Omni-Channel Customer Service

Omni-Channel Service: The Customer-Driven Path Forward

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

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

Focus on What You Can Control

Tip 1: Present a Unified Front

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

Tip 2: Quality First, More Channels Second

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

Tip 3: Pick the Right Channels

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

Tip 4: Quality Service Over Quantity

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

Tip 5: Try New Channels

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

Summary

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

Part 2: 10 Criteria for Choosing the Best Messaging Vendor

The Messaging Mandate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Determine your business objectives

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

What demographics are you targeting with messaging?

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

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

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

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

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

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

How will you use messaging?

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

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

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

What are your goals?

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

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

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

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

Which messaging channels will you need?

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

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

Here are some common messaging channels to consider:

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

How to Select Business Messaging Tools and Vendors

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

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

1. Experience and knowledge

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

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

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

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

2. Customer-obsessed culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Product features and capabilities

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

But don’t stop there.

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

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

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

4. Security features

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Automation and artificial intelligence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Ease of use

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

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

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

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

A dense, complicated product will make onboarding a struggle.

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

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

8. Integrations

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

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

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

7. Templates

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

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

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

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

9. Value

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

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

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

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

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

10. Innovation

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

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

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

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

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

Is Quiq on your list?

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

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

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

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

How to Use Outbound Messaging Effectively

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

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

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

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

Remain Courteous and Gain Permission

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

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

Segment Your Target Markets

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

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

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

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

Use Personalized Messaging Tailored to Your Audience

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

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

Select Your Outbound Messaging Platform Wisely

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

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

How to Choose the Best Live Chat Software for Your Business

A software investment of any kind takes due diligence, and purchasing live chat software should be no different. The live chat experience that you provide reflects the quality of your brand as a whole, which makes it critical to only use the best website chat software possible. When potential customers visit your website and want to get in touch with you, business messaging channels, such as live chat, are the fastest and easiest methods available.

Every live chat solution, in its simplest form, should make it possible for your company to connect with your customers while they are on your website. But that doesn’t mean every live chat solution is right for your business. In this post, we’ll take a look at how you can determine which website chat software is best for your business.

Determine Which Features are Important to You

There are some universal features you should expect when investing in any software such as:

  • Implementation guidance that can help you on a successful start and use of a product,
  • A history of reliability to avoid being plagued by downtime, and
  • A commitment to security, such as being SOC II compliant.

These features are just as important when purchasing live chat software. You’ll also want to consider answering questions about why you need a business messaging solution like live chat and what type of experience you want to deliver. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Where do people get hung up on my website? Do they need the most help searching for products, understanding pricing, booking an appointment, or placing an order?

Some companies choose to have chat available on specific pages, while others offer chat on every page. The live chat solution you choose should be able to provide both options.

  • Do I want to offer a reactive chat experience and let customers reach out whenever they need help or do I want a proactive chat experience that invites customers to chat with us?

No one will know your business better than you do. There is no one-style-fits-all for live chat. Ensure that you have the option to provide proactive or reactive chat to your customers.

  • Do I want to customize the look of my chat?

Your live chat should be a reflection of your site and your brand, so make sure you work with a platform that allows you to customize colors, greetings and other details within the chat experience to fit the look and feel of your company.

Answering these questions are a good and basic foundation for choosing the best live chat software for your business. Let’s take a look at some of the more advanced features of live chat that you’ll want to consider.

Critical Aspects of Successful Business Messaging Software

When customers visit your site and fire up your chat feature, they’re looking for a quick response time and quality service. No one wants to send off a message to a business and wait until you get a chance to get back to them. If that was the case, they would have sent an email.

Some wait time before chatting with a human might be acceptable, but why make it the rule when it could be the exception? A modern chatbot messaging solution allows instantaneous and high-quality responses that can seamlessly greet customers, gather information, and point customers in the right direction or even hand the conversation off to a human.

The ability to start a conversation, determine the intent, and route the conversation to the appropriate person, all before a human agent accepts it, make intelligent chatbots a non-negotiable attribute for any web chat software. Chatbots can offer suggestions based on customer feedback or route your visitors to the appropriate human agent if need be.

But chatbots are only one aspect of a multitude of advanced features to consider. Chat technology has evolved and now offers features that deliver a better experience for the customer and the agent. For example, Quiq’s messaging software can tell your agents which page your visitors are on when they click to chat with you, present their entire chat history with your company, and even monitor how the conversation is going based on sentiment analysis.

Look for Rich Messaging Solutions

Nowadays, communicating online goes far beyond text-based chat alone. Short videos have become a language in and of themselves, and entire conversations can be carried out through emojis. Chat software that includes rich messaging capabilities allows you to raise the bar when it comes to business chat, and offer more fun, immersive, and interactive experiences.

With rich messaging, you can complete transactions, schedule appointments, and even send rich media to engage your customers in a deeper way. Look for a web chat software that supports rich messaging so your business messaging can stand out.

Choose Capable Analytics

Business messaging can give important insights into what’s working and what’s not when it comes to products and promotional strategies. The data you gather from your company chats can be critical to developing new strategies and adjusting business processes.

The ideal web chat software should allow you to report on conversations, queues, or agent performance – human or bot. Look for a platform that lets you export your data or even integrate it into an existing business intelligence platform.

Only Settle for Asynchronous

Customers can’t always afford to stick around until the conclusion of a chat conversation. Asynchronous messaging platforms allow conversations to pick up where they left off, so they don’t have to endure the inconvenience of a chat conversation timing out and then restarting a new conversation. Your live chat solution should deliver a frictionless experience for your customers and allow them to set the pace of the chat. Quiq Messaging provides asynchronous communication across all supported channels, so even if your customer has to step away or gets distracted from the chat conversation, they can pick up right where they left off.

And the Winner Is…

When we take into consideration all of the factors listed above, there emerges one clear winner in the chat game. Quiq offers an all-encompassing messaging solution for businesses looking to drive conversions and provide more capable customer support. We’ve only scratched the surface on what Quiq can offer here — robust analytics, asynchronous conversations that provide a frictionless experience, and solid security all fall within the scope of this powerful platform.

When you’re ready to discover the true potential of business chat for your enterprise, schedule a demo today.

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort: Expanding Its Customer Service Channels

Priding itself on a superior customer experience, Jackson Hole wanted to expand customer service channels to make sure its customers could reach them however they liked. Already providing customers the option to contact the resort via phone and email, it needed a more cost-effective live chat platform to complement these channels with text messaging. Allowing customers to choose whichever channel they prefer would align perfectly with the resort’s desire to deliver a premium experience.

Turning to Quiq, Jackson Hole rolled out a new text messaging and chat platform for its customers. Now when a customer is on the online store or brand site they are presented with the appropriate communication channel automatically. Customers can easily reach the resort by sending a text message from a mobile device or engaging in a live chat conversation if they are using a desktop computer.

“I am really pleased with how customers are using messaging to reach our staff for quick questions. This helps free up the reservationists to respond to customer questions that need to be answered via phone such as placing an order.”

Kim Essensa, Guest Services Manager

Answer Customers’ Questions Quickly

When customers have questions about tram hours or recent snow amounts, they simply just send a text message or start a live chat to get their questions answered quickly. Or customers can send a message to Jackson Hole’s guest services to put their minds at ease about when the lifts are up and running. It’s easy and fast, and exactly what customers have grown to expect in this world of instant information.

Because the Quiq messaging platform is so intuitive, reservationists can easily bounce between all channels. Training is a breeze with the staff picking it up within minutes. And by using the pre-built responses, managers can ensure customers receive a consistent and accurate response no matter which reservationist responds. Jackson Hole is seeing that the majority of its inbound inquiries are now in the form of text messages. And even more, phone calls have decreased and overnight email volume has dropped by 75%.

About

Jackson Hole Mountain Resort is a skier and snowboarder paradise with 4,136 continuous vertical feet, 2500 acres of the best beginner, intermediate, and expert skiing and snowboarding, and a genuine “Last of the Old West” feel.

Quiq makes it easy for customers to contact a business via Messaging, the preferred channel already in use with our friends and family. With Quiq, customers can now engage with companies via SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, In-App, and Kik for help with their pre-sales and post-sales questions. Learn more about Quiq today at quiq.com.

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Terror Filled Tales of Customer Service – (Part II)

In October, we started our terror-filled tales of customer service series. The first article in our two-part tale carried you through the series of unfortunate events of the Equifax security breach. In this article, I’ll share with you how text-based customer service saved me from a harrowing experience.

Now, draw the blanket up just a little tighter. Keep the lights on and listen carefully to what is about to unfold, because there is mischief afoot. This story begins, like most spooky stories, on a dark and stormy night, much like any other Friday night in our neck of the woods.

The text-based customer service ping in the night

I was sitting on my couch, mindlessly scanning Pinterest – my treat after everyone’s fed, the dog is walked, and the baby snoring softly in her crib. I heard a noise. Not the bump in the night kind of sound – more like a ping.

It was almost 9:00pm and I was receiving a text message. Friends and family usually text me at all hours of the night. I always have my phone with me and am particularly aware of incoming text messages. As a parent and the caregiver of an elderly parent hundreds of miles away, I can’t afford to be digitally untethered.

This message wasn’t from a friend reacting to the latest episode of a TV show. This was a fraud alert. The text-based customer service message alerted me that there was a charge for a Las Vegas hotel for over $1000. Almost 830 miles away from the neon lights of Las Vegas, my first reaction was, well, envy for whoever was out having fun – on my stolen credit card information. My second response was, of course, panic.

Real-time customer service

Coincidentally, moments before I heard the text message alert, I had just overheard a voice on TV mention the Equifax data breach. I thought to myself, “Are we still talking about this?”. You see, I had already moved on to the next piece of alarming media that was permeating the news. It was comforting that my credit card was still on high alert even if I wasn’t.

Wide-eyed and a little nervous, I eagerly replied with a “2” which, according to the fraud alert, confirmed that the charge was not valid. Another quick text of “Help” sent me a response that provided me with the next steps I could take immediately.

Quiq Messaging allows you to initiate a one-on-one communications to customers like the alert I received. You can also send one-to-many outbound messages for things like promotions or out-of-stock updates. The two-way nature of text messaging enables business messaging to be less about alerts and more about having a short conversation.

The long and short of it

The only reservation I had was that the alert came from a shortcode. My carrier lumps all messages under one sender – SMS Business. There was some hesitation to trust this warning. I would have felt more confident if, like a message from a friend, it was a number I had recognized or I could save in my contacts.

Quiq Messaging allows you to provision phone numbers that may already be familiar to your customers, eliminating that unease. These could be the same landline numbers your business already uses, or you could also dedicate new SMS business texting lines to send and receive messages.

I am grateful that this bank is in tune with how I, and most consumers today, prefer to communicate. A text message, especially for something with this degree of importance, is how I prefer to engage with companies – timely, relevant, and to the point. Opening up customer-preferred digital messaging channels like text messaging, social, and web chat helps top brands stay ahead of their competition and serve customers better. This preference for digital messaging is exactly why Quiq is one of the leading messaging solutions.

Quiq Customer Spotlight: Learn How evo Uses Quiq Messaging

Customer Spotlight: evo & Quiq Messaging

evo, a leading online retailer of outdoor gear and fashion apparel is known for exploring the collaboration between culture and sport by seamlessly joining art, music, streetwear, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, mountain biking and wakeboarding. Their aim is to bring all things relevant to the urban, action sports lifestyle into one creative space.

Why Messaging?

Focused on going beyond the typical sales experience, evo knew it had to provide a cutting-edge support experience.  Based in Seattle, Washington, evo is a retailer that offers top-notch gear and clothing for outdoor sports enthusiasts.

When consumers had questions, they used to only be able to call or email the company to get an answer. Now, using Quiq Messaging, evo’s customers get swift responses via Facebook Messenger, live chat and text messaging-channels that are often preferred or more convenient for their active, on-the-go consumers.Six people in the snow sitting down

Easy For Customers to Engage

Some customers contact evo for help during the purchasing process with very specific product comparison questions. Others have questions about shipping and a possible return. While still others need technical help with a product they just purchased. Regardless of the question, evo’s customer care center is ready to answer. And customers are happy with the choices of channels over which to contact evo.

When a customer is on evo’s website, if an agent is available, the live chat image will automatically appear on the bottom-right of the desktop, making it easy for a customer to start a chat conversation. And, text messaging is offered on its mobile website. Customers are excited to be able to engage with evo via text messaging. It’s fast and it’s convenient.

“Certain people like to communicate via specific channels and with Quiq Messaging we are able to serve more people in the manner in which they want to engage. That’s a big win for us and our customers.”

Justin Courtney, Customer Care Manager, evo

Efficient For Agents

Top agents can easily handle live chat and text messaging conversations, on top of the phone calls and emails they are already answering.  Since Quiq supports live chat, text messaging, and Facebook Messenger, evo agents only have to log into one application. Quiq is so easy-to-use that all agents are able to support all channels.  During peak winter months, evo has the ability to dedicate agents to manage real-time interactions based on increased volumes to ensure response times are kept in-check.Inside the business

After introducing live chat, it immediately accounted for 11% of support inquires. Phone volumes dropped by 8% and emails inquires decreased by 3%. That trend has continued to follow the same track with Quiq’s live chat and text messaging solution, which now represents 22% of the overall support volume.

What the Future Holds

Looking ahead, evo plans to integrate Quiq Messaging with their NetSuite implementation to consolidate all customer contact data, which will both improve the customer experience and yield additional opportunities through improved reporting. They are also planning to build out the visibility and promotion of its new messaging capabilities on their mobile website.

About Quiq

Quiq makes it easy for customers to contact a business via Messaging, the preferred channel already in use with our friends and family.  With Quiq, customers can now engage with companies via SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Live Chat, and Kik for help with their pre-sales and post-sales questions. Learn more about Quiq today at quiq.com.

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Terror Filled Tales of Customer Service – (Part I)

We all heard the tale and hoped it was just urban lore or fake news, but the Equifax security breach was real. After hearing the news, everyone felt the creeping chill of vulnerability and helplessness as we all scanned for signs that we could be prey to identity theft or scams. Equifax confirmed the security breach compromised sensitive data like birthday’s, social security numbers, and account information of 145.5 million US customers. The highly debated topic raised a lot of questions since Equifax announced on September 7th.

We at Quiq, who built the leading asynchronous platform for business messaging, continue to watch the story unfold. In a two-part series, we explore the data breach that recently rocked the news and attempt to find learnings and insights. Gather ’round as we share this spine-tingling tale and the value-added opportunities that exist for any company that wants to advance their customer service experience.

In the case of Equifax, there was indeed an opportunity for a sense of urgency. The credit reporting agency revealed the data breach in September, approximately 40 days after the cyber attack, leading many to question why there was such a delay. Some even report that Equifax was aware of the vulnerability that led to the breach as early as two months before the data breach occurred. We want to get immediate answers to questions or updates on situations in this age of instant digital gratification.

Web Chat Provides Immediate Customer Service

In response to their announcement, Equifax created a website, www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to help consumers answer the one question that everyone wanted answered: “Am I affected?”. The response website was a self-serve customer service option to help people take some immediate action.

Once consumers entered their information, the follow-up page gave them the option to click to an FAQ page. While the gravity of the situation likely spawned lots of questions, many of the site’s users wanted answers that were relevant and specific to them and their data. Some consumers found the message confusing and wanted definitive answers.

Customer service response to Equifax Security Breach The Equifax Security Breach service page left some customers wanting more definitive answers.[/caption]

Quiq’s Web Chat could have provided consumers a place to chat live with an Equifax Customer Service agent to help guide them through the process at this critical point. We see a lot of companies use this powerful tool to help guide customers when they need it the most, like when they find themselves stuck on a page with questions needing more direction.

Text Messaging Snippets Ensure Consistency

Sadly, the well-intentioned effort of setting up a response site also paved the way to another customer experience snafu. TheVerge reports how Equifax mistakenly mistyped the URL as www.sercuirtyequifax2017.com.  The tweet sent visitors to a phishing site set up by developer Nick Sweeting to expose the vulnerabilities of the Equifax response page.

Quiq recognizes the need for agents to quickly and accurately share helpful, repetitive information to avoid situations like this. We have the ability to use “snippets”, or pre-populated content. Snippets are easy to create, organize, find, and use to ensure consistency and expedite communication.

Increase Service Speed with Outbound Notifications

While the response website was a great resource, it could not deflect the onslaught of calls the company received.  Concerned consumers wondered if they would be responsible for charges they didn’t make. This type of crisis control is where a readied front line of knowledgeable customer service agents shines; but therein lies the rub. A Fast Company article details how customer service agents that took calls on the day of the announcement had not yet learned of the breach and were unprepared to answer questions about the event.

Quiq can send outbound messages that make alerting employees, partners, and customers easy and fast. With our outbound messaging service, Equifax could have informed everyone, including all of the front-line service agents, in an instant.  In addition to the news an outbound message could provide helpful resources to help agents deal with the calls.

Sure, there are plenty of cringe-worthy moments in this tale, but there are lessons to be learned. While this story is extreme, we see real opportunity from crisis mode to the day-to-day status quo to elevate customer service. We invite you to learn more about how Quiq Messaging can help your company come out of the dark (ages) of customer service and into the light of messaging for business.

Customer Service Messaging: Ovum Puts Quiq On The Radar

Ovum Quiq MessagingQuiq Messaging is recognized by Ovum in the customer service messaging and consumer messaging app space.

“Unlike other messaging platforms, Quiq’s technology takes a sharp focus on managing messaging at scale.”

– Mila D’Antonio, Principal Analyst Ovum

Ovum’s On the Radar is a series of research notes about vendors bringing innovative ideas, products, or business models to their markets. On the Radar vendors bear watching for their potential impact on markets.

Why put Quiq on your radar?

  • Asynchronous Messaging – Quiq offers a messaging solution that mimics the way consumers interact via messaging in their daily lives.
  • Fast Deployment– The platform’s ability to integrate into various external and internal applications enables fast deployment.
  • Flexible Pricing – Its bundle pricing model provides flexibility allowing companies to scale as customers or volumes grow.

Contact us to find out why Quiq should be on your radar!

Here is a bit more detail from the report regarding Quiq’s functionality. Feel free to watch a short product video to put pictures to all these words!

Quiq’s Messaging Capabilities:

Quiq Messaging supports SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, and Kik. It can be purchased as a standalone customer channel, or companies can deploy one of Quiq’s pre-built CRM integrations, which include Oracle, Zendesk, and Salesforce.com.

Additional features for Agents include:

  • Multi-conversation UI – enables agents to manage multiple conversations simultaneously
  • Text snippets – offers reusable text blurbs retrieved with simple keyboard shortcuts for on-the-fly responses
  • Collaboration – allows managers to watch the conversation and lend advice to the agent in the background
  • Emoji sharing – creates personal interactions between agents and customers
  • Adaptive response time coaching – measures the customer’s level of engagement and coaches the agent, suggesting which conversation needs the next response
  • Image and video – enables video and image sharing when necessary

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How Quiq Caters to Managers

Notable features for Managers include:

  • Rerouted conversations – automatically reroutes ongoing conversations when agents go off-shift
  • Real-time monitoring – shows aggregate metrics such as current load, number of customers waiting, wait times, and individual agent performance, including the number of conversations handled, average response time, and times unresponsive
  • ACD-like conversation handling – keeps incoming demand at manageable rates with auto-responses delivered to customers when queues overflow
  • Unresponsive agent timers – automatically puts a conversation back in the queue to be handled by another agent if an agent fails to respond within goal thresholds
  • Conversation observation – provides visualization of the entire conversation thread, provides whisper advice, and, if necessary, takes over the conversation without interruption the conversation
  • Historical statistics – can send conversation statistics in realtime to other systems for cross-channel reporting and BI analysis

 

  • Learn more about the Messaging space and Quiq here.

Part 1: Four Reasons to Add Messaging to The Contact Center

The Messaging Mandate

This is Part 1 in a 3 Part Series focused on The Messaging Mandate. This article highlights why your company should consider adding Messaging to your customer service organization. Part 2 will discuss the criteria against which to rank consumer to business messaging providers.  Finally, Part 3 will outline what to consider to successfully implement messaging.  We hope you enjoy the series.

Messaging is not new…in fact, it has been around for quite some time.  We have been using messaging to send messages, photos, and emojis to our friends and family for over 20 years–to the tune of over 6 billion text messages daily in the U.S. alone (Forrester).  According to Pew Research, 97% of Americans use text messaging on a daily basis, making text the most widely and frequently used app on smartphones.  So if text messaging is not new, what is new? The answer: Consumers messaging customer service.

The vast majority of messaging occurs between individuals, friends, and family members. Messaging a company is just taking off. Business text messaging is simply the ability for consumers to contact businesses and exchange information over mobile devices. Messages can be sent as text (Short Message Service/SMS), pictures, video, or audio (Multimedia Messaging Service/MMS) over a variety of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Kik, etc.

Done correctly, messaging is a powerful tool to help consumers connect with businesses – especially when it come to customer service.

1. Customers Expect It

Consumers are demanding the ability to communicate via messaging with brands and businesses.  Consumers don’t want to just receive messages from businesses, they want the ability to message them back.  No longer is messaging simply a one-way channel for companies to market to consumers. Customers now expect to be able to initiate a two-way, one-to-one conversations with the companies and brands they use.

In fact, the majority of U.S. consumers would prefer texting over the current methods of reaching customer support (eWeek).  As Forbes writer, Micah Solomon, stated: “ If your customers won’t even call Mom on the phone anymore (they’re texting her instead), why are you forcing them to call your business on the phone any time they need customer service or support?”  Consumers prefer messaging as a channel of communication and when given a choice, they use it.

2. It’s a Competitive Advantage

“The customer experience is the next competitive battleground.”
– Jerry Gregoire, Chief Information Officer at Dell.

According to Gartner, 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of the customer experience and the main driver of the customer experience lands smack dab in the middle of the customer service and support organization. In fact, Harris found that 88% of customers prefer doing business with a company that offers quality customer service over a company that has the latest and most innovative products.  A good product is expected of every company. Innovative and quality customer service is the competitive advantage.  

With the continued focus on delivering great experiences via customer service, it is critical that companies constantly innovate and adapt their service approach to exceed customer expectations. The interest, preference, usage, and demand for consumer-to-business messaging is already evident and companies that don’t already offer messaging are quickly falling behind.

Messaging is not only what consumers want, but it is also what businesses should want.  Adding messaging as a customer service channel delivers significant cost savings due to offloading phone calls, while improving customer satisfaction (CSAT).

3. Significant Cost Savings

Activating messaging for customer service not only provides a better experience for the customer, it is also much more efficient for agents compared to phone calls and emails. Messaging is cost-efficient and time-efficient for customer support teams for many reasons:

  1. Agent supported phone calls cost several dollars per conversation, while agent supported texts cost pennies per conversation. (Forrester & ContactBabel)
  2. Implementing a messaging channel allows companies the ability to deflect calls to a lower cost channel. It is common to see a 20% or higher offload of phone calls to messaging.
  3. Messaging allows each agent to handle multiple conversations simultaneously, improving productivity over one-to-one voice calls.  Additionally, agents can typically handle 6-8 messaging conversations at once due to the asynchronous nature of messaging, dramatically improving agent productivity.
  4. Agent familiarity and comfort- Messaging allows agents to use an interface they are already familiar with because they message their friends and families too. This makes it easy for agents to quickly come up to speed to support a new channel.

Customers want it. Agents understand it. It makes agents even more productive and saves you money. If your business isn’t taking advantage of the opportunity to activate Messaging to interact with customers, what could possibly be holding you back?

4. Higher Customer Satisfaction

We are now living in a world where businesses need to move past being customer-centric or customer-focused into being customer-obsessed (Forrester). Customer-obsessed companies focus on customer satisfaction and retention, understanding that these measurements are key metrics for any company trying to compete.

It is notable then that texting is the highest rated contact method for customer satisfaction compared to all other communication channels (Text – 90%; Phone – 77%; Facebook – 66%). (eWeek).

Why is text so highly rated? Because it blends the real-time answers of a phone call with the portability of a mobile device. The customer benefits from the convenience and control they get from messaging.  Their interaction with a company can happen at their pace, on their terms, instead of on the company’s terms. With messaging, consumers are able to get customer support at the speed of life.  

With mobile devices, customers can interact with an agent from wherever they are, even in places where there may not be an internet connection.  Unlike web chat, customers no longer need to be tied to their computer.  Wherever they go, the conversation can continue.   

While voice offers the advantage of “real time” interaction, it usually occurs after the customer has navigated an IVR system or been placed on hold.  Studies show that customers are increasingly frustrated by being placed on hold. Texting is as “real-time” as a voice call, but without the hold times.  The immediacy of communication brings about a feeling of connection and importance, allowing brands to be more human and relatable.

Conclusion

Consumer’s preference for messaging in both their personal and business lives continues to grow, with no end in sight.  They appreciate that texting is a fast and efficient customer support option, and expect businesses to respond accordingly.  Customers want real-time responses to their support issues. By adding messaging to your Contact Center, managers and agents have the tools necessary to provide a better customer experience, while saving money.

About Us

Quiq connects customers and companies via Messaging (Facebook Messenger, SMS, and Kik), resulting in more efficient customer service and happier customers.  Learn more about Quiq today at quiq.com, or email sales@goquiq.com for a free product demo.