It’s a race. A race to convert, a race to earn trust and referrals. A race to enjoy retention (and upsells if you’re lucky). The ultimate goal is to establish a long-term relationship with customers.
Enter conversational marketing. It’s an approach that evolved as communication and technology effortlessly personalize the customer experience. New touchpoints in the customer journey exist in these micro-moments, and advances in both customer service and in-person assistance extend the reach in this burgeoning relationship. Conversational marketing engages in real-time through conversations.
In the many touchpoints with customers, examine those interactions that bring value in seemingly innocuous ways – the online chat, the call to customer service, the SMS text. Finding ways to identify what is important in these moments can capture devoted fans and win over reluctant conversions.
It is estimated that 2.3 billion people worldwide will regularly use messaging apps by the conclusion of 2023, where the chatbot industry is predicted to reach $142 billion. These trends indicate conversational marketing is here to stay, and companies that don’t innovate will get left out of the discussion.
Live conversations, voice, or text, can easily communicate brand voice with empathy and authenticity. One-to-one conversations are powerful and move customers more quickly toward intended outcomes. This is personalization at its most powerful. Companies seeking to scale conversational marketing are turning toward opportunities to foster discussion online, whether in a Slack community, Facebook Messenger, or in touchpoints across business channels. Connecting conversational opportunities from customer success to customer service will eventually organically bridge every department, company-wide. Businesses with a conversational marketing strategy will have a comprehensive plan across all channels and throughout the organizational structure.
Consider some of the elements that make conversational marketing different than traditional marketing strategies:
Context is key.
Customers want and need conversations to make sense, to address a problem and understand where they are in the process. This is especially important when repeated calls to customer service for the same problem fail to follow the customer’s journey. In this case, a CRM serves to follow the interactions and help others to understand any backstory or related problem-solving. The more accessible the customer data, the more quickly the issues can be addressed.
Customers choose the channel for communications.
Offering a 1-800 number is no longer the norm, so establishing multiple channels for conversation gives customers the space to choose a preferred channel. If businesses let the customer choose, they’ll find the right channel for them every time. Personalization can simply mean that customers decide how they want to interact with a company.
Customers decide, asynchronously, when to have a conversation.
Understanding that these chats can happen anytime and anywhere, businesses must stay flexible in how the conversation rolls out. The customer’s preference in when and how to communicate is vitally important. Even if that means reaching out to customer service takes on a different pace (asynchronous emails, chatbot activity), than a speedy phone call. This is about customer needs and preferences and less about optimized resolutions.
Connections with customers can be scaled.
If the goal is to resolve a problem, it won’t matter if the information provided is sufficient for more than one customer. This is where chatbots shine, ready to take on commonly answered questions in real-time, at any time. The exchange of information is so close to the messaging commonly used for personal communications, that a chatbot is a natural extension of how people speak to one another. While the interaction is not personal and human, it is convenient and easily accessible.
Companies looking for a fresh approach to customer connection should think about ditching the lead forms and wait times and open up opportunities to have a better conversation that satisfies consumers and speeds up conversions. Paying attention to how customers want to interact can be as important as the speed with which a problem is solved. Having a great conversation with customers reaps tremendous rewards.
Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) assists B2B clients in developing key strategies to engage target audiences and establish sustainable practices to drive business growth. To learn more about our comprehensive solutions for B2B companies, call 678-686-1125 today.