As the VP of Client Services at Chatbox, I have the pleasure of working directly with Chatbox’s enterprise clients to assist them in creating messaging experiences that help them connect with more customers, more quickly, and in a more meaningful way. One thing that has struck me in the process of working with with our clients is the fact that personalized messaging can make a difference at all stages of the customer journey.
As someone who has spent her career in client services, I think about the customer journey in following stages: Awareness, Consideration, Decision, Retention, and Advocacy. Below are a few of my insights into how personalized messaging can play a powerful role in each stage of the customer journey.
The awareness stage of the customer journey is when the customer (really a future customer at this point) identifies a problem that they need to solve and begins researching the solution. This is the stage when the customer is visiting your website, reading your whitepapers, and signing up for free trials. In this stage, you are nurturing the future customer and providing them with information. In many B to C verticals (like real estate and financial services) the awareness stage is crucial because often it is the first company to make contact with the customer that wins their business. Personalized messaging, in the customer’s preferred channel, can be a game-changer in the awareness stage.
Offering text messaging and live chat options in the awareness stage can vastly increase engagement and conversion of your top-of-funnel leads. Additionally, in verticals where the sales cycle is longer, text messaging gives sales teams another arrow in their quiver with which to engage and build meaningful relationships with prospects. I have seen our customers improve their conversion by anywhere from 10 to 40 percent by using Chatbox to target customers in the awareness stage of the customer journey.
In the consideration stage, the customer is aware of your solution and brand, and has done some research on you and your competitors. In this stage it is important to make sure that the customer has access to the information that they need in order to make the buying decision. Giving customers the information that they need, in the communication channel of their preference, can give you the edge over the competition. Providing an option for text or live chat can be very helpful in this stage. It is common knowledge among sales professionals that it can take 8-10 (or more) touches to connect with a potential customer. It is also a fact that less than 25% of all sales emails are opened. Using text messaging with prospects in this stage not only gives you another channel to engage with the prospect, but it also gives you access to the channel that is most likely to help you make a true connection. Unlike emails and phone calls, text messages are opened 99% of the time, and usually within 5 minutes of receipt. In light of these facts, using texting as a communication channel in the sales process is a no-brainer.
The decision stage is when the prospective customer becomes an actual customer. Again, offering a personalized communication experience in this stage helps insure that the customer is getting the information that they need to actually make the purchase. You can even streamline the purchasing process itself by allowing the actual purchase or order process to occur in accordance with your customer’s communication preferences. Chatbox’s Instant Apps allow for the seamless collection of structured data within a mobile messaging experience. Chatbox customers collect order information, documents and paperwork, and e-signatures through rich and personalized app-like experiences that can be deployed in any communication channel. The ability to collect structured data seamlessly in a mobile experience can assist in closing deals with today’s modern, mobile customers.
Chatbox’s political clients use the platform to influence the decision process in tight races by connecting with constituents to urge them to get out and vote and to provide them access to information about the candidates when they have questions or are undecided.
Once you have won a new customer, it’s time to start thinking about retention. In this stage, you are servicing your new customer and working to provide them with an optimal experience with your solution. Again, offering support in the customer’s communication channel of choice can be a differentiator. Chatbox’s travel, hospitality, financial, insurance and service industry clients have all had great success differentiating themselves from their competitors by offering a more personalized communication experience via text messaging and Instant Apps.
Additionally, building automation into your onboarding and support protocols can provide a better customer experience, while at the same time keeping support headcount and costs down. Help videos and set-up wizards can be created and sent through Instant Apps, and FAQ bots and messaging macros can both streamline and ensure consistency in client communication. Finally, Chatbox’s Instant Apps make it easy to create and deploy surveys to gather customer feedback, so you can find out how you are doing and course-correct if things are going sideways.
Once your customer has onboarded and fully adopted your solution, the next goal is converting them to an advocate. Net promoter surveys can be built and sent via text to assist you in identifying your net promoters. Sending surveys and reminders via text message yields better response rates than email surveys, and Chatbox’s smart, configurable Instant Apps can even ask promoters if they are willing to be a reference, or drive them to a website to leave an online review.
Another goal in this stage is expanding the value of accounts that are in the advocacy stage. Here, push notifications via text message can be used to keep customers apprised of promotions or new offerings to assist in increasing expansion revenue.
In sum, regardless of the vertical or the stage of the customer journey, personalized messaging is an indispensable tool for building and deepening relationships with your customers.