How to Rewire Omnichannel Service with Messaging

Omnichannel customer service is changing.

It used to be about being everywhere. About connecting your in-store customer experience to your website to your social channels. Omnichannel meant that your customers would get the same excellent customer experience no matter where they found you.

As customer behavior changed, more businesses moved online—and so did customer service.

Customers are harder to get, harder to please, and harder to retain. So omnichannel messaging is bringing the complete purchase experience to the customer.

While it’s critical that customers can still reach you on any of their preferred channels, now they can also complete the entire customer journey—including purchases—right from their messaging apps.

First, let’s discuss traditional omnichannel customer service and how you can level up your customer experience.

Your customers don’t want to be treated like strangers.

What’s the most important factor about omnichannel customer service? Personalization.

Delivering “in-store” customer service isn’t enough. Customers want the experience of a small-town, high-end boutique. They want personalized recommendations, purchase history, and some personal information available to agents whenever they engage with customer service.

An overwhelming 75% of respondents want a customer service agent to know who they are and their purchase history. And this isn’t a new expectation—it has remained steady for the past five years.

Yet it’s still far from customers’ reality. In Microsoft’s 2020 survey, respondents reported that only occasionally (31%) did the agent have this information.

The customer service stakes are higher than ever.

While online shopping has made it easier than ever to connect with your customers, it’s also made it easier for them to jump ship. According to Zendesk, 60% of customers are willing to walk away after just one bad experience. It’s a scary statistic that we often repeat. In the online e-commerce world, it doesn’t take much to shatter brand loyalty.

And omnichannel is an expectation—not a benefit.

The same Zendesk survey reported that 72% of customers expect agents to have access to all relevant customer information. That often includes when the customer checks in for the first time after a purchase, talks to a new agent, or switches communication channels.

These high expectations extend to omnichannel service. 73% of customers want the ability to start a conversation on one channel and pick it back up on another.

How is messaging changing the omnichannel strategy?

More and more messaging channels are popping up and gaining popularity every day, and it’s changing the omnichannel landscape. There are two significant factors influencing omnichannel strategies:

1. Customers are eager for help.

More channels mean more access to customer services—and consumers are open to it. Zendesk reports that 64% of U.S. customers want help when buying or returning an item. Before, customers might have been more likely to choose various chat options. Now, they’re more willing to reach out to customer service, even for simple transitions.

2. Customers are more likely to jump around on channels.

According to a 2021 survey from Airkit, 40% of consumers have used three or more conversation channels to engage with customer service. Customers want to be able to connect with your customer service team wherever they are, without leaving the app. Since they’re becoming more comfortable switching apps, your customer service team needs to be able to keep up.

The benefits of omnichannel customer service.

While omnichannel once meant having a seamless in-store and web experience, it’s expanded to include the multitude of communication channels available on the web and mobile devices.

The majority of customers use 3 to 5 channels to get their issues resolved, according to Zendesk. And since they’re bouncing around channels, your team must be able to serve them anywhere they are.

Take a look at the benefits of introducing and perfecting an omnichannel strategy.

Meet your customers everywhere.

When customer service issues strike, your customers never have to go far to find you. Not only will this please your customers, but it’ll also expand your reach.

The same can be said for when the inspiration to make a new purchase strikes. If your customers are able to make a purchase from anywhere, whenever they want, you have a better chance of making the sale.

Deliver a flawless customer experience.

Improve customer satisfaction and meet high expectations when you deliver a true omnichannel experience. Your ability to help customers with their specific problems on whichever channel they prefer improves overall customer satisfaction—and increases the likelihood they’ll buy from you again.

Increase selling opportunities.

Every touchpoint with a customer is an opportunity to increase sales. According to Zendesk, 51% of customers are open to product recommendations from agents. Agents can use the interaction to cross-sell additional products, recommend items based on the customer’s purchase history, or provide an opportunity to renew subscriptions.

Collect more relevant customer information.

Since omnichannel service relies so heavily on continued conversations and customer history, it gives your team an opportunity to collect information on customer behavior. Use this information to make key decisions on which products to buy, how to talk to your customers, and how to improve customer service.

How to improve your omnichannel strategy.

From omnichannel marketing to customer service, you need a well-rounded plan that can serve your customers across the web.

Dive into these omnichannel service strategies and tips to elevate your customer experience.

Be omnichannel, not just multi-channel.

To truly be omnichannel, you need to provide a united front—a seamless customer experience. Customers don’t see a company as individual departments but as an overall brand. They expect consistency in their experience, whether their issue is about the latest sales promotion or dealing with a support complaint.

In order to provide the best customer experience, you have to eliminate the silos and truly provide a singular experience across channels and issues.

How do you achieve this internally? Make sure the lines of communication are open, and departments share systems, goals, and metrics. A unified and consistent approach to service will be a significant step forward in improving the customer experience.

Don’t pick channels over service.

Despite the name, omnichannel customer service doesn’t mean you have to be on every messaging and social platform. It’s more about giving your customers a frictionless experience from one channel to the next. So start with quality first, and increase the number of channels accordingly.

A great (bad) example to look at is live chat. Live chat is a great tool when used correctly, and it can give customers an experience similar to what they’d expect from in-store shopping.

And while most companies have a live chat component on their website, many don’t give it the attention it needs to be successful. This leads to long wait times to chat with an agent or ineffective chatbots that are little more than glorified FAQ search engines.

The moral of the story? Don’t prioritize new channels over customer service.

Pick the right channels for your customers.

You likely already have an idea of which channels your customers use frequently. (If you don’t, your marketing team probably does.) A common rule of thumb is that older demographic groups prefer traditional channels like voice, Millennials prefer text, and Gen Zers opt for social channels like WhatsApp.

However, that’s changing. With technology adoption increasing, more and more people—no matter their age—are using a variety of communication channels. The best option? Ask your customers! Use those valuable insights to focus on the channels your customers are the most active.

Then, make sure you staff, resource, and empower your employees in those channels to best represent the brand.

Ensure customer service agents have information at their fingertips.

This is the key to making an omnichannel customer service experience work. Information like purchase history and previous conversations is what will help your customer service team connect with customers.

Make sure customer service agents have access to a CRM and conversation history right from within their messaging platform, no matter which channels your customers are using.

Include self-service in your omnichannel strategy.

Many businesses think of self-service as a static FAQ page or web forum that’s wholly separate from your omnichannel strategy. But self-service is just another channel you can offer customers when they’re looking for answers.

In fact, many customers prefer it. Microsoft reports that 86% of respondents expect a self-service option, and two-thirds try self-service before contacting a live agent. Investing in your self-service options will not only improve customer satisfaction, but it’ll also lighten the load on your customer service team.

Lean into omnichannel marketing.

Omnichannel doesn’t stop with customer service. The benefits of omnichannel marketing mirror those of omnichannel customer service. Marketing through communication channels, like SMS/text, can help your business connect with customers on their terms.

And when combined with payment integration features, customers can complete the entire customer journey without ever leaving their preferred messaging channel.

Quiq: Your omnichannel solution.

It takes a few key capabilities to have a successful omnichannel presence. Your customer service team needs access to customer information and the ability to continue conversations across channels.

With a multi-channel conversational engagement platform like Quiq, you can serve customers however they prefer from one simple solution.

Omni-Channel Customer Service

Omni-Channel Service: The Customer-Driven Path Forward

The Omni-channel experience has been hailed as the Holy Grail of customer service for a great reason. It provides the highest level of seamless, personalized customer experiences.

Studies have shown that companies with an omni-channel program enjoy 24% greater annual returns in company revenue and a 55% decrease in the number of customer complaints. As stated by Aberdeen: “Omni-channel programs are not hype or a temporary best practice.  When implemented properly, omni-channel serves as a key long-term differentiator.” All the evidence points to the fact that the omni-channel experience is a “must have”, not a “nice to have”. However, it is important to note that less than 1% of all organizations have deployed an omni-channel strategy.

Focus on What You Can Control

Tip 1: Present a Unified Front

Customers don’t see a company as individual departments, but an overall brand. They expect consistency in their experience, whether their issue is about the latest sales promotion or dealing with a support complaint.  In order to provide the best customer experience, it is imperative to eliminate silos. Make sure the lines of communication are open internally and that departments share the common systems, goals, and metrics. Providing your frontlines with the authority to do what is in the best interest of the customer and company will ensure small issues don’t blow up into social media nightmares. A unified and consistent approach to service will be a significant step forward to improving the customer experience.

Tip 2: Quality First, More Channels Second

Of course customers want you to be where they are, but it is counterproductive to be somewhere and not effectively serve your customers. A prime example of this is live chat. While a growing number of companies are offering chat, a good channel option, it must be resourced correctly.  In many cases, customers have to wait for an agent to join a chat session, or they receive the dreaded “Not Available” screen, or they start a chat conversation and walk away from their computer for a moment only to come back and find the chat closed. All this showcases that companies are not efficiently managing resources and are spreading themselves too thin. Customers can forgive you for not offering a channel at all, but they won’t forgive bad service on channels you do offer. The lesson here is that customers do not care about the breadth of your “omni-ness”, but rather about the quality of the service delivered. It’s better not to be in a channel at all if you’re not able to do it well.

Tip 3: Pick the Right Channels

More channels do not necessarily equal greater success. However, being in the right channels for your customer, does.  Make sure you know which channels your customers want to engage you on and focus on those first.  How do you know the right ones?  Do you keep phone support, cut email support, and add messaging? Study your customers. Understand not only their age demographic, but also how and when they typically try to connect with your organization. Other option is to just ask your customers! Based on that valuable insight, focus on the channels where you know your customers are most active and would benefit from direct, two-way communication with your company. Then, make sure you staff, resource, and empower your employees in those channels to best represent the brand.

Tip 4: Quality Service Over Quantity

Many companies are subscribing to the philosophy that more channels are better.  Too many channels actually strain resources.  A Harvard business study reveals that customers are actually very flexible; few customers care about the means they use to engage companies. Most choose to make contact through whatever channel they perceive best meets their needs for the specific task. In fact, the same Harvard study found that only 16% of customers are “means-focused” (committed to a certain channel of preference, regardless of rather it fits the task), while 84% of customers are “ends-focused” (focused on solving their issue, regardless of the channel used).  So, limit your customer service channels to the ones you can support well.  Once again, customers can forgive you for not being there, but they won’t forgive a bad customer service experience.

Tip 5: Try New Channels

While the phone remains the go-to communication method of choice for some difficult or urgent use cases, text messaging and Facebook Messenger channels are fast gaining acceptance, and not just with millennials. All age groups are using SMS/text messaging more than ever. In fact, the fastest growing channel is “text messaging”. A recent Forrester study highlights that “The pervasiveness and familiarity of text messaging makes it an ideal channel to win, serve, and retain customers who require assistance from a contact center agent.” Consumers agree. In one study, 66% of respondents said that one of the reasons they preferred to send a text to a company’s customer service department was because it was less time-consuming. In addition, 42% said they preferred to do so because it was more convenient than using the telephone, and nearly a third said that sending a text was less frustrating than calling the company.

Summary

While the omni-channel experience may be the holy grail of customer service, the true prize is a loyal customer.  The priority should always be to provide a helpful, positive experience that will enhance the relationship with a customer.  Therefore, continue striving for customer service excellence.  Dedicate the resources, embrace relevant new technologies, and know your customer’s channel preference.  The investment will ultimately be worth it.

Part 2: 10 Criteria for Choosing the Best Messaging Vendor

The Messaging Mandate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Determine your business objectives

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

What demographics are you targeting with messaging?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will you use messaging?

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

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

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

What are your goals?

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

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

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

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

Which messaging channels will you need?

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

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

Here are some common messaging channels to consider:

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

How to Select Business Messaging Tools and Vendors

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

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

1. Experience and knowledge

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

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

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

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

2. Customer-obsessed culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Product features and capabilities

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

But don’t stop there.

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

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

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

4. Security features

Trust but verify. The days of blindly assuming your (and your customers’) data is safeguarded are long gone. The average cost of a data breach in 2021 was $4.2 million, according to IBM.

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

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

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

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

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

5. Automation and artificial intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Ease of use

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

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

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

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

A dense, complicated product will make onboarding a struggle.

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

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

8. Integrations

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

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

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

7. Templates

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

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

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

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

9. Value

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

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

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

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

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

10. Innovation

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

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

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

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

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

Is Quiq on your list?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Text messaging crushes other service platforms.

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

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

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

2. Customers are easily accessible.

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

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

3. Text message conversations are asynchronous.

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

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

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

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

4. Texting customers increases agent efficiency.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Your competitors are using it.

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

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

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

How to begin using business text messaging

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

Marketing

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

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

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

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

Customer support

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

Leverage these tips for amazing customer service over text messaging:

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

Customer loyalty

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

Here are a few strategies to keep in mind:

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

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

Tap into business messaging with Quiq

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

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

Dreading Customer Experience Snags Over the Holidays? You’re Not Alone.

Your dread of poor customer experience is justified: The holidays are going to be tough on retailers this year. It’s already proving to be a mess of a season. Between supply shortages, delivery delays, and a smaller labor pool, holiday shopping can prove difficult this year. 

And customers know it. 

68% of shoppers are either very or somewhat concerned about poor service due to a lack of employees, according to the Salesforce Holiday Insights report. 78% are concerned about shipping delays and product availability, respectively. 

Overall, there’s a lot to worry about this year. But you’re not alone. 

On a positive note, holiday shopping has started earlier. Sales were up 18% year-over-year for the first two weeks of November, according to Salesforce. Black Friday sales aren’t breaking any records and actually suffered a small decline over last year. Adobe Analytics is reporting $8.9 billion in sales, which actually makes sense. It tracks with earlier spending as shoppers try to avoid stockouts and shipping delays.

Now to your big question: How do you ensure a stellar customer experience amidst these challenges? Let’s discuss that.

Customer loyalty matters more than ever

It seems like we say that a lot, doesn’t it? 

Customer loyalty is a constant focus, but it becomes even more critical during times of change. As shoppers move toward e-commerce, they forge new loyalties. The brand interactions they have are with your customer support team instead of with sales team members. This poses both challenges and opportunities.

But the real problem this holiday season is that shoppers know what they want, and they don’t care who they get it from. 

39% of consumers who couldn’t get an out-of-stock item switched brands or products, and 32% switched retailers.”

According to a McKinsey study, 39% of consumers who couldn’t get an out-of-stock item switched brands or products, and 32% switched retailers. They’re not waiting for items to come back in stock.

Whether trying to keep the customers you have or attempting to capture new customers as they jump ship from other retailers, you have a short window to capture their loyalty.

How do you do that? Listen to your customers, communicate effectively, and empower your agents to go above and beyond whenever possible.

Infuse CX into every step of the customer journey

Since customers are more willing to switch retailers to get the items they want, your customer experience needs to be your number one priority. 

We know you’re already slammed with holiday queries, but bringing your support team into every step of the customer journey is the best way to ensure a stellar customer experience.

Consider how to get ahead of customer problems before they get to your support team. Include holiday questions on your FAQ page and send out notifications when inventory or shipping snags occur. 

When problems do arise, remember these short customer experience tips to solve problems quickly and earn back the trust of your customers.

Quick customer experience tips:

  1. Be warm
  2. Be prepared with quick answers
  3. Ensure your customer feels listened to
  4. Don’t come off as rote
  5. Be transparent about problems
  6. Solve issues in one support request

Get creative with staffing

According to Forbes, 68% of organizations saw a greater increase in customer service inquiries during the 2020 holiday season versus the 2019 holiday season. It would be no surprise to see even higher numbers this season.

And in customer service, immediacy is the name of the game. Customers want quick service and often expect some kind of reply 24/7. Yet many retailers are short-staffed.

While the labor pool is shallow, long wait times are the quickest way to frustrate your customers. To ensure your team isn’t completely overwhelmed, get creative with your staffing:

Top holiday staffing strategies

  1. Lean into short-term staffing
  2. Extend hours for employees who want them
  3. Stagger shifts based on peak shopping hours
  4. Pull in employees from other departments
  5. Extend your labor pool with remote hires

The right infrastructure can make hiring short-term and remote employees a breeze. Messaging software makes it possible to onboard new hires quickly—even when they’re across the country. No need to ship desk phones or physical products. Just log in and go.

Embrace chatbots for improved customer service

We know it’s crunch time, but adding chatbots to your customer experience arsenal will do a lot to smooth out the snags. There’s a lot you can do with chatbots and AI to speed up your customer response time. Live-Chat-Software-Chatbot-Messaging-Window

The first is to use chatbots as a routing method. Ask simple questions to gauge the type of customer issue. If you can direct the customer to another department or another self-service option, that’s a best-case scenario.

You can also get more advanced and prepare scripts for commonly asked questions. Consider it an FAQ page on steroids. You can answer slightly more complex queries, and customers get the feeling of personal service.

Here are some common holiday questions you can program a chatbot to answer:

Common questions for your chatbot

  1. What’s the status of my order?
  2. When’s the last day to order to ensure my package gets delivered by Christmas Eve?
  3. What’s your return policy?
  4. How much is shipping?
  5. When will this item be back in stock?
  6. How often do you get new products in?
  7. I ordered the wrong size, what do I do?

Preparing scripts for simple answers like these once can save your team from handling hundreds of interactions—give them more time and you one less thing to worry about.

Streamline backend technology

The holidays are the worst time of year to fight against your technology. Customer service teams are handling loads of messages and calls from all different platforms, and switching between them is inefficient. And frankly annoying.

Consider a conversational platform that allows your customers to reach out using the preferred channel but still keeps the backend organized and efficient for your team.

Agents can bounce back and forth between messaging channels without losing track of conversations. Customers get to chat with your brand how they want, where they want, and your team gets to preserve the experience and deliver snag-free customer service.

Do away with dread and upgrade your customer experience

The holidays are a make-or-break moment for retailers. While you may be dreading the rush just as much as the customer, they’re looking to your customer support team to shine amidst the struggles.

Let your last major technology purchase of the year be one that can help you get through the holiday season with fewer customer experience snags and more sales

Power your customer service team with Quiq

Ensure your team communicates effectively over any messaging channel with Quiq. Our AI-enhanced conversational platform supports your customer service team with multiple messaging channels, chatbots, CRM integrations, and more.

Quiq Congratulates Customers on Newsweek’s Best Online Shops 2021

Since 2020, we’ve all become accustomed to shopping online even more so than before the pandemic. Working with Statista to gather data, Newsweek plucked out 1,000 e-commerce stores and identified them as this year’s best of the best. We’re thrilled to see so many Quiq clients on Newsweek’s list of Best Online Shops 2021, which recognizes brands that offer first-rate customer experiences.

We’d like to wholeheartedly congratulate these hardworking brands, who are committed to elevating their customer experiences. To celebrate, we thought it’d be fun to spotlight a handful who made the list, as well as how they’re getting ahead with Quiq.

Here are a few Quiq customers who made the list:

Lane Bryant

Newsweek score: 7.68 | lanebryant.com

Lane Bryant deployed an automated sales assistant with Quiq to help customers find the right product. With integration to True Fit, customers easily find their right size, too. And the automation seamlessly hands sessions off to an agent to complete a sale when necessary.

Lane Bryant’s smooth handoff and automation are paying off by making their customer experiences more personal. The brand found that users who engage with their automated assistant are 3x more likely to convert to a sale, and have a 20% higher average order value (AOV).

Blue Nile

Newsweek score: 8.64 | bluenile.com

Through conversational design and intelligent routing, Quiq identified instances that were sales opportunities and should automatically be escalated to a Diamond Expert. Quiq also ingested FAQs to help contain service-related questions when possible and did NLU training to interpret care issues that needed escalation.

Based on the customer’s intent, the chatbot is able to determine whether the query could be completed via self-service or if Diamond Expert assistance is needed. This sophisticated routing is supported with a handoff integration to seamlessly connect to experienced agents, who are ready to respond to inquiries better suited to human resolution.

In a short 5 months with Quiq, Blue Nile converted 10% of phone calls to messaging. They’re on track to move 20% of inbound calls to messaging.

Bob’s Discount Furniture

Newsweek score: 8.12 | mybobs.com

Bob’s partnered with Quiq to deploy an IVR to SMS strategy, allowing callers to opt into SMS based on their reason for contact. Quiq’s automation then engaged with customers to pre-fill Zendesk tickets and attach photos before passing them to an agent to take over.

Next, Bob’s expanded BobBot to a conversational web assistant built to resolve common inquiries related to product issues, product questions, delivery tracking, FAQs and more—while handing users off to an agent when necessary.

Lastly, Quiq and Bob’s set up data feeds to allow for delivery and service scheduling and rescheduling to be completely automated, saving agents time and providing customers with quick and seamless service.

Office Depot

Newsweek score: 8.60 | officedepot.com

Office Depot is championing self-service with SMS text messages, Apple Messages for Business, and Google channels powered by Quiq. They’ve also integrated Quiq chatbots with Oracle Service Cloud and Oracle Digital Assistant (their chatbot) for order status self-service via SMS. Office Depot’s customers can get key info like order confirmations and statuses via their preferred communication method.

Overstock

Newsweek score: 8.07 | overstock.com

Overstock empowers customers to communicate with them over several direct messaging channels, including SMS and Apple Messages for Business. The brand also powers outbound order status SMS notifications with Quiq at a high volume. And because Quiq’s notifications are responsive, Overstock’s customers can reply back to SMS texts and get connected to an agent.

Final thoughts.

With all the options customers have today, brands have to meet increasingly high expectations. We’re honored that these businesses have chosen to partner with Quiq to meet customers’ needs while advancing business goals—and that they are being recognized for their incredible devotion to customer experience.

Curious about how Quiq can help your business improve customer experience, CSAT, and revenue?

See a 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.

Contact Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing Counterintuitive Commerce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Automate Responses to Pre-Purchase Inquiries

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

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

Premium Support Experiences Drive Unexpected Revenue-Driving Opportunities

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

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

8 Tips to Improve Customer Retention

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

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

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

What Is Customer Retention?

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

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

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

Why Is Customer Retention Important?

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

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

Customer retention is important because:

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

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

Calculating Customer Retention

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

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

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

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

Customer Retention Strategies

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

1. Good Values Build Good Relationships

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

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

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

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

2. Trust Is the Basis for Good Relationships

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

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

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

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

3. Build Customer Expectations and Over Deliver Every Time

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

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

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

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

4. Let Customer Data Work for You

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

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

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

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

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

5. There’s Always Room for Improvement

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

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

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

6. Keep Customers in the Loop

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

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

7. Determine Customer Lifetime Value

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

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

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

8. Reward Loyalty

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building Customer Relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Strategic Opportunity in Digital Customer Service

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

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

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

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

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

Evaluate existing customer service channels

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

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

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

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

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

Unique customer support benefits of 4 different messaging channels

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

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

Apple Messages for Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google’s Business Messages

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

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

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

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

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

Messenger

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

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

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

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

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

WhatsApp

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

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

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

Providing Consistent Customer Experiences Across Digital Channels

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

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

3 Tactics For Reducing Service Email Volume

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

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

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

3 Tactics For Reducing Email Service Volume

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Customers Prefer Self-Service Conversational Automation Over Email

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

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

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

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

5 Ways Mobile Shopping Is Transforming Customer Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Rich Messaging Provides Precise Feedback and Solutions

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

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

3. Mobile Shoppers Expect Immediate Service on Their Terms

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

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

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

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

4. Demand for More Local Customer Service

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

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

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” padding_top=”0px” padding_right=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” padding_left=”0px” admin_label=”5. Increased Mobile Interactions Lead to Further Customer Insight” admin_toggled=”no” type=”legacy”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ type=”1_1″ layout=”3_4″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” undefined=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”0px” padding_left=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”true” border_sizes_top=”0″ border_sizes_bottom=”0″ border_sizes_left=”0″ border_sizes_right=”0″ first=”true”][fusion_text columns=”” column_min_width=”” column_spacing=”” rule_style=”default” rule_size=”” rule_color=”” content_alignment_medium=”” content_alignment_small=”” content_alignment=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” sticky_display=”normal,sticky” class=”” id=”” margin_top=”” margin_right=”” margin_bottom=”” margin_left=”” font_size=”” fusion_font_family_text_font=”” fusion_font_variant_text_font=”” line_height=”” letter_spacing=”” text_color=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]

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.