Chat has become the most important way to talk with customers. According to Facebook, 62 percent of people in the U.S. say they find it most comfortable to speak with businesses via chat. Facebook also reports that more than eight billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses each month. This statement is only covering the Facebook channel. Messaging-based sales have four reasons businesses should leverage it.
You may have heard about messaging-based sales (also known as conversational commerce). Since messaging-based sales are now critically important for business, it means businesses can sell via chat platforms such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, and WhatsApp. You can embed chat on your company’s website, as well.
If you’re a startup looking to position yourself as customer-centric business (and you should be), messaging-based sales are your next significant sales channel for doing just that. Here are four primary reasons why your business should focus on messaging-based sales right now.
Messaging-Bassed Sales Caters to Customers’ Preferred Communication Method.
People have grown accustomed to using messaging apps, and not just for personal communication with friends and family. When it comes to reaching out to a business for any support, people would instead use a chat app than an 800 number. After all, who wants to be placed on hold forever or talk to a stranger at two am?
Messaging-based sales are about being where the customer is when the customer needs support. Email messages often go straight into a spam folder and don’t support real-time communications. Meanwhile, no startup has the bandwidth for speaking to thousands of leads per day or offering around-the-clock phone support (ok, maybe the unicorns).
While there still is a role for self-serve portals, email, and even phone support, chat has become the primary channel consumers choose when given a choice.
Reintroduce Sales and Customer Service to the Shopping Experience.
Customers aren’t just communicating online; they’re doing everything else online, too. Before customers buy, they now often search online to learn more about product options. They also review customer comments and perform brand comparisons. Other customer’s comments is in stark contrast to the time when buyers previously went to brick and mortar locations to buy stuff.
Current shopping habits even differ from when buyers inspected products in store before ordering online—now most consumers go straight to online shopping. With both research and purchases taking place online, there was minimal opportunity to speak with customers to respond to questions or encourage a sale.
With messaging-based sales, businesses once again have the opportunity for assisting the buyer mid-sale. Chat can even serve as a form of concierge-level service in many cases. With just a click of a prominently displayed live chat button, shoppers can get answers to their questions or assistance selecting the right products. Shoppers can feel luxe if you implement the system correctly.
Enables Support Capabilities Without High Support Staff Costs.
If you’re getting your business off the ground, it’s this kind of concierge-level service. Using messaging as a service can set your company apart. Customers — especially Millennials — will prize your excellent customer service. One challenge that businesses face is being able to provide this level of customer service cost-effectively. Messaging-based sales square the circle of needing top customer service. But, messaging will need to stay in budget by enabling fewer support agents to serve multiple customers at the same time.
Since chat is real-time but not instantaneous like voice communications, one agent can serve multiple customers at the same time, cutting down on support costs. Chatbot technology also can be combined with live agents, further extending the number of customers a support agent can serve at the same time.
Improves Shopping Cart Conversion.
Shopping cart conversion can be pretty abysmal. According to Smart Insights, conversion rates barely reach three percent in many cases. In spite of attracting potential buyers through online marketing, businesses often don’t close the sale even when they win with their marketing efforts. Messaging based sales improve conversion by turning a “maybe” into a “yes.”
Better service in the critical moment can make a sale happen. Whereas a potential buyer might browse away to do further research without chat, with messaging based transactions, they can get their questions answered at the moment and make the purchase then and there. These quick and easy purchases are arguably the most significant reason businesses are adopting messaging based sales en masse.
Chat is the fastest growing communication channel for businesses today. Smart companies realize this, and they are capitalizing on it for better conversion and better customer support. There’s a reason that so many websites now have chat boxes hovering somewhere on the page. It works. It works well.
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