5 Types of Customer Service Software for E-Commerce Businesses

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

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

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

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

You need customer service software

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

What is customer service software?

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

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

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

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

1. CRM

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

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

2. Ticketing system

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

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

3. Conversational engagement platform

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

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

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

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

4. Analytics software

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

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

5. Knowledge base

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

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

How customer service software can all work together

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

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

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

You can find other Quiq integration opportunities here.

What are the benefits of customer service software?

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

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

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

Start with Quiq

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

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

Start using asynchronous messaging and deliver stellar customer service.

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

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

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

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

3 Key Customer Success Metrics to Go After in 2022

With jingle bells ringing and cash registers chiming, it’s clear we’re still smack dab in the middle of the holiday rush. But off in the distance, you can hear an orchestra play the first few familiar notes of Auld Lang Syne.

2022 is quickly approaching, and you’re likely gearing up for new initiatives, process changes, and everything else that comes with the beginning of a new year.

Have you figured out how to measure it yet?

The beginning of the year is a great time to start tracking your customer success metrics. Measuring how happy your customers are with your service and how likely they are to return is a great predictor of overall business success.

Use success metrics to:

  • Gauge the success of new initiatives
  • Identify weak points in the customer journey
  • Measure the success of your customer service team
  • Track the growth of individual team members
  • Predict customer loyalty

But the world of customer data is massive. Where do you start?

There are many ways to gauge and improve your customer service, but we’ve identified three customer success metrics that will give you the best, well-rounded view of how you’re performing in your customers’ eyes.

Keep reading to see what they are and how to use them. 

Why should you measure customer success?

To put it simply, you can’t make customer-centric decisions without any input from the customer. While we always have our customers’ best interests at heart, what we think customers want and what they actually want can be vastly different.

But more than identifying needs, giving customers the opportunity to provide feedback makes them feel valued. Customers with service issues often just want to be heard, which also applies to the feedback they offer. They want to know their complaint has been taken and addressed.

Plus, 1 in 3 customers share their contact center experiences with others, and half of those do so on social media, according to a 2020 report from the CFI Group. Hearing about customer issues from social media has the potential to damage your brand.

That’s where customer surveys come in. 

Success metric #1: Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction, or CSAT, often asks customers one question: How satisfied are you with your experience? 

Customers respond using a numerical scale to rate their experience from very dissatisfied to very satisfied. Numerical scales are typically 1 to 5 or 1 to 10, but they can vary based on your business’s preference.

How do you calculate CSAT scores?

Number of satisfied customers ÷ Total number of respondents x 100 = CSAT

On a 1 to 5 scale, 4s and 5s are typically the highest predictors of customer retention.

This short survey works best when asked immediately after a specific experience. You can offer the survey after a purchase, an interaction with your customer service team, or a return.

What can you do to improve your CSAT scores?

  • Improve response times
  • Resolve issues quickly
  • Ask follow-up questions to discern the context behind customer dissatisfaction

While CSAT is an excellent monitoring tool, it has its limitations. It works best when measuring specific interactions but doesn’t give you an overall picture of the customer experience. While it can indicate customer satisfaction, it isn’t the best at identifying whether a customer is likely to return or recommend your business to someone else.

You’re also more likely to hear from customers at either extreme: either terrible experiences or outstanding experiences. Customers in the middle are less likely to take the time and fill out the survey.

Success metric #2: Customer effort score

Customer effort score, or CES, measures how easy it is to do business with your company. For this survey, you ask customers to rate the ease of interaction with your customer service team, typically from 1 to 7, with low numbers corresponding to very difficult and high numbers very easy.

How do you calculate CES?

Sum of all scores ÷ total number of responses = CES average

This more recent measurement originates from a Harvard Business Review study that found “little relationship between satisfaction and loyalty.”

Their main conclusion?

“When it comes to service, companies create loyal customers primarily by helping them solve their problems quickly and easily.”

So while customer delight and satisfaction are vital goals, HBR concluded that the level of effort required is a greater predictor of disloyalty. The more effort customers have to expend, the less likely they are to continue patronizing your business.

What can you do to improve your CES?

  • Simplify the checkout process with message-based payments
  • Solve customer issues with fewer interactions
  • Give customers self-service options on your website

The main issue that pops up with CES is that it’s ambiguous. Customers don’t always interpret “effort” in a manner that is useful to your business. It also doesn’t translate well across cultures.

Success metric #3: Net Promoter Score®

A Net Promoter Score, or NPS®, is a proprietary customer success metric that asks the question: How likely are you to recommend [business/product/service] to someone you know?

Customers answer based on a 10-point scale, and answers are categorized as follows:

  • Detractors: 0 to 6
  • Passives: 7 and 8
  • Promoters: 9 and 10

Detractors are customers who were completely dissatisfied with your service and have the potential to damage your business. It’s best to follow up with these customers to ask them why they feel the way they do and to solve any persistent problems they might have.

Passives are typically customers who were satisfied with your business but overall unenthusiastic about it. They’re more likely to switch to competitors depending on their needs.

Promoters are the ultimate goal. They’re enthusiastic about your brand. Promoters are most likely to purchase frequently and share your business with people they know. According to Bain & Company, a promoter has a lifetime value 6 to 14 times that of a detractor.

How do you calculate NPS?

% of promoters — % of detractors = NPS

While NPS is designed to gauge the overall performance of your business, you can also use it transactionally to measure the success of products or services. If your goal is overall company reputation, it’s best to send out the survey at regular intervals, like quarterly or yearly. If you’re measuring a specific product or service, send the survey shortly after the purchase is complete.

What can you do to improve your NPS?

Since NPS is measuring your customers’ perception of your brand, there aren’t one or two things that can drastically improve it. Everything matters.

NPS brings a different dynamic to survey results, but the answers without any context aren’t constructive. Since you’re more likely looking at the overall impression of your brand instead of specific interactions or customer emotions, it can be pretty hard to decipher the results in a meaningful way.

That’s why it’s essential to ask for reasonings either within your survey or as a follow-up. Give your customers the opportunity to explain their decisions, and then use that information to improve your score.

Customer success survey best practices

What do all of these customer success metrics have in common? They require surveying your customers.

Here are some best practices to help increase your response rates.

  • Send surveys using the method customers prefer. If they reached out to you via web chat, Facebook Messenger, or Google’s Business Messages, send a survey immediately after their interaction. 
  • Combine communications. If you send an email thanking customers for their patronage, add the survey to that message. If you send a text with their order details, include it with the message. They’re less likely to ignore it when it’s paired with important information.
  • Use chatbots. Set up your chatbot to trigger a survey message immediately after a ticket is closed, so you can ensure you’re serving every customer.
  • Offer incentives. Low response rates can skew your data. Encourage customer participation with discounts, free shipping, or an entry into larger giveaways.

While there are some tricks to encourage customer participation, there’s no silver bullet. Regularly engaging with your customers will get them used to frequent conversations with your brand and make them more likely to get involved.

Capture customer success metrics with Quiq

Measuring customer success metrics is an essential part of your customer experience. But you need a reliable way to capture feedback, no matter which platform your customers prefer.

Quiq’s integrated surveys let customers answer questions directly within the conversation, and it doesn’t send them to another page. Use these in-conversation surveys to increase your response rates—and even increase your CSAT scores.

What’s Quiq all about?

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

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

And customers know it. 

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

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

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

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

Customer loyalty matters more than ever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Infuse CX into every step of the customer journey

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

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

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

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

Quick customer experience tips:

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

Get creative with staffing

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

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

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

Top holiday staffing strategies

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

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

Embrace chatbots for improved customer service

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

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

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

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

Common questions for your chatbot

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

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

Streamline backend technology

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

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

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

Do away with dread and upgrade your customer experience

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

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

Power your customer service team with Quiq

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

Using Conversational Commerce as an Alternative to In-Store Shopping

Using Conversational Commerce as an Alternative to In-Store Shopping

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

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

COVID-19’s Impact on Retail Businesses

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

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

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

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

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

The benefits of conversational commerce for shoppers

The Benefits of Conversational Commerce For Shoppers

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

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

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

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

The benefits of conversational commerce for retailers

The Benefits of Conversational Commerce for Retailers

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

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

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

Eight ways retailers can use conversational commerce

8 Ways Retailers Can Use Conversational Commerce

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

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

1. Provide Fast Customer Service

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

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

2. Share Product Updates

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

3. Communicate Current Promotions

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

4. Obtain Post-Survey Responses

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

5. Cross-Sell and Upsell

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

6. Automate Cart Recovery

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

7. Offer Accurate Order Updates

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

8. Increase Customer Reviews

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

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

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

Explore conversational commerce for retail with Quiq

Explore Conversational Commerce for Retail With Quiq

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

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

Try Quiq for yourself today by scheduling a live demo.

Quiq Congratulates Customers on Newsweek’s Best Online Shops 2021

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

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

Here are a few Quiq customers who made the list:

Lane Bryant

Newsweek score: 7.68 | lanebryant.com

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

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

Blue Nile

Newsweek score: 8.64 | bluenile.com

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

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

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

Bob’s Discount Furniture

Newsweek score: 8.12 | mybobs.com

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

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

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

Office Depot

Newsweek score: 8.60 | officedepot.com

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

Overstock

Newsweek score: 8.07 | overstock.com

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

Final thoughts.

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

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

See a Demo Today

Modernizing Customer Experience with Order Management Automation

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

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

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

Automated Experience for Single Order Lookups

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

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

Automated Experience for Single Order Lookups by Snaps

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

Proactive, Automated Order Status Updates

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

Proactive, Automated Order Status Updates by Snaps

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

Seamless Transitions to Customer Service Platforms

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

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

The Benefit of Providing Automated WISMO Responses

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

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

5 Examples of Omnichannel Strategies That Will Boost Your Holiday Sales

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

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

1. The Gift Recommendation Engine – Guided Selling

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tiffany's Guided Selling Experience

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

Drop a Hint Feature - Conversational AI

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

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

2. Gift FAQ & Customer Service Engine

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

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

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

Gift FAQ & Customer Service Engine

3. Digital Holiday Coupons

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

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

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

Digital Holiday Coupons

4. Convert Holiday Enthusiasm into Sales

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

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

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

Contact our conversational experts to learn more about this experience.

Contact our conversational experts to learn more about this experience.

5. Turn the Holiday Rush into Real Consumer Insights

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

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

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

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

Gallo Turning the Holiday Rush into Real Consumer Insights

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

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

Unwrapping It All

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Order Personalization

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

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

Holidays Customer service-1.png

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

2. Instant Reminders of the Season’s Hottest Products

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

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

Holidays Customer service-2.png

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

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

3. Proactively Addressing Holiday Friction

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

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

Holidays Customer service-3.png

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

Conversational AI Makes Sense for the Holidays

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

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

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

6 Ways to Drive More eCommerce Sales This Holiday Season

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

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

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

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

1. Proactive Product Suggestions

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

1. Proactive Product Suggestions powered by Snaps

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

2. Guided Gift Recommendations

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

2. Guided Gift Recommendations powered by Snaps

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

3. Simplify Repeat Purchases

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

3. Simplify Repeat Purchases powered by Snaps

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

4. Reengage Cart Abandons

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

4. Reengage Cart Abandons powered by Snaps

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

5. Automate Responses to FAQs

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

5. Automate Responses to FAQs powered by Snaps

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Engagement: How To Start Conversations on Instagram

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

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

Message from Brand's Instagram profile

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

Message from Brand's Instagram Story

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

Message from Brand's Instagram Shop

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

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

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

2. Consideration: Addressing Product Questions and Concerns

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

Quick FAQ Responses

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

3. Purchase: Helping Shoppers Find the Right Products

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

Guided Shopping experience on Instagram

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

4. Care: Seamless Order Management and Support

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

Automated Order Management

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

A Comprehensive Shopping Journey – Entirely Within Instagram

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google's Business Messages FAQs

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

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

Google's Business Messages: Track My Order example

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

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

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

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

Google's Business Messages: Marketing example of reengaging shoppers

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

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

Google's Business Messages: Personalized Marketing example

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

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

Support Omnichannel Customer Experiences with Messaging on Google Search

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

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

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

Google's Business Messages: Schedule an Appointment example

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

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

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

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

Getting Started with Google’s Business Messages

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

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

Getting Started with Google’s Business Messages

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

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

Quiq achieves 100% 10DLC compliance

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

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

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

Why is Quiq committed to 10DLC compliance?

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

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

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

Why is 10DLC compliance important?

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

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

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

How does this affect Quiq clients?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introducing Counterintuitive Commerce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Automate Responses to Pre-Purchase Inquiries

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

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

Premium Support Experiences Drive Unexpected Revenue-Driving Opportunities

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

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

8 Tips to Improve Customer Retention

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

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

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

What Is Customer Retention?

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

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

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

Why Is Customer Retention Important?

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

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

Customer retention is important because:

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

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

Calculating Customer Retention

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

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

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

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

Customer Retention Strategies

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

1. Good Values Build Good Relationships

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

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

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

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

2. Trust Is the Basis for Good Relationships

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

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

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

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

3. Build Customer Expectations and Over Deliver Every Time

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

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

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

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

4. Let Customer Data Work for You

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

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

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

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

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

5. There’s Always Room for Improvement

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

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

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

6. Keep Customers in the Loop

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

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

7. Determine Customer Lifetime Value

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

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

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

8. Reward Loyalty

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

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

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

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

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

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

Building Customer Relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Strategic Opportunity in Digital Customer Service

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

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

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

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

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

Evaluate existing customer service channels

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

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

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

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

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

Unique customer support benefits of 4 different messaging channels

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

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

Apple Messages for Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google’s Business Messages

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

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

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

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

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

Messenger

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

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

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

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

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

WhatsApp

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

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

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

Providing Consistent Customer Experiences Across Digital Channels

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

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

3 Tactics For Reducing Service Email Volume

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

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

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

3 Tactics For Reducing Email Service Volume

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Customers Prefer Self-Service Conversational Automation Over Email

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

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

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

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

5 Ways Mobile Shopping Is Transforming Customer Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Rich Messaging Provides Precise Feedback and Solutions

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

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

3. Mobile Shoppers Expect Immediate Service on Their Terms

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

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

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

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

4. Demand for More Local Customer Service

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

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

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5. Increased Mobile Interactions Lead to Further Customer Insight

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

The Most Versatile Platform for Mobile Shopping Customer Service

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

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

How To Encourage More Customers To Use your Live Chat Service

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

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

Tips for Encouraging Customers to Use Live Chat

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

1. Mention Live Chat During the Phone Hold Message

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

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

2. Use a Contact Form to Collect Information Wisely

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Personalize Your Chat

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

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

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

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

5. Promote Live Chat on Social Media

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Use a Button for Easy Chat Access

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

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

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

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

8. Include Privacy and Data Usage Messages

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

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

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

9. Use Rich Messages

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

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

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

10. Use Live Agents

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

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

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

11. Schedule Chat Availability Around Agent Availability

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

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

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

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

Give Customers the Ultimate Live Chat Experience With Quiq

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

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

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

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