Customer satisfaction is the gift that keeps on giving. You can also think of it as an acorn, seeding the infrastructure for an oak – in this case, increased advocacy and positive word of mouth, both of which fuel sales growth as well as additional opportunities to create new and highly satisfied advocates.
It’s a virtuous cycle, but one that is only sustained with a great experience throughout the customer journey. A lot can go wrong here, from struggles with site navigation to frustrating interactions with agents. Many of the pitfalls involve the channels through which companies engage customers.
More specifically, there’s still widespread reliance on email and IVR despite the availability of superior options such as chat. Conversational UI (or chat) solutions offer a new way forward, one that can boost revenues and profits through delightful customer experiences.
Their adoption has been rising in recent years, with Gartner finding that over one-third of consumers used virtual personal assistants in 2016 (up 4 percent from 2015) and 71 percent relied on messaging apps (up 3 percent). The overall utility of chat in various applications is so comprehensive it may have contributed to a decline in the number of total apps used on smartphones, as more activity flows through a smaller set of intuitive interfaces.
Easy as A-B-C? The Apple Business Chat blueprint for better customer journeys
Ironically, the ongoing improvements in smartphone software and hardware have revealed some of the fundamental limitations of voice, especially when it comes to customer service. These devices now support highly interconnected chat platforms. Instead of picking up an iPhone to make a call only to be confronted with an IVR menu, it’s possible to get a much better result by simply reaching out via Apple Business Chat (ABC) or a similar platform.
ABC is part of iMessage, itself a major improvement upon SMS when it debuted in 2011. With Apple Business Chat, the ingredients for a streamlined journey are in one convenient place, beginning with an overview of an organization’s basic details. A Siri-curated list of results might include an overview of the business along with buttons for visiting its website, calling customer service, or messaging a representative. The latter will start an ABC interaction that could take many different forms.
One possible workflow involves customers initiating the conversation and having the predictive text feature of iMessage suggest specific details – like phone number or email address – that they can share with the business. If applicable, open appointment slots could appear in Time Picker, which integrates with the iOS calendar, or the similar List Picker might present a list of selectable products or services for purchase. Finally, customers can securely pay within ABC through Apple Pay, a service that gathers payment card details, shipping and billing addresses, and contact information in one place so that customers don’t have to manually re-enter these details each time or, worse, submit them in an unsecured form.
The bottom line: Delighting customers with chat delivers top-notch customer experiences
ABC is far from the only option on this front, with others like Rich Communication Services providing similar functionality on Android. Chat and conversational UI as a whole opens up many possibilities for superior customer engagement and service.
Three-fourths of consumers think it takes too long to reach a human agent, and a lot of that is attributable to IVR and the long wait times for email responses. In comparison, chat is usually much more immediate and, thanks to its rich set of features, better at providing the context that can help resolve issues more quickly.
Making the entire journey easier has measurable benefits. For one, it increases the chances for cross-selling and upselling, which are much less costly ways of generating revenue than attempting to land new customers. It also builds additional advocates, as customer service is one of the most reliable ways of doing so, ahead of even product price and quality.
At Logic20/20, we work with clients every day to integrate business chat solutions. Here’s a case study on how we helped a telecom boost its customer retention rate.