We acknowledge the fact that you’re often presented with a variety of choices when it comes to your marketing/communication channels. Finding the right one takes a lot of research and even more trial and error. So to help you with the former, we want to take some time to evaluate one of the increasingly popular methods of digital communication: customer messaging apps.
We’ll give you a high-level overview of what these messaging apps are as well as what they help your business accomplish. But before we begin, a helpful disclaimer: there is no true, one size fits all marketing solution. Be wary of any solution that markets itself as a communication Swiss Army Knife. In reality, any truly effective communication tool knows that its greatest power is supplementing its weak spots with complimentary solutions. While customer messaging apps are a fantastic tool with remarkable benefits, it’s not for every business! We’ll explain why, but first, let’s peel back the curtain and break down exactly what customer messaging apps are.
Have you ever been browsing a site online and seen a pop up like this appear?
If so, you’ve encountered a classic example of customer messaging apps in action. Customer messaging apps, by definition, are B2C and B2B tools that enable real-time, two-way, digital conversations. They can be natively integrated into your webpage or e-commerce site with tools or specifications geared towards your specific business goals.
Different customer messaging app providers market themselves based on those goals. For example, one of the most popular providers, Intercom, separates their services by three solutions: acquire customers, engage customers, and support customers.
Other tools differentiate based on the type of business they serve, like enterprise clients, SMB, and early stage clients.
While methods and features may differ, the products all trend towards a familiar chat-like experience native to platforms like Facebook (messenger) and early AIM instant messaging. An intimate, separate space where customer and business can exchange real-time messages related to service or experience based needs.
Globally, [2.5 billion people use messaging apps on a daily basis](Globally, 2.5 billion people use messaging apps on a daily basis. ). To some, that may feel like everyone in the world, but there are some industries and marketers who are certainly more likely than others to benefits from this instant communication phenomenon.
As we said in our unintentionally ominous introduction, “there is no true, one size fits all marketing solution.”
This holds true for customer messaging apps as well. There are some business needs that are better served through this kind of digital communication. In our experience, we’ve found that to be:
The common characteristic across these industries that make them so in need of immediate, digital, two-way communication is the high volume of competition, and the speed at which business is conducted.
To elaborate, there may be hundreds of vendors who can design a t-shirt for a business. If a potential customer has a question about size range, waiting too long for a response can result in them simply moving on to the next business who can provide them a virtually identical product.
Or, imagine a frustrated customer whose new printer isn’t working. They’re in need of help and already feeling pretty crummy about your brand. Fast, quick, support can turn that impression around and avoid negative reviews (both online and through word of mouth) that drive a majority of consumer behavior these days.
While this list certainly isn’t exhaustive, it starts to formulate the gist of what a customer messaging app can do for you.
We’re no Bob Ross, but we think the following five points do a pretty good job of painting the benefits of customer messaging apps picture. No mistakes, just happy customers.
If you’re looking for a way to respond to customers faster, there’s no quicker way than real time. If you’re an e-commerce business or just an organization with an online presence, responding in person is out of the question. So customer messaging apps are the next best solution. Over 60% of US consumers prefer an automated self-service, such as a website or mobile app, for simple customer service tasks.
In addition, a faster response time can deliver favorable customer retention rates. 67% of customer churn is preventable if firms resolve issues the first time they occur. With automated tools like templates, sending the perfectly crafted message in seconds flat is easier than ever.
As voluntary participants in digital activity, we are all, knowingly or unknowingly, putting our personal data into the world. A lot of the time, this is a really positive thing. For any website where you’ve created an account (from online shopping to gaming), you’ve built out your persona for businesses detailing your likes, habits, and demographics.
Most customer messaging apps automatically make use of that harvested data and use it to your advantage. They customize chats with first names to come across more like an acquaintance, send deals and offers based on past purchases, and follow up after an action to ensure the customer experience was satisfactory. A little goes a long way with 75% of consumers more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, OR knows their purchase history.
The great thing about the internet is that it’s the universal chatroom. Anyone in the world with an internet connection is capable of reaching your brand with a customer messaging app. This world can thusly become as large or as small as you’d like it to be. Additionally, from the back end, customer messaging apps allow you to stay in touch with your customers any time, anywhere. No need to worry about phone plans and long distance charges when you’re communicating online.
The real beauty in automation comes in the form of customization. Making your messaging app a space that fits your needs is crucial, and for many making it a space to automatically collect customer feedback is a major need. Customer ratings and reviews are a major driver for sales across industries. Up to this point a lot of our example use cases have revolved around customer service, but that’s not all these apps are good for. Pushing a portal for customers to leave feedback as they’re actively experiencing your brand not only helps you collect more testimony, but it minimizes the window of time a customer has before their thoughts either vanish or no longer seem important enough to share. In addition, by providing clear, ample opportunity for customers to share their opinion, you’re telling them that what they’re saying matters. That kind of commitment to the customer doesn’t go unappreciated and it shows to potential leads that you’re not afraid and actually encourage people to read what others have to say. Trust isn’t easy to build with people unfamiliar with you and your values, but offering this feature is a great place to start.
If you want to open up a year-round, air-conditioned dive bar the serves up cold drinks meant to chill and delight, you may not want to do it in Alaska. There’s just not a market for it. That principal translates to your digital marketing as well. You want to meet your customers where they are, and the internet is the spot to be. But even more specifically, mobile devices.
Here at SimpleTexting we tend to refer to ourselves as a text marketing solution. But that’s not necessarily the only hat we wear. Depending on how you choose to utilize our platform (and yes, you do have a choice) SimpleTexting’s software can be used as a messaging app.
I bet you’re wondering, why would someone choose SimpleTexting as opposed to a “competitor” who brands themselves clearly as a customer messaging app. And we could answer that a couple ways, but the primary reason relates back to the fifth point above: go where the customer is. And where consumer data shows customers are flocking, is mobile.
We believe that delivering two-way communications to your audience via SMS is the superior iteration of the customer messaging app experience. You deliver the same speed, ease, and accessibility, but you’re met with:
We won’t hammer you with the benefits of texting here, but you get the idea. Deliver a similar if not identical experience as you would with a traditional customer messaging app, but do so through a familiar, easy to use, and customer preferred channel.
So while we’re not a traditional customer messaging app, we believe text marketing enables you to achieve the same kinds of objectives. But at the end of the day, your choice will always be driven by your needs.