Messaging is having a moment. Even before the pandemic, people around the world were relying on the messaging apps on their phones to keep in touch with friends and family, order food, and get around. But in the last year messaging has truly become a lifeline — and more businesses have joined the conversation.
Among companies using Zendesk, customer support tickets over messaging have surged more than 50 percent in the past year, with customers reaching out for help over social messaging apps and via companies’ homegrown properties. Between Facebook’s trio of increasingly unified messaging channels (WhatsApp, Messenger, and Instagram), and growing business messaging platforms from Apple and Google — not to mention good old SMS — there’s no shortage of ways for businesses to chat with customers.
But while the consumer messaging apps get most of the attention, the vast majority of customer conversations are still happening on businesses’ own websites and mobile apps. In fact, according to our latest CX Trends report, 45 percent of customers prefer to use embedded messaging to talk to businesses.
For customers, the benefits of messaging a business are obvious:
But the other thing that makes messaging so powerful for business is that it’s built for automation.
Conversational AI allows companies to be available to customers 24/7, and to intelligently route customers to the right people, at the right time, with the right context. Our research has shown that customers are happy to talk to a chatbot as long as they answer their questions, and allow them to speak to a real human if need be.
We believe that in order for brands to deliver truly personalized customer experiences, conversations need to flow freely within an organization — across channels and departments. Sometimes businesses need “out-of-the-box” solutions and sometimes they need to build and customize to their needs. That’s why we made an open messaging platform and marketplace that allows companies to connect all their business systems to Zendesk, including specialized chatbots for everything from sales to marketing to eCommerce.
An open platform allows businesses to gain a truly unified view of the customer and for us all to build a more conversational future together.
MARKETING USE CASE
Marketers spend an excessive amount of time strategizing, writing, and planning to build demand within their ideal customer profiles. But, with conversion rates between 1 and 3 percent on average, most of the leads generated end up in a database, not as a conversion.
How many contacts do you have?
A thousand, five thousand, ten thousand?
You’ve spent countless hours and dollars getting those leads into your database. It is in your best interest to try to squeeze in any opportunities you can get. Just because they failed to open your email or show you the buying signal does not mean the lead is dead. It just may not have been the right time.
You’re still sitting on a gold mine of contacts ready to be mined and not with another canned email from your marketing automation solution. Instead, the data is ready to be mined with a nurturing strategy that uses two-way messaging, text or email, for an entire 12 months.
Keeping your brand in front of your leads increases your brand awareness and increases the likelihood they’ll think of you when they want to consider your product. Leveraging conversation rather than relying on stale canned messages is the future and the best way to increase your conversation rates and your overall return on investment.
Conversational AI can help with this predicament. With an automated nurturing strategy and a solution that uses two-way communication, no lead is lost forever. In fact, the nurturing strategy is a great way to keep your sales team happy on an otherwise slow month.
SALES USE CASE
Sales organizations tend to navigate to the newest technology to do more with less. Their motivation to spend more time closing and less time cold-calling has provided innovative software companies opportunities during the past several decades.
Just think about Salesforce for a moment. Those innovations have helped sales organizations improve their efficiencies and data best practices, but it hasn’t solved the age-old sales problem.
Consumer behavior is changing; they want answers now, and they want a company that can be responsive to their requests 24/7/365. They don’t want to wait for a canned email message or schedule a demo in three days. There is a gap; salespeople are more motivated by closing business than answering questions for unqualified leads or even cold-calling. As a result, this Drift study proved:
According to PwC, customer support teams have a pretty low margin for error with their customers; as 32% of all customers say they will switch to the competition after just one bad experience.The larger problem is “bad experiences” can vary across the board from low question resolution to long wait times or endless transfers. While it appears the deck is stacked against customer support teams, there is hope.
Solutions like Zendesk provide teams a communication channel across all messaging platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat, and many more.
That means you can reach your customers where they are when they want resolution.
Layering in conversational AI within a platform like Zendesk’s Sunshine Conversations allows your customer support team superpowers. They’ll now have the option to engage your customers across messaging platforms like Facebook Messenger immediately, Twitter, WeChat, WhatsApp, text message, and email, all from one central platform.
A Salesforce survey shows that: Your team needs to be consistent, present, and engage your customers immediately with answers to their questions. It’s a tall task, but you can do all of that with an AI Assistant.
As 2020 showed us, we can never be too prepared to respond to crises. Your AI Assistant can scale to accommodate a spike in messages when there is a time of need.
Lowering your CSAT no longer requires the overhead of hiring and training new staff to accommodate customer expectations.
Adding an AI Assistant to your customer journey will forever change the way you engage with your customers. Peaks and valleys in business will no longer cause irreversible harm to your operations or make you lose face with your market. They’ll also not make your staff go crazy, working a ton of overtime trying to keep up and drive morale down.
It is time to advance. Your businesses, society, and consumers are ready they just don’t yet have the trust built with conversational AI technology. But, that is where we come in.