With online spending due to overtake high street sales this year for the first time ever, it’s no secret that consumers today expect to be able to talk with brands quickly and easily online.
Whether it’s to request support, ask questions or give feedback, modern buyers are looking to a range of different online channels to get in touch with their favourite brands - and many businesses are now realising the immense opportunities that social messaging platforms provide.
In fact, it probably won’t come as much of a surprise to you that customers now exchange over two billion messages with businesses each month over Facebook Messenger alone!
But as businesses increasingly turn to chatbots and AI to keep up with requests and queries from current and existing customers, it’s important that they remember one thing: although AI can help facilitate conversation, it can’t replace it.
With so many innovative tools now available to help connect businesses with their customers, an omnichannel approach is the best way to engage customers across the board - particularly when it comes to conversational marketing.
Rather than relying on chat tools alone, brands looking to up their conversational marketing strategy should be looking to also offer customers more human communication channels, like voice chat, social messaging or app-free voice messaging for websites.
Today, we want to shine a spotlight on three big names who are upping their customer engagement through conversational marketing - without simply relying on chatbots:
#1 Nike - Social media
Over the last few years, social media has become a key channel for conversational marketing.
The high visibility of social media content gives brands no option but to respond to queries, requests and feedback. When done right, this allows brands to proactively engage in conversations that boost customer satisfaction, improve their reputation and appear more ‘human’ and trustworthy than ever.
Take Nike as a good example. The company consistently replies to customers’ queries on Twitter, responding casually, helpfully and personally to each buyer’s request:
In the immediate term, interacting with followers on social media allows brands like Nike to identify potential customers and move them through the buying journey.
In the longer term, listening to customers and communicating with them via your social channels can enrich your product and service roadmap, resulting in more satisfied and loyal customers overall.
#2 eBay - Voice technology
With global use of smart speakers, voice notes and AI assistants at an all-time high, it’s no secret that voice technology is rapidly transforming the way we all live, work and communicate.
For example, when it comes to online shopping, experts estimate that by the end of 2020, 50% of all searches across the internet will be voice-based.
On top of this, more and more people are opting to send voice notes over texting, while voice assistants like Alexa and Siri have found homes in households around the world. In fact, VoiceBot recently reported that 66 million Americans now own a smart speaker.
This recent boom in the popularity of voice technology can tell us a lot about the way customers want to interact with brands - and tapping into this demand could be the key to your business’ success.
One company which is leveraging consumers’ love of speaking and listening is eBay, who use a Google Assistant App to help users navigate through their vast inventory, letting customers start their search by saying “Ok, Google, ask eBay to find me…”.
The app then asks users additional questions in an attempt to narrow down their search and provide them with the most relevant results. Once it finds the best deal, the assistant will ask customers whether they’d like the results sent to their smartphone, so that they can complete their purchase.
By tapping into consumers’ desire to speak to businesses in a way that’s as personal as it is convenient, eBay are capitalising on a prime opportunity to make their customers’ lives easier, build trust and show them how much they care.
If you want to go a step further than letting your customers search products on your site by voice, why not let them record you a voice note directly via your website, and then respond to them by recording them a voice note back?
In a spoken conversation, we listen out for verbal cues, tone of voice, and emotion. These subtleties have long been absent from marketing conversations online, but voice messaging couples the convenience of SMS, chatbots and social messaging with the personal touch of a phone call.
With an app-free voice messaging solution like telbee, your audience can record voice messages online through their browser. Your team hears what they have to say, understands them through listening, and then replies in the most appropriate format.
Speaking tends to be much faster than typing, but that’s not the only benefit. For much of the population, speech is the first and most intuitive way we learn to communicate. With emphasis, tone, and spontaneous choice of words, customers can let you know what’s really on their mind.
Voice technology doesn’t just improve your customer listening capabilities - it also opens up new ways for your business to respond. Team members are empowered to speak to customers using their own voice, combining helpful insights with human empathy.
As with the other conversational tactics we’ve mentioned, you can use voice messaging to drive growth at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
A voice recorder on your website lets you nudge leads towards conversion, or sympathetically tackle customer queries. Post-purchase, you can also collect spoken feedback as powerful social proof for your brand.
#3 Domino’s - SMS and messaging apps
As we touched on earlier, having an omnichannel approach to your conversational marketing strategy is key. This is because conversational marketing is all about delivering the right information, at the right time, on the right channel. So it makes sense to meet customers where they spend the most time: their phones.
SMS is a highly convenient marketing channel, both for consumers and brands, as customers are likely to check messages frequently, and can choose to respond at their own convenience. With asynchronous communication channels like this, there’s no obligation to engage in a full-on conversation then and there - and this alone makes customers more willing to engage in conversations with your brand.
With this in mind, Domino’s Pizza launched its AnyWare initiative, which allows customers to order a pizza through a range of messaging channels - including SMS and Facebook Messenger. Once you set up your default order, you can send the company a 🍕 emoji at any time to quickly order your favourite meal.
While this doesn’t look much like a conventional conversation, it allows Domino’s and its customers to quickly exchange information that gets the job done.
It still feels personal, because the buyer has set up their favourite order themselves, but it’s fast and convenient too!
Ultimately, a strong conversational marketing strategy will involve a variety of different channels - both personal and convenient - to allow customers to choose how they want to be heard and spoken to.
As we approach the new year, let’s be inspired by the above companies, who are getting creative with their conversational marketing strategy and giving their customer communications a truly personal touch.
When you go the extra mile to listen to and engage with your customers, they’ll be sure to thank you with their money, great feedback and trust!
To find out more about how our voice recording and messaging platform can help supercharge your business’ conversational marketing strategy, get in touch with the team at telbee today. We’d love to hear from you!