More and more customers are using message channels to connect with brands, make purchases and view new data.
In the past, companies could govern with fixed and predictable storefronts, both physically and digitally. Advances in personalization can breathe new life into the digital experience, but even that isn’t enough. Many customers also expect mutual interaction with a brand via online messaging or chat.
The expectations of these customers are dynamic, so it’s helpful to see how marketers respond. How marketers respond again creates new expectations for the customer. The process is giving and receiving. It’s like a conversation.
What customers want from messages
More customers are using message channels to connect with brands and make purchases. This is evidenced by the number of new users who have used a messaging channel in the past year.
CRM software maker Zendesk recently investigated the widespread acceptance of messages for all age groups. Among respondents, Zendesk found that by 2020 nearly 40% of Millennials and Generation Z will be using messaging (embedded in social media, text messages, or their own channel) to connect with a brand for the first time. Nearly 30% of the same age group used the phone for the first time and gave an idea of how conversations are growing on many old and new channels. 20% of baby boomers and seniors have also started messaging as new users.
Jon Aniano, senior vice president of product at Zendesk, said customers had good news before the pandemic. But as with other changes in daily life, the pandemic has accelerated this change.
“What happened is that people were trapped in their homes, which increased the number of messages with friends and family,” explains Aniano. “There were fewer interactions between people and the people who use Zoom every day.” Facebook’s WhatsApp reached two billion users last year, and the demand for encrypted messaging apps like Signal and Telegram has also increased.
“While I think the pandemic has accelerated the trend, it has always existed,” Aniano said. “We have already passed the tipping point in terms of this trend.”
Therefore, customers expect brands to find them where they are through message channels. But Aniano also said that customers have advanced knowledge of automation that marketers can use to track messages. Customers expect automation for questions that don’t take too long.
“The consumer automatically starts waiting when he talks to a brand,” Aniano said. He added that companies can develop advanced video or voice messages, but the trick is to have fixed data sources to inform experiences.
Manage message data
Messaging is an important part of overall customer engagement. It is also a valuable source of customer data. Some marketing teams see CRM as the source of the truth. But we also explain why CRM can no longer be the center of the universe.
Michael Harrison, CEO of analytics firm Winterberry Group, said data is unstructured for much of the customer engagement and needs to be integrated into the data layer through an additional tool or process. This unstructured data includes customer service, social discussions, ratings, and live chat. He added that advances in natural language processing also provide information about speech channels that were previously purely qualitative.
“Once unstructured data is standardized, brands can set up unified customer profiles to achieve a customer experience that goes beyond the marketing domain,” said Harrison.
Once connected, all data can be activated through orchestration and coordinated decision-making.
“The flow of data flows between channels, applications, and the central decision-making layer, creating a holistic view of how a brand interacts with each customer,” explains Harrison. “Structurally, the decision-making process should cover all customer departments and be used to address issues related to marketing, advertising, customer service, and business management.
Where do application-level marketers make decisions? Winterberry Group (in a Harrison study) found segmentation solutions to be the most popular.
Measure the success of your messages
Assuming your brand has a broad decision-making and orchestration strategy, there is another difficult hurdle to overcome: benchmarks. Organizations need to agree internally on success measures.
The Braze Customer Engagement Platform found that while most marketers (88%) consider their engagement strategy to be excellent or good, 74% are concerned about how these metrics translate into business results.
If teams are looking for a common ground to reach an agreement, they need to look at the long term.
Myles Kleeger, president and CEO of Braze, said: “Many companies are still focused on the best metrics, such as opening and clicking, as opposed to what really matters: customer loyalty and long-term value. Life.” These factors depend on building relationships, which for many of today’s customers depend on mutual interaction.
According to Kleeger, companies need a successful business definition that is linked to each department and individual KPIs. A holistic methodology is then implemented to measure the short- and long-term effects on customer behavior and business results.
‘Ultimately,’ says Kleeger, ‘you need to make sure you define the right criteria in each department that communicates with customers to understand the performance of the team and the program, independently and especially in general.
Given the increasing engagement with messages and the willingness of customers to deal with brands through these channels, marketers can convincingly argue that messages are essential for short- and long-term goals.