The Customer Is The Channel

The customer-centric blog of Linc Global

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How a Billion Dollar Childrenswear Company improved loyalty and LTV by 65%

Whenever children or babies are around - you know you'll have your hands full, with little time to spare. 

So if you’re a retailer selling to this time-strapped demographic, it makes sense to put convenience in the center of your customer-engagement efforts.

A leading multi-billion dollar childrenswear company understood this and wanted to make it easier for its customers to communicate with them.

Given that today’s generation of new parents increasingly favor communication via social media channels such as Facebook (and even via voice assistants such as Alexa and Google Assistant), it made sense to go where customers were, and to make communication easier and faster, to meet rising customer expectations. With a combined following of more than five million consumers on its Facebook pages alone, the ecommerce leader understood that the FB channel was a crucial component of day-to-day communications with shoppers.

Their head of ecommerce turned to Linc to adapt to changes in customer behavior and meet new levels of customer expectations. Specifically, with a focus on:

  • Email updates with live content and SMS text messages (Customers absolutely loved both, and especially appreciated how quick and easy getting an update was via text), and
  • An AI-powered Facebook Messenger chatbot, which helps brands automate customer engagement and care for their shoppers.

Implementing the Chatbot

With a chatbot, customers can now track packages and receive instant answers, 24/7, to order questions, instead of needing to interact with human representatives, which is not as convenient, and also sometimes requires a wait. The company also had the idea to use chatbots to update customers on pick-up-in-store orders that were made online, an innovative use of the tool that is keeping customers from having to search for an update email or phone call.

Using chatbots, they have been able to better serve customers, while also mitigating the volume of inquiries handled by traditional service channels, lessening labor costs and also reducing strain on customer care representatives.

Customers can easily get updates on their orders, and also ask questions, plus get answers about their pickup orders, in realtime, through the most convenient and timely channels.

Results

With customers now able to get timely updates on the channels there prefer to use, this leading brand is strengthening customer loyalty and differentiating itself from competitors. Moreover, KPIs are showing that better experience mean more revenue.

  • Average purchases per year are 64.7% higher for customer who opt in to use conversational channels
  • 12 month customer revenue is 50.4% higher for customers who use automated assistance

The Future is now

The team is currently assessing voice assistant platforms, and how they can offer immediate answers about orders, while creating branded experiences on these platforms, powered by a branded assistant running on Linc's platform.

Related Posts

Turning Touchpoints into a Journey

Every interaction with your customer is important, and maximizing the effectiveness of touchpoints has been a valid business concern for some time. Research from McKinsey, however, highlights the blind spot in this kind of thinking -- true leading brands have moved from a touchpoints-focus to a focus on the holistic customer journey.

Designing a Customer Experience Strategy for Conversational Commerce

When you master conversational commerce, you’ll deliver experiences that make your customers feel as if you hired a personal assistant to help each of them.  There are several key strategies, smart brands need to think about as they go about creating their conversational commerce strategy. Don’t Forget The Data If conversational commerce is the new paradigm of customer experience, data is the engine that drives all those delightful interactions across touchpoints. Your customers are creating data every time they click, swipe, and like --it’s up to you to find it, analyze it and use it to inform customer engagement. Nordstrom, for example, uses sensors and Wi-Fi to track who comes to the store, wherein the store they shop, and how long they stay. They also incentivize their Nordstrom’s credit card and rewards program to gather data about their clients. Target is also known for its data-collecting. The mega-retailer assigns every customer a Guest ID number, which is linked to their credit card, name, or email address. This Guest ID number becomes a repository of info on a shopper’s past Target purchases and any demographic information the company has collected about them and/or bought from a third-party source. Target’s data is so accurate and fine-grained that they were even able to determine a teenage shopper was pregnant (and send her the appropriate mailer filled with baby items) long before her father ever knew. Collecting relevant data, analyzing it and using your learnings to inform which conversational channels make sense for your brand and what types of experiences your particular customers seek to have on them is the foundation of your conversational commerce efforts. Focus On The Highest-Value Activities Put your energy toward meaningful services that customers already care about. Look at service-oriented features, such as notification capability and on-demand service and support capabilities, to guide the customer journey. Don’t just focus on the “Checkout.” The main benefit of service-oriented conversational channel offerings is the ability to organically drive usage into new channels. For example, a customer might place an order on your website and learn that she can subscribe to order status updates through Facebook Messenger. What she sees as taking advantage of a perk will benefit you by encouraging her toward a channel where your chatbot can take over. ChatBots are best for organic conversations with common use cases, but also provide a sense of personalization and convenience for the shopper. Customer service should be your core use for this technology to start. Be Prepared For Bot-to-Human Handoffs The great thing about a conversation handled over text or Messenger is that the customer doesn’t have to know when they might be switching from a bot to a human. Bot design in the future will focus on what they can do, knowing what they can’t do, and designing a bridge to employee assistance that feels seamless to the customer. It’s not just the customer that will be helped by the bot, but the employee. It will provide faster information and better analytics in real time, perhaps then parsing information to pass on to the consumer. The most important aspect of innovation is convenience for the shopper. They should never have to explain their request twice. Start Simple and Grow to Brand Management You can start with bots as a single voice in the chorus of messages from your brand. The long term will have bots as representatives of your entire brand, managing relationships with your customers. You can start conversational commerce, however, with just a single entry point. You can get your customers used to interacting with you on the same channels they use to chat with their friends. You can piggyback on the culture of quick and informal communication, but be ready to meet their expectations for highly personal and meaningful results. If your bot can’t meet that expectation, your customer could walk away disappointed or annoyed. As the technology improves, and it is, even as we write this, you’ll be able to put more and more of your brand management in the hands of the bots. Authentication Giving your bot a way to confirm the customer’s identity is key to a truly intelligent communication that can leverage data from across your other channels. If this isn’t done right, your bot will see each customer as a stranger, negating the opportunity to provide personalized service. Focus On Concepts Rather Than Solutions Your customers might be on Kik today but head over to Facebook Messenger tomorrow. Focusing on the concepts of conversational commerce rather than today’s hottest medium will help you keep your sanity and provide an agile approach that can be applied to meet your customers wherever they migrate. Try not to get bogged down with the details of how to build for one particular channel, and look instead to use-cases. 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.