Customers can’t respond with a question, a thank you, or, more importantly, place an order.
These conversational “dead ends” are costing companies dearly. From poor customer experience to lost revenue opportunities, there is a better way to initiate and continue customer engagement.
Reason 1: Meeting Your Customers Where They Are
Far too often, organizations choose the wrong communications channels to reach out to their customers. Whether it’s because they are fearful of change and embrace the “we’ve always done it this way” approach or because they don’t know the right channels to invest in, the outcome is the same: customer experience starts to lag.
In 2020, Vonage’s annual Customer Engagement Report investigated customers’ preferred communications channels for interacting with brands. Across the board, social messaging apps are bubbling to the top:
- 23% more consumers chose messaging apps as a top-three method for calling businesses, while all other calling methods (mobile phone, landline, click-to-call from website or app) lost ground.
- SMS dropped by 23% in consumer preference for messaging businesses; Instagram (+75%), Facebook Messenger (+20%), and Line (+20%) all gained.
- WhatsApp took the top spot as the favorite messaging app to connect with businesses (chosen by 32%); SMS dropped to second place (23%).
- WhatsApp is now the favorite method for calling a business in LATAM
The big takeaway here is that your customers (and future customers!) are actively using social media to communicate with brands. People are using WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Line, and RCS and if your company isn’t already using social media as a messaging and service channel, your competitors have a big advantage.
Having an omnichannel communications strategy is critical to meeting customer needs and expectations. And, letting customers stay on the channels they are actively using (rather than asking them to call or leave their social feed to visit your website) makes engaging with brands that much more easy and seamless. Meeting customers where they are removes any friction that could get in the way of a positive brand experience or potential revenue.
Reason 2: Transforming One-Way Notifications Into Conversations
After you meet your customers where they are, how can you make sure you’re making the most of the brief moments of mindshare you’ve earned?
Take a moment and step into your customers’ shoes and consider how one-way notifications typically play out. Have you ever received a message with a 20% discount offer that has a CTA to click on something to activate it? Of course you have!
When you receive a one-way message like that, one of two things will typically happen:
If it’s enticing enough, you will probably go to the website and start browsing—which is great because that’s the desired behavior! But, more often than not, at some point you’ll probably get distracted, lose interest, or walk away.
You may actually try to respond to that notification with a question or a request for more information, not knowing that there’s not a real person on the other end. And you never hear anything back...
That moment right there, where a two-way conversation could have happened, is a huge opportunity lost for your brand. So, how do we change that?
Imagine now, you can actually respond to that notification. You may say something like, “This deal looks great, but I have some questions. What colors is it available in? What sizes do you have available? How quickly can you ship it to me?”
If somebody responds to you in that moment via that channel, your engagement and interest level will skyrocket. That “somebody” could be an AI-powered chatbot or an actual human being. Either way, it doesn’t really matter to you, the customer, because you’re now having a conversation that leads to a better brand experience and an increase in your propensity to buy.
Reason 3: Enabling Conversational Commerce
Now imagine you could buy via that conversation. I know, mind blown. Let’s take a look at the evolution of ecommerce to see where we started, where we are, and where we should be going.
In the 1990s, the digital storefront was a website. That’s how all brands, large or small, provided information and a digital storefront to their customers. It was a single destination and the only way to conduct business digitally.
In 2008, when the iPhone came out, everything changed. People started spending more time on their phones than their laptops, and apps overtook the web as the primary digital storefront. Sure, companies still have websites and conduct lots of business through them, but now customers have options. And options lead to preferences.
In the future, we believe that conversations will overtake apps and websites as the preferred digital storefront. The web will still be there, apps will still be there, but conversations will capitalize on that in-the-moment, impulsive buying behavior.
Imagine back to that scenario where you get that 20% off coupon. Instead of needing to go to a website or jump on a call, you can now engage with a brand directly from that notification and even buy a product without ever leaving the message stream. You’ll be able to enter your payment info, get confirmation that your order was received, and get tracking numbers and shipping timelines. You’ll be able to react, consider, and purchase in real-time, in your preferred channel.
This is called conversational commerce. It’s that instantaneous, in-the-moment buying behavior that so many brands today are missing out on.
Vonage and Jumper.ai
Vonage already helps organizations engage with customers and prospects through multiple channels. Our Communications APIs are purpose-built to help organizations of all sizes meet their customers where they are.
To realize our complete vision for conversational commerce, we need to help our customers turn those notifications into conversations and revenue. That’s where Jumper.ai comes in.
The Jumper.ai platform enhances the omnichannel outreach enabled by our Communications APIs with AI-driven, two-way conversations across social, messaging, and the web. And, this helps brands give their customers the option to buy directly within those conversations.
Jumper.ai brings a large portfolio of customers that have seen huge success leveraging conversational commerce. From increases in revenue to improved customer engagement and satisfaction, the brands that are using them love them!
By acquiring Jumper.ai, Vonage is taking the next step in ensuring our customers can build better connections and turn one-way notifications into real conversations. The new buyer’s journey is about making the most of every moment and every touchpoint. Customers need to feel seen, heard, and engaged on every channel and from any location. With the acquisition of Jumper.ai, Vonage can now provide organizations with even more advanced communications solutions to make the most of every moment with their customers.