It seems obvious (at least from the customers’ perspective).
Why shouldn’t they be able to engage with you via WhatsApp, RCS, SMS, Messenger and Webchat based on what’s most convenient at any given time?
It may sound obvious, but we all know that it’s not.
Despite our best intentions, different technologies, data sources and customer behaviours make it difficult to deliver that cross-channel seamlessness. As customer experience, marketing and customer service professionals, we must therefore take a strategic approach to messaging apps.
Here’s the framework my colleagues and I use to help clients achieve maximum value and customer satisfaction.
Step 1: Categorise the messages you send to customers (and they send to you)
The specific categories will depend on your business, but common ones are:
- Product/service launches
- Company news
- Account/information updates
- Transaction updates – e.g., order and shipping confirmations
- Service issues – e.g., downtime and interruption alerts
- Security – e.g., fraud alerts and two-factor authentication
Step 2: Review current channel analytics
For outbound communications, look at your different categories and collate metrics such as:
- Delivery rates
- Read rates
- Click-through/response rates
- Resolution effectiveness/speed
For inbound communications, look at:
- Demographics – can you break down users by location or age?
- Category – e.g., are they using WhatsApp for fraud/security issues and the website for delivery problems?
Step 3: Map and track customer journeys
The next step is to look at how apps feature in wider customer journeys. For example, are the majority of fraud alert journeys ending with a WhatsApp interaction? That’s a sign the channel is working well. But are people starting on webchat and then escalating to a phone call? That indicates that self-service webchat capabilities may need looking at.
The key element of this step is to look at actual customer journeys, not your assumptions of what a journey is. And that means having an easy way to integrate cross-channel data. For that, a simple tool like Customer Journey Tracker is worth its weight in gold. It sits on top of all systems and apps (online, offline and third-party), giving you an integrated, visual representation of all interactions people have with your brand. That way, you have accurate insight about usage, drop-off rates and engagement for each touchpoint – in real-time.
Step 4: Review app usage for priority journeys
The customer journey analysis gives you a clear picture of what’s working and what needs improvement. Now, look at the biggest priorities on your ‘Needs Improvement’ list.
Generally, that prioritisation comes from:
- Missed revenue generation opportunities – e.g., drop-off on customer re-engagement campaigns or low take-up on offers
- Operational inefficiency – e.g., long resolution times or escalations requiring more staff involvement
Your current app usage and customer journey analytics will help you identify where drop-off points are – and provide evidence on what can fix it.
For example, Irish fuel and convenience brand Circle K wanted to boost its loyalty programme. It had an app, but the team saw opportunities to increase engagement with messaging. We helped integrate SMS using real-time customer data. Customers receive personalised offers, point totals and nearby service station locations by text. Approximately 300,000 targeted messages are sent each month, and the team gets comprehensive analytics on campaign performance.
Step 5: Consider where chatbots can boost effectiveness
Incorporating new channels (and improving the effectiveness of existing ones) shouldn’t lead to major operational cost increases.
AI-powered chatbots help you integrate messaging apps efficiently – and provide the seamless, personalised engagement customers are looking for.
Chatbots work across channels, which means they can access customer information and chat histories from any app. So, if a customer starts on Webchat and moves to WhatsApp, they don’t have to re-tell their story because the chatbot sees previous interactions. And those interactions feel human. Chatbots use Natural Language Processing (NLP) and understand the intent behind messages (which means you’re not introducing a robotic interaction). And they learn over time, driving continuous improvement.
Chatbots are a powerful tool for messaging apps because they transform them into effective self-service channels. That leads to more satisfied customers (who get faster answers more easily) and more satisfied staff (who are free to focus on complex issues).
Step 6: Continually review and optimise
Real-time insight from your Customer Journey Tracker will help you optimise CX, pre-empt issues and identify opportunities for more automation. Chatbot analytics will tell you what’s resolving easily and what’s driving hand-off to agents.
Armed with this integrated, cross-channel data, you’re in a strong position to make evidence-based improvements to your messaging strategy – and drive greater ROI.
Contact us to learn more about maximising value from messaging apps.