Good Relationships

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

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

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

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

3. Build Customer Expectations and Over Deliver Every Time

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

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

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

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

4. Let Customer Data Work for You

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

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

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

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

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

5. There’s Always Room for Improvement

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

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

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

6. Keep Customers in the Loop

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

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

7. Determine Customer Lifetime Value

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

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

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

8. Reward Loyalty

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building Customer Relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Strategic Opportunity in Digital Customer Service

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

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

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

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

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

Evaluate existing customer service channels

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

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

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

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

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

Unique customer support benefits of 4 different messaging channels

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

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

Apple Messages for Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google’s Business Messages

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

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

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

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

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

Messenger

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

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

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

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

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

WhatsApp

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

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

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

Providing Consistent Customer Experiences Across Digital Channels

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

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

5 Ways Mobile Shopping Is Transforming Customer Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Rich Messaging Provides Precise Feedback and Solutions

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

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

3. Mobile Shoppers Expect Immediate Service on Their Terms

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

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

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

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

4. Demand for More Local Customer Service

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

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

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5. Increased Mobile Interactions Lead to Further Customer Insight

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

The Most Versatile Platform for Mobile Shopping Customer Service

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

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

How To Encourage More Customers To Use your Live Chat Service

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

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

Tips for Encouraging Customers to Use Live Chat

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

1. Mention Live Chat During the Phone Hold Message

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

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

2. Use a Contact Form to Collect Information Wisely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Personalize Your Chat

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

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

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

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

5. Promote Live Chat on Social Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Use a Button for Easy Chat Access

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

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

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

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

8. Include Privacy and Data Usage Messages

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

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

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

9. Use Rich Messages

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

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

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

10. Use Live Agents

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

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

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

11. Schedule Chat Availability Around Agent Availability

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

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

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

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

Give Customers the Ultimate Live Chat Experience With Quiq

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

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

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

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