The Customer Is The Channel

The customer-centric blog of Linc Global

Luke Starbuck

Luke Starbuck

Recent Posts:

The challenges of optimizing post-purchase in a silo

As executives realize the need to reach customers on the channels they prefer, the post-purchase is the easiest and most common first action to take for creating an optimized customer experience.

New Feature: Automated Web Chat and How It Will Change Customer Engagement Benchmarks

Your brand image depends on the customer service you provide. A once-unsatisfied customer is unlikely to visit your site again. While common options include providing live chat service to customers, along with service on social channels, there is a new opportunity available. The first of its kind, automated web chat delivers a real-time, personalized experience – in this post, we’ll talk about the best way to utilize automated web chat and what long-term benefits it will bring to your company.

New Feature: Organic Marketing Opt-In

As brands are quickly learning, today’s customer wants to interact on the channel they want to use and at the time they want.  Though this means finding new ways to give the customer immediate service, across more channels, there is more to the story than this. Astute leaders will recognize that where you provide service, you can also leverage customer engagement to lead to the customer to additional purchases to increase revenue and strengthen loyalty.

Customer Highlight: How Lamps Plus Delivers an Innovative Customer Experience

Angela Hsu, SVP Marketing and Ecommerce at Lamps Plus, the United States’ largest lighting retailer, recognized a need to take action to cement their market-leading position. Shoppers’ buying behaviors had changed, and to evolve with customers’ preferences, they needed to deliver improved customer experiences across all channels that customers used, outside of email alone. Lamps Plus selected Linc’s Customer Care Automation (CCA) platform in order to provide real-time updates and answers, to deliver convenience and accessibility that customers wanted, in order to solidify brand loyalty and maintain their leadership position.

[ Forrester Viewpoint ] Deliver Value-Oriented, Contextually-Relevant Experiences

Picture this: A busy Mom is on her way to the grocery store, with 2 kids in the back seat asking about snacks. One wants an apple juice, the other wants a cheese stick. As she parks the car and gives the kids their snacks, she has a moment to catch up on the three things that are on her mind: 1 - The playdate she's hosting this weekend, 2 - Lunches for the family, and 3 - The new dress her daughter wants to wear at her friend's birthday party next Sunday. The first two are momentary thoughts, the latter, is a pause filled with concern that what she has ordered online might not make it in time. It will stir a fight if she has to convince her daughter to wear something from the wardrobe.

The New Job on the Block: Chatbot Strategist

I remember sitting in class one day at University, and the plucky, outspoken prof announced to our lecture that most of us would be doing jobs that don’t have names yet. As a concept, this seemed to make sense, but as a reality, I couldn’t imagine how jobs could materialize from thin air, at least with such a lack of predictability that we didn’t even know they’d be needed. Fast forward to today, and I’m fairly certain my prof would be ready with a warm-hearted ‘I told you so’, if I explained what I’ve seen develop this year.

We've launched a D2C branded automated assistant, capable of serving customers across conversational channels

[Las Vegas, NV] GroceryShop 2018 is underway with industry leaders taking the stage to address shared challenges and opportunities relating to the evolution of how consumers shop for products ranging from food and beverage to health, beauty, personal care, household and pet supplies.

Spotlight: Automated Omnichannel Shopping Assistance

Many Linc’d brands offer their customers automated assistance across channels, including help with orders, returns and other questions, and see over 70% of inquiries resolved immediately. Beyond these tier-1 inquiries, there’s a big opportunity to add additional capabilities to an automated assistant powered by Linc’s platform, and deliver services and experiences that help to differentiate a brand, and make life more convenient for customers.

Feature Announcement: New opportunities to engage with customers

We’re constantly working to help Linc’d brands make the services they offer more accessible and convenient for customers, and deliver more impact. This quarter, we’re rolling out Automated 2-way SMS chat, and Automated Twitter DM.

Consumer behavior is changing faster than anyone is noticing

Email is the new filing cabinet. When’s the last time you checked email? How about when you last checked your phone for new messages? If you’re like 4 out of every 5 consumers, you went first for messages and left email alone. Most people leave it alone for a day, or 2, before checking it, and it is earning a reputation for being a place where official records are sent and can be searched for later. Click video to learn more:  It’s definitely not where most people chat about the weekend’s plans, or check out the latest styles from favorite brands. Now, this shouldn’t surprise anyone, but based on the ecommerce’s love affair with email, it would seem that there’s a misalignment between marketing and its intended audience. While many consumers are using instant messaging, text and social apps multiple times per hour, brands are working hard on their email creative for the week, and setting up their campaigns to go out at just the right time, though it has far less impact that it did 10 years ago. This is troubling for a number of reasons, but let’s keep this brief. Primarily, the problem here is that many teams are structured around channels. And at a higher level, many companies are structured with marketing, ecommerce and customer service teams sitting apart from each other, and doing their level best to “enhance communication channels” and ‘share data’. So while consumers are putting little voice assistants in the kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms, email marketers are working hard to get their graphics approved and their segments locked down. Seems like something’s a little off, right? It is. Though email is still an incredibly effective channel for ecommerce marketers, not many brands are investing in newer ways to connect with their customers. And though we used to talk about preparing for new channels, the new apps and devices consumers are using today represent the need to do more than just develop a strategy for a new channel. The real showstopper here is that marketing, sales and service all collide on these channels when its done right. And that doesn’t jive well when you have separate teams. So while 20-somethings are scribbling on  photos and sending them to their friends, brands are trying to figure out whether Messenger is going to work well for customer service. Or if they should have a branded skill on Alexa that offers some content to the customer. If you’re having these conversations at the moment, please stop. With most of your customers going to instant messaging as their first communication channel, and the majority of consumers who have bought voice assistants saying there’s  no way they would want to go back to their life before voice, its time to start learning about what these channels can be used for, when the customer is put in center-focus. The opportunity is real, but only for brands willing to step outside their traditional mindset. Customers are ready and willing to build new habits, and will be delighted by the services that can be offered through these channels. The same channels they use dozens of times each day. The biggest brands recognize this, and that’s why they are investing in voice, and chat, with a focus on the customer’s interests. They see the opportunity and know the time to start is now. For many others, there’s a hint that this could be mobile all over again - too slow, too little, too late, and too many lost opportunities.

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