The customer-centric blog of Linc Global
Among 2,500 award applicants, Linc was selected for its innovative work in helping brands and retailers reinvent their customer care strategy. Linc’s platform leverages purpose-built AI to answer more than 90% of customer inquiries with automated assistance across web, email, SMS, Facebook Messenger, and voice assistants including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
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.
This is a summary of an article published by PYMNTS. You can read the full article here. No one likes the friction-filled process of returning unwanted goods. Say hello, literally, to Alexa, and a streamlined process of getting what consumers want through a turbocharged customer care experience, via Linc. Giving voice to returns can save sales. In an interview with PYMNTS’ Karen Webster, Linc CEO Fang Cheng said that the skill lives at the intersection of AI and customer care, enabling brands and retailers “to have a much more intimate way of serving their shoppers across any channels those shoppers prefer.” The platform also works with retailers who are not plying their wares over Amazon, through both Alexa and Google Assistant. In an example of the customer care continuum, Cheng said that a consumer can ask Alexa “where is my order?” and the assistant will respond with tracking information and a projected delivery date. It’s an example of quick answer and quick response. One notable absence, and perhaps a refreshing one: There’s no need to know the order number or the specifics of a product, and thus no need for a paper chase. Linc’s platform, the company has said, does all that housekeeping, so to speak, in the background. As Cheng stated, the platform and the merchant are integrated to the point where brands can come to market with their Alexa skill in a matter of weeks. “The beauty [of the skill] is that the assistant already has access to all the past purchases that have been made with the brand,” Cheng noted. Linc’s platform knows what orders are eligible for return, and there is no need for obsessive paperwork, she told Webster. “What makes the assistant smart is that the assistant needs to have a fairly deep level of data,” she said. Linc does not store anything related to that data or the emails that customarily alert consumers to their commerce activity. You can read the full article here on PYMNTS.com
This is a summary of an article published by Total Retail. You can read the full article here. Talk doesn’t come cheap, and this is especially true in retail, where managing customer care costs across the ever-expanding landscape of communication is top of mind for retailers. While retailers will spend exponentially more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, taking care of an existing one is expensive. Recent research found that 55 percent of retailers are experiencing an increase in customer care costs. Pair this with the increasing pressure from retail disruptors and you see why the industry as a whole is looking for a winning formula for customer care.
Life used to be pretty easy for well-established CPG brands. As long as they had a handle on their supply chain, manufacturing and distribution, their operations would run smoothly. Competition was centered on securing prime shelf space and fending off brand or product line extensions from other CPGs or the private label offerings of supermarkets or big-box retailers. Magazine and TV ads, along with retail coupons, would remind consumers why they preferred this brand of household name toothpaste or breakfast cereal over another. Maybe if you wanted to be seen as particularly cutting-edge, you tried your hand at a light-hearted branded Twitter account. And then things changed quickly and dramatically. What was once smooth sailing got a whole lot rougher.
This is a guest blog post from CPG and Amazon expert, Melissa Burdick. Melissa has over 12 years of experience in ecommerce, and works with brands to help them develop ecommerce strategies and win online. She previously helped launch the CPG retail business on Amazon.com, and was at Amazon Media Group at its inception. For a long time, CPG brands didn't need to be overly concerned with ecommerce. US CPG manufacturers sleepily watched other categories (like consumer electronics) and markets (like UK and China) increase in ecommerce maturity while still focusing on their bread & butter brick & mortar businesses. However, as shifting consumer preferences, low barriers to entry online giving rise to niche incumbent brands, and declining brick & mortar sales, an ecommerce strategy has suddenly gone from nice to have to critical and required immediately. According to a new Nielsen study, brick and mortar sales for fast-moving CPGs have declined, while online sales of these same goods have grown by a massive 32% over the last year. The study stated that nearly nine of out of 10 dollars of FMCG retail growth came from online last year.
Growing lifestyle retailer Pura Vida selects Linc to improve customer care automation and utilize their customizable artificial intelligence platform SUNNYVALE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Linc Global, the customer care automation platform that powers the digital experiences that strengthen brand-to-shopper relationships, today announced its partnership with lifestyle retailer Pura Vida Bracelets to improve its customer service offerings through automation and artificial intelligence. Pura Vida will utilize Linc’s solution to provide a personalized customer care experience to ensure timely updates to customers, suggest product recommendations based on recent purchases and strengthen customer relationships. “We’re excited to partner with Linc to enhance our customer care platform. The majority of our sales are direct-to-consumer online so it’s important we have a platform that not only provides a quick solution to customer questions but is customizable to match our branding,” said Griffin Thall, CEO and co-founder, Pura Vida. “Linc enables us to directly interact with our customers via Facebook messenger which is exciting for us as a brand that actively engages with our audience on social media.”
Retailers have their eye on AI as a force that will reshape their customer care over the next 24 months, but most aren’t leveraging it today or are merely experimenting with it. Research we conducted with Brand Garage found that while almost 87% of retail executives planned to increase their usage of customer care AI in 24 months, less than 42% were currently using it, with most of them reporting they were only doing so on a trial or pilot basis. This future intention vs. current action gap is troubling for a number of reasons.
Retail as we know it is back to the wild west. Over the past 12-18 months, and even moreso over the last 6, tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon have made significant strides to revamp the E-Commerce world that we know. There has been a huge paradigm shift; from Facebook Messenger opening up their API’s for developers to build chatbots that shoppers can use to directly message with retailers, to devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa bringing voice assistants into your shoppers’ day-to-day lives. We are finally seeing the reality behind what has been referenced for years now as “Conversational Commerce” come to life.