Every business wants to know how to get (and keep) more customers.
Providing personal interactions and learning about your customers is critical to building your authority and trust with potential buyers. Yet, providing these types of two-way interactions is challenging for online businesses.
This more personal, tailored approach is particularly critical for providing quality customer service. Gone are the days where people will patiently wait hours or days for a response.
Customers want their interactions with businesses to be timely, personalized, and convenient, even when conducting business online. For instance, 84 percent of consumers cite effective customer service as a critical factor when deciding whether to purchase from a company.
People also want to engage with online businesses like they do with friends or family. Fortunately, technology advances make it easier for businesses of all sizes to provide timely, convenient, and personalized customer experiences.
Many companies are finding creative ways to incorporate conversational commerce tools, like chat bots or live chat, to connect in real-time with their customers. Taking advantage of these real-time and personalized marketing tools is paying off.
Businesses that engage with their customers across multiple real-time or fast response channels are twice as likely to provide better support and experiences. Conversational commerce also helps increase customer engagement, leads, and sales. Understanding how to use conversational commerce can build stronger connections with customers to provide effective customer service and build brand loyalty.
Conversational commerce refers to sales, marketing, or other customer interaction activities that take place in the form of electronic “conversations,” often through a medium such as a live chat widget. It allows you to interact with customers in real-time or with an automated conversation while they are on your website. This one-to-one approach provides the feel of a conversation, which can help move visitors through your sales funnels, create positive customer experiences, and increase engagement.
This personalized approach provides your customers or leads with the information they need quickly as opposed to filling out forms that require them to wait for a response. You can also ask your customers questions based on how they respond, so you can learn more about your customer base.
Customers often have limited time and high expectations of businesses. They want quality customer service with timely answers to their questions.
Conversational commerce allows you to provide personalized information that meets your customers where they are in the buyer’s journey. This conversational marketing approach lets you gather information, and connect with and pre-qualify leads faster than using a lead capture form.
Benefits of conversational commerce include:
Conversational commerce can be done in various ways. Some techniques have you or your service team providing responses, while other approaches can be run by artificially intelligent software. With the variety of tools available, you can find the right type of approach that fits your business’s needs.
You’ve likely seen a button in the lower corner of websites you’ve visited stating phrases like “Chat with us.” These are examples of live chat widgets.
Live chat communication is a popular conversational marketing method that can positively impact your sales and customer loyalty. A survey by Forrester found that 44% of online consumers felt that being able to talk with a representative while making a purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
Live chat is popular because it allows for more real-time, immediate support without the long wait times of phone calls. Live agents can respond to questions and provide understanding and empathy to build trust and positive customer experiences.
Compared to phone support, it’s much easier for live chat agents to multitask and provide help to multiple visitors at once. Visitors can also engage in other activities while live chatting with the agent, which is convenient for them.
You can add a live chat plugin directly to your existing website, adding additional functionality and features on top of your existing pages. The types of included features can vary depending on the plugin. That said, basic features typically include:
Chat bots provide automated, immediate responses to customers’ questions through AI-powered software instead of a live person. A site running an AI chat bot will program it with variations of common customer inquiries, and the chat bot can deliver pre-written responses when they are needed.
Chat bots are active 24/7 and can provide an immediate response to customer questions. Unlike live agents, chat bots can help an unlimited amount of customers at the same time.
Chat bots are an efficient and effective tool for handling common problems and questions that are frequently asked. They can even be programmed to ask open-ended questions and offer product suggestions. Using chat bots that are powered by artificial intelligence also means they will become more accurate over time via training.
While chat bots don’t provide the personalization that a live agent can give, you can use both methods in partnership. Using both can free up live agents to handle more complex questions or problems.
CRM systems help businesses gather, store, and manage customer data and interactions to help support sales and marketing funnels, lead qualification, and customer requests. These tools make it easier for businesses to manage customer relationships.
While CRM data helps companies reach current customers, it isn’t always as effective at reaching new customers. That said, conversational CRM combines messaging and automation that can fill this gap and help businesses more effectively reach customers.
For example, conversational CRM helps you gain insights and leads by unifying multi-channel information. Some information sources include:
The data is compiled and sent automatically to your CRM system, ready to be used in a variety of ways. Chat bots can recognize specific visitors to your site based on CRM information, for example, reaching out with messaging tailored especially for them. You can also continue conversations that began elsewhere, in case a customer reached out on social media with a problem before coming to your site for more assistance. Having up-to-date data allows you to provide more effective, targeted marketing and sales activities up and down your purchase funnel, and more accurate and efficient support to existing customers.
When customers call most companies, they usually have to select a department so they can speak to a person qualified to help with the issue or question. You can also do this with live chat, making sure that conversations happen with the team that is best equipped to handle them.
The chat department function ensures that only agents connected with a specific department will be alerted to a customer’s message. This feature allows for further personalization and ensures your visitors have a positive customer service experience, eliminating unnecessary steps and the frustration of being bounced around from one agent to another.
Conversational commerce platforms, like Formilla, make it easier for businesses to manage customer contacts and leads and provide tailored messaging to connect with prospects and customers. This more personal experience leads to greater satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Formilla offers a live chat widget, AI-based chat bots, on-site messaging, and other marketing automation features that are all controllable via a single dashboard. While “conversational commerce” as a larger concept will take place across many channels and will extend onto various social media platforms, it’ll make it easier on your business to have a dedicated platform to handle as much of your customer messaging as possible.
Incorporating more real-time, two-way dialogue with visitors helps with more than your marketing. This approach can improve your sales process as well. Conversational sales moves beyond the traditional fill-out-a-form approach. As a strategy, conversational sales allows your sales team to engage with visitors in real-time, connecting your potential customers with the information they need to convert (and hopefully become repeat customers in the future).
Conversational sales is particularly important for B2B companies, where the sales process can be longer and more in-depth. By using a conversational sales strategy, you make it easier for your leads to contact you when they are available, taking immediate advantage of opportunities that can pay huge dividends.
Here are some ways that conversational sales can improve your visitors’ experience and help you build leads, gain trust, and increase your conversion rate.
When a potential lead wants more information about your services or products, they often have to submit a contact form and wait for a response. This creates a barrier between you and your potential customer. It also allows time for them to find another solution to their problem.
Instead, using a live chat widget or chat bots an provide the potential lead with the information they want when they want it. This keeps the conversation going and can move the lead further in the sales funnel faster than using forms. For some businesses you can even progress right to a scheduled demo of your product, as in the case of SaaS (“software as a service”) companies.
What if you could turn an email into an opportunity for a real-time conversation? This technique can allow prospective buyers to contact a sales representative immediately when your email sparks a question or idea.
To provide the opportunity for a more real-time exchange, you can add a link to emails that readers click for real-time messaging. This strategy can get conversations going while your prospect is thinking about your company, which can help shorten the sales cycle.
Whether a customer is using your website, social media, landing page, or email, these tools allow customers to ask their specific questions and concerns in real-time. By opening a conversation in the moment, you can efficiently provide them with the information they need.
In the ecommerce world, conversational sales can have the same appeal and effect as the personal attention of in-store staff. As more and more shopping goes online, customers are missing the human touch provided by helpful store clerks and experts, in categories from electronics to clothing. Live chat sales agents can offer a similar experience in the digital space, helping your customers find exactly the right products to suit their needs, keeping them engaged and on-site throughout the process.
Using a conversational sales strategy also ensures you can help those individuals who are more likely to buy your service or product right now. You can provide tailored information that can help shorten the sales cycle, providing the crucial final push that turns a lead into a customer.
This aspect of conversational sales goes hand-in-hand with lead scoring. Using marketing automation techniques you can effectively prioritize your leads based on the data you have about your potential customers. Leads that have already completed a demo of your software, for example, can benefit much more from a personal conversation from your sales agent than someone who has landed on your site for the first time.
Traditional methods for scheduling demos or calls can lead to multiple phone calls or back-and-forth emails. These delays are a drain on your sales team and represent another barrier for your potential lead.
Instead, you can use chat bots and calendar scheduling tools to streamline the scheduling process even when sales representatives aren’t online. Keeping the conversation going with a customer is a key strategy to moving them forward in the sales funnel, and conversational sales is all about finding ways to communicate efficiently, effectively, and naturally.
Conversational commerce is gaining in popularity because it benefits both your customers and your business. It reduces the friction and barriers between you and the customer, helping to bring back the personal touch that we’ve lost as more business is conducted online.
Using conversational commerce tools allows you to engage in a two-way dialogue with visitors to your website. It helps you efficiently qualify leads, learn more about your customers, and provide the help they need in real-time. It lets your customers receive the information they want in a timely, personalized manner, which helps build trust and loyalty over time.
Incorporating conversational commerce tools doesn’t have to be difficult. You can add these real-time tools to your existing systems, websites, landing pages, and forms to provide the option for prospects who want to use them.
Are you ready to add real-time, conversational commerce to your business? Sign up for a free trial of Formilla to see how live chat and chat bots can improve your customer experience and help your sales process.