"The ubiquity of mobile phones delivers the kind of vehicle to businesses that allow them to speak to and engage with their customers directly — right from the palms of their hands. Yet, this research reveals that many businesses are still not using the communications channels made available by today's technology to their full potential and are missing out on opportunities to make real connections with customers and drive customer engagement." - Joy Corso, Chief Marketing Officer for Vonage
If you had to consider how you interact with friends and family daily, you’d probably come out saying that mobile messaging apps are your most dominant point of contact. And this speaks to inter-generational communication. Where once the Boomers were all about phone calls, many have shifted to SMS, Facebook, and WhatsApp for information and discussion.
Yet, according to Vonage's 11th Global Customer Engagement Report - based on a survey of nearly 5,000 consumers from 11 countries, businesses simply aren’t engaging with customers where they’re at. While 57% of respondents stated they use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, while 48% call via messaging apps, these numbers aren’t correlating with customer engagement. Rather phone calls, at 37%, are the most-used method for customer contact, followed by email at 30%.
The solution for businesses is so simple, cost-effective and engaging, yet the number clearly shows that not enough businesses are taking advantage of it. Chat Commerce is facilitating mobile shopping experiences all within chat apps, allowing for that personal digital experience consumers want. Here’s a look at what Chat Commerce could mean for the future of your business.
While many companies are fairly familiar with the term ‘conversational commerce’, they’re not always clear on how this translates into Chat Commerce. The distinction is important, because while the two are cut from the same cloth in that they facilitate customer communication, Chat Commerce is effectively the next phase of this digital shopping experience.
Conversational commerce: This is powered in part by conversational AI (artificial intelligence) across a number of disparate channels.
Chat commerce: This is a mobile-only facilitator of commercial transactions using the world’s most-adopted mobile messaging apps.
Conversational commerce – or conversational messaging - uses AI for customer engagement, including chatbots and voice assistants, as a way to facilitate transactions, but this AI is just not yet able to mimic human interactions, leading to more frustration than assistance. Instead of saving the customer time and hassle, misunderstandings in communication actually make the process more time-consuming than necessary.
It’s essentially the automation of interaction aimed at cutting business costs, but it doesn’t result in a personalized digital experience. It’s currently a business-centric model that prioritises the bottom line rather than the customer experience.
Considering the proliferation of mobile phones and the fact that customers want to do their shopping on their phones, Chat Commerce is a much more customer-centric model. Here’s how it’s providing a more personalized digital experience.
1. Comfort and recognition
WhatsApp is used by billions of people across the globe every day to connect and share. This means that users are aware of its various features, and are comfortable when operating the app. Chat Commerce simply leverages this existing sense of comfort by engaging with shoppers in their favourite chat apps like WhatsApp and SMS. There’s no need for downloading new mobile apps or searching for websites. Mobile messaging is where your customers already are which means it’s exactly where you need to be.
2. Questions answered
As we mentioned, trying to communicate with chatbots and voice assistants can often be infuriating as misunderstandings emerge. But your customers do need to have their queries and concerns addressed if you’re wanting to offer a personalized digital experience. Chat Commerce can respond to FAQs through automation, saving your business time and money while providing your customers with exactly what they need. But it doesn’t end there – because that’s simply not personal enough! Your customers might have questions outside of those FAQs. Chat Commerce will simply redirect them to a live agent who can answer any questions and ensure they’re enjoying a personalized shopping experience.
3. Historical data
There is nothing more impersonal than a customer moving from one live agent to the next and having to explain their problem or concern over and over again. That’s where Chat Commerce comes in! Mobile messaging apps inherently retain all your customer data from previous engagements, allowing you to pick up with a customer exactly where the last agent left off. You can address the customer by name, and you even have reference to their purchase history so you know what interests them and what doesn’t. Brands can also use this to send customised promotional offers straight to consumers. This makes for a much more personalized digital experience.
4. Simple payments
One of the areas where you often lose customers is when it comes to making payments. If customers have to be re-directed to another website and re-enter payment details, they’re likely to feel this is too much hassle and effort. With Chat Commerce, there’s a much simpler and more personal solution – they can pay for goods directly via SMS or WhatsApp.
5. It’s always available
Some of your customers will want to shop during the traditional 9-to-5 time slots, but some are night owls who prefer to do their shopping when everyone else is asleep. That’s not a problem with Chat Commerce! Your customers can enjoy convenient shopping on their mobile phones anytime, anywhere, just as they like it.
6. Listen to them
Finally, personalizing a digital experience can only work if you know what your customers actually want. Chat Commerce allows you to send short, focused customer surveys to provide a more customized experience in future.
Meet your customers where they are and provide them with the personalized digital experience they’re actually calling for by integrating Clickatell’s Chat Commerce into your retail solution.
SMS and two-way channels, automation, call center integration, payments - do it all with Clickatell's Chat Commerce platform.