Crafting an experience that will keep customers coming back makes business sense. The cost of replacing a lost customer can range from five to 25 times the investment of keeping them. Studies by Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company, the people who brought you the net promoter score, found that upping your customer retention by just 5% can lead to increases in revenue from 25% to 95%.
“In our research and consulting on customer journeys, we’ve found that organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction,” says the Harvard Business Review. “They also discover more-effective ways to collaborate across functions and levels, a process that delivers gains throughout the company.”
Some outstanding industry examples that rely on conversational commerce to do this include:
- Texting for towels: Radisson Blu’s virtual assistant, Edward, is at your service, from before you check in to 24/7 during your stay. If you need to ask the time for breakfast or request more towels be sent, Edward is there to serve, from the screen of your smart phone.
- Flight info on the go: KLM now offers all your flight information right there in Facebook Messenger. Flight updates, booking info, and even your boarding pass are available within the chat thread.
- Everything in one app: WeChat, China’s dominant chatting app, lets its users run their lives by texting to hail a taxi, order food, and track fitness progress.
According to 7, a whopping 86% of customers describe outstanding customer service as having these three elements:
- The company anticipates their needs.
- The self-service is optimal.
- They’re able to contact the company any way they want.
Sounds like conversational commerce to us!
How can you reach customer nirvana at each touchpoint? Start with the basics:
- Offer helpful self-service content at every touchpoint. Anticipate the questions your customers will have, and have help at the ready, for example in the form of a chatbot on Facebook Messenger or links to FAQs. 90% of your customers are likely to go to the website before calling or emailing, so FAQs and a knowledge base are important. FAQs should be detailed and clear, and written in your brand’s voice. Any chatbot should be able to resolve common inquiries in real-time, to help ensure customers feel satisfied with their interaction.
- Use proactive help in areas where customers get stuck. Be clear about what just happened, (“Item has been added to your cart!”), or what will happen now (“Your boots will arrive in two days.”).
- Have a consistent personality to your brand. In today’s conversational commerce world, you want to be casual and personable, but also reflect your brand’s unique personality. Getting an email joking about a high-five for placing your order feels a lot more human than the robotic ORDER #53759384 HAS BEEN CONFIRMED message. Make sure you have a brand voice document so you avoid sounding like every other company.
- Go for personalized, consistent interactions. Across all channels, your customer expects you to know who she is and how she’s spoken with you before. This is a huge challenge, but one that bot-assisted conversational commerce is quickly turning into a reality. While no platform is perfect (yet), yours should be able to track previous engagements a customer has had with your brand across channels and personalize your communications with that customer with at least the basic details you have collected about them (name, birthdate).
- Gather and use feedback: According to Esteban Kolsky, founder of thinkJar, a customer strategy consulting firm, 70% of companies that deliver best-in-class customer experience base it on customer feedback. The industry average is 50%, he says, and of the laggards, only 29% reflect feedback in their processes. Werner Vogels, CTO of Amazon.com, said, “To ensure that a service meets the needs of the customer (and not more than that) we use a process called ‘Working Backwards’ in which you start with your customer and work your way backwards until you get to the minimum set of technology requirements to satisfy what you try to achieve. The goal is to drive simplicity through a continuous, explicit customer focus.”
You can learn more about conversational commerce and engaging your customers at every touchpoint by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, JustFab.com and others are using automated conversational commerce strategies in their businesses today, in our resources page.