It’s no secret that customers today want what they want, when they want it. Customers have never been more empowered and the increasing number of channels at their disposal is proof. Businesses, in turn, often struggle to keep up, to meet customers where they are and to deliver a differentiated customer experience.
The pace of customer conversations is particularly challenging for marketers in this digital environment. Too many marketers today miss what customers are saying because their companies lack the modern tools and technology it takes to connect with customers at scale and act accordingly.
Why Business Messaging Matters
When customers contact businesses today – when they have a question or a problem – the reality is the majority do so now through messaging. In fact, a Google-commissioned Forrester study found over 50% of consumers prefer communicating with companies over text or messaging via social media, third-party applications or branded mobile apps. What’s more, 60% of those surveyed preferred those digital messaging tools over telephone calls, emails and in-person visits to businesses.
The customers have spoken, yet many companies aren’t adapting. In that same Forrester study, fewer than half of the decision-makers surveyed said their brands were equipped with modern business messaging to meet customers where they were. What these companies don’t understand is the impact business messaging can have on engagement, retention and revenue. Forrester found when consumers can use the communication channels of their choosing, they’re over 50% more likely to make a first-time purchase, buy more often from the company and recommend that business. And when given the choice of where to make a purchase, 68% of customers said they were more likely to go with the business that offers convenient communications.
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Modern Business Messaging
What do companies need if they want to offer modern business messaging today? Marketers should look for software equipped with these messaging essentials:
1. Omnichannel messaging:
Customers who want to message businesses today expect simple, seamless, convenient processes and speedy responses – no matter the channel. A differentiated customer experience requires consistent responses across all channels. This is where omnichannel messaging shines. Whether it be text, live chat or social media, omnichannel messaging allows businesses to connect with and respond to customers wherever they are, on the digital channels they prefer. Omnichannel messaging is the foundation of modern business messaging because it empowers companies and marketers to do so much.
2. Centralized inbox:
To fully maximize the benefits of omnichannel messaging, businesses need a centralized inbox – one place where they can house and organize all of their customer interactions. With a centralized inbox, companies can break down their internal silos and give teams the same access and visibility into all types of customer interactions to provide consistent, on-brand responses. With the customer’s communication history at hand, businesses can deliver a personalized experience at every touchpoint. From reviews, surveys, texts and emails, to chats, social media and more, a centralized inbox can manage it all. And marketers will no longer miss what customers are saying.
3. Workflow efficiencies:
With the right messaging software, businesses should inherit a host of workflow efficiencies with their centralized inboxes. An important one amid the ever-growing volume of digital customer conversations is team messaging. Modern business messaging necessitates companies manage every customer interaction, which undoubtedly means delegating responsibilities. Software equipped with team messaging allows businesses to route and assign messages to internal teams, so the proper people can address new leads and solve customer queries with both speed and accuracy. Pre-configured messaging templates should be another perk as they save teams valuable time, particularly on common issues. To deliver winning experiences today, companies need to continuously optimize their processes.
4. Website chat:
While consistent, personalized responses are certainly part of customer experience management, so is being proactive – anticipating customer needs and providing an open line of communication from the start. This is why website chat has become such an important part of modern business messaging. The right messaging software enables companies to connect with customers the moment they reach their respective websites. Real-time conversation keeps leads engaged and closes more deals. Website chat functionality should consist of livechat, chatbots and webchat business texting, so leads can be nurtured – even automatically – when the conversation moves away from the website.
5. Mass texting:
Text messaging certainly isn’t new but companies don’t always realize the opportunity it represents in business today. Messaging software is equipped to mass text customers – all at the same time. With mass texting, marketers can deliver content to customers the way they prefer. New marketing research found 72% of marketers are sending – or plan to send – mass text messages to their prospects and customers. Despite the volume of texts at once, marketers can still deliver one-to-one personalized interactions and manage the responses from one centralized inbox. And just like traditional texting, messages can be scheduled and include photos or attachments.
6. Text payments:
Finally, as technology continues to evolve, so do the opportunities for modern business messaging. One of the newest functionalities on the market today is text payments. With the right platform, companies can integrate touchless payments into their business messaging to meet customers where they are and request payment. Text payments deliver customers the safe, convenient experiences they seek today. For their part, companies get paid faster and can manage those payments alongside other customer interactions, all in one location.
Customers are more connected than ever before. They expect the simplicity, convenience and speed of business messaging, so they can get information and help on the go. To earn and keep their business, companies – and their marketers – need modern messaging to connect with customers across communication channels and deliver the digitized customer experiences they demand.
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