Have you noticed that some brands are increasingly looking at how they engage in conversations with their audience?
Chatbots, Slack groups, Whatsapp groups, LIve chat…
Some of it is intentional and some of it is because broadcasting content on channels such as Twitter and Facebook doesn’t yield the same results anymore.
The conversation economy is encouraging conversations with your audience for better business results.
I recently attended the Traffic & Conversion Summit in San Diego and there was a lot of talk about CPC.
Not Cost per Click as you may have thought, but Cost per Conversation.
Marketers are realizing that delivering personalized, conversational experience to their audience can lead to more leads and more sales.
And why is this happening now?
It has a lot to do with the rise of messaging apps and the on-demand economy…
Consumers now expect instant responses, contextually-aware offers, and highly-personalized messages from companies and brands they interact with.
Is automation still required?
Yes there’s certainly still a level of automation required.
For example, Webio are an Irish company that help reduce the time required to interact with customers across a range of messaging channels (Whatsapp, FB Messenger, SMS, Viber and Telegram). By bringing all communication under one platform and introducing some smart AI to answer most questions they are saving a lot of time and increasing revenue for their customers.
The AI is where the automation fits. Consumers don’t mind getting automated answers if they can get them instantly and it answers their queries. The issue is when there is automation that can’t satisfy the requirements of your customers.
The AI agent is a buffer between the communication from the customer and the live agent. When the AI agent can’t provide an intelligent response the live agent steps in.
How does social media fit into this?
Social media (my explanation) is any online channel where there is an opportunity for someone to interact with your message.
Twitter, Facebook etc all fit into this although this interaction has massively declined.
But here are other channels I would see as social:
- Live chat on the website
- Facebook Messenger
- Whatsapp groups
- Slack groups
- Email (yes email can be social)
So social media is not dying. But how we interpret what social is and how we leverage it is changing.
In this conversation economy here are some examples of how we can build interaction with our audience to drive better results for our business.
Live chat on your website
Live chat is typically used to provide support, but companies are increasingly using live chat to deal with inquiries from their website visitors.
In fact, live chat has become an efficient way to engage with inbound leads and provide answers to their questions in real-time.
We are currently using Lucky Orange on our site for live chat and are definitely getting conversions. When people are stuck with questions they get an immediate answer over live chat. Here’s an example:
According to a report by Twilio, 9 out of 10 consumers want to use messaging to communicate with brands. This only shows how important the conversational experience has become and how necessary it is for companies to enable this capability on their websites.
Alan O’Rourke used to head up marketing for OnePage CRM and he said that customers that went on to convert after chatting on Live chat were typically 3 times the size of other customers.
You have the option to implement a chatbot on your site to help you qualify leads (they’re actually pretty cost-effective and easy to maintain) or have your pre-sales reps available to chat with website visitors.
For example, OptinMonster gives you an option to enter your name and email to start a live chat with their pre-sales specialist.
However, if you want 24/7 availability, then your best bet is a chatbot that can tap into your knowledge base to answer common questions and then offer options for connecting with a pre-sales rep if needed.
Personalized email marketing
So many marketers use email marketing tools to broadcast the same message to everyone with some very basic personalization.
But how about sending more personalized emails from your own email client to encourage conversations?
Emails that focus on getting a response because that will help increase conversions?
Let’s take an example of a SaaS company trying to onboard their users.
When new users sign up for a 2-week trial, a SaaS company wants to make sure they get the most out of the software (and get some quick wins!) or they will leave.
Onboarding is providing them all the help they need to get up and running.
So imagine that, instead of sending the same impersonal email to everyone, you collected some information about new users during the onboarding process and used it to send a personalized email directly from a member of your customer support team.
Here’s an example:
I noticed you just signed up to XXX and you’re the CEO of XXX. I have provided support to a lot of similar businesses and there are 3 main challenges they typically face when they sign up. Are you available for a quick 10 minutes call to discuss?
One of the biggest problems with onboarding is a low-touch, impersonal approach.
So the winning formula is to show that there are real people behind the product who want to see their users succeed and are available for a conversation if and when users need them.
In the world of SaaS, churn starts at the onboarding and well-timed, personal messages can make all the difference!
Facebook Messenger chatbots
You may have noticed that a lot of big brand names are now leveraging chatbots to achieve one-on-one interaction with their customers at scale.
It’s very rare (and expensive) for a company to be available for its customers 24/7 and chatbots are an effective solution to this problem. Especially when they’re available on consumers’ preferred messaging app, like Facebook Messenger.
We’re already seeing different business use cases for chatbots, from providing basic support and answering FAQs to leading customers through the sales funnel through personalized product/service recommendations.
But how do consumers feel about interacting with chatbots?
More than half of American participants in a recent study said that they want chatbots involved in customer support process, especially if they can reduce time to resolution and make the process more efficient.
Although instantaneous responses and 24/7 availability are huge advantages of chatbots, consumers still appreciate human interaction, especially for more complex queries.
A well trained chatbot that can connect a customer to a support or sales rep at the right time in the conversation can be of huge benefit to any company doing business online.
In fact, Webio (mentioned earlier) found that a chatbot can improve agent productivity by up to 80%.
Another benefit of using a Facebook Messenger chatbot is that you can proactively reach out to your customers with highly relevant and timely content.
You can now purchase products by having conversations with voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa.
But how much are consumers actually using voice assistants for product purchases?
Over a third of respondents in a Capgemini study said they have bought products like groceries, homecare and clothes via a voice assistant.
Plus, around 25% of people say they would use a voice assistant instead of a website. According to the study, in three years’ time, this is set to rise to 40%.
Consumers love voice assistants because the speed and convenience they provide create a great user experience.
This is an incredible opportunity for brands to be among the first movers and provide the conversational experience their customers are asking for.
I am certain that we’re going to see a lot more companies in the near future partnering with Amazon’s Alexa to enable voice purchases.
There’s a tremendous opportunity for your business to leverage conversational commerce to build valuable relationships, save money and drive sales with potential and existing customers.
The way things are looking, conversation is the future of customer experience.
So join the conversation!
Offer a more personalized way for people to engage with your business – it can be any of the channels we discussed in this article, as long as it makes sense for your business and matches the interests/needs of your audience.
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by Ian Cleary