You’ve probably heard the term ‘conversational commerce’ before? It’s where you use conversations to contribute to driving revenue. For example, a live chat or chatbot on your website for qualifying leads and booking sales calls.
Most people, when they think about ‘commerce’, they think about the above: making or directly impacting the sale element of the customer journey. However, as we explored in a recent webinar with Meta, Vonage and Mav, conversational commerce is about so much more than that.
Reaching new customers
Many businesses rely on old, ‘traditional’ channels for reaching and serving customers. Channels like email, web and phone are commonplace. The issue with those channels is that you’re only reaching the customers who choose to operate on those channels, or the customers that come to you.
Think instead about the number of people that use Instagram, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or even SMS messaging. Through these channels, you can go to where your customers and prospects already are, and have conversations in their chosen environment. And you can do that without having to invest heavily in resources to support the channel if you utilise conversational AI.
Think about that: the potential to have thousands or even millions of conversations with new prospects everyday without lifting a finger. How many new customers could you find?
Freeing up staff to focus on revenue production
The other thing about those traditional channels like email, web chat and phone, is that they’re all one-to-one channels. It requires one member of staff to deal with one customer.
Even web chat; vendors will tell you that you can have 3-10 conversations with customers concurrently. However, they won’t tell you that this creates a terrible customer experience. Nor will they inform you that even the most talented agents can only manage 1.2 concurrent conversations successfully.
So, none of these channels are scalable, and they all have agents handling routine, simple, repetitive tasks all day.
Automating these simple tasks might not seem directly related to revenue production. However, it will enable your staff to focus their efforts on revenue producing conversations.
Let’s say you’re a hotel; automate the simple things like ‘what time is checkout’ and ‘can I bring my dog?’, and create time for agents to handle the ‘I need to make a reservation’ enquiries.
Matthew Black, Founder and CEO at Mav, told us: “the 80/20 rule exists in customer service. What you want is to remove the 80% of most commonly asked questions, so your human staff is being utilised at the highest value, right? You don’t want to utilise very expensive humans to repetitively do things like unqualify leads, or do tasks that don’t generate revenue.”
Creating better brand experiences
Let’s not forget the impact of a brand on revenue. If people don’t know you, or don’t think of you, they don’t buy from you. You can utilise the messaging channel to create brand experiences that raise awareness and delight customers.
Chirag Kotak, Senior Director at Vonage, told us: “beauty brands have really taken this to the next level, where they’ve been able to bring their beauty advisors online and bring a personalised experience [to customers].”
Perhaps the use case isn’t strictly tied to a sale, but it’s certainly contributing in the earlier stages of the customer journey.
One of the fundamental goals of customer experience design is to remove friction from the customer journey. To streamline processes so that the entire brand experience is smooth. Utilising the messaging channel to divert contact away from more inefficient channels is a way to optimise those journeys and smoothen the path to purchase.
Jason Singh, Head of Partner Marketing and Business Messaging at Meta, mentioned: “they don’t have to wait for five business days for an email, they don’t have to wait on hold for about 45 minutes to actually speak to someone to get information about your service, and then to buy something. It’s instant. It’s easy, and therefore optimises the buyer journey to generate revenue for your business.”
The age-old saying of it’s cheaper to keep a customer than it is to acquire a new one still rings true today. And so as great as the potential of messaging to drive new sales is, there’s also the potential to utilise messaging to retain current customers.
That can be by supporting use cases surrounding customer support, resolving issues and building trust, to having direct conversations with customers at the end of the customer lifecycle. Automated conversations around subscription renewals and the like present not only opportunities to retain customers, but also to upsell and cross sell at a scale and consistency achievable by humans.
Then there’s the added bonus of detailed insights into conversations through conversational analytics. Even if you don’t manage to retain customers, through in-depth data mining into conversations, you can pick out the specific reasons for customers leaving and remedy any issues to prevent them occurring in future.
Will it work for you?
Conversational commerce is forecast to be a $26 billion industry by 2032. And messaging is the channel of choice for millennials, Gen X, Gen Z, and an increasing number and proportion of the population.
Messaging is fast becoming the channel of choice for billions of consumers. By taking the right approach, businesses can drive revenue by meeting customers where they like to chat.
Rewatch the webinar here for a deep dive into how messaging can impact your business.