We attended eTail West 2020 this week and were highly impressed with the quality of the sessions. One key theme that resonated throughout the show was the concept of creating direct conversations with your customers in order to drive sales more efficiently than your typical paid marketing efforts.
Some key ways for creating direct two way conversations with your customers include:
1-to-1 Conversations v.s. Paid Ads increase engagement and overall ROI
Target the Messaging Services- At Linc, we are seeing a huge increase in investment into direct and 1:1 customer engagement tools particularly across the messaging mediums. Focus on both the service side and the engagement side as both will provide your customers with a much more intimate and personal interaction experience for driving deeper customer connections and brand loyalty.
Think outside the big three social networks (Twitter Facebook and Instagram)- Brands, such as Poshmark are seeing great results through Snapchat as the nature of the social network drives more organic conversations and therefore a larger majority of campaign engagements are converted into relationships with the customer. More customers, in turn, come back to converse with Poshmark showing great loyalty and LTV.
Engagements with customer service provide untapped potential for creating loyalty
Service conversations hold much-untapped opportunities for engagement and revenue. The key is really to think of the customer journey as a continuum rather than isolated events. With our experience in serving tens of millions of consumers, we have seen customers on average navigate through 3.5 services in one conversation. A customer coming in to get sizing assistance, for example, can quickly turn into a check inventory/product availability in a particular store, then to check promotion. Mapping out critical moments in your customer’s lives and drawing out edges in between them is a good start.
Another good example is the return process- To think of the customer moments means understanding that customer may have specific repurchase needs when they are getting help on a return, based on the different return reasons, the repurchase needs are very different. Customers may also desire better visibility on refund status, and are willing to opt-in for a refund status notification. Now you can craft a highly contextual customer conversation continuity plan. Connecting customers directly to a very personalized repurchase recommendation that takes into account the reason for the return, and offer up notification opt-ins for refund, planting seeds for subsequent interaction opportunities just a few days down the road. This turns that one purpose interaction of return service, to multiple re-engagement opportunities. This process easily applies across both the pre-purchase and post-purchase journey.
Get creative and be authentic
Use push notification for engaging and delighting the customer, not directly selling them. A message of "You can do it!", lights up the customer’s day and will keep your brand top of mind while building an authentic brand character.
Don’t be afraid to invest in creative and fun features like "joke of the day", and "shop emojis" to drive customer engagement within the app. When looking at immediate sales conversion, it is very hard to justify the investment to these features, however, when looking at a 20-day to 30-day sales conversion, Zappos found that the customers that engaged with these features spend significantly more, and are more loyal over time.
When it comes to the conversation, "listening" is just as important as "speaking
Analyze your customer service data and monitor your ratings and reviews. By doing so, you fight insights that lead to product research and what your customers truly want.
Know your communication channel
While SMS might be the most effective channel for a quick service alert/notifications, Messaging via social and web offers much richer user experience with CTAs, Carousel, and quick reply functions, making messaging via social and web much more suited for a multi-turn, truly conversational and consultative experience. Don’t forget about the voice experience as well, as users expect a full digital assistant experience completely on their demand. Voice has the unique advantage of reaching customers in scenarios where they are not in front of a screen or even your mobile phone. From CPG brands wanting to get into customers' kitchen and accessible when moms are thinking about dinner ideas, to brands wanting to engage kids who don't even have a phone, these voice-enabled digital assistants offers new opportunities no other channels offer.
In the end, there is no one channel that wins it all. Understanding the channel-specific advantages and limitations and marrying that to the right customer interaction is really the key.
You can learn more about the customer experience and how automating the shopper experience can engage your customers at every touchpoint by exploring Linc’s platform and solutions pages. Or take a look at how leading brands like Lamps Plus, Levi's, Carter's and others are using a Conversational AI platform as part of their customer experience strategies in their businesses today, on our resources page.