Why You Should Use Messaging to Win Customers and Drive SalesBy Martin Urrutia | Fri, 01/28/2022 - 10:48
In today’s world, the average person spends about 4.5 hours per day on a mobile phone; 83 percent of this time (about 3.5 hours) is spent on messaging apps like WhatsApp, Messenger and Instagram. Therefore, messaging has become one of the primary methods through which humans communicate. Companies, many of which still rely on contact centers, IVRs and email for customer engagement, have been slow to adopt messaging solutions despite the clear benefits: messaging allows companies to automate customer engagement, simplify their operations and meet customers where they are. Moreover, companies that use messaging solutions increase sales, improve customer satisfaction, drive loyalty and reduce costs.
According to a study by Meta, 91 percent of consumers (across all age groups) want to engage companies on messaging channels. Being present on social media or offering customer service with agents via WhatsApp is not enough, as 90 percent of consumers want personalized, automated and transactional experiences on their preferred messaging channel, requiring businesses to offer unified experiences on all messaging channels. Moreover, 77 percent of consumers want to shop on messaging channels and 54 percent, according to the same study, want to do the entire process (explore, select, purchase and track) on these channels, presenting a great opportunity for companies to reach more consumers and increase sales.
How can companies design a best-in-class business messaging strategy for customer engagement? Based on Auronix’s experience deploying messaging solutions with over 1,000 enterprise customers, the best messaging strategies have three pillars:
1. An omnichannel outbound strategy that covers the entire customer journey.
Messages are the best channel for companies to contact their customers with promotions, notifications, alerts, receipts, statements and one-time passwords, as they are less invasive than calls and have better conversion rates than email — WhatsApp’s conversion rate is 10-15 percent. A solid outbound strategy should consider the entire customer journey, mapping the key moments to message customers. To maximize the effectiveness of outbound messaging, companies should have a centralized messaging solution, use official and verified channels, send personalized messages through the right channel and automate these campaigns and notifications by integrating the messaging solution into CRMs, marketing tools and other enterprise software. The best outbound strategies use an orchestrator — a solution with artificial intelligence that routes messages to the best channel based on rules, such as the customer's preferred channel or cheapest channel — and create multichannel workflows — messaging sequences to contact the customer through different messaging channels to increase conversion; contacting a customer through three or more channels increases conversion by six to seven times, according to fluentco.com data. Last, but not least, all companies should measure results of their outbound strategies and seek continuous improvement.
2. A transactional omnichannel conversational experience (chatbot) for inbound messaging.
In a world where most companies compete on customer experience, chatbots and messaging are very powerful tools. According to HubSpot, 90 percent of consumers want immediate responses from companies to marketing, sales or customer support inquiries. To have a robust inbound customer engagement strategy, companies must be present on all messaging channels with official/verified accounts and have transactional chatbots that automate interactions (for example, allow the user to make a purchase, check a balance, apply for credit or track a package without help from an agent) through integrations into enterprise software and payment gateways. In Auronix’s experience, the best chatbots are deployed on all messaging channels, process natural language with artificial intelligence and solve 90-95 percent of contacts; therefore, it is important to have customer service agents to address the remaining 5-10 percent of customer contacts. The best chatbots are those that create conversational commerce or conversational banking experiences, allowing customers to make purchases or consume financial services on messaging channels, boosting the company’s sales. Finally, chatbots are not a one-time project, they require frequent tracking of results and continuous optimizations to constantly improve customer experience throughout the customer journey.
3. A robust marketing and entry-point strategy to generate traffic and awareness.
No enterprise messaging strategy is complete without a robust marketing and entry-point strategy to create awareness of the company’s customer engagement channels and generate more traffic, prospects and customers. Based on Auronix’s experience, the best strategies increase traffic by three to five times and include:
- Entry-points: easily accessible entry-points to messaging solutions, such as Google and Meta Ads (Click-to-WhatsApp, for example), QR codes, outbound campaigns, call deflection and links and buttons on websites, apps, social media and maps.
- Marketing: strategies with social media posts, educational videos, case studies and printed materials to generate awareness and drive traffic.
- Public Relations: press releases that are picked up by media outlets.
A successful business messaging strategy empowers companies to automate customer engagement, simplify operations and see benefits, such as (based on Auronix’s experience):
- Increased sales: existing digital shoppers increase spend up to 4 times with conversational commerce; 40 percent of shoppers had never done a digital purchase before.
- More engagement: up to 10 times more contacts; 75 percent say they wouldn’t have called.
- Better customer experience: customer Satisfaction was, on average, above 90 percent.
- Reduced costs: save up to 85 percent of their contact center costs.
Creating a holistic business messaging strategy may seem like a daunting digital transformation project. However, partnering with the right messaging solution provider, one with the right expertise and solutions, will make the transformation incredibly easier — and the benefits will far outweigh the effort.