“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf,” said Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic. When it comes to preparing for the new normal, many marketers are trying to anticipate the next wave to surf. Here’s what future surf conditions look like.
80% of people responding to a 2018 survey by Salesforce said they were more likely to do business with a brand that offered a personal experience. Those numbers must be even higher now because, since the pandemic, many experts have called attention to the growing number of consumers who are demanding personal attention. And back then, 57% also reported switching merchants because a competitor offered CX (customer experience).
For most businesses, it’s not practical or affordable to have one-on-one phone conversations with each customer. Many don’t even do 24/7 real-time chats. But if CX is indeed the next wave, there are other ways to get on it and ride it all the way to shore.
Messengers seem to be the best way for brands to deliver personal and conversational experiences with customers. According to Business Intelligence, Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, and Viper are the top four apps, and Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the four leading social platforms. Brands need to be sure they can easily and readily connect with customers.
Hooking into the brand’s customer database allows today’s bots to be more sophisticated. They can even anticipate issues as well as personalize responses. They’re even able to prompt customer actions like making purchases or appointments.
Conversational engagement can also work. Proactive messages that share and direct customers to new resources and features based on their data will help them get the most of their visit and time. Triggering guided tours and onboarding messages based on their previously indicated preferences is also helpful.
Whenever possible, reinforce customer assistance by letting them know conversational support is always available when they need it. And on matters that chatbots or AI can’t handle, refer them immediately to a team member. Available contextual data should be available to support immediate assistance.
Conversational marketing is another tool. When visitors land on the brand’s website, welcome them like people do their friends but also reassure them that help is available whenever they need it. If the visitor has already been flagged as a high intent buyer, he/she should be immediately directed to a member of the sales team. Having the right program will automate this.
Consider upgrading. Most, if not all, these chatbot suggestions can be performed with basic chatbots, but marketers would be wise to anticipate that big wave by taking things a level higher and investing in a business messenger and conversational relationship platform. The difference is that business messengers will perform the same tasks as chatbots and confirm in real-time that the brand’s message has been viewed and that the customer is responding with the structure needed by the brand – push notification, brand messaging, and customization.
A much bigger world of opportunity and stewardship opens up with the investment in and use of a conversational relationship platform. A good one also uses AI but incorporates a variety of interfaces like Siri and Alexa and a better pipeline for consumers to get their issues resolved. In addition, they can handle consumer communication through any channel while being relevant and personalizing its responses.