Customers expect a lot from your brand, and they want to be able to reach you from anywhere - on any platform. Eighty percent of customers are after more than just a great product, but also a personalized experience with seamless communication no matter what.
Businesses are eyeing additional communication channels to meet that demand and expectations. It’s not enough to reply to customer queries within a day or even a couple of hours - they want instantaneous responses! And because of their climbing expectations, chat and messaging services are on the horizon as tools to enhance the customer experience.
Not only are these channels bringing new options to improve customer experience, but it’s also providing companies with the ability to drive more revenue. Ninety-three percent of customers become repeat customers if a brand delivers on their customer service, and 84% of companies who improve it report an increase in revenue. It’s about giving the customers what they want in a way that benefits your bottom line.
Chat and Messaging Software on the Short-List for Customer Communications
Companies have several technology choices for engaging with their customers, but it’s the value-added benefits of chat and messaging that short-list it for most.
AVOXI’s Fast-Tracking the Omnichannel Movement report shows that more than one-third of businesses plan to incorporate chat and messaging technology in the near future to better run their business and enhance the customer experience. That being said, COVID-19 strong-armed several industries into condensing that timeline and accelerating the need rather quickly.
Chat and messaging can assist pandemic rebound efforts by allowing sales and support teams to do more at a cost-effective rate. These channels have been top-of-mind for businesses for quite some time and can significantly help companies drive revenue.
The Business Benefits of Chat & Messaging
Live chat and messaging services bring businesses significant and quantifiable returns. According to the American Marketing Association, chat and messaging channels have shown to increase conversions by 20%, resulting in a 305% ROI overall!
There’s not a single use-case for incorporating chat and messaging into your communication strategy. Instead, these channels really shine by optimizing how you communicate with your customers across many different departments within your business. In a recent webinar that we hosted with our friends at SnapEngage, “Expanding Beyond Voice: Quick Tips for Adding Chat in 2021” we discussed the primary benefits you can expect from these channels:
- Customer Service
Customers are likely to buy from a brand again because of the excellent customer service they received. Chat and messaging tools help customer service agents respond to queries faster, provide a platform to easily promote their product and service offerings, and assure customers that their favorite brand is always available (even if agents are offline).
These channels provide a convenient way for customers to get their questions answered quickly. Chatbots are deployed to curate responses to common questions when agents are unavailable by providing self-help links to articles, webpages, videos, and more that are relative to the customer’s question before connecting with a live person.
Targeting customers directly on a specific page by initiating a conversation can help increase conversions while reducing support costs for businesses. Because agents can handle several chats at one time, more customers are being assisted without the need for more agents on the clock.
- Lead Capture
Your inbound sales teams can easily capture and qualify leads with a chat/CRM integration. Website visitors come to seek out information on a product or service, and chat fields or forms can assist reps in engaging qualified prospects already on your site.
Using proactive chats can help determine the stage of the journey your prospect is in, what their use-case is for your product or service, and if they’re a sales-qualified lead (SQL). If they’re in the early stages of the customer journey, email campaigns and retargeting may help keep them nurtured until they’re ready to move down the funnel.
Combining these channels with your business CRM allows your reps to automatically store transcripts, so they can refer back to interactions the next time a lead returns and help boost conversion.
- Technical Support
Live engagement tools help support agents provide a level of personal service and collaboration opportunities with their customers.
Technical support tools, such as Cobrowse and Screen Share, drive immediate solutions to a variety of complex processes and shorten the number of touchpoints to resolve the customer’s query.
First-time resolution helps to improve the customer experience, drive loyalty and revenue over time. Cobrowse gives agents and customers the ability to navigate through complex processes together, while Screen Share provides customers full visibility into the agent’s screen for demoing products or providing one-on-one assistance.
- Sales Assistance
Acquiring new customers, or upselling an additional product or service, requires agents to move through a series of touchpoints to close a sale - the average is 8, according to HubSpot.
When a customer comes to your site and chats with a live agent, that customer is 82% more likely to place an order. They depend on your sales teams to guide them in the right direction and assist them with questions about your product or service.
Real-time assistance and proactive engagement can help businesses reach their revenue targets and even increase the average order value. Follow-up labels and powerful routing capabilities help chat agents stay on track of their workflow and guide their contacts to the page or resource with the best answer to their question.
- Unified Customer Experience
Customers don’t want to repeat the same conversation every time they reach out to your business. A unified customer experience is at the forefront of driving revenue.
Chat and messaging automation features help agents pick up where the conversation left off with transcript storage - whether it was on social media, company website, messaging apps, etc.
Using these channels can help lead to faster response times, increased conversion rates, personalized chats and conversation, and getting customers the right information the first time.
Measuring Chat & Messaging for Customer Communication Success
Data-driven decisions are just as important for chat and messaging as they are for your other channels of communication. Monitoring performance can help you see where your agents are converting the most leads, providing the most value, and maximizing efficiencies to deliver the best customer experience.
So, how does one measure live chat and messaging? Interestingly, many KPIs overlap in both call center and voice performance.
Chat Offers Fastest ROI Across the Customer Journey
Tailored conversations are now essential across all stages of the customer journey. With chat and messaging technology, agents should be interacting with their customers throughout the funnel - helping covert visitors at 3X the rate, guiding clients through a simple onboarding process, transforming client success teams with analytical value, and retaining happy customers with scalable offerings.
Finding the Right Chat & Messaging Technology
It’s important to vet providers that can scale and grow with your business. While you may only need basic bot functionality for now as you familiarize yourself with the technology - what about three years from now?
As you get started, keep in mind a provider with a quick and painless setup process, 24/7 customer support, and the following capabilities to scale:
Giving customers options of how and where they engage with your brand is what multi-channel communication is all about. Ensuring your audience is met with a consistent brand story, across all of your channels, makes your brand more accessible and in return, provides more opportunity for conversion and sales.
Providers that have capabilities beyond just web-based chats can help scale your communication strategy to include other channels like social media and mobile. Chat functionalities on these platforms should be equal to web-based chat and messaging for consistent and streamlined communication.
Stack integrations are essential for optimized workflow and effective communication. Just like in a game of telephone, the conversation can easily fragment as it moves between multiple platforms without having the right tools in place.
Chat and messaging software was purpose-built to drive efficient conversations on the backend with automation while enhancing the customer experience on the frontend with tailored interactions and quick responses that grow sales.
Fun fact: Our AVOXI support team uses chat and messaging to engage customers and heavily relies on its ability to integrate with our essential technologies. Integrations help simplify manual processes through automatic transcript synchronization and pulling in known data (IP address, browser, country, etc.) of our customers into our CRM database. Our agents can manage several interactions at any given time, which helps our support team work smarter and help more customers.
Advanced routing capabilities get customers to the right place at the right time. As with inbound calls, webchat agents can redirect their contacts to the appropriate agent, department, or web page resource that can best answer the question.
A Guide Bot is great for routing visitors. When someone lands on a web page (usually the homepage), it asks a series of questions to help users navigate where they need to go. Be sure to include chat in your service level agreement, so customers know that their queries are a priority no matter what channel they’re on.
Live chat and messaging agents need regular training too. It’s crucial to the outcome of any interaction that your agents are comfortable with the software and highly-skilled in communication so your customers feel valued and satisfied with their experience.
Revisiting the good and the bad chat transcripts can help with education, training, and feedback. Managers can use webchat analytics to see who’s out- and under-performing. Use these reports to compare departments, teams, and agents.
Automation & Chatbots
Automation features and chatbots can help sustain your business continuity and customer experience by fielding queries before any interaction - any time, day or night. Chat and messaging are great for increasing productivity. With automation in place, agents can take on several chats simultaneously and close more deals in less time.
Even when all of your agents are offline, chatbots can engage with your customers after-hours, providing them with the answers they need. They can address common questions and send contacts self-help resources to solve their problems without assistance from an agent.
If you’re an international brand that targets several countries, Auto-Translate Bots help naturally translate the conversation into the agent and contact’s native languages, so both are well-informed of what the other is saying back.
You can ensure top-tier performance and proactively manage teams with data-driven insights and reporting tools. Chat analytics help managers drill-down into what their team is doing and how they’re doing it to provide a better customer experience.
Actionable data can be used to influence better decision making - allocating resources where they’re needed most, effective scheduling of front-line agents, budget optimization, and so much more!
Use your insights to determine where chatbots make the greatest impact on your business. The kind of bot you use - and its strategic placement - can empower visitors to engage more with your brand and convert to increase revenue!
Connect with Customers Where They Are Now
Incorporating live chat and messaging into your communication strategy helps businesses connect with prospects and customers where they are now - on the channels they frequently visit every day.
As customer expectations grow, how you create a great customer experience can significantly help your business increase conversion and revenue. The value-added benefits of chat and messaging work across several teams within your organization, including sales, support, and service.
These channels enable real-time conversations and turnaround instantaneous solutions that improve customer service and satisfaction, easily identify SQLs, provide tech support tools, increase sales, and cultivate a great experience for all customers. A successful business today needs chat and messaging to reach customers and vice versa.
To learn more about incorporating chat and messaging into your business, check out our 30-minute webinar with SnapEngage, Expanding Beyond Voice: Quick Tips for Adding Chat in 2021.
Lauren Ing is a writer at AVOXI, helping readers digest the complex world of cloud communications through storytelling. Lauren enjoys traveling and seeing new places, strong cups of coffee, and spending time with her husband and pup, Athena.