The conversational messaging playbook: Your roadmap to success
Customer expectations are higher than ever, whether you’re a retailer, insurance company, B2B, or B2C. Simply focusing on innovative products or competitive prices is no longer sufficient. Providing a quality customer experience is the ultimate advantage, and that’s precisely where conversational messaging comes into play.
In this guide, we’ve got you covered with all the nitty-gritty details about conversational messaging and how it can enhance your digital strategy.
Continue reading to find out more…
What is conversational messaging?
You know what’s really great about conversational messaging? It lets you have real back-and-forth conversations with your customers, just like you would with your friends. No more one-sided exchanges. This kind of messaging works wonders in creating smooth customer experiences.
Say goodbye to those annoying hesitations and generic messages. It’s all about having personalised, one-on-one chats between businesses and customers, and you can do it on various messaging platforms. You get to connect with your customers right where they are, making them feel comfortable and at ease. It’s like having a genuine human conversation.
These conversations build trust over time, making your business more efficient, accessible, and personable.
What is a conversational messaging platform?
When brands make use of conversational messaging channels, they unlock the potential for impressive open rates and provide customers with an engaging media experience. These channels come in different formats and offer exciting features, giving brands everything they require to have meaningful conversations and establish authentic connections with their customers.
Here are some of the most popular conversational messaging channels:
SMS and MMS
Did you know that SMS has an incredible open rate of 98%? It’s a widely used communication channel supported by every mobile device out there, making it extremely versatile. And MMS? Well, it’s like SMS’s sibling, but with some added flair. Brands love using MMS to send eye-catching media files like images, GIFs, and videos, adding a visual element to their conversations.
RCS (Rich Communication Services) is a chat experience available for selected Android devices, packed with plenty of features. Brands love using RCS for their marketing campaigns, sending commerce alerts, and keeping customers in the loop with support notifications.
What makes RCS so special is how it takes SMS to the next level. By creating a rich messaging experience, it enhances the way customers engage with brands (and vice versa). encouraging them to take action, ultimately boosting conversions.
WhatsApp Business Platform
WhatsApp is the messaging app that everyone loves, with over 2 billion people using it every month. And guess what? It’s not just for personal chats. Brands have hopped on the WhatsApp train too, using it for marketing, customer support, and sending important notifications.
In fact, there are more than 175 million users messaging business accounts on WhatsApp every single day. It’s no wonder that so many brands are embracing WhatsApp Business for conversational messaging.
Instagram and Facebook Messenger
Facebook Messenger is popular worldwide—it’s actually the second most popular messaging app with over one billion people using it every month. Instagram is also stepping up its game as a platform for business conversations. With a staggering one billion users, mostly people under 35, Instagram messages are becoming a hot spot for seeking business support.
Here’s an interesting fact: around 90% of Instagram users follow at least one business account. That means Instagram is a goldmine for users to discover and explore more products and services that match their interests.
So, whether it’s Facebook Messenger or Instagram Messages, these platforms are where the conversations happen, connecting businesses with their customers in a more engaging way.
How does WhatsApp compare with SMS?
They’re the world’s most popular messaging channels. Discover the similarities and differences between SMS and WhatsApp in our comparison sheet.
What are the benefits of conversational messaging?
Ever felt overwhelmed by the constant barrage of notifications? Well, turns out you’re not alone. According to a study by Telefonica, the average person receives a whopping 63.5 notifications per day! With so much noise, consumers are becoming selective about which messages they pay attention to and often end up muting the rest.
So, how can businesses make sure they get heard amidst all the chaos? The answer lies in conversational messaging.
Conversational messaging goes beyond the traditional one-way communication. It’s all about creating a genuine and personalised conversation that encourages a two-way interaction with your customers. Instead of bombarding them with notifications, you open up a channel for them to respond and engage with your business.
It’s like having a friendly text chat, but with a business, thanks to a couple of great features:
- Chat history is automatically saved, so both you and your customers can easily pick up where you left off. No need to worry about losing track or entering an email address to save the chat.
- Conversations can happen on whichever platform your customers are comfortable with. You meet them where they already are, whether it’s Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.
In our always-on culture, customers may have questions or issues at any time. With conversational messaging, you can handle these interactions smoothly. Unlike live chat, both customers and agents can communicate at their own pace, and previous chat history is saved. This saves time and improves the user experience.
It accelerates engagement
Nobody likes waiting in queues or being told to call back during specific hours. Conversational messaging eliminates these frustrations. Customers can reach out to you whenever and wherever they want.
It personalises customer experience
By integrating your conversational messaging platform with analytics and CRM software, you can gather valuable customer data. This includes purchase history, chat history, website/app browsing behaviour, and personal information. Armed with this information, you can create personalised messages that resonate with individual customers.
It builds trust and loyalty
Conversational messaging helps you deliver engaging interactions and relevant touchpoints. By offering a personalised experience, you can foster strong customer relationships, turning them into loyal brand advocates.
It boosts internal productivity
Conversational messaging platforms can integrate with other software, streamlining your processes and data. This makes it easier for your staff to access the right information at the right time. By reducing time spent searching for data, your agents can focus on building customer relationships, personalising experiences, and strengthening your brand.
We dive deep into the benefits of conversational messaging here, but essentially it’s great for having meaningful conversations with your customers, on their terms, and reaping the benefits of improved customer experience and business outcomes.
Enjoying our Conversational Messaging Playbook?
Grab the PDF version of this playbook and access our tips, the do’s and don’ts while on-the-go.
4 best practices for conversational messaging
Here are four key practices to ensure your conversational messaging strategy is successful when customers are bombarded with traditional marketing campaigns such as email and direct mail.
1. Make it easy for customers to opt in and out
According to an Adobe study, customers lose trust in businesses when they are tracked without their permission, receive excessive communications without clear privacy policies, or continue to receive messages after opting out. Demonstrate that you respect your customers’ time and build trust by complying with legal requirements and making it easy for them to manage their communication preferences.
2. Be engaging from the start
With conversational messaging platforms, you have the opportunity to create an immersive user experience using various media formats such as emojis, GIFs, image carousels, and videos. By leveraging these tools, you can capture customers’ attention, enhance engagement metrics, and facilitate their understanding of your messages and products.
3. Personalise your messages
Despite 93% of marketers believing they provide personalised experiences, only 32% of consumers agree. Therefore, it’s crucial to gather and analyse the right customer information to inform your messaging. Simple personalisation techniques like using first names or more sophisticated approaches like recommending products based on purchase or search history can help you target your messages more effectively.
4. Automate where possible
Conversational messaging can be employed at every stage of the customer journey, but you may worry about resource limitations. However, you don’t have to burden your staff with managing the entire process. By deploying a chatbot to handle common customer queries, such as order and payment status, you can free up your employees’ time to focus on more complex issues.
It’s important to ensure that your bot understands customer intent and can escalate to a human agent if necessary. This approach allows for personalised one-to-one interactions while optimising efficiency.
The role of a conversational messaging platform
The role of a conversational messaging platform is to facilitate fast and personal communication between a business and its customers. It can greatly improve the customer experience and have a positive impact on engagement, conversion, sales, and more.
The key is to choose the right platform and use it effectively to get the most out of your investment.
So, how can businesses make use of a conversational messaging platform?
Most platforms offer four main types of messages:
- Marketing: This includes product recommendations, promotions, and opportunities for upselling or cross-selling.
- Rich notifications: These are updates related to orders, deliveries, appointments, and payments.
- Two-way customer chats: Customers can use this feature to ask questions about their orders, find answers to FAQs, and stay updated on policy changes.
- Alerts: This category covers important notifications such as facility closures, IT outages, and security breaches.
How to choose a conversational messaging platform
There are several features you should consider:
- Ability to communicate with customers at scale: The platform should support large-scale customer interactions efficiently.
- Real-time monitoring of conversations: You should be able to monitor and respond to messages promptly.
- Integrations with core business software: Look for compatibility with your CRM system and commerce platform to streamline processes.
- Ability to deploy automated responses: Automation can help handle common queries and improve response times.
- Customisable message templates: The platform should allow you to create messages with various media formats, such as images, videos, and audio.
- Engagement and conversion analytics: Analytics tools can provide insights into customer interactions and campaign effectiveness.
- Watertight security: Ensure the platform has features like message encryption and data privacy to protect sensitive information.
Conversational messaging is suitable for businesses in various industries. It can enhance customer interactions regardless of the sector.
Here are some examples of industries where conversational messaging can be beneficial:
- Financial services: Payment reminders, claim handling, finance applications.
- Utility: Meter readings, secure payment links, engineer appointments.
- Retail: Order confirmations, delivery updates, customer service interactions, marketing.
- Healthcare: Appointment bookings and reminders, two-way chats with healthcare professionals, remote diagnosis.
- Local government: Major incident notifications, customer service interactions, resident satisfaction surveys.
- Travel: Ticketing with barcodes or QR codes, travel promotions, travel updates.
- Logistics: Order queries, delivery notifications, delivery receipts.
Remember, this list is not exhaustive. Conversational messaging can be adapted to suit the specific needs of your business, regardless of the industry you’re in.
Engage customers like never before with conversational messaging
Conversational messaging is the key to providing a quality customer experience and staying ahead in today’s competitive landscape. Regardless of the industry, conversational messaging can benefit all businesses.
For customers, it’s convenient, user-friendly, personalised and feels natural. For businesses, there’s the potential to build deeper connections with customers, boost loyalty, and even streamline processes and improve internal efficiency if you can introduce automation. Reap the benefits of conversational messaging by following our best practices and choosing the right platform.
Are you ready to get started?
Speak with an expert from Esendex today to help you choose the right conversational tool for you.