Exceptional customer experience (CX) is no longer a nice-to-have — it’s directly correlated to a brand’s bottom line as 73 percent of consumers consider CX a crucial factor in their purchasing decisions. With customers spending increasing amounts of time interacting with brands and service providers online, curating a rich and engaging digital CX is mission-critical for maintaining and strengthening customer relationships.
Supply chain issues over the last couple of years have forced brands to reckon with decreased product availability, rising prices and disgruntled consumers: per Oracle, nearly all Americans, 87%, were negatively impacted by supply chain issues in 2021, and 60% were completely unable to purchase certain goods due to shortages. As such, the stakes are high for brands to create a responsive, seamless customer experience that efficiently communicates product availability and order statuses, delivers relevant, personalized content to customers to keep them engaged. Conversational marketing — the process of activating two-way channels with AI chatbots and conversational APIs to streamline and scale always-on marketing communications — is a cornerstone in achieving this.
Conversational Marketing for CX
In our digital, mobile-first world, meeting customers where they are is of utmost importance — and so is actually leaning into the strengths of their favorite channels. Think about traditional “push” marketing. Spray-and-pray push campaigns aren’t designed for customers to respond to them; rather, they’re a one-way street, where marketers have all of the power and customers have little to none (other than to throw or drag a piece of mail into the trash).
No, your customers probably aren’t itching to write to you via snail mail, but digital channels (by design) enable instantaneous conversations — why not use that to your advantage? No-reply email addresses or SMS short codes to nowhere are a massive missed opportunity for brands: if customers are willing and interested to engage with you, why squander that?
With conversational marketing, you can meet customers where they are. True two-way conversation (as opposed to filling out an email form and waiting 2-3 business days for a response) enables brands to engage with customers and respond to questions at any and all times: AI-enabled chatbots handle conversations outside of business hours, and can easily hand off to live agents for more complicated inquiries during the day. Coupling conversational AI with experienced live service agents creates a 1:1 conversation between customer and brand. Here, brands can communicate new promotions or products, or critical information like shipping delays, or customers can take the conversation in a direction of their choosing — a revolutionary approach to marketing that boosts CX and customer loyalty.
True “Always On” Customer Service
Customers are, understandably, fed up with virtual service agents that do little more than direct them to a brand’s FAQ page. Rather, they expect their chat inquiries to lead to a productive, personalized conversation as 66% of customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. “Always on” conversational messaging channels (achieved via chatbot and conversation API implementation) enable customers to revisit old conversations or open up a new thread while maintaining their purchase and conversation history. This means that customers and brands spend less time on introductions, boosting CX and conversions. Other benefits include:
Enhanced UX: With conversations, it’s easier for chatbots and live agents alike to interpret how customers are feeling and to respond to their inquiries. Chatbots equipped with natural language understanding (NLU) can capture user intent and sentiment throughout the dialogue while managing large volumes of messages to keep customers informed and at ease.
Personalization: NLU chatbots can also greatly enhance personalization efforts. Leveraging customers’ preferences and message history, these bots can customize messages to individual customers (even down to dialect and tone), and send automated, personalized offers at key moments in time for each customer. If an item is out of stock, for example, the bot could send an interested customer an offer on a similar product, anticipating their needs.
Quick Pivots: With conversational messaging, brands don’t have to worry about their chatbots throwing in the towel when customers wish to change the direction of a conversation. Advanced conversational AI chatbots are able to seamlessly pivot conversations per customer needs, so customers can ask about a particular product/service to initiate a dialogue, and switch to checking in on a previous order without having to start the conversation over.
Shorter Wait Times: There are few things more frustrating than being put on hold. Oftentimes, a long wait time for customer service will lead customers to abandon their cart (or even a brand) altogether. “Always on” channels give customers immediate access to a live or virtual service agent, so they can expect answers to their questions on their time and move further down the marketing funnel.
Incorporating conversational channels doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s more than worth it given its massive benefits for customer engagement and eventual revenue growth. The 24/7, intimate and personalized support that these channels provide will delight your customers and revolutionize their experience with your brand. Investing in conversational marketing now will help to keep customers satisfied and edge out the conversation — supply chain issues or not.