[Infographic] 9 Effective Call Center Strategies You Can’t Miss

Effective call center strategies are essential to running a contact center. It’s not as simple as setting up a few phones and handing your team a script (although we’re sure no one has thought that since 2005). But it’s equally as likely that you’re so bogged down with managing the everyday realities that you can’t see the forest through the trees.

That is, you can’t see just how cluttered the contact center has become.

From staffing and training to managing operations and tracking KPIs, you spend too much time keeping a contact center running instead of doing what you do best: Connecting with customers.

That’s where Quiq comes in. Our Conversational AI Platform uses breakthrough technology to make it easier to engage customers, whether through live chat (also known as web chat), text messaging, or social media.

Let’s take a look at ways to improve your call center efficiency and how Quiq can help you reduce the clutter with 9 effective call center strategies in a handy infographic:

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1. Streamline your current system.

How do you currently connect with your customers? Fielding phone calls, emails, and the occasional DMs can leave communications scattered and your systems fragmented.

Here’s what can happen with you don’t have a single, consolidated platform:

  • Customer conversations can slip through the cracks.
  • Your team wastes time switching between apps, programs, and windows.
  • Disparate technology becomes outdated and overpriced.
  • With no support for asynchronous communication, conversations can only happen one at a time.
  • Measuring performance requires pulling metrics from multiple sources, a time-consuming and arduous process.

Quiq lets your agents connect with customers across various channels in a singular platform. You’ll improve your contact center operational efficiency with conversations, survey results, and performance data all in one easy-to-use interface.

2. Boost agent productivity and efficiency.

How do your customer service agents go about their day? Are they handling one call at a time? Reinventing the wheel with every new conversation? Switching between apps and email and phone systems?

Outdated technology (or a complete lack of it) makes handling customer conversations inherently more difficult. Switching to a messaging-first strategy with Quiq increases the speed with which agents can tackle customer conversations.

Switching to asynchronous messaging (that is, messaging that doesn’t require both parties to be present at the same time) enables agents to handle 6–8 conversations at once. Beyond conversation management, Quiq helps optimize agent performance with AI-enhanced tools like bots, snippets, sentiment analysis, and more.

3. Drive down costs.

It’s time to stop looking at your contact center as a black hole for your profits. At the most basic level, your customer service team’s performance is measured by how many people they can serve in a period of time, which means time is money.

The longer it takes your agents to solve problems, whether they’re searching for the answer, escalating to a higher customer service level, or taking multiple conversations to find a solution, the more it impacts your bottom line.

Even simple questions, like “Where’s my order?” inquiries needlessly slow down your contact center. Managing your contact center’s operations is overwhelming, to say the least.

Need a Quiq solution? We have many. Let’s start with conversation queuing. Figuring out a customer’s problem and getting to the right person or department eats away at time that could be spent finding a solution. Quiq routes conversations to the right person, significantly reducing resolution times. Agents can also seamlessly loop in other departments or a manager to solve a problem quickly.

Beyond improving your contact center’s operational efficiency, messaging is 3x less expensive than the phone.

4. Manage seasonal spikes and fluctuating demands.

All contact centers face the eternal hiring/firing merry-go-round struggle. You probably get busy around the holidays and slow down in January. Or maybe September is your most active season, and your team shrinks through the rest of the year. While you can’t control when you’re busy and when you’re slow, you can control how you respond to those fluctuations.

Manage seasonal spikes by creating your own chatbot using Quiq’s AI engine. Work with our team to design bot conversations that use Natural Language Processing (NPL) to assist customers with simple questions. Chatbots can also improve agent resolution times by collecting customer information upfront to speed up conversations.

Daily Harvest’s chatbot, Sage, was able to contain 60% of conversations, which means their human agents saw a vast reduction in call volume. Perfect for managing the holiday rush.

5. Remove friction.

How hard is it for your customers to contact your help center? Do they have to fill out a web form, wait for an email, and set up a phone call? Is there a number in fine print in the depths of your FAQ page? Some companies make it difficult for customers to interact with their team, hoping that they’ll spend less money if there are fewer calls and emails. But engaging with customers can improve company perception, boost sales, and deepen customer loyalty.

That’s why Quiq makes it easy for your team and customers to connect. From live chat to SMS/text and Google Business Messaging to WhatsApp, customers can connect with your team on their preferred channel.

6. Improve the quality of your conversations with rich messaging.

Email and phone conversations are, in a word, boring. Whether you’re an e-commerce company selling products or a service provider helping customers troubleshoot problems with their latest device, words aren’t always enough. That’s why Quiq offers rich messaging.

What is rich messaging? It’s an advanced form of text messaging that includes multimedia, like GIFs, high-resolution photos, or video. It also includes interactive tools, like appointment scheduling, transaction processing, and more.

You can use rich messaging to give customers a better service experience. Whether sending them product recommendations or a video walkthrough, they’ll get a fully immersed experience.

7. Engage more qualified leads.

Do leads die in your contact center? Let’s face it: your contact center isn’t the place to handle high-value leads. Yet when warm leads find themselves there, you need a way to track, qualify, and engage them.

Here’s where chatbots can help with marketing. Quiq’s chatbots can help you identify qualified leads by engaging with your prospect and collecting information before it ever gets to your sales team.

A great example we’ve seen is from General Assembly. With the Quiq team by their side, they created a bot that helped administer a quiz and captured and nurtured leads interested in specific courses. This helped them strengthen the quality of their leads and achieve a 26% conversion rate, which leads us to our next factor for an effective call center strategy.

8. Increase conversions.

If you haven’t stopped viewing your call center as a cost center, this next topic should change your mind. While many contact centers focus on customer service, which can lean heavily toward complaints and post-purchase problems, there’s also tons of profit potential via effective call center strategies.

Adding messaging to your contact center opens up more opportunities to engage with your customers across the web. Live chat is a great way to talk to your customers at key points in the buyers’ journey. Using a chatbot to assist shoppers in navigating your website makes shoppers 3x more likely to convert to a sale than unassisted visitors.

Combining AI and human agents with Quiq’s conversational platform gives your customers the best experience possible without adding to your contact center’s workload—and it can lead to an 85% reduction in abandoned shopping carts. Plus, Quiq integrates with your ERP system so customer data is always at your team’s fingertips.

9. Increase customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction is likely your call center’s #1 goal. Yet outdated phone systems and substandard technology isn’t the best solution to improve call center agent performance.

Quiq empowers agents to be more efficient, which reduces your customer’s wait time and helps ensure customers get the best service possible. Quiq customers often increase their customer satisfaction ratings by about 15 points.

And the best way to increase your ratings? With regular, in-context surveys. Our conversational platform helps you and your agents get instant customer feedback. Customers can seamlessly respond to surveys right from within the channel they used to connect with your customer service.

Give contact center clutter a Quiq goodbye with effective call center strategies.

There’s no place in an efficient business for a cluttered contact center. Outdated systems, slow processes, and a lack of support can overwhelm your agents—and keep them from performing their best for your customers.

Now that you’re equipped with ways to improve call center efficiency, it’s time to see it in action. Quiq’s Conversational AI Platform empowers your team to work more efficiently and create happier customers.

Drive Satisfaction and Sales with Google Business Messaging

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

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

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

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

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

There are two options for using Google business messaging:

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

3 reasons to implement Google Business Messages.

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

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

Here are three reasons to adopt Google messages:

1. Raise customer satisfaction.

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

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

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

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

2. Capitalize on Google searches.

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

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

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

3. Drive revenue and sales.

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

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

Personalization takes the shopping experience to the next level.

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

How to ramp up revenue using Google Business Messages.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some to keep in mind:

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

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

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

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

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

Drive sales with Google Business Messages.

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

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

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

Comparing Live Chat and Chatbots

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

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

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

And your website is a good place to start.

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

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

Let us explain.

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

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

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

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

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

Why live chat is a must.

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

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

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

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

Why should you use chatbots for customer service?

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

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

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

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

How to make your chatbot stand out using live chat.

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

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

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

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

Accuracy is everything.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t make customers repeat themselves, ever.

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

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

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

Be transparent and give them a choice.

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

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

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

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

Infuse bots with brand personality.

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

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

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

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

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

Read more about Sage and Daily Harvest here >

Make live agents and chatbots part of the same team.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leverage live chat and chatbots with Quiq.

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

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

How To Add Digital Customer Service

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

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

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

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

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

What is digital customer service?

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

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

Why use digital customer service?

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

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

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

6 reasons digital customer service is critical.

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

1. You’re building relationships.

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

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

2. It differentiates your business.

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

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

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

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

3. You’ll upgrade your brand perception.

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

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

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

4. You can practice proactive outreach.

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

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

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

5. It’ll boost efficiency and lower costs.

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

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

6. You’ll increase revenue opportunities.

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

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

An Accenture survey revealed some key insights:

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

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

How to deploy digital customer service.

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

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

1. Identify common questions.

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

Some inquiries will be obvious like:

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

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

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

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

2. Choose the channels your customers already use.

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

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

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

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

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

3. Improve digital customer experience.

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

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

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

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

4. Promote your new digital channels.

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

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

5. Monitor and analyze engagement.

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

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

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

Deliver the digital experience your customers want.

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

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

7 Ways Chatbots Help Teams Move Faster

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Answer common questions

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

Questions like:

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Collect information upfront

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

Instead, use a chatbot as your welcome wagon.

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

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

3. Improve response times

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

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

And response times matter to customers.

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

4. Chatbots are available 24/7

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

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

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

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

5. Troubleshoot problems

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

Chatbots help keep that from happening to your customers.

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

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

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

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

6. Customer routing

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

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

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

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

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

7. Improve agent morale

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

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

One thing chatbots can do is alleviate the monotony.

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

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

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

Bonus: 2 more ways chatbots can help outside customer service

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

1. Qualify leads

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

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

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

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

2. Process payments

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

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

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

Welcome a chatbot to your team

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

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

Not a bad word anymore, right?

Turning Chatbots Into Virtual Shopping Assistants

Turning Chatbots Into Virtual Shopping Assistants

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

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

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

What Are Virtual Shopping Assistants?

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

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

Why Do Consumers Like Virtual Shopping Assistants?

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

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

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

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

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

Benefits of Virtual Shopping Assistants for Retailers

Benefits of Virtual Shopping Assistants for Retailers

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

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

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

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

How to Use a Chatbot as a Virtual Shopping Assistant

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

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

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

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

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

How to Get Started With Chatbot Implementation

How to Get Started With Chatbot Implementation

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

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

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

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

Demo Quiq Today for Your Retail Business

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

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

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

Demo Quiq Today for Your Retail Business

How a Premium Jeweler Drove 40X Return on Ad Spend

The Challenge

The company wanted an interactive and engaging way to recommend gift ideas for Valentine’s Day, as part of its overall digital campaign.

In previous campaigns involving Facebook Messenger, the firm’s social managers and Sales Associates had been swamped by the need to manually respond to customers’ inquiries.

Especially for such a premium brand, customers needed to feel that their questions and concerns were properly considered and promptly handled. The iconic jewelry retailer learned how it could strengthen its brand through a groundbreaking, conversational marketing solution.

The Solution

Quiq’s Conversational AI (CAI) platform provided the solution for both prompt handling of customer interactions and a way to recommend gift ideas.

The retailer leveraged Quiq to design and deploy a conversational shopping feature on Facebook Messenger that made personalized gift recommendations for customers. At Quiq, we know customers who engage in guided sales assistance are up to 4x more likely to convert than unassisted visitors.

Quiq’s unparalleled technology became a key component of the jeweler’s marketing campaign for Valentine’s Day. Users began the conversation by visiting the retailer’s Facebook page or searching its brand name within the Messenger application. Through either route, they were then engaged by Quiq’s intelligent chatbot.

Users were able to shop for products online at the retailer’s website or find the nearest physical store within the automated chat experience, through a window that pops up from Messenger. If they had a question, users could ask the automated agent directly with free text queries.

They were also prompted by the Quiq intelligent chatbot to take a brief quiz for discovering the perfect gift. It asked if the gift is for the user or someone else, the gender of the recipient, and the price range.

When those questions were answered, the Quiq automated agent suggested an appropriate gift. The recommendations are made from a group of products selected by the retailer for that gender and price window.

The consumer could also choose one of the recommended products for herself or himself, and send a pre-Valentine’s Day text to another Messenger user with the message:

“Hint hint … This is at the top of my wish list.”

A link and image of the chosen gift were automatically dropped into the message—a welcome change from the multi-step process of copying and sending links.

In addition to reducing staff time through this innovative gift recommendation, the Quiq smart conversation technology also helped relieve the burden placed upon customer service during this busy season by efficiently and accurately handling FAQs.

 

The Results

By tracking the performance of this and other interactive approaches, Quiq’s Conversational AI platform allows marketers to create custom experiences based on consumer behavior, and to target social ads more effectively as a means of acquiring customers.

Once users entered the experience, they were highly engaged:

  • 50% of users who started the quiz completed it and received a gift recommendation.
  • Of those users, 33% clicked on a product link.
  • This led to a 40x return on ad spend (ROAS).
  • The automated chat had an 85% satisfaction rating, according to a Quiq survey, indicating users loved getting product recommendations in this way.

You read that right: 40X Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) 

The retailer is receiving recognition for its dedication to creating innovative digital campaigns. Forbes magazine even called the jeweler a leader “among luxury jewelry and watch brands when it comes to digital competency,” noting that its “brand-driven strategies performed above the average throughout their digital channels.”

 

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How to Increase Sales While Managing the Holiday Rush

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

Expect a holly, jolly holiday for sales.

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

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

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

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

1. Get ahead of low inventory and slow shipping.

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

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

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

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

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

2. Tighten up customer service response times.

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

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

Just how fast of a response do customers expect?

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

*Percentages are estimates

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

3. Offer multiple ways for customers to contact you.

How many ways can your customers contact you? 

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

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

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

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

4. Enhance your team with chatbots.

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

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

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

5. Streamline omnichannel support.

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

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

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

Streamlining omnichannel support does two things:

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

6. Accept payments right from messaging platforms.

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

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

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

Pair these tips with Quiq to increase your holiday sales.

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

Quiq is a conversational platform that helps you:

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

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

5 Tips to Ramp Up Your Retail Business to Prepare for the Holiday Season

The holiday season is fast approaching, and retail businesses are preparing for another boom in sales throughout November and December. Cyber Monday 2019 alone generated over 9.4 billion dollars in the U.S., which is just a small indication of how critical online sales are to holiday shoppers.

Online shopping is more prevalent in 2020 than ever before thanks to the current restrictions placed on traditional retail. With these tips, you can learn how to prepare your retail business for the holiday season while taking advantage of all the capabilities that digital media has to offer.

5 Tips to Prepare for the Holidays

When you prepare your retail business for the holidays, it’s important to find new ways to reach and interact with consumers. Shoppers expect to find what they’re looking for quickly and at an affordable price. A personalized experience can go a long way toward helping someone find the perfect holiday gift for their loved one. These five tips will provide this personalized experience and ensure consumers feel comfortable while shopping.

1. Prioritize Mobile

Using mobile devices to communicate, conduct business, and shop online has become mainstream for the general public across the U.S. That’s why developing a mobile-friendly shopping experience is an essential part of today’s retail engagement strategies.

Shopping sites and applications look different on mobile devices than they do on PCs. It’s important to optimize visuals, text, and interactive components so mobile shoppers can access information easily.

2. Support Multichannel Experiences

Retailers can provide a more holistic experience by using multiple channels to reach potential buyers. Multichannel experiences can make communication between the consumer and the representative more convenient and efficient.

For example, retailers have the power to use apps, SMS messaging, and even live chat to connect with consumers on different types of media.

3. Have Personalized Shopping Experiences

Buyers love it when shopping experiences are tailored to their needs. Personalizing solutions is a great way for retailers to show consumers that they care about them and their interests.

Today, retailers often use the power of data and one-on-one engagement to personalize the customer experience. Real-time messaging and analytics can also help representatives create a more individualized approach.

4. Prepare Customer Service Agents

Customer service agents need to be prepared for the demands of digital sales and engagement. Retailers need agents who can keep shoppers informed and provide useful updates. 

Friendly and knowledgeable service agents inspire trust, and they can help build loyalty over time. Consumers who have had positive interactions with a representative are often more likely to return in the future.

5. Use Chatbots

Covid-19 Chatbot

Instead of assigning a customer service agent to answer every question or provide every service, you can prepare your retail business for the holidays by integrating the use of chatbots.

Chatbot technology is highly advanced, capable of finding solutions and answering simple questions for engaged consumers. It also helps potential buyers get answers faster, which saves time in the long run. Quiq’s Conversational Engagement Platform allows you to integrate both AI and human interaction for the optimal customer experience.

How Quiq Can Help You Prepare for This Holiday Season

Messaging and mobile solutions can help retailers everywhere succeed this holiday season. If your retail business needs help preparing for the holidays, Quiq provides a smart and cost-effective way to manage messaging channels. To learn more, contact Quiq for a demo today. 

What Is Conversational Commerce?

By now you may have heard the term conversational commerce. Aside from some catchy alliteration that, honestly, just makes it fun to say, you may not know much about it why everyone’s talking about it. Let’s clear things up a bit.

Example of conversational commerce on a smartphoneConversational commerce refers to the transactions that take place through digital conversations consumers have with brands on messaging apps like web chat, Apple Messages for Business, text messaging, and even Facebook Messenger.

The interactions that take place are powered primarily by chatbots that process consumer messages and offer relevant responses. Conversational commerce takes on many forms and can take place across a multitude of channels.

Here are a few examples of conversational commerce in real life:

  • Consumers shopping and completing transactions within a messaging conversation
  • Brands helping consumers shop by find a store location or online promotions and deals
  • Customer experience agents Interacting with a customer to reschedule an appointment or a delivery

These are just a few ways messaging has greased the commerce wheel, making it easier and faster for business to get done. In this article we’ll take a close look at conversational commerce and what companies need to do to fully leverage its benefits.

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How Does Conversation Commerce Work?

Consider the smartphone — you know, the thing that is essentially glued to everyone’s hands now-a-days — and reflect on how much searching, browsing, buying, and texting takes place on any given device on any given day. Even before it was egged on by mandates, Online purchase being made on a smartphone using Apple Paywhen our normal was just normal, consumers leaned on the ease, convenience, and speed that shopping from their smartphone offered.  

As the world still works through “new normal” restrictions on physical locations, we’ve seen a surge in use as more consumers have looked to online shopping, delivery, and curbside pickup to get through their days. According to comScore consumers spend 85% of their smartphone time using only 5 apps, which tend to be either social media, messenger or other media apps. It makes sense that businesses would marry the power of messaging with consumers preferences.

He predicted these real-time conversations would facilitate more convenient online sales. Mr. Messina has yet to comment on where he picked up that incredibly accurate crystal ball of his, but looks like he was pretty spot on. Now, let’s talk about how your company can benefit from an investment in conversational commerce.

Why Invest In Conversational Commerce 

Consumer expectations of speed and convenience have birthed new innovations that are opening up a seamless communication between brands and customers. Gone are the days where customers were satisfied with dialing an 800 number or having to write an email to get help. 

Whether it’s a chatbot on Messenger, someone managing direct messages on Twitter, or taking orders via text message, consumers will choose brands that go that extra mile to make their experience personalized and efficient. Needless to say, businesses are investing to make that happen.

Consider these statistics by Gartner:

  • At least 60% of companies will use artificial intelligence to support digital commerce. 
  • 30% of digital commerce revenue growth will be attributable to artificial intelligence technologies, such as those that power conversational commerce. 
  • 5% of all digital commerce transactions will come from a bot, such as those that power conversational commerce. 

All of the major trends in commerce over the past couple of decades have been in moving to where customers are. Rather than forcing customers to come to you, you go to where they are. The next generation of that is conversational commerce. 

Create A More Natural Brand-Consumer Relationship With Conversational Commerce

Conversational commerce, much like regular conversations, are meant to build relationships. Conversational commerce is an opportunity to move beyond email blasts, promotional posts on social media, and other communication methods that provide just one-way communication. SMS and other messaging apps enable you to keep your customers informed with updates, and allows them to respond on the same message thread. A real-time exchange of information? Now that’s a conversation.

Creating engaging experiences on these channels are better and easier if your agents have a single view of your customers. Quiq makes it easy for companies to manage conversations with an intuitive agent desktop and native integrations with Salesforce.com, Zendesk, Shopify, and Oracle Service Cloud.

Quiq is architected with an “API First” strategy which means we seek to work in harmony with your existing systems. With Quiq’s integration frameworks you can customize our UI to include data from your internal operations systems or synchronize conversation data into your reporting, customer and other backend systems.

Get Started with Conversational Commerce

Getting started with conversational commerce isn’t complicated. Start with one new channel where customers are visiting every day such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. Better still, start with text messaging, a universally accepted way to engage with consumers.  

If you’re ready to put conversational commerce to work so that your business can thrive schedule some time to speak with one of our conversation experts today.

How to Use Conversational Commerce To Change Your Business

From increasing conversion rates to receiving more on-time payments, the results from brands that have embraced conversational commerce speak for themselves. Conversational commerce can help brands resolve inquiries and satisfy customers. 

Conversational commerce means using messaging and bots to enable two-way conversations with your customers. You won’t  just tell your customers things like “Hey, we’ve got a promotion on these products today.” You can have a conversation in real-time about ways you can help them shop, find what they need, and complete transactions..

Conversational commerce enables you to listen and learn from your customers while building a solid relationship. That relationship means everything to your business.

Here’s a few of the biggest benefits conversational commerce can bring to your business:

  • Increased sales  
  • Broader reach and engagement
  • Higher customer satisfaction 

In this article, we take a look at how conversational commerce can change your business. We review the solutions that help businesses enable conversational commerce for sales and customer service and the simple steps you can take today to get started.

As a quick refresher, we defined conversational commerce in a previous post as the transactions that take place through digital conversations consumers have with brands. These conversations take place on messaging apps like web chat, Apple Messages for Business, text messaging, and even Facebook Messenger.

Conversational commerce is all about answering customers’ questions and concerns when and where they prefer. Your customers are given hands-on, personalized support, across the digital channels they prefer like SMS/text, live chat, and social media platforms.

Consider how differently the conversational commerce experience is with technology’s help:

  • With proactive chat on your website, chatbots or human agents can intervene at critical moments, like when a visitor toggles back and forth between two product options or hesitates at checkout to help them make a decision
  • Rich Communication Services (RCS) like Apple Messages for Business and Google’s Business Messages enables agents to present products in carousels, schedule appointments, and collect payment, all within the messaging conversation.

The possibilities are limitless. Small and large brands alike are using conversational commerce to reach customers, boost sales, and interact in a personal way with consumers. But where do you start?

Conversational commerce is all about answering customers' questions and concerns

Where Do You Start With Conversational Commerce?

The answer for this question is the same as others where there is no hard, fast, or linear answer — it depends. Where you start depends on a few key things:

  • Your business goals and any identified opportunities for improvement
  • How your customers currently contact you
  • Pain points within your customer’s experience that you want to address

Let’s say you own retail stores that sell outdoor apparel. In-store sales have dropped dramatically so your company has decided to have a summer sale that is heavily promoted across your website. You’ve also decided to test Facebook ads to reach new customers. A lot of retailers probably can relate to this scenario and understand how important the sale is for year-end results. Every transaction counts.

Now, let’s say you’ve kicked off that sale and are getting inundated with calls. Customers are having trouble with the promo code at checkout. While some may stop and call, others may decide to just abandon their cart never to return again. Since you kicked off Facebook ads, you’re also seeing a huge spike in conversations in Messenger about the promo code and other product questions as well.

This is where conversation commerce changes the outcome. With messaging, customers are able to easily reach you either on your website, text, or Facebook Messenger while shopping or while they are trying to checkout. By bringing all interactions together in one platform your business saves time and your customers receive a faster, more fluid experience.

Quiq has helped many large retail clients overcome situations just like this by implementing messaging. Because Quiq supports messaging across SMS/text, web chat, social, Apple Messages for Business, and Google’s Business Messages, companies have the option to start with one or all of the channels.

How Do You Scale Conversational Commerce?

Now. you may be thinking, “That’s all well and good but I still need agents on the other side of the conversation.” Ah, yes but no one said they all had to be human agents. Remember when we mentioned chatbots before? 

The beauty of conversational commerce is the ability to automate conversations using chatbots. Chatbots allow brands to scale while still offering a personalized experience. 

In our retail scenario above, a chatbot could greet the customer, ask questions to understand the customer’s intent or issue, and then present information to guide the customer along. For example, after collecting some information, the chatbot learns that the customer needs help with a purchase, specifically, they need to know where they can enter the promo code.

The chatbot can inform the customer that they’ll have the opportunity to enter the promo code after they enter their credit card number and confirm their purchase. The chatbot can also share a screenshot of the screen with the exact field where the promo code can be entered. If the customer is still having trouble, the bot can seamlessly introduce a human agent into the conversation for further assistance if needed.

Quiq clients have seen call volumes drop by 20% as customers switch from phone calls to messaging. At the same time, customer service agents are able to handle 6 – 8 concurrent conversations. This boost in agent productivity translates directly to the bottom line and to customer satisfaction scores.

Elevate The Online Purchasing Experience With Conversational Commerce

Now is not the time to get sweaty palms about a digital-centric approach to your commerce business. Now is the time to use conversational commerce to change your business for the better. 

Conversational commerce isn’t just an easier, more useful way for consumers to shop.  It’s also a way for brands to continue growing eCommerce revenue. 

Ready to support your customers quickly, boost conversions, reduce sales and support costs, and increase customer satisfaction? Contact one of our conversation experts to discuss the future of conversational commerce in your business.

How to Prepare for an Unprecedented Holiday Season

Consumers have changed buying habits during the pandemic with access to malls and retail stores still restricted to limited hours and capacity. Retailers are adopting technology at breakneck speed to keep up with the shift to online shopping especially as the holiday shopping season approaches.

Quiq recently hosted a webinar titled “How to Prepare for an Unprecedented Holiday Season” to discuss this abnormal year and the uncommon retail environment merchants have had to adjust to. Kim Essensa from Stio, and Devlin O’Neil, formally with Lululemon, voiced the concerns expressed by so many retailers and shared how they’ve implemented digital solutions into their processes to help curb some of the business disruption.

Here are a few of the ways technology has helped these retailers handle current changes and prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season:

  • Integrating business messaging into existing CRM system to give customers better access to the brand and also make agents more productive,
  • Hiring, training, and motivating remote, full-time and part-time workers,
  • Sending proactive 2-way outbound text messages that alert consumers to their order status and allow them to reply back with any issues, and
  • Using bots to capture information on returns to expedite processing.

Read on to learn more about these and other changes retailers are making to prepare for an unprecedented holiday season. Sit tight as we share actionable insights from our two customer experience leaders and recent industry research.

The Drive to Online Will Remain Strong for Holiday 2020

Shopping this holiday shopping season will likely be a lot different than what we’ve witnessed in the past. Instead of long, serpentine lines on Black Friday, retailers are getting ready for a surge of online orders and curbside pickups.


People wearing gloves delivering curbside groceries into a car trunk

“Retailers should ensure digital strategies remain agile to meet customers where and when they feel comfortable.”

Google (How the pandemic may affect holiday shopping)


Google reports that a third of U.S. shoppers who normally shop in store for Black Friday say they won’t this year. And half of U.S. shoppers say the pandemic will affect how they’ll shop for the holidays this season.

Research tells us that In spite of many retailers having reopened their physical locations,  the online shopping activity remains strong and is expected to maintain throughout the holiday season. Bazaarvoice.com, a website with a network of over 6,200 retailers and brand sites, reports that, in June, clients realized a 75% increase in page views year over year and an order count up 57% for the same time period. Those numbers are significantly higher than the January pre-pandemic growth of 11% for pageviews and 2% for order counts .

During our time with Devlin O’Neill, he recommended that businesses have a plan for multiple possible scenarios this holiday season — best case, worse case, and business as usual, just as Lululemon did. Devlin also states that no matter the case, one thing remained a consistent assumption and that was the continued growth of ecommerce.

It’s clear that online shopping and digital engagement are taking center stage this holiday season. Next, let’s take a look at areas where both Lululemon and Stio used technology, namely messaging and bots, to make an immediate impact for their companies.

Where Messaging and Bots Will Have The Biggest Impact

Chatbots are enjoying a surge in retail due to the widespread popularity of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Live Chat, and rich messaging services like Apple Business Chat, and Google Business Messages.

These channels have changed the digital experience by making the shopping experience a two-way interaction instead of just a flat transaction through conversational commerce. Simple, convenient purchases are completed within the messaging conversation and are instant, real-time, and available across multiple channels like text, live chat, or even in a company’s own app .

The introduction of chatbots has made all of these benefits available 24/7. Pre-sales service and post-sales support are the two main areas companies use messaging and bots and where you’ll see the biggest impact this holiday season.

Take a look at the difference messaging and bots make:

  • Making seasonal and full-time work more productive

As customers continue to do more of their shopping online, retailers are also seeing huge increases in the number of interactions with their contact center. While the holidays normally cause a spike in requests, this holiday season will likely see an unprecedented increase in customer inquiries.

Hiring seasonal and part-time employees is the traditional way to handle that increase. Stio’s Customer Experience Manager, Kim Essensa states that a big focus of hiring seasonal staff should be shortening the training time as much as possible to get them up and running as quickly as possible.

In the webinar Kim states “One thing that appealed to us about a product like Quiq is just how simple it is for an agent to learn and kind of get off the ground and get productive quickly without a lot of training required.” But human agents aren’t the only option.

With the help of chatbots, customers will be able to self-serve within seconds in most cases. From routine issues, such as I forgot my password to more complex requests such as initiating a return, chatbots can link customers and backend systems and data to resolve those issues automatically.

  • Real-time Notifications

Customers have an expectation of what holiday shopping is like with extended wait times and retailers selling out of an item. Another area where you’ll see a big impact, with messaging and bots in retail, is notifying customers of any unexpected delays or stock-outs.

For example, Kim from Stio knows that their warehouse is great and products are shipping out correctly and on time. She knows she’s not alone though when she says the company gets nervous once the delivery is in the carriers’ hands. Many of the delivery times have been delayed due to the pandemic. That picture only gets worse as weather and increased delivery volumes make it even more challenging.

Consumers today expect retailers to provide information in real-time. Alerts, such as a shipping or delivery confirmation, are what consumers are looking for. With valuable merchandise sitting vulnerably on their front porch, consumers are more aware than ever of the security real-time notifications provide.

  • Expediting the Return Process

After the holidays, retailers are usually flooded with returns and exchanges. This holiday season the return process will look a lot different for many retailers who are adjusting the return window to ease customers’ concerns of getting their money back after buying online.

Retailers, especially those in apparel, should expect to see returns and exchanges at a higher rate than previous years since online purchases experience higher return rates than in-store purchases. According to research and consulting firm 1010data, shoppers typically return about 17% of all clothing purchases, making it one of the most-returned categories of goods.

Devlin states that returns represent some of the longest interactions with customers at Lululemon. Prior to implementing messaging and bots, the company was processing each return manually. Lululemon now uses bots to capture more information about what kind of return it, capture pictures, etc.  Devlin suggests looking for ways in the return process to take interaction time away from the returns process and use it to help customers with more valued conversations.

Get Started With Bots Before The 2020 Holiday Season

If you’re looking for inspiration for other ways you can use messaging and bots this holiday season, there are already plenty of companies using chatbots to better serve their customers.

You can read some of the case studies we have from companies such as Office Depot, Stio, and Tailored Brands. You can also watch the webinar replay of How to Prepare for an Unprecedented Holiday Season”.

Getting started with messaging and bots before the holiday shopping season can be done now. In fact, Quiq has helped companies get up and running with bots in less than 24 hours. Contact one of our conversation experts to schedule your custom demo today to help you weather this holiday season.

Why Use Google’s Business Messages

The lion’s share of any and all research starts simply – with a search on Google. According to Hubspot, Google has 92.42% of the search engine market share worldwide. That translates to approximately 72% of all desktops and 92% of the mobile search engine market share with the United States leading in number of users. 

All of this is to say that at some point, it’s basically guaranteed your customers will find you in a Google search or Google Map result. The only problem…those searches often result in a flood of calls because Google pushes your phone number front and center, essentially encouraging consumers to call you. 

Most companies are looking for ways to decrease expensive phone calls while still delivering fast, easy, and convenient help. Fortunately, Google created a messaging channel that combines the visibility of search with the efficiency of asynchronous communication with Google’s Business Messages.

With Google’s Business Messages, your company can make it easy for consumers to reach you with text messaging instead of a phone call. In this post, you’ll learn the benefits of using Google’s Business Messages and why you should get started with this channel today.

A Refresh On Google’s Business Messages

Let’s do a quick refresh of what is Google’s Business Messages and why there’s so much buzz about it. According to Google, “Google’s Business Messages is a mobile conversational channel that combines entry points on Google Maps, Search, and brand websites to create rich, asynchronous messaging experiences.”

If you want a little more background, check out this short video. Here you’ll get the breakdown of Google’s suite of business communication products. If you’re already pretty comfortable with Business Messages, let’s dive in.

Your Business Needs Google’s Business Messages

Business Messages does more than elevate a conversation for the consumer. Although, that is pretty valuable in and of itself. The main benefit of Google’s Business Messages is that it can drastically reduce the number of calls your live agents receive so they can focus on higher priority interactions. 

Without Business Messages enabled, the click-to-call button that is presented in search results encourages consumers to call your business. With Business Messages enabled consumers can click the “Message” button to have their conversation through text.

A lot of companies are taking advantage of consumers’ preference to message and are implementing digital agents, or chatbots as their first line of defense to handle common customer support issues. For more complex customer journeys, the message can be routed to a live agent.

Businesses can take advantage of the discovery and reach of Google Maps and Search, while providing a more direct way to have meaningful conversations with consumers. Here are a few ways Business Messages makes conversations more personal: 

  • Building consumer trust by showing expected wait times and answers to frequently asked questions,
  • Enhancing customer care with the ability to connect with a live agent and driving loyalty,
  • Purchasing, scheduling, and upselling through rich features like carousels, suggested replies, and photos. 

With Google’s Business Messages you can leverage the power of the world’s largest search engine as an entry point for your customer service. With Quiq, your agents can efficiently manage these digital messaging conversations within our intelligent, intuitive platform.

In addition to being a super easy to use messaging feature, businesses can work with Quiq to implement bots and automate frequently asked questions. So far, we’ve seen that brands are excited about Business Messages because of the resulting high customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, a decrease in call volume, and how quickly customer inquiries can be resolved on messaging.

At the surface, Business Messages may sound like another messaging channel. It’s more than that. Take a second to think about the definition and what it provides to consumers: to 

  • A way for companies and consumers to have convenient and personalized 2-way conversations. Conversations take place on the customer’s preferred channel and mobile device.
  • A rich messaging experience that provides consumers with modern messaging features. Typing indicators, the ability to share gifs and videos take the conversation to a new level.
  • An easy way for consumers to start conversations with companies. It takes a quick tap on Google Search and Map results on Android mobile devices.

Research shows that 75% of consumers prefer to engage with a company in a seamless, convenient way and Business Messages delivers. Here’s a short video that explains more about Google’s Business Messaging:

Business Messages enables you to engage with your customer at their time of need  on their terms, on their preferred channel, and using their preferred device.

How To Get Started With Google’s Business Messages

As a partner, Quiq makes getting started with Google’s Business Messages easy. First, we’ll work with you during the registration process. You’ll be asked to fill out a short questionnaire that we’ll use to get you registered. Next, our team will walk you through implementation and deployment. Finally, we’ll work with you to ensure that messaging is optimized across all of your channels.

Since Quiq’s messaging platform supports Google, Facebook, live chat and more, we’ll be able to bring all of your digital channels together into one agent desktop. Working with Quiq means working with a team experienced in implementing messaging and bots across all of our supported channels and automating workflows for your entire organization. What’s more, you’ll have the 24/7 support of the Quiq team if you ever run into any hurdles with Business Messages. 

Why wait? We’ve helped companies get started with messaging and bots in as little as 24 hours.  Schedule some time to talk to one of our conversation experts today. 

How to Use Outbound Messaging Effectively

Sales, service and marketing teams have a number of strategies available to reach new customers and engage more effectively. Phone calls and emails have served as important methods of communication between agents and customers over the last few decades. In today’s market, one of the most effective ways to provide technical support, send shipping notifications, and create sales alerts is to use outbound messaging.

Outbound messaging is a service-side feature in which a company representative contacts potential customers directly. The aim of an outbound marketing strategy is to keep consumers informed and provide more effective, individualized service. People who sign up to receive text messages can engage in high-quality conversations and stay up-to-date on their orders, all without having to pause their normal daily activities.

Of all the types of outbound messaging — email, cold calling, sending direct messages on social media — text message marketing offers the greatest benefits. Today, customers have smartphones nearby nearly every minute of the day. Even better, because people still view SMS as a safe and enjoyable communication channel, they are also more likely to engage and respond.

A strong outbound sales plan can help B2C companies increase sales and build customer loyalty. If you want to use outbound text message marketing as part of your sales strategy, it’s important to follow SMS marketing best practices. Try the following tips to craft a successful outbound sales plan.

Remain Courteous and Gain Permission

Before companies can send outbound messages, they need to comply with local laws and get permission from the customers on the mailing list. A customer who has opted-in to receiving messages will be more likely to listen to what a company has to say than someone who receives the same message out of nowhere.

To make a good impression, respect the prospect’s time and privacy. Keep the messages short and make it easy to opt-out at any time.

Segment Your Target Markets

People respond positively to communication tailored to their needs. To make outbound messaging relevant to everyone, sales teams can tailor messages to different market segments. Market segmentation involves dividing up a broad consumer base into groups based on shared characteristics.

Although defining market segments takes time and research, it’s well worth the effort, as it gives you the opportunity to significantly increase response rates through personalized messaging. It also makes it easier to send the right messages consumers need at the right time. Types of messages that are possible through outbound messaging platforms include:

  • Special offers
  • Appointment setup
  • Shipping and delivery notifications
  • Billing reminders
  • Event reminders
  • Customer service
  • Surveys and polls

Having an effective outbound messaging strategy is essential to meeting the needs of customers. By targeting the right people with the right messages, you can build trust and give them more control over their experiences.

Use Personalized Messaging Tailored to Your Audience

Every consumer has unique needs, and it’s important for eCommerce company leaders to adjust their approach accordingly. Outbound messaging is all about individualizing the customer experience. Using personalized messaging enables retailers to address pain points specific to each customer and guide individuals down the sales funnel at the correct pace.

The best part about working with Quiq is that we offer more than just one-way messaging for promotions. We also offer two-way messaging so everyone can engage in the conversation. Our outbound messaging software gives the customer the power to respond, which provides businesses with the opportunity to ask for feedback and connect on a more personal level. Representatives can interact directly with customers or use chatbots to maximize availability.

Select Your Outbound Messaging Platform Wisely

When it comes to an outbound messaging campaign’s success, the platform you use is just as important as the messages you send. Companies that benefit the most from an outbound marketing strategy often utilize an outbound SMS platform with rich messaging capabilities as well as analytics and reporting. Quiq’s business text messaging platform delivers these benefits and more.

With Quiq, agents manage multiple conversations simultaneously and work alongside native chatbots to provide more efficient and effective customer service. To find out how Quiq will improve outbound sales for your business, contact us to request a demo today.

The Cyborg Contact Center

Augmenting Your Human Workforce with Bots

No, this article isn’t about The Governator or Tony Stark taking over your contact center. It’s about augmenting your human workforce with bots and giving them some superpowers of their own. 

Bots have become commonplace in recent years thanks to platforms like DialogFlow. They’ve been deployed across numerous messaging channels as well as voice. They have become increasingly conversational – using natural language to collect data and trigger workflows. With all of these advances, it might seem as though we’re living in the golden age of chatbots. So what’s missing? 

The biggest omission is that many bot services result in bots that are only aware of the messages they’re exchanging with customers. They neglect the presence of human agents, and possibly other bots, participating within the same environment. 

It makes sense that we ended up here. So much of the recent progress has been focused on increasing the intelligence and capabilities of bots such that they can single-handedly address more types of interactions without human involvement. Indeed, many businesses wish to put a bot in place on their website with no possibility of escalating to a live agent. By this point, many of us have interacted with such a bot with a need that surpassed the bot’s capabilities. 

The Right Way To Combine Bots and Human Agents

The best approach is to combine bots and human agents. The bots can handle the common and repetitive customer intents, which will keep wait times down. Meanwhile, the human agents can help with infrequent or difficult conversations and keep the customer base happy. It’s a win-win for the business and its customers. But what is necessary to create such an environment? We count the top 5 foundational principles of an automated contact center:

1. Shared Customer Session

The right way to combine bots and human agents involves shared customer sessionsThe first foundational requirement is a shared customer session. This means that all of the messages exchanged between the customer and a combination of human agents and bots are stored on the same conversation record. The same must be true of any structured data that is gathered or extracted from the exchanged messages. We’ve all been through the painful process of providing our personal info over a telephony system, getting transferred, and then being forced to provide the same information again. 

This same problem is prevalent in chatbots and is no less annoying. Many bot services make it possible to receive the session data such that you can inject it into another platform, but this requires custom coding and can result in a disjointed customer experience. Ideally the session data will be tracked and transferred seamlessly and automatically by the system. 

2. Escalation & Transfer as First Order Concepts

In order for bots and humans to cooperate, they must be able to pass conversations between them. This can be accomplished by direct transfer (e.g. a human agent transferring directly to a specific bot) or through escalation (e.g. a bot routes the conversation to a human agent queue based on the intent). 

The concepts of escalation and transfer shouldn’t be arcane things that require custom coding. They should be first-order concepts that are visible in a workflow designer and thus configurable by administrators. Put another way, the ability to move conversations around between segments of your workforce (including bots) should be fully commoditized. 

3. Open-Ended Workflows

The most obvious bot-enabled workflow is to have all conversations start with a bot, which will dutifully deflect as many inquiries as possible from live agents and escalate as necessary based on intent. However, there are many other useful workflows. 

A human agent should be able to transfer to a bot mid-conversation (e.g. to help with a repetitive task) and know that the bot will send the conversation right back to them once the task is complete. Bots should also be able to conclude conversations by doing things like administering in-channel surveys. The bottom line is that, by virtue of commoditized escalation and transfer, you should be able to inject bots whenever the time is right. 

4. Bot Awareness of the Contact Center & Workforce

In the spirit of bots being a cooperative part of a contact center, they should be able to see and make decisions based on information about the contact center and workforce. What sort of data might they inspect?

  • Business hours & holiday schedule
  • Human agent staffing (how many available agents)
  • Estimated wait times and depth of various queues

By making decisions on such data, the bot can do the following:

  • Take away the ability to escalate to live agents if queues are too deep
  • Limit the supported conversational intents based on the staffing of skill-based live agent queues
  • Provide the appropriate guidance and options after-hours or during holidays

The preceding capabilities should be readily accessible in the bot design experience, because these types of requirements can change frequently.

5. Bot-to-Bot Cooperation

The last foundational element has been hinted at several times already. When you think about augmenting your contact center, you should consider not just one, but potentially multiple, bots with specific purposes. While “one bot to rule them all” may sound tempting, by utilizing multiple bots you can keep your bots simpler, more manageable, and also independently updateable. 

This is very useful if your business consists of multiple departments that need to administer their bot flows independently. Of course, the bots should be able to transfer to one another easily and all data should be shared in order to provide the best customer experience.

Robots spelling out the word TEAM

By now it’s hopefully clear that the ideal bot deployment will consist of bots that are an integral part of your contact center, not something bolted onto your existing operations. At Quiq, we designed our bot framework with this goal in mind from the outset. 

The aforementioned foundational principles are all commoditized and available within visual designers. If you’d like to learn more, please contact us. We believe Quiq can truly give your contact center superhuman powers.

kyle facebook messages customer support using Quiq Author: Kyle McIntyre

How To Use Messaging And Bots To Increase Customer Referrals

Referrals have always had their place in marketing. It’s just that now, your customers have more reach and influence than ever before. Not only can they tell their closest friends about your product or service, but they can post Google reviews, share a social post, or use any number of methods to amplify their voice.

Nielson showed us that consumers believe recommendations from their friends and family over all forms of advertising. An impressive 92% of consumers who responded to their study agreed. We all have seen the power of word-of-mouth marketing grow.

Reaching out to your customers manually, at just the right time, to encourage or request a referral is possible. It’s just that it’s time-consuming and expensive. That’s why so many companies have turned to business messaging to increase customer referrals.

In this post, we’ll explore some of the nitty-gritty details of how to use business messaging to increase customer referrals. We’ll also give you a great example of how one of our leading clients puts messaging and bots to work in their organization to boost their customer referrals.

Why Referred Customers Are So Valuable

Aside from being a really effective form of marketing and making your business look awesome, referrals contribute directly to your bottom line. Here are 3 reasons why you need to make sure you have a healthy mix of referred customers in your pipeline:

1. Referred customers have a lower acquisition cost

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) is the price you pay to obtain a new customer. That number includes your total Sales and Marketing. With other methods, you pay for each click and impression that lead up to converting that customer. 

Your CAC is significantly decreased when you recruit your current customers to do the sales and marketing for you. How much it decreases depends on the success of your referral program, if you offer incentives, and if you are manually doing outreach to your customers.

2. Referred customers are more loyal

In an era where consumers have so many readily available choices at their fingertips, it’s not a surprise that brand loyalty has dwindled. It’s more important than ever to reduce your customer churn.

The Journal of Marketing reports that referred customers are 18% more loyal than non-referred customers. When your customers refer you to their family, friends, or extended network, you receive the benefit of the trust and credibility they’ve built up among their community. It’s also likely that referred customers will have a stronger sense of commitment and attachment to your company because someone they know, like, and trust has matched them to your brand.

Customers that refer you also have a higher likelihood of having a long-term relationship with your company. This is why the intention to refer a company is frequently used as an indicator of loyalty to that brand.

3. Referred customers are more profitable

So far, we’ve determined that referred customers are less costly to acquire and have a higher likelihood to be more loyal. But that’s not all. There are also other ways they are generally more profitable for a business. Referred customers are also more likely to refer others to your business. Rinse and repeat #1 and #2.

In addition to that, your referring customer will likely have a deeper relationship with your product or service. That may mean a higher frequency of using your service or a history of exploring more features. These customers are a lot more advanced than a novice customer. 

Consistent positive experiences with different products means that these customers are likely to spend more over their entire life time as your customer. Think of it like this. If you’re a clothing brand and your customer loves the new pants they bought from you, it’ll be a lot easier to sell them the shirt and the jacket.

Why You Should Automate Your Customer Referral Program

business messaging to increase customer referrals can be automated with chatbotsWith these incredible benefits, you’d think every company would have a referral marketing campaign. The honest truth is that asking your customers at the right time to leave a review isn’t always as easy as it seems. And you will have to ask. 

According to a marketing survey conducted by Texas Tech, 83% of satisfied customers are willing to refer products and services. But, only 29% actually do. Implementing and managing customer referrals can be difficult to present at the right time if you have to do it manually.

A lot of companies out there know how painful it is to effectively execute a referral program where agents are making outbound calls to request a referral from their customers. Brinks Home Security has been able to automate their referral program using messaging and bots.

In a previous post, we examined how Brinks used messaging and bots to increase their customer retention. Now, let’s take a look at how the company was able to take their customer referral process to the next level with messaging and bots.

The Quiq bot that Brinks created combines their survey platform with their email service provider. The Quiq bot brings those two customer data streams together to invite new referrals to the Brinks family. 

Brink Bots customer referral bot for customer engagement

Once a current customer submits a survey indicating that they are a happy customer, the Quiq bot will ask for email addresses of anyone they think would enjoy Brinks service as well. The Quiq bot will pass those email addresses to Brinks Email Service Provider. 

Prospects are then informed that they were referred and invited to take a look at Brinks products and services. If the prospect signs up, then the Quiq bot will match the newly signed customer with the customer who referred them and send both customers free product options.

All of this is done with no human intervention. The process is streamlined and infinitely repeatable with none of the intense labor and expense of outbound calling.

Don’t Wait To Use Business Messaging To Increase Customer Referrals

It’s great when your customers eagerly act as advocates for your business on their own accord. That may happen now and again, but if you want to grow your business, retain the customers you already have, and reach your revenue goals, you’ll have to be more proactive with your referral program.

Implementing messaging and bots to automate your customer referral program will save time, money, and make the process easier for your company. More importantly, an automated process like the one Brinks uses makes it easier for your customers.

If you’d like to learn more about using bots in your current workflows visit our bot webpage or take a look at one of our bot webinar replays.

How Chatbots Are Improving Troubleshooting With Customers

In the past, customer support professionals needed to answer all tech support questions from customers, either online or over the telephone. As digital technology has become more advanced, chatbots have transformed the way companies across industries handle customer support. These bots answer basic troubleshooting questions, reduce the workload for human agents, and decrease the amount of time customers must wait to receive help.

Today’s chatbot IT support platforms have the ability to recognize and answer multiple versions of simple questions by drawing on a company’s FAQ page and other resources. While chatbots cannot replace human agents, they can work alongside them to provide benefits for both customers and tech support staff.

24/7 Access to Solutions

When customers have technical issues with a product, they want to resolve the issue quickly, whether they are reaching out to customer support during business hours or in the middle of the night. When companies answer tech support inquiries in a timely manner, they strengthen customer loyalty and increase the likelihood of future sales. Chatbots allow companies to provide basic 24/7 tech support without requiring agents to work late or early shifts.

Automatic Answers to Basic Questions

IT support agents spend lots of valuable time answering the same basic questions. With customer support chatbots resolving simple inquiries, agents have more time to focus on fixing complicated and high-priority issues. In addition to freeing up agents’ time, tech support bots increase customer satisfaction by providing automatic solutions to basic problems that might otherwise prove frustrating.

Improved Agent Efficiency

Conversational engagement platforms like Quiq enable tech support bots to participate in conversations alongside human agents, making chatbot support the ideal tool to improve help desk support efficiency.

Depending on the situation and the company’s needs, bots may gather information from customers before routing the conversation to a live agent, or an agent may transfer a conversation to a troubleshooting bot during certain parts of the conversation. While bots engage the customer, agents have the time they need to look up solutions to the problem or message other customers in the queue.

Integration Across Platforms

Customers want to communicate with tech support through the channels they prefer. While some customers prefer to message a brand through a website chat feature, others would rather resolve an issue through text messaging or social media. With Quiq, chatbots automatically carry conversations across multiple platforms while retaining the same consistent functionality.

Contact Quiq to Request a Demo

Quiq’s conversational engagement platform provides the features you need to implement chatbots across multiple tech support channels, including SMS, web chat, Apple Business Chat, Google RBM, Facebook and Twitter. With bots working in tandem with agents, customer support teams utilize human resources more effectively and boost customer satisfaction.

To learn more about Quiq’s chatbot solution, request a demo today.

How to Use Live Web Chat to Increase Sales on Your Website

The transition to eCommerce has transformed the shopping experience. Whether people are looking to purchase electronics or other consumer goods, they expect to complete the entire transaction online.

When shoppers have questions about an online retailer’s products, they need an easy way to contact a representative. Live web chat enables agents to speak with consumers in their preferred mode of communication, right at the point of purchase. When you implement a website sales chat feature, you can improve your sales conversion rate, build customer loyalty, and alleviate friction at key points in the sales funnel.

Quiq is a business messaging customer engagement platform that helps eCommerce companies conduct productive conversations and get more sales for their online businesses. Learn more below about how companies use Quiq to improve the online shopping experience.

Have Personal Conversations That Engage Customers

Shopping online is convenient, but it can also feel impersonal. Live web chats enable online retailers to create a personal connection with each individual shopper. A customer engagement platform like Quiq enables agents to respond to customers in real-time, ensuring shoppers can get their questions answered at a moment’s notice. When consumers feel that a company’s employees truly care about their needs, they are more likely to make a purchase.

Sell and Troubleshoot Proactively

When shopping online, some consumers may navigate away from your website rather than ask for clarification or assistance. A website sales chat feature cannot increase sales or engagement if people don’t use it. With customer engagement software, representatives have the ability to start conversations proactively, prompting customers to engage even if they normally aren’t accustomed to. Live chat gives agents the ability to address purchasing issues and product-based questions before customers abandon their cart or leave the website altogether.

Integrate Conversations Across Channels

Today, people want to engage with eCommerce companies through the channels that are most convenient for them. To convert leads who prefer to communicate through both text and web chat, businesses need to integrate cross-channel conversations. This enables agents to not only respond to messages consistently and efficiently as customers switch devices, this also creates a seamless customer service experience for the customer by adapting to their preferences.

Use Chatbots to Achieve 24/7 Coverage

Today’s consumers shop at all times of the day, including after normal business hours. A customer engagement platform with integrated chatbots empowers eCommerce companies to serve consumers and increase sales around the clock. Allow chatbots to handle simple inquiries after-hours or reduce service volume for agents so they can focus on answering queries with the highest conversion potential.

Boost Sales With Quiq’s Conversational Customer Engagement Platform

Quiq’s robust customer engagement platform is packed with features to help eCommerce businesses boost sales and engage with shoppers more effectively. For consumers, Quiq’s software makes interacting with customer service simple and enjoyable. Behind the scenes, the software allows employees to:

  • Simultaneously engage with multiple customers across multiple channels
  • Preview what customers are typing to provide answers more quickly
  • View previous conversations to ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction
  • Work alongside bots to streamline customer service conversations

To discover how Quiq’s live chat software will increase online sales for your eCommerce business, request a demo today.