In today’s digital climate where constant marketing communications can feel invasive, personalized, contextual communication stands out for the right reasons and gets results.
In this article, we’re going to look at the 6 essentials of a great retail customer messaging experience, and how you can be sure you’re communicating in the best possible way to get the best results for you and your customers.
1. Focus on omnichannel and timely communication
These days, it’s imperative to offer an omnichannel approach to your messaging. Communication should be well connected to ensure the most convenient service possible.
The bottom line is that customers' busy lifestyles demand cross-channel integration on your side. The customer needs their interactions with you to be as smooth as possible, and they ultimately expect seamlessly connected and convenient communication at all times.
Take advantage of peak periods of user activity by including valuable and relevant information in messages during crucial decision-making moments in the customer journey. Applying this mentality across all channels will encourage customers to make positive associations with you and regard you as a reliable source (which long term is great for improving customer retention rate).
2. Make your communication contextual and behavior-based
Behavior-triggered messaging is about gaining customers' attention at the right time. It is also key to offering a smooth customer experience.
Consider an online shopper getting part way through their shopping process, when suddenly something distracts them. A personalized message from you, asking them to continue at this crucial moment might be the difference between the customer leaving your site completely (only to google their purchase later and potentially get it from a competitor) or, them sticking with you and completing their purchase. All the while, increasing your chances of sticking in their mind as a useful service that is receptive to their preferences.
According to Hubspot, businesses lose 75% of new users within the first week - highlighting how crucial it is to keep your customers happy, engaged, and on-side at all times.
Offering a cohesive customer messaging experience comes down to knowing individual customer preferences based on their specific actions and behavior, and also anticipating their needs at any given time:
Make your communications time or event-driven, and always have something relevant to say to your customers. A personal touch is also the perfect way to re-engage customers who may be on the fence, seem disengaged, or have shown any periods of inactivity. What’s more is that compelling, personalized offers and incentives get attention and stand out above all other types of generic digital noise:
Time-sensitive communications are a powerful tool in gaining retention - in fact, 63% of people say that receiving a discount within an hour of interacting with a brand will help drive loyalty.
3. Be conversational
We’ve already mentioned that your messages have to look native, but the language needs to be natural and valuable too.
Artificial Intelligence has its advantages, but ultimately, when dealing with customers, people want conversational and meaningful interactions. The key is to be both personable and efficient, without alienating the customer in any way.
Think less robot, and more chatbot supported by a real human. Drift does an excellent job of fun and conversational messaging while keeping users informed and engaged:
Ultimately, customers respond to human-to-human communication, and continuous conversations are the way to achieve this.
Using the likes of seamless CRM and customer service integrations allows communication between brands and customers to be instant, interactive, and more personable - a recipe for customer satisfaction.
4. Listen and Engage with Your Customers
With the ability to send feedback surveys directly to your customers’ fingertips, you need to make sure you’re actually listening to their feedback and making changes.
Make sure your customer messages are effortless and come across as natural - nobody likes forced, insincere patter. Be sure to pay particular attention to the times your users are most active to avoid bothering them when they are not available and readily using the app(s). Finally, always ensure you have something to say or add to make the encounter meaningful.
Being receptive to your customers doesn't just apply to initial interactions with them, but for all on-going communication thereafter. It’s worthwhile to be thoughtful and creative with your re-engagement when the need eventually arises. There’s generally a clear reason why someone isn’t engaging with you, and this example from ASOS is a clever means of letting the customer express their feelings towards your service, so as a business you’re able to pinpoint (and eliminate) any future problems:
Knowing their customers well, they even link their customer service page to facebook messenger, so customers can communicate easily.
5. Make sure your messages fit the style of the channel
When messaging customers via apps like Viber and WhatsApp, you need to fit in with the other messages they will be receiving via those apps. It is likely that the majority of their contacts are close family and friends, so if you send a formal business message it could be seen as invasive - and could get ignored.
In today’s climate, you have to be prepared to interact with your customers how, where, and whenever they choose.
When maintaining effortless communication think of all-around user experience and consider timing and relevance for the user.
Leverage the likes of mobile app messages, chat apps, and RCS to embed clickable buttons that ensure customers can reply easily and quickly. If you want your customers to react and take action, then you need to make it as easy and painless as possible for them to comply.
6. Always add value
Great customer messaging experiences always add value. When you have a customer’s contact details, don’t take advantage of that to send a stream of ads or reminders to visit your website.
Your messages should be offering something that makes your customer’s life easier and/ or makes them happier.
Transactional messages can provide customers with important information about their account and demonstrate transparency.
Timing is also crucial. Timely messages providing valuable information can also save customers time and money.
Where possible, always give your customers options - people love the freedom to choose. Provide helpful and interesting content, customized to suit their interests and preferences. Duolingo does a great job of reassuring its customers here, while offering them something more:
The Ultimate Guide to Messaging
By following these tips and practicing proactive outreach, you can create worthwhile and memorable experiences for your customers that build strong relationships that keep them coming back for more.
For more pro tips, download the ‘The Ultimate Guide to Messaging’ eBook to help you produce continuously effective and impactful messaging experiences for your customers!