Why a Messaging First Strategy makes sense for your brand?
How you use messaging really depends on what you as a brand want to achieve, and how you want to achieve it. It can start with the consumer seeing the brand, be it a social offer, promotion, or just a product that they’re interested in. Once the user shows an interest in the product by clicking it, they can start an interaction with a live agent or chatbot; they then guide the consumer through to the transaction stage by finding out more about them. This doesn’t have to seem like prying – you can do it in an amusing way. Once you know more about their needs, you can suggest products they might like, and maybe offer exclusive offers they won’t find anywhere else. These offers can be particularly effective if they’re reliant on the consumer completing the purchase within a certain amount of time, prompting FOMO (fear of missing out).
This all happens in real-time. The consumer doesn’t have to click a banner ad to install a cookie, and then have the same advert follow them around the internet. It’s a much more immediate approach.
All the messages come directly from the brand, with visual elements to identify it as trustworthy (these include verification ticks, logos, and other company information). It’s more reassuring than being messaged by a random mobile number. Plus you don’t have to add a phone number to your address book. I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with that; it’s my private space, and me and the brand are not exactly friends (especially if I’m making a complaint).
Irrespective of where the message comes from – other firms might send from a call center or customer care representative – you as a consumer only see one sender. It’s seamless. That’s crucial for the customer experience.
On-message and on point.
So how do you get it right? When devising a strategy for mobile messaging, you should first look at your CRM strategy, and see if there are any learnings you can take from it. Email is the first link between transactional and promotional messaging. Mobile messaging is the logical extension of that.
For example, a lot of confirmations are sent via email – these can be moved into the messaging space without any concerns of being blocked, especially at the start of a promotion. With email, even if you’re whitelisted as a sender, you can still end up in the spam folder. But not with messaging.
From there, a common method is to work your way back to the promotion and use the same kind of approach as with email marketing. But that’s just one way to start.
The other way is to use the messaging platform for advertising. Once you understand what kind of activity works – through banners, stickers, and maybe one-to-one messages – you can fine-tune your messaging strategy. But this won’t build the same kind of customer relationship as when you start with promotion.
Strategize your Messaging First Approach.
Present your brand in the best possible way. A lot of companies make you add their number to your WhatsApp in order to message them. It’s not a good look.
Keep it personal. Messaging is a one-to-one communication, not one-to-many. People don’t want to hear about how amazing you are, or be sent generic discounts that they can get anywhere else. Messaging is a personal channel – so keep it personal.
Think about the user experience. This should be paramount. You have to make it easy for consumers to do business with you. It has to be a native experience. You can’t copy and paste from another channel – you can’t use the customer flow from your website, for example, and expect it to work on messaging. It won’t.
Get the timing right. Messaging works in real-time. You have to be able to answer a question when the customer asks it. That’s a core function of a messaging app – being able to provide a quick response. You can’t take 24 hours to reply. That’s not how it works. The fact you can do it through software like a chatbot means there are no excuses.
Add a human touch. Even if you’re using a chatbot, it’s still the messaging space, which means it has to be very personal. The answers should feel as if they were sent by a human being. There’s nothing more annoying than asking a question and getting a standard answer that in nine out of 10 cases doesn’t answer your question. It’s the worst. A lot of chatbots don’t offer a seamless and natural experience, which is why the adoption of chatbots has been rather slow.
Messaging Strategy through Asynchronous communication.
There are also some clear advantages to asynchronous communication and this includes email, sometimes chat, and for the most part social, SMS, etc.
Allow the customer to go at their pace. Sometimes our customers lead busy lives and only have the time to send a quick message to support before they move on to another issue, appointment, or meeting. The ability to get the ball rolling now rather than waiting for a large enough window of time in their schedule is preferable – especially for issues that aren’t as urgent.
Keep the conversation open-ended. This is a sub-point to the previous one. Many contact centers have a process, especially with synchronous chat that if customers don’t respond in three to five minutes they say something like, “It appears you’ve stepped away. I’m going to disconnect this chat. Feel free to contact us again when you’re back.” I mentioned this earlier but I’ve reviewed enough of these conversations to know that customers often feel abandoned by the support and dread having to initiate another chat to start all over again. Asynchronous communication keeps track of the conversation and doesn’t require the customer to start over because it never actually ends.
A more mobile-friendly option. We know that the increase in popularity of new messaging channels is due largely to our ever-increasing dependence on mobile devices. Channels like SMS, social, etc. thrive on mobile because of their ability to send short, quick messages. One of my long-standing pet peeves about synchronous chat support is that once I get an agent on the line, I’m tethered to my computer until that interaction completes. Asynchronous conversations move at the customer’s pace, traveling with them on their preferred device(s).
A natural relationship with self-help. Whereas synchronous messaging is better for the human connection, asynchronous paves the way for artificial intelligence to help answer some questions, especially those that might be easily solved with a knowledge base article.
“Customer service is the new marketing”
The world is changing fast. Keep pace with your customer’s “Preferences”. Your customers are hyper-connected & increasingly impatient. You must find ways to rise above the noise and stand out against your competition.
Your 160 character text will take less than a minute of your audience’s time. They know that, so they’re more likely to pay attention to that message than an email or a phone call, which is more interruptive and takes more of their time and attention. SMS messaging is the channel they prefer, the one they are comfortable with, and the one where they will engage with you. You’ll gain their loyalty and they will appreciate using their channel of choice.
Article by – Sabin Gomez
Development Manager | Contact Center Digital Solutions | Customer Experience Strategy.