B2C communication is both a science and an art. Technology platforms have evolved impressively over the past two decades, from newspaper advertising/flyers/billboards to TV, radio, internet, and mobile (correspondingly adopting mediums like search, social, SEM and SMS). These mediums are a boon for a marketer, both because of the unprecedented reach and data-driven capabilities they offer. But conversely, this has also brought in several pain points.
Chatbots are not new in the world of technology. In fact, in one form or another, chatbots have been around commercially for the better part of the last decade. However, the capabilities of these chatbots have been improving by the year. Chatbots can understand customers’ questions and provide answers from among a vast bulk of information. Through Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence, chatbots can now learn on the go and turn into better versions of themselves with every query.
Have you ever wondered how to engage with your customers who visit your website? Do you wish to convert leads via dialogue-driven activities? Here is where conversational marketing comes to the forefront. But before we dig deeper, let us first understand what conversational marketing is?
What is Conversational Marketing?
Conversational marketing is a form of inbound marketing where the focus is on customer interactions. The primary aim of conversational marketing is to build customer trust through conversations and enrich your buying experience. HubSpot research reveals that 77% of customers recommend a brand to a friend after a single positive experience.
Over the last few years, shopping experiences of customers have evolved and so have customers’ behavior of how they should be able to interact with retailers. With the advancements in Conversational AI technology, speed and convenience are driving the consumer agenda today.
There are messaging apps and then there are mobile friendly online shopping sites which cater to the digitally savvy buyers. Artificial Intelligence, advancements in Machine Learning (ML), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) are taking conversational experiences to the next level. The concept of bringing a store to the customers, right where they are, is more real today. Brands that are moving towards conversational commerce with the help of AI powered chatbots are reaping the benefits of increased sales and loyal customer base.
If there is anything that marketers and sales support teams of a brand completely agree on, it’s the importance of customer experience management. And a major aspect of that is how brands communicate with every individual customer; before, during, and after a sales transaction. It’s no surprise, therefore, that as businesses have gone digital, so have their customer touch-points.
Customer support used to depend on face-to-face interaction, in-branch, or on-site service. Then came the time of on-call support, IVR, and SMS services to make customer interactions quicker and after-sales customer experience smoother. The mobile nature of customer support has now extended to in-app and WhatsApp engagement.
Today, messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram, play a vital role in getting people connected with businesses and brands. Conversations with brands have increased as customers are getting engaged on a platform that they are already spending a lot of time on. According to Instagram research, 90% of people on Instagram follow a business and 50% are more interested in a brand when they see ads for it on Instagram.
Instagram has emerged as a highly engaging social media platform that has attracted several businesses, celebrities and influencers. Now with the introduction of Gupshup Messenger API for Instagram, businesses can make their Instagram conversations richer, more contextual and personalized. With these, Instagram Messaging will serve as a new monetization channel for businesses, celebrities and influencers with business accounts, apart from enabling more engaging conversations.
Customer engagement is central to business success. With everything going online nowadays, customers have come to expect fast, easy, and secure digital experiences. Customers no longer want to respond to emails, download apps, subscribe to pages, or like a page on Instagram / Facebook. Instead, they just want to buy a product, make the payment and carry on. This leaves businesses in a lurch as they have less interaction, reduced engagement and fewer opportunities to exactly understand the future needs of customers.
In such frictional scenarios, conversational messaging, powered by conversational AI, can play a vital role by utilizing the available information faster, automate communication and help deliver an enriched customer experience as well as gain a powerful competitive advantage.
Providing great customer experience (CX) is the most important goal for companies today, whether it’s through support, pre-sales or post sales service. Conventionally, businesses tend to tackle customer support requirements by deploying specific channels for certain scenarios; voice or phone support (for pre-purchase support), emails (for post-purchase support), etc. But these are definitely not conventional times. Call centres are blocked with customer requests, hold times for calls have increased beyond minutes, turnaround responses for customer emails have become irregular and to top it all, businesses have had to reduce supply of support agents in this pandemic. Yet, customer queries continue to rise.
It’s now obvious why businesses prioritize customer experience above all else as part of business growth. With the help of conversational messaging, different sectors like banking, telecommunications, e-commerce, etc are exploring new ways in which to reduce the biggest pain points in customer service and to improve their customer engagement further.
The summers are here and that means a few things. The weather is warm, and famous brands are offering a lot of discounts on their new line of summer wear! But instead of stepping into stores, more and more people are heading towards retail apps for their shopping needs. The world of shopping has seen a marginal shift to the digitized platform and the pandemic has further added to the cause.
Online shopping has evolved significantly over the years – first with the Internet, then mobile apps and now with the rise of conversational AI technology in retail and e-commerce.
Customers’ expectations of how they should be able to interact with retailers has changed significantly over the last few years. Speed and convenience are driving the consumer agenda today, when it comes to shopping.
For every industry, staying ahead of the most recent trends is the only way to survive, excel, and thrive in this fast-paced, hyper digital world. An important point for businesses always is to understand how to better interact with the customers, which is why having a strong strategy is necessary to navigate through changing times. The emerging approach hence for eCommerce retailers, and startups around the world is conversational commerce.