What Is Conversational Commerce?

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

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

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

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

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

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

[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” hundred_percent_height=”no” hundred_percent_height_scroll=”no” hundred_percent_height_center_content=”yes” equal_height_columns=”no” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” padding_top=”0px” padding_right=”0px” padding_bottom=”0px” padding_left=”0px” admin_label=”How Does Conversation Commerce Work?” admin_toggled=”no” flex_column_spacing=”0px” type=”legacy”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ type=”1_1″ layout=”3_4″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” link=”” target=”_self” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” undefined=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” hover_type=”none” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”0px” padding_left=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”true” border_sizes_top=”0px” border_sizes_bottom=”0px” border_sizes_left=”0px” border_sizes_right=”0px” first=”true”][fusion_text columns=”” column_min_width=”” column_spacing=”” rule_style=”default” rule_size=”” rule_color=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=””]

How Does Conversation Commerce Work?

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

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

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

Why Invest In Conversational Commerce 

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

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

Consider these statistics by Gartner:

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

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

Create A More Natural Brand-Consumer Relationship With Conversational Commerce

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

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

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

Get Started with Conversational Commerce

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

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

How to Prepare for an Unprecedented Holiday Season

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

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

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

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

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

The Drive to Online Will Remain Strong for Holiday 2020

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

People wearing gloves delivering curbside groceries into a car trunk

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

Google (How the pandemic may affect holiday shopping)

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

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

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

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

Where Messaging and Bots Will Have The Biggest Impact

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

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

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

Take a look at the difference messaging and bots make:

  • Making seasonal and full-time work more productive

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

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

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

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

  • Real-time Notifications

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

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

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

  • Expediting the Return Process

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

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

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

Get Started With Bots Before The 2020 Holiday Season

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

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

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

Why Use Google’s Business Messages

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

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

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

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

A Refresh On Google’s Business Messages

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

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

Your Business Needs Google’s Business Messages

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How To Get Started With Google’s Business Messages

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

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

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

The Cyborg Contact Center

Augmenting Your Human Workforce with Bots

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

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

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

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

The Right Way To Combine Bots and Human Agents

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

1. Shared Customer Session

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

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

2. Escalation & Transfer as First Order Concepts

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

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

3. Open-Ended Workflows

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

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

4. Bot Awareness of the Contact Center & Workforce

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

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

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

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

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

5. Bot-to-Bot Cooperation

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

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

Robots spelling out the word TEAM

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

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

kyle facebook messages customer support using Quiq Author: Kyle McIntyre

How To Use Messaging And Bots To Increase Customer Referrals

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

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

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

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

Why Referred Customers Are So Valuable

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

1. Referred customers have a lower acquisition cost

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

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

2. Referred customers are more loyal

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

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

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

3. Referred customers are more profitable

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

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

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

Why You Should Automate Your Customer Referral Program

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

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

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

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

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

Brink Bots customer referral bot for customer engagement

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quiq Earns 3 Capterra “Best” Badges

Provider of digital engagement solutions, Quiq is excited to announce we have earned three new badges from Capterra, one of the top software review sites in the world. Quiq was recognized within the Cloud Communication Platform category with “Best Ease of Use” and “Best Value” badges. The company was also recognized in the Conversational AI Platform category with the “Best Ease of Use” badge.

The Best badges aid in software research to help buyers make more informed decisions. Best badges are based on reviews spanning the Gartner Digital Markets network. The badges synthesize reviews to recognize the most highly-rated products in a given software category. 

Why Quiq Has Been Recognized As The Best

Quiq’s recognition by Capterra in these categories originate from the company’s mission to help brands present their customers with consistently jaw-dropping customer experiences across business messaging, web chat, and with bots, the most popular channels that consumers care about. In order to help our clients deliver a great customer experience and realize significant productivity improvements, we focus on implementation and proven best practices.

Here’s what you can expect from working with Quiq:

  • A focus on your objectives to ensure success right from the start
  • A smooth implementation of Quiq as either a stand-alone product or as an integration into your existing systems.
  • An intuitive design that’s requires almost no training
  • Unlimited users so that everyone in your organization can use messaging
  • A seamless integration of automation such as routing rules and chatbots across all of Quiq’s digital channels
  • Robust reporting so that you can measure and manage the things that matter most
  • A responsive team that is eager to help you over hurdles and guide you with best practices

How To Use Reviews In Your Software Purchase 

Finding the right software can be tough. With so many choices and differences in features, it helps to get recommendations from other buyers. Reviews help throughout the purchase process. Read our customer reviews on Capterra to understand why top brands chose to work with Quiq and why they continue to be delighted with their decision.

Quiq’s team of conversation experts are ready to help you make an informed decision and choose the best software for your contact center. Schedule some time to discuss your current and future business needs today.

About Capterra’s Best Badges

The Best badge recipients are determined by the subjective opinions of individual end-user customers based on their own experiences, the number and timing of published reviews on Gartner’s digital sites (Capterra.com, SoftwareAdvice.com, and GetApp.com) and review ratings for a given product in the category, and are not intended in any way to represent the views of Gartner or its affiliates. 

Gartner’s GetApp Names Quiq A Category Leader In Live Chat

2020 Category Leader for Live Chat

Quiq is pleased to announce that it was named a 2020 Category Leader for Live Chat by GetApp. Category Leaders are designed to help businesses evaluate which software products may be right for them.

Category Leaders are published on GetApp, a highly respected recommendation engine that companies rely on to make the right software choice. Category Leaders rank based on ratings submitted by verified users in five key areas:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Value for money
  3. Functionality
  4. Customer support and
  5. Likelihood to recommend

Quiq was named a category leader for Live Chat Software. Quiq scored an overall rating of 4.6 out of 5 based on 34 reviews.

From the Admin side: excellent customer service, ease of implementation, and timeliness of requested actions. From the User side: extremely intuitive for agents, high customer satisfaction, and efficiency. Overall, Quiq is a forward-thinking platform that really understands customers’ needs both internally and externally.”
– Kim E. Apparel & Fashion 

GetApp is a software review site that enables businesses to discover, compare, and choose the right business applications, ranging from live chat software to cloud-based messaging software. Software buyers can access customer reviews and product features to find the right software for their business.

Quiq is proud to receive this recognition which was based, in part, on the positive customer reviews received. If you’re exploring live chat options for your business, schedule some time to speak with one of our conversation experts.


Contact Us

Gartner’s Software Advice Names Quiq A FrontRunner for Live Chat

Quiq is proud to announce that it has been named a FrontRunner for Live Chat by Software Advice. To earn an esteemed “FrontRunners” badge, a product must receive top user ratings and achieve high scores in functionality, ease of use, value for money, likelihood to recommend, and customer support.

The FrontRunners quadrant, powered by Gartner Methodology, provides a data-driven assessment of products in a particular software category. Published user reviews, public data sources, and data from technology vendors are used to determine which products offer the best in usability and customer satisfaction. Only products that earn top user ratings make the cut as FrontRunners.

Software Advice chart for FrontRunners of live chat

Why Quiq Ranks High For Usability

The usability score is evenly weighted on two fronts: functionality, and ease of use. Quiq strives to make customer engagement between consumers and businesses easy and convenient, so usability is always a top priority.

Here are a few ways for companies to realize immediate value with Quiq’s live chat:

  • Easy setup – We set our customers up for success right from the start by making implementation fast and friction-free.
  • Pre-built integrations – We built seamless Salesforce, Oracle Service Cloud, Zendesk, Kustomer integrations, as well as promote an “API First” strategy, allowing Quiq to work in harmony with your existing systems.
  • Intuitive design – The agent desktop is straightforward and easy to use, which makes training employees a “non-issue”. 
  • Informative dashboard – Managers have full visibility to reports and dashboards to display important agent, queue, and performance metrics.

There are plenty more features that make Quiq’s live chat solution a highly functional, easy solution for live chat. Learn more by heading over to our Quiq web chat page.

Easy install process, great customer service from the Quiq staff,”

– Rachell M. Higher Education

Why Quiq Ranks High For Customer Satisfaction

The Customer Satisfaction score uses ratings on value for money, likelihood to recommend, and customer support. As a customer-centric organization, our entire team is dedicated to providing value to our clients throughout our partnership..

Our commitment to customer service means that we’re monitoring and responding to customer needs 24/7. With Quiq, you have a team of Account Representatives, Customer Success Managers, and Developers committed to your success. 

Quiq is dedicated to giving our clients the most effective, easy-to-use tools for delivering jaw-dropping customer experiences. The acknowledgment from Software Advice is proof that the entire Quiq team is passionate about helping the company achieve that goal.

Quiq is very receptive to feature requests and they work with you to make sure that you and your team are satisfied!”

– Heather M. Consumer Goods

See a Demo Today

The Difference between Google RCS Business Messaging and Google’s Business Messages

If you’re still wondering “What’s the difference between Google RCS and Business Messages?”, you’re not alone. You’ve probably heard a lot about the benefits such as the ability to send and receive longer messages, attach files, and send hi-res images. While there are similarities between the two, let’s dig into the differences.

The biggest difference between Google RCS Business Messaging and Google’s Business Messages is that “RCS” is actually a protocol adopted by the major telecommunication carriers and device manufacturers. It sets the standard of what rich messaging is. On the other hand, Google’s Business Messages is a mobile conversation channel that uses the RCS standard. 

There are a few more nuances to examine. To understand the differences further, we’ll have to get into the details on each. Let’s dive in.

What is RCS Business Messaging

The standard for sending text messages began with SMS (Short Message Services) in the 90’s with 160 character limits sent over mobile networks. MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service introduced images and videos to messages, but SMS is still the most prevalent method. Rich Communication Services (RCS) is the next evolution of messaging. 

Google RCS Business Messaging uses the RCS standard. RCS Business Messaging is Google’s managed platform that allows businesses to send rich messages between their business and a consumer’s phone. Brands can communicate with consumers through Messages, Google’s native messaging app, while using the range of rich media and Rich Conversations capabilities available with RCS. 

Brands and consumers get a better messaging experience because of it. Take a look at just a few of the features consumers and brand enjoy:


  • Trusted branding like logos and sender verification so that they can be sure they are talking to a representative from the respective brand
  • Suggested replies, which are a set of short responses that consumers can use to reply to questions, help expedite conversations and guide consumers through choices


  • The ability to send outbound messages for promotional campaigns, proactive notifications, or to pass transaction details like shipping alerts
  • Brands can integrate business systems such as a CRM or marketing automation to share notifications of real-time business actions with consumers on Google RCS Business Messaging

With Google’s RCS Business Messaging, brands engage with consumers through Messages, Google’s native messaging app, using rich media and the rich conversations capabilities available with RCS. This is really important to remember. Currently only Android users that are using Android Messages for their messaging application will experience RCS Business Messages.

Currently only Android users that are using Android Messages for their messaging application will experience RCS Business Messages.

Currently, access to the RCS Business Messaging program is only available through Google partners like Quiq. Our team would be happy to walk you through the registration process.

What is Google’s Business Messages

Business Messages is a mobile conversational channel that combines entry points on Google Maps, Search, and brand websites to create rich, asynchronous messaging experiences that delight customers and drive business results such as lower call volume, higher customer satisfaction, and increased conversion rates.

Consumers reach out to companies that use Google’s Business Messages for help via text instead of calling a phone number. Because of this, Business Messages is a great way to drive call deflection. Business Messages can tie into search results in multiple locations as shown in the screenshots:. 

  • Answer Card results – These results are one of Google’s featured snippets that are typically displayed in a box at the top of Google’s results page above the organic results, but below ads. The screenshot below shows the answer card results for the consumers search for “Neiman Marcus customer service”.
  • Site Link results – These are the links that are shown below some of Google’s search results and are meant to help users navigate your site. The middle screenshot below displays results with sitelinks helping consumers find other areas of the Neiman Marcus site they may find interesting..
  • Place Card results – These location based results provide more comprehensive information about a place in search results such as its complete address, phone number, user rating and reviews. The third screenshot shots Place Card results for Men’s Warehouse.

With this channel your business registers as an “Agent”. This is a separate registration than the RCS Business Messages registration.  When a consumer messages your business, you are not given access to their phone number, you are given a unique identifier for the user and their display name used on their Android device. Because of this Business Messages has the following advantages:

  • Because consumers are not messaging you from their phone number, there are no carriers and messaging app restrictions. Virtually all Android users can use this technology.
  • Messages are encrypted.
  • ALL messages, images and rich messages, are branded and verified, creating a high trust channel

It’s also important to remember that these messages won’t live in the Messages app like RCS Business Messages. These messages persist  in Google Maps for Place Card results and within the Android device’s notifications area for Answer Card and Sitelinks results. 

A Side By Side Comparison Of Google RCS And Google’s Business Messages

Both RCS Business Messages and Google’s Business Messages  provide consumers and brands with an elevated experience. Whether your focus is driving “unforgettable” conversations or simply providing quick transactions, these branded, media-rich messaging experiences can help you get there.

Still a little confused? Here’s a chart comparing the two side by side. As you can see, both have their advantages and limitations. The good news is that companies don’t have to choose between one or the other.  One of our conversation experts can help you decide which program works best for you or if you should apply for both depending on your unique business needs.

As a Google program partner, Quiq can help you get started with either or both programs. We handle the registration process for you. Once we get started, you’ll work with the Quiq Customer Success team to optimize messaging for your organization.

Quiq’s messaging platform supports Google, Facebook, live chat and more. Our platform brings all of your digital channels together into one intuitive agent desktop. Quiq has worked with companies from large enterprises to mid-sized companies to implement messaging across all of our supported channels and automating workflows for your entire organization.

Ready to leverage the power of Google to help your business grow? Schedule a call with one of our conversation experts today.

How To Use Digital Automation To Improve Customer Retention

CIO Magazine recently published an article featuring Quiq client Brinks Home Security. The article gives an up-close look at how this leading home security company implemented customer support automation to elevate its customer retention program. 

As part of the program, Brinks sends current customers customized offers. The program presents an offer to reduce the customer’s current rate in exchange for a contract extension. As an alternative, free product may be offered as the incentive instead of a rate reduction to extend a contract depending on where the customer is in the Brinks customer lifecycle. 

CIO Magazine - 4 tips for quick automation wins

There’s been so much interest in the topic since this article was published, we decided to give it a bit more attention. In this post you’ll get the details behind Brink’s customer retention marketing efforts and how automation took their outreach to the next level.

Reach More Customers Through Automation

Brinks has been aware of consumer’s preference for messaging since launching Brinks Home Security Text in January 2018 with Quiq. The strategic move put the “when” and “how” of communication back in their customer’s hands by allowing customers to receive support through text messaging instead of having to call in. When the company saw the number of conversations over the messaging channel grow by 329%, the Brinks team knew they were on to something.

Automated customer service reps can help your directly from your phone messaging app

When Quiq IQ launched in February of 2020, Brinks was one of the first to sign up. With Quiq IQ, a complete solution to build, manage, and optimize chatbots, Brinks quickly deployed bots within their company to deflect calls and assist human agents. It didn’t take long for the company to realize that bots were a way to reach more customers for their retention efforts.

In the words of Jason Chancellor, CIO, “…we were limited by our capacity to reach out to them manually. We have also recognized that our customers prefer to use digital channels to interact with us, making a digital solution attractive.”

Brinks decided to test their hypothesis by conducting a 9-week test to a segment of their customer population. Emails were sent that presented an offer to reduce the customer’s rate in exchange for a contract extension. Customers were given 3 choices to accept their custom offer:

  • Call in to accept
  • Go to an automated landing page
  • Allow the bot to fulfill the offer

Brinks was shocked to see customers overwhelmingly choose to accept the offer through the bot. Close to 80% of the test population choose to accept the offer via the bot versus calling in to talk to an agent or go to an automated landing page. The test proved that not only could the company reach more of their customers through bots, but that customers had a strong preference for that type of interaction.

Higher Customer Engagement Through Automation

Conversion rates were impressive. During the short testing period, more than 800 customers converted via the bot. While 401 customers converted in a completely automated fashion, with no human intervention, there were some customers that were transferred to a human agent and converted there.

The team realized that bots are often looked at as a way to completely deflect communication, but in this case, humans and bots working together created a better experience for some customers which lead to higher conversions.

Brinks used Quiq IQ to implement bots into their retention program for their entire customer base. The fully automated, intelligent bot engages customers in a natural conversation with the goal of completing a rate reduction and contract extension without the need to place a phone call or interact with an agent.  

Brinks Home Security mobile customer service

Brinks’ Secret To Successful Automation

One of the keys to Brinks’ success with automation was the use of a cross-functional working group designed to hypothesize, measure, and test ideas to solve complex business problems. The team was tasked to expand the retention program’s capacity and used the skill and experience from across the organization to quickly form options, hypothesize the value potential, and select the best options to test.  

Quiq’s bot designer makes it easy to test and iterate your design. Features such as drag and drop design, versioning, and the ability to clone existing bots has helped companies like Brinks quickly spin up functional prototypes, observe customer reactions, and then continue to refine the bot.

For a closer look at what Brinks has done with bots, check out Quiq’s webinar “Interweaving Bots With Human Interactions Results In Higher Customer engagement”. You can also read the full article featured in CIO magazine titled “4 tips for quick automation wins”. 

To implement digital automation in your organization, talk to one of Quiq’s conversation experts. Our team is here to help you through your digital transformation. Schedule some time so that we can learn more about your unique business needs.. 

See a Demo Today

What is Google’s Business Messages

google my business messagingWhen consumers have questions, they turn to Google for answers. When consumers want quick and convenient conversations, they turn to messaging. So, what if I told you there was a way to combine the power of Google’s search with the convenience of messaging to make it super easy for your customers to find and engage with you? 

Well there is. Google’s Business Messages provides brands a comprehensive messaging solution across Android devices through Google search and Maps.

DEFINITION: Google’s Business Messages is a mobile conversational channel that combines entry points on Google Maps, Search, and brand websites to create rich, asynchronous messaging experiences.

Let’s take a closer look at Google’s Business Messages and all of the great features that make this channel a must have for every company.

How Your Customers Will Use Google Business Messages

Google Search and Google Maps are two features that your current and potential customers use on their phones all the time. Consider these following stats:

  • 35% of product searches start on Google. (eMarketer), and 
  • 34% of “near me” searches done via desktop and tablets result in store visits. (HubSpot)

With Google’s Business Messages, customers can click the “Message” button presented within the search results to start a conversation with your company. 

If you’re curious about what the experience will be like for your customers, you can try out Business Messages for yourself. If you have an Android device, you’ll want to make sure you have RCS enabled on your phone. Once you do, do a Google search for “Quiq Bozeman”. You’ll find the “Message” button in the overview section. Click and start a conversation with us.

The conversation will start with a greeting from our Quiq HQ Bot. Feel free to ask a question or send an emoji. You should expect one of our conversation experts to be with you quiq-ly.

Features of Google’s Business Messages

Business Messages isn’t just for brands that want to be discovered. Here’s an example of a well known brand using Business Messages to deliver a better experience for their customer. 

Luxury department store Neiman Marcus is a juggernaut in retail and customer experience circles. The retailer worked with Quiq to implement Business Messages and elevate their customer’s shopping experience.

When Neiman’s organic search result is shown, “Message with a live agent” is presented at the bottom along with the company’s typical response time. When clicked, customers are then taken to their messaging app to continue the conversation. But that’s not the end of the story, in fact, it’s where the benefits begin.

Within the messaging conversation, consumers are able to shop, ask questions, and complete secure payment transactions. Customers are also able to easily get updates such as order tracking, refunds, and handle service inquiries.

Google’s Business Messages enhances customer care, with rich features like:

  • product photos and carousels that expand the conversation to drive purchasing, scheduling, and upselling,
  • suggested replies that enable consumers to respond with just a tap of a button,
  • typing indicators, delivery confirmations and read receipts that keep conversations moving along,
  • the ability to send and receive emojis, hi-res images, and videos ensures that the conversation is personalized.

Since messaging is the channel preferred by consumers, businesses will see more of their customers turn to messaging instead of calling their contact center for pre-sales service and post-sales support. Business Messages integrates directly with a company’s digital customer service platform, like Quiq, so handling these conversations happen in one, easy-to-manage agent desktop.

Don’t Wait To Get Started With Business Messaging

Quiq is part of Google’s partner program for Business Messages which enables us to onboard brands, influence the roadmap and standards, and be among the first to offer our customers an upgraded messaging experience through Google Search and Maps.

We’re ready to help you get started with Google’s Business Messaging and can help you get registered, implement, and deploy Business Messaging for your business. Ready to explore Google’s Business Messages and Quiq? Schedule some time to talk to one of our conversation experts today.

Black Hills Federal Credit Union: Serving Members Goes Mobile

John Buxton - QuoteBlack Hills Federal Credit Union (BHFCU) is proud to be a part of the community they serve. They help members who are spread out across SouthDakota buy their first home, their first car, that second home, and even start businesses.

They know that no two members are alike, but they’re also certain that there’s some common ground for all of their 75,000 members.The need for convenient and secure ways to engage with the credit union was one thing all members wanted.

Free online bill payment, mobile check deposits, and Apple Pay are a few of the ways the credit union has made managing money from anywhere possible. Now messaging is part of that list of digital conveniences helping BHFCU live up to their mission of “We Improve Lives”.

Why Black Hills Federal Credit Union Chose Messaging

John Buxton - Quote

BHFCU wanted to provide a communication channel that members preferred. Text messaging was an obvious choice since mobile banking has grown steadily over the years. Statista reports that over three quarters of Americans used a mobile device the last time they checked their account balance. Since text messages also have a 98% open rate and a 209% higher response rate than traditional methods of engagement like phone and email, the messaging channel held the promise of reaching members with higher success rates since many frequently wouldn’t answer calls from the credit union or see an email as quickly.

Prior to working with Quiq, BHFCU handled questions ranging from balance inquiries, transaction info, name changes, adding joint members, disputes, and general account questions through phone, email, and social media platforms. Working with Quiq provided a way to not only add chat and text messaging, but enabled employees to gain efficiency by consolidating channels into a single platform.

Going Live With Messaging

John Buxton - Implementation was super smoothThe team at Black Hills decided to take things slowly to get a feel of the new channel and implemented Quiq for inbound texts only. Getting started with Quiq was straightforward and happened quickly. In the words of SVP/CIO John Buxton, “Implementation was super smooth.” The credit union has since added web chat, outbound messaging, and integrated messaging with their IVR system.

Contact center agents were provided hands-on training and practiced texting with each other before going live. Black Hills used their member newsletter, Facebook, email, and website notifications to promote messaging to their members.

There are currently 35 total employees using Quiq. The credit union has approximately 18 contact center agents, with one agent solely dedicated to handling chats and texts, in addition to employees in the mortgage lending and card services departments. The team plans to continue adding users and are focusing on collections and consumer lending next.

Improving The Member And Employee Experience

Members have eagerly adopted messaging. Not only has it made banking with Black Hills Credit Union more convenient, it also saves them time and money. The credit union doesn’t have to charge members any fees to get help on the messaging channel. Many members text to receive their balances or to initiate transfers for free with just a few taps on their phone.

The Black Hills team has been surprised how many members have become regulars to the messaging channel and the overall response rate they’ve seen. When reaching out to update addresses, agents offered text as an option with higher than average responses. “I feel like many of those people wouldn’t have called back or responded to a letter. The text was easy for them, and it worked well.  I thought that was awesome!” says John.

Chat forms to be filled out shown on a phone

What’s Next For Messaging At Black Hills Federal Credit Union

The popularity of the channel among agents has Black Hills FCU taking a look at how to more evenly distribute the messages among agents. Currently, the team is using a round robin system, but feels they could improve that process so that more agents have the chance to handle text inquiries.

Black Hills credit union

BHFCU sees a plethora of opportunities to use Quiq in the future. BHFCU developers recently utilized the APIs to create a secure authentication snippet to identify members with a pre-existing password that is stored on the core banking system. Future releases will add more options integrated with other systems, such as online banking credentials.

This summer, the credit union will also build extensibility with an enterprise preference management system to retrieve and maintain opt-ins required by TCPA.  By end of the year, the team is planning to create bot-based workflows to manage common inquiries from members.  Having authentication capabilities in place will allow the credit union to potentially realize additional cost savings.

See a Demo Today

Metro Transit is on the Road to Easier Customer Engagement with Messaging

Public transportation in the metropolitan St. Louis area is on the move, and we’re not just talking about the buses and light rail system that transport over 36 million people every year. Metro Transit, the agency that manages more than 70 bus routes in Missouri and Illinois, as well as 38 stations for their 46-mile light rail system, continues to move transportation forward with their adoption of messaging.

Metro Transit recognized their need for a new method of reaching their riders, effectively and conveniently. Customers were specifically asking for the ability to engage with the agency via text messaging for both customer service and public safety issues. Customer service requests like “Can you send me my trip plans” and “Can you text me bus schedules” were increasing in frequency. The agency set out to find a solution that would work for both customer service and public safety and found the perfect match with Quiq.

Setting a New Destination for Messaging

Leadership first learned about Quiq and its capabilities in January of 2018. The RFP process made it really easy for the transit agency to see what Quiq had to offer, and Metro Transit made the decision to move forward with new text messaging and live chat options.

Metro Transit went live with Quiq’s messaging platform in July 2018. While most Quiq implementations happen in days (if not less), this timeline was considered lightning speed for the agency. Most of the implementation was focused on internal decisions, such as, how many of their existing numbers should be used. The agency ultimately decided to reduce to 2 of their existing landline numbers for messaging.

The platform’s smooth launch was followed by their customers’ quick adoption. Not only was there pent up demand for messaging, but the agency also did a great job of promoting the platform. In addition to adding information about messaging to the agency’s website, the new capabilities were also promoted in an email to the agency’s 30,000 newsletter subscribers, on posters found in bus shelters, on trains and buses, and at every station. The agency also handed out tens of thousands of printed flyers to inform customers that text messaging was now available.

Metro website

Messaging is now officially part of the agency’s Transit Information and Customer Service teams that handle more than 30K transit and customer care calls a month. Questions about transit are usually handled by the 14 agents who help customers with trip planning and finding schedules, while 3 customer service agents field about 2,500 calls and 600 to 700 emails a month on topics that range from operational concerns such as a bus failing to make a designated stop to service issues like schedules and timeliness. The agency hasn’t seen a decrease in call volume, but is thrilled that they are now reaching new customers who would not have contacted them otherwise.

“We’re reaching customers who would not have called or emailed otherwise. Text is their preferred communication channel and now we’re able to engage with them.“

Paul Stefanski, Manger IT Operations Systems

Without a doubt, the messaging channel has proven to be an effective vehicle for customer service, where 90% of the conversations are related to trip planning and the balance made up of customer service issues. The ability to reach new customers who would not have engaged otherwise becomes more obvious when it comes to public safety.

Moving Forward with Messaging

Because it was clear that text messaging was the next stop on Metro Transit’s customer experience journey, leadership set out with a clear purpose: find out what was possible with text messaging. The agency had already been working with the Public Safety department for several years, searching for a solution that would provide customers the privacy, security, and immediacy that they desired.

Prior to messaging, customers had the option to either use an intercom available on the platform or located on either side of the train to report concerns. Only one problem: everyone could hear the conversation the caller was having with the dispatcher on the other end, including the person or party who may be the object of concern. This caused many riders to avoid reporting anything because they didn’t want to make themselves out to be a target.

Today, Metro Transit customers can directly connect with transit security by text messaging, allowing them to discretely communicate their concerns with security personnel, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Because text messaging makes it easy to report issues and not stand out, the agency has seen public safety reports increase. Agents have seen reports go from 0 when no used the intercom to about 10, out of the 110 to 120 public safety messages they receive per day.

text us

This has improved the transit experience for riders who feel that their concerns are being addressed in the moment, and a big win for Metro Transit who has seen a significant decline in public safety complaints. Public Safety Dispatchers, on average, respond in under 2 minutes, with typical response times being within 30 seconds. Dispatchers immediately alert nearby personnel who can quickly respond to any concerns.

What’s Next for Messaging in Public Transportation

Since implementing messaging there has been a steady stream of praise from customers. Not only do customers love the ability to engage via text messaging, but also enjoy the experience they have with their agent. Agents are loving the interaction too. So much so that Metro Transit needed to rotate the responsibility to ensure that each agent had the chance to be the dedicated messaging agent for at least a week.

The agency hopes to build on this momentum by exploring other departments where messaging can be used. The agency also seeks to create a link within their app to make texting to customer service more accessible.

Though messaging is rapidly growing in popularity for many industries like retail, financial services, and consumer services, Metro Transit has taken the road less traveled by transit agencies. In doing so, they are leading the way in innovation and setting the precedence for public service.

See a Demo Today

Northwest Community Credit Union Blazes New Trail With Messaging

Lines wrapped around branch locations that were three lanes deep and 45 minute wait times on the phone. That’s what 108,000 members at Oregon-based Northwest Community Credit Union experienced after branches closed due to COVID-19. Messaging instantly became a valuable channel that enabled members to get a response in 1.5 minutes or less.

Even before the pandemic, the team at NWCU knew that messaging was their next frontier.  Members had started to request the ability to communicate with their loan officers via text. The team set their focus on making engagement more convenient for members on their preferred channel.

Messaging Was The Silver Lining

Northwest Community partnered with Quiq in Feb of 2020 with plans to start with outbound messaging for the member solutions and lending teams in early 2020. That was before COVID-19 required the 14-branch credit union to evacuate buildings and close branches. The challenges imposed by the pandemic drastically changed the roadmap, shortening implementation to days instead of months, and reshuffling priorities. 

When the team went live with Quiq in the first week of April, 2020, the world was well into the pandemic. The contact center was overwhelmed with flooded phone lines and crowded inboxes. Instead of introducing another channel to the contact center, NWCU pulled together a team composed of branch employees to manage messaging. 

The intuitive nature of texting and Quiq’s interface made employee training easy, providing the flexibility the organization needed during the staffing turmoil of the pandemic. “The beauty is that it’s so easy we’ve been able to have employees from all over the organization, including many employees who have never talked to members, using the channel, supporting them, and it’s just been seamless, so that’s been really great. It’s been the silver lining in rolling out something in the midst of COVID.” says April Cooper, Director of Digital Experience at Northwest Community Credit Union.

When a live chat is initiated, members are greeted by a chatbot, which presents a menu of topics members are most interested. Options, such as branch availability, scheduling appointments with a branch, processing a skip payment, checking the status of stimulus checks or Payment Protection Program loans, provide members the information they need without having to call in or speak to a human.

Increased Productivity and Beyond With Business Messaging 

Northwest Community acknowledges that they’re still pretty new with the channel but considers it a success. Not only were they able to roll out the channel quickly and include a bot, members love it, and the credit union has seen immediate efficiencies. In fact, 1 agent is handling the same number of messaging conversations as 3 FTEs would handle over the phone.

Normally human agents handle as many as 1500 to 1800 calls a month or 60 to 80 calls a day. With messaging, 1 agent is handling conversation volumes comparable to 3 phone agents.

“Implementing messaging was a real moral boost for us” says April. “ It gave all of us a chance to say, ‘Yes we’re in this. We’re closing our branches, but look at what we have to support you.’” April says that managing the messaging channel has now become a coveted position in the contact center as employees prefer the channel over the phone.

Match Your Members Changing Needs With Bots

As branches start to open, the information that members need will change. When they do, NWCU employees will be able to quickly and easily update the bot to reflect those needs within Quiq’s bot designer. The credit union has already had some experience with this.

Shortly after opening the messaging channel, the credit union began to receive hundreds of inquiries about the status of stimulus checks through the messaging channel. Due to some Goggle tagging, the credit union had become the top search result for a lot of non-members across the country who had questions on their stimulus check, not realizing they were contacting a credit union in Oregon.

Thankfully, the credit union was able to quickly insert logic into the bot to filter out those conversations. If the visitor chooses “Stimulus Check” from the menu of options, they are now asked if they are a member or not. If not, they are redirected to the IRS website. The credit union happily saw a 50% drop in these inadvertent messages after implementing this change. April says, “We’re able to learn on the fly and update our bot. Right now, our bot is still pretty simple, but this just shows how you can iterate and add additional layers of logic.

What’s next

Northwest Community still has a lot of plans for the messaging channel in the near future. Their first priority is to move management of the channel from the team of branch employees to the contact center and to entrust that team to monitor and measure the channel.

Soon, the collection team will use text messaging for payment reminders and enable the credit union to move away from the calls the contact center team would make to notify members when their payment was 10 days late. The team also plans to embed a secure link  in the text so that members can get the information they need and take action to securely a payment.

In the future, expect to see the Northwest Community Credit Union leverage messaging to make banking more convenient for members with features like integration with their IVR so members can dynamically shift to a text message instead of waiting on hold. Plans are in place to roll the channel out to the lending team who will use messaging to schedule loan signing appointments or document collection notices.

The credit union is proud to say that “‘Uncommon’ is a way of life for Northwest Community Credit Union”. Lucky for the employees and members that they’ve taken an uncommon way to serve their members and community with messaging that helps everyone thrive.

See a Demo Today

Protecting Your Brand During A Crisis

Brand crisis management is never a singular strategy. During times of adversity, such as the one we’re all experiencing with COVID-19, it takes an all-hands approach to manage the disruption to operations, revenue, and customer relations.

COVID-19 has sent even the most battle-tested leaders reeling from unprecedented business disruption. Companies are having to simultaneously deal with the short-term effects of the pandemic while preparing for what the future may hold. These are uncertain times for sure.

That’s why Quiq recently sponsored a report on the subject by Digital Commerce 360. “Coronavirus: Ecommerce Crisis Management for Today and Tomorrow” takes a look at how retailers, manufacturers, and wholesalers are responding to unprecedented challenges while taking advantage of new opportunities to increase online sales.

Protect Your Brand’s Perception

The 100+ page report presents data, insights, and usable best practices that all B2C and B2B companies can use now and going forward. Quiq’s VP of Brand, Jenne Meyer offers sound advice on how companies can foster a positive affinity to their brand, even in the midst of a crisis, in the article “Protect Your Brand With Digital Engagement”.

A few key takeaways from the article:

1. Make accessibility a priority.

Provide your customers with the assurance that you’re there when they need you. Opening new channels like messaging, web chat, and social channels encourages your customers to contact you the  way they prefer and at their convenience.

2. Protect your customer’s experience.

The shuttering of contact centers, either voluntarily or due to government mandates like those in the Philippines and India, was a hard lesson learned about scale and flexibility for customer service. While many companies scrambled to transition to a remote work model, customer inquiries skyrocketed, with customer wait times stretching across hours. Companies can protect their customers from the frustration of long wait times and delayed responses with the help of self-serve options like bots.

3. Adjust your metrics.

During times of crisis, it’s imperative to reframe your metrics and to look far beyond the number of customers an agent helps within a certain time frame. Agents need to be empathetic and that may lengthen interaction times. Consider focusing more on customer satisfaction.

The article is just one example of how companies can use effective digital strategies to weather the coronavirus storm and prepare for whatever the future may hold.  Download the full report on the Quiq website.

Reframe Challenges As Opportunities

Things are not business as usual. The long-term planning, with 1 and 5 year outlooks, have been displaced with 30, 60, and 90 day plans. Companies are having to pivot fast and frequently as the COVID-19 situation continues to unfold on a minute-by-minute basis.

With the transition to a remote workforce and a flood of customer communication, it’s tempting to hunker down and weather the storm with the tools you’re most familiar with. That’s exactly what not to do.

Now is the time to re-evaluate your operations and discern which changes may simply be a temporary change to adapt to the circumstances and which changes reframe your operations completely .For example, since sending most of their workforce home, many companies, like the Mortgage Center, are starting to question if they need to lease as much space or if they can continue to have a portion of their workforce operate remotely.

What was a short-term response to an emergency situation has sparked much needed discussion about what really moves the needle for customers. Consider how consumer engagement has drastically changed. Contact centers within companies such as Pella, Brinks Home Security, and Northwest Community Credit Union were forced to close physical locations, quickly switch to a remote model, and still provide quality customer care with limited resources.  By diverting phone calls to messaging, helping customers self-serve with the help of chat bots, and offering more messaging channels across text, web chat, and social media, these companies are able to take care of their customers in a more cost-effective and efficient way, while preserving their brand.

Have A Bias Toward Action

We are going through disruptive, turbulent times. Full stop. It’s important not to minimize or oversimplify that point. It’s also important not to become paralyzed by panic as we brace ourselves against what’s tried and true or familiar.

This post, and the report we encourage you to download, is meant to inspire you to take action now. Help your company thrive in the long-term by deploying technology that will save you time and money, now and in the future. Schedule some time today for a custom demo so we can discuss your brand, your challenges, and how Quiq can help.

See a Demo Today

A Test of Mettle: Doing More With Less

Doing more with less is a challenge that many achieve with planned, incremental changes. Recent events have shown that the ability to plan is a luxury. They can be slow and expected or sudden and unprecedented, but shifts happen. The dramatic swings in demand and employees moving to a work-from-home model or being furloughed due to COVID-19, pushed leaders to adjust instantly. Many companies were forced to close their doors, adjust their hours, send employees home – all while striving to deliver the same, or higher level of service. 

For all of the changes and challenges we’ve been through lately, it appears we’re not in the clear yet. We’ve all heard the rumblings. An imminent global recession is on the horizon. Belts will have to tighten and efficiency will remain a topic of discussion. How leaders prepare and adapt will determine if a company not only survives, but flourishes in the long-term. 

Unlike COVID-19 which took everyone by surprise, we know of and can prepare for an impending recession. Even if you’ve been through a recession before, now is the time to take a look at your playbook with fresh eyes. Read on for three important moves leaders need to make now to prepare for the near future. 

Don’t Get Trapped By Old Habits

Habits, good or bad, have their place. They help us respond to, make sense of, and navigate life. It’s easy to lean on habits, but they can only do so much. In normal times, habit begs you to draw from your existing and known resources. In the face of large scale change, like a recession, that may not be possible.

For example, during normal operations, when demand spikes in a contact center, managers can respond by hiring more agents. In some contact centers, demand spikes as high as 200-400% were experienced. Amid the social distancing and office closures, many companies were forced to send employees home, while others unexpectedly lost their entire contact center because of mandated lockdowns in the Philippines and India. It was impossible to draw on more resources and to hire more employees to handle the tidal wave of customer requests that came pouring in. 

Instead of turning to “how things have always been done”, many companies decided to turn on digital channels to help manage the influx of inquiries from consumers. Adding web chat, messaging, and bots, not only provides consumers with their preferred channels, but also makes your organization much more productive with the use of business text messaging, chat bots, and rich messaging

Limited resources will continue to be a headwind businesses face in the coming months. Now is the time to look outside of habit. Don’t hire more agents to take more calls. Move the calls to messaging for a fraction of the cost. If you haven’t embraced automation and digital self-service yet, now is the time to explore chatbots. They are extremely easy to deploy and results are instant.

How Leaders Achieve Agility and Stability

As events continue to unfold, ready your business for whatever may come your way. Now is the time to enable your workforce to scale quickly and allow the flexibility to work from anywhere. 

Your company can be up and running with messaging and bots in as little as 24-48 hours. Bots can be built to focus on the immediate and most frequent customer inquiries, or the most basic requests, with future iterations building in more complex workflows to meet your needs.

The City of Knoxville  first decided to build a bot to answer questions about the 2020 census. Unexpectedly, rapid developments with COVID-19 required that answers to common questions around the virus also be made available, which became more important than the census initiative. A chatbot was built and deployed in days to help answer citizen’s questions. For Knoxville’s leadership, “the web and SMS chatbot offers some assurance that the city call center can stay open, even with employees unable to work in the central office.”

As another example, Stio, a retailer based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, used web chat to reduce the volume of calls during the holiday season. Adding SMS/text messaging to further reduce call volume resulted in 80% of conversations taking place on text messaging. When the company added bots, call volume decreased an additional 9%.

Control What You Can

A global recession is all but certain, Many would argue that it’s already underway. What isn’t certain is its magnitude. No one can control how large or small, or how long it will last. 

Taking care of your customers and employees in these uncertain times is where you can take control. Providing superior customer service supports your short-term and long-term business success. How you provide that care today will influence your customer’s behavior and perceptions of your business for years to come. 

Giving your employees a sense of control is also important. Serving customers is no easy job. Providing employees with the right tools to help remove some of the friction of working in a contact center is one way you can help your agents through this trying time.

Agents can only answer one phone call or email at a time. Trying to get fewer agents to answer more calls or emails in less time will compromise your quality of service and frustrate your agents. Quiq Messaging gets your agents off the phone by deflecting incoming calls to chat and text messaging where they can handle 7 simultaneous conversations at a time, while still providing a high level of service and attention to your customers. One phone call or seven messaging conversations – the choice is clear.

Take Swift And Decisive Action

Organizational resilience depends on anticipating, responding, and adapting to change. A company’s ability to weather the storms of change have certainly been tested lately and forecasts aren’t predicting clear skies just yet.

It’s only human, when things get tough, to go into self-preservation mode. For some, that might look like making decisions out of panic – like selling your entire stock portfolio at its lowest point and hoarding dozens of rolls of toilet paper.

For others, it may be avoiding investments in their business now that will create returns through a recession and beyond. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re ready to invest in messaging and better prepare for an economic downturn, schedule a demo today so you can see for yourself how messaging and bots can work for your business.

See a Demo Today

Driving CX Efficiency in the Wake of Business Disruption

There’s been a lot of discussion around business disruption lately and how companies are coping through this difficult time. Coping, in some cases, means doing more with less. 

Even in the midst of all this change, leaders have adapted quickly and are driving efficiencies in their organizations by focusing on digital strategies. Quiq CEO, Mike Myer, recently published an article in the  CX Insight Magazine entitled “Driving CX Efficiency in the wake of business disruption”. He shares his thoughts on 3 areas leaders may want to consider focusing on. 

In the article, Mike encourages leaders to focus their time and resources on how they communicate with customers, how they equip their staff, and the role technology plays today and in the future.

The Case for Digital Communication

The article states how important accessibility and communication with your organization is for customers during business disruption. As prospects and consumers ourselves, we’ve all seen the COVID related messages from companies explaining how the pandemic is affecting their business. 

These messages have been an effective way to lift the veil on how the crisis has impacted the employees, operations, and processes, but it shouldn’t stop with just an email. With text messaging, web chat, and social direct messages, the conversation can go beyond a one-sided, one-off email. 

With Quiq’s messaging platform, you can send and receive messages. Send updates on orders, notifications on delivery dates, or just share information to keep everyone up-to-date. With messaging, you provide customers a consistent forum to answer questions and address ambiguity, either by initiating a conversation with you, or by responding to a message you’ve sent to them.

Read the full article on the Execs In The Know website to learn how digital channels can help companies provide consumers access to stay informed and receive the information they need.

Focus on the People, Not Just the Tools

The global scale of COVID-19 has affected companies and customers around the globe. Consumer inquiries have swelled to unprecedented volumes and customers are looking for guidance. 

No sector has been spared. Businesses, government agencies, higher-ed, and other organizations continue to struggle to keep up with the unexpected influx of calls, with some customers waiting on hold for hours. Meanwhile, companies have had to balance the need to staff contact centers with protecting their agents by sending them to work from home or granting them a leave of absence. 

The Execs In The Know article highlights how technology has enabled companies to achieve that balance. Instead of putting pressure on stressed agents to answer more calls, many of whom are working from home for the first time, companies have turned to digital channels and implemented chatbots to boost agent efficiency and deflect phone calls altogether.

The asynchronous nature of messaging allows agents to handle up to 7 conversations at one time vs a 1-to-1 phone call. Meanwhile, chatbots eliminate calls by providing consumers answers to frequently asked questions that didn’t need a human agent to answer. If a human agent is needed during the conversation, customers can be transferred to a live agent.

Chatbots are especially useful during spikes of high demand of any kind. Rerouting calls with long wait times, deflecting calls from the IVR, and capturing customer information to expedite conversations, are scenarios playing out for companies that have implemented the right tools to deal with large fluctuations.

Crisis Management for Today and The Future

Many leaders have seen their share of disaster recovery plans put into effect due to power outages, flooded offices, and even crashed systems. Few, if any, could have predicted the impact that a microscopic virus could have on their business and the economy. 

Mike Myer states in the article, “As leaders adapt to a new and demanding reality, plans will have to have a stronger focus on the technology that allows their workforce to scale quickly, allowing the flexibility to work from anywhere.” Unlike telephony systems, messaging provides the flexibility companies need to quickly and dynamically change the location of contact center agents, keeping them online to continue to assist customers.

Drive Efficiency in Your Organization

Companies are making every effort to secure the safety and security of their employees and the future of their business, Technology will continue to play a major role in our recovery.

For more detail on this topic, you can read the full article on the Execs In The Know Website. For a more in depth discussion, schedule some time today so we can help you drive more efficiency in your organization.

See a Demo Today