Research shows that 72% of consumers would rather not contact customer service over the phone. They want to take matters into their own hands and find answers to their questions themselves (81%) and now prefer to chat. The latter applies to 61% of consumers, with 75% themselves believing that this creates a closer relationship with the company. This means that business is looking for new applications to reach the consumer and strengthen the relationship. ‘The rise of Generation Z makes conversational marketing even more important to remain future-proof as a business. They have grown up in a digitized society and have their smartphone in their hands almost 24/7. Do you want to reach them and tie them to your brand? Then you as a company will have to switch from your own channels to the one they prefer’, says Thijs Wolbers from Adwise.
The customer’s wish
Eight of the ten most downloaded apps today are social messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok; it must be clear where the consumer is. This makes an omnichannel communication strategy and the use of conversational marketing indispensable for companies. This also requires an integration of the now mostly separate silos of marketing, sales and customer service for personalized communications. In this way, consumers’ activities on different channels can be recognised, which provides new opportunities for personalization and segmentation of the customer base. This could include linking purchase history and previous contact with the customer service team.
In addition, the integration of the silos and communication channels ensures more low-key touch points with the consumer. Instead of just a confirmation email of an agreed agreement, the consumer can be continuously informed via reminders and, for example, delivery updates in e-commerce. Which alone reduces the percentage of no-shows or closed doors. The same applies to follow-up when a consumer has not ordered anything for a long time, sharing campaigns and personal discounts. An additional benefit of creating additional touch points with a channel like WhatsApp is that the open rate is no less than 78% higher than the 20% with email campaigns.
A step further is conversational commerce, where the social media channels are transformed into a sales channel, including insight into assortments and the option to complete the payment directly in the app. This retains the same benefits as conversational marketing and adds an extra dimension of convenience to both the consumer and the business. For example, the number of touch points to boost sales can be increased – regardless of whether it is the 7 out of 10 times when the (virtual) shopping cart is left without a purchase. ‘If you want to remain relevant to the consumer – also in the future – now is the time to dive into conversational commerce. Within five years, this will be the norm for the entire Dutch business community. I am convinced of that’, says Veerle Knechten from MessageBird.
To meet the consumer’s desire to find answers to any questions themselves, the use of advanced chatbots with automated flows on every communication channel is a crucial part of the omnichannel strategy. 10% of support tickets handled via phone calls now determine 90% of customer service costs. Chatbots with automated flows have the potential to reduce customer service call traffic by 19%. Additionally, agents can resolve 2.7 tickets during a call. All in all, this results in a cost reduction of 30%.
The use of social media channels for customer contact also makes it possible to communicate asynchronously. The consumer can contact and respond whenever they want, and the conversation always remains transparent. They are no longer dependent on queues or accidentally closing browsers, allowing the conversation to restart from scratch. Not only does this provide a better experience for the consumer, but it also has its benefits for the customer service agents who, due to the asynchronous nature, are able to handle multiple queries at the same time.