Today’s hyper-connected world full of constant notifications can be overwhelming. With this endless stream of messages, many notifications are missed or ignored.
Case in point: We all have that one friend with thousands of unread emails and notifications. We know that he or she will respond to a message on a specific app or from a certain person and leave the rest as unread. For marketers, this can be particularly challenging as they work to reach consumers to provide transactional information around loyalty programs and shipment notifications or to share promotional information and coupons. Getting a customer or potential customer to pay attention to communication from a brand must be approached in innovative ways if marketers hope to achieve actionable engagement.
With this consumer landscape, how can marketers overcome the notification overload and break through the messaging clutter? Let’s explore how to build an effective, streamlined and trusted customer experience with two-way brand-to-consumer conversations that can lead marketers in a new era of communication.
Two-way communication through the “right” communication channel
Most consumers have preferences for how or where they want to receive certain messages and information. Recent studies prove that SMS messaging remains one of the most common ways a brand interacts with its customers, specifically for transactional communication. An Infoholic report found that SMS market revenue is estimated to reach $111.74 billion by 2023, increasing at a compound annual growth rate of 21.5 percent between 2017–2023, with transactional business SMS services expected to drive this growth. Whether it’s online shipping notifications, loyalty program updates or password resets these touchpoints provide opportunities for a brand to connect with its customers and build on the overall experience.
While SMS messages remain a popular channel of communication, a new channel for brand to consumer communication has recently entered the fray: chat apps.
Consider ways consumers share information and communicate with one another. Chat applications are now a primary communication channel for people around the world. WhatsApp has recently begun harnessing the power of its communication channel through WhatsApp Business, which provides a way for consumers to interact directly with a brand. With 1.5 billion active users globally, brands leveraging WhatsApp’s reach have the power to revolutionize their communication with consumers. Through WhatsApp Business, consumers can opt into dialogue with a brand on a global scale, from the time of order placement through delivery confirmation via a communication channel that they know and love. It goes a long way in facilitating an effective customer experience and is something brands looking to avoid becoming “just another unread notification” should consider implementing.
Meeting and exceeding consumer expectations
Customer experience is becoming increasingly important in today’s competitive, saturated consumer market. In fact, results from a recent Walker study found that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Many moving parts help to create the ideal customer experience. For example, securely meeting the individual where they are is key to customer experience. With more messages and personal information being stored and shared now than ever before, brands must prioritize security and customer privacy. Customers need to know that information a brand is sharing is secure and that their two-way communication is protected. Communication through chat apps enables an encrypted end-to-end secure environment that can help build trust and subsequently brand loyalty. Leveraging chat apps also give customers the option to initiate a conversation and provide consent to interact with the company.
In addition to a secure customer experience, consumers also expect timely engagement from brands that they are sharing important information with: the SAP Hybris study also found that when it comes to customer service, 87 percent of customers expect a response within 24 hours, and 20 percent within just one hour. After consumers share their personal data with a regularly visited online retailer, they expect a certain level of service in return.
A new era of marketing
As expectations around customer experience rise, brands must find ways to break through the clutter to most effectively reach and serve their audience. Leveraging popular messaging channels in different, effective ways enables brands to meet consumers where they are, helping to create a streamlined and seamless customer experience. By utilizing messaging apps for both transactional and promotional content, brands are empowered to create an interactive experience for their customers, ultimately fostering brand loyalty and creating a more engaged consumer.
Messaging apps that also facilitate business-to-consumer interaction take the customer experience to a whole new level by giving consumers direct access to the brand and the brand a line of communication with their target audience on frequently used messaging apps, apps that previously powered consumer-to-consumer communication only. The capability to do this on a global scale has the potential to completely transform the way businesses and their customers interact, enabling brands to enter a new era of marketing.