Are you struggling to handle high volumes of conversations from customers and potential leads? After years of facilitating customer conversations at scale for over 10,000 brands, respond.io developed the Conversation Management Framework to help businesses manage customer conversations effectively.
In this blog post, we will dive into the importance of customer conversation management, and the common challenges businesses encounter when managing conversations. Finally, we’ll show you how the Conversation Management Framework addresses them.
Why is Customer Conversation Management Important?
Every conversation businesses have with customers or leads is a valuable opportunity for them to achieve tangible business results. These outcomes include the potential to boost customer satisfaction, build long-term loyalty, shape a positive brand image or reputation and ultimately lead to increased revenue.
The more conversations you have, the more opportunities you’ll have to drive these outcomes. However, many businesses hesitate to drive conversations as they lack cost-effective methods for managing conversations at scale, especially if they rely on traditional communication channels.
Customer Conversation Management: What You’re Likely Currently Doing
Engaging with customers through traditional channels like email and webchat demands significant manpower and fails to provide agents with the context they need to effectively assist customers.
For instance, emails often lead to extended response times and phone calls confine agents to managing one conversation at a time. Website chats, on the other hand, can be interrupted when customers leave the site or experience internet glitches, forcing them to restart conversations and repeat themselves.
As a result of these challenges, businesses frequently divert inbound conversations to self-service resources like FAQ pages or help centers, assuming these resources are sufficient.
In more extreme cases, some businesses even discourage customers from reaching out entirely, either by making it difficult to initiate contact or by failing to provide clear means for customers to get in touch.
By adopting this approach and dismissing the value of conversations, businesses miss out on significant opportunities, especially when conversations have the potential to push customers further along the customer journey. Let’s explore how conversations can do this.
Move Customers Along The Customer Journey with Conversations
Every day, businesses unknowingly miss out on valuable opportunities. While it may seem like customers are actively engaging with your brand by liking or commenting on your social media posts, crucial opportunities often go unnoticed.
The customer journey starts when a potential customer first discovers your brand. During this stage, they typically seek information on your website. However, if they stumble upon a product they're interested in but can't find answers to critical questions, they may stop looking into your products and services altogether.
As customers progress in their journey and start considering a purchase, they often rely on online reviews to make their decisions.
Positive reviews usually lead to a purchase. However, any obstacles encountered during this process, such as encountering broken "Buy Now" links, can result in missed opportunities and abandoned sales.
When issues arise post-purchase, like product defects or dissatisfaction, customers turn to you for assistance, whether it's to file a complaint, request a replacement or seek a refund.
If they cannot reach your support team easily, face unanswered calls and emails or are directed to your FAQ page or help center, this subpar support can lead to customer dissatisfaction and harm your business's reputation.
As businesses' ultimate goal is to turn customers into repeat buyers, positive initial experiences will increase the likelihood of their return. If they fail to have a positive impression, they may disregard your brand or check out your competitors, leading to loyalty challenges where you stand to lose customers.
Each failed attempt to get information, take action or contact you is a gap in the customer journey. To successfully bridge these gaps and retain and nurture customers, you need to make it easy for customers to start a conversation with you and vice versa.
To begin, include instant messaging channels in your customer communication strategy if you haven't already.
Customer Conversation Management: Driving Conversations on Instant Messaging Channels
Starting a conversation on instant messaging channels like WhatsApp, Facebook and Telegram is quick and straightforward. Customers can send messages anytime and receive faster replies compared to traditional communication channels like email or phone calls.
This real-time interaction aligns with modern expectations for immediate communication but poses challenges for businesses that are understaffed, receive high volumes of messages or have a presence on multiple instant messaging channels that need to be managed individually.
These scenarios can strain resources and slow down response times, affecting the customer experience and their satisfaction.
Instant messaging channels offer a valuable feature by providing a chat history, allowing both customers and agents to reference previous conversations for context. However, if a business operates across multiple messaging channels, maintaining a centralized history of customer interactions becomes challenging.
This centralized history is vital for ensuring a consistent customer experience across all channels as 90% of customers expect seamless interaction continuity across all contact channels.
This is when a robust customer communication platform like respond.io and its Conversation Management Framework comes into play.
Understanding the respond.io Conversation Management Framework
At the heart of the Conversation Management Framework is a fundamental concept that every conversation is an opportunity to generate business results. Whether it’s a chat initiated by a curious first-time visitor or a query from a long-standing customer, each conversation is a chance to grow your business.
However, managing high volumes of conversations is challenging. To help you, we developed the Conversation Management Framework that addresses common business pain points such as:
- The difficulty in effectively responding to, resolving and generating business results from all conversations.
- Insufficient peer or managerial visibility into conversations, which hampers collaboration, compliance and efficiency.
- Fragmented messaging channels and infrastructure spread across various tools, leading to siloed conversations and data.
- Challenges in implementing and optimizing business processes at scale.
This framework presents a set of best practices broken down into four key stages: Capture, Automate, Converse and Convert, or generate business results.
Note that these stages do not strictly follow a linear or cyclical progression as conversion can occur at any point within the framework. Now, let’s take a closer look at each stage below.
Capture: The Digital Net for Business Opportunities
The first stage, Capture, is often the starting point for these valuable conversations. Here, the aim is to get customers and leads to start as many conversations as possible with your business.
This stage is all about widening the top of the funnel. You want to attract people who are hearing about your business for the first time as well as re-engage existing customers.
Strategies might include website widgets and chat links on your website, social media capture through click-to-chat ads on Facebook or Instagram, or even QR codes strategically placed in brick-and-mortar stores.
To nurture or re-engage existing customers, businesses can send updates via newsletters or send cart recovery messages to customers who abandoned their carts on e-commerce sites.
The conversations you manage to "capture" here become the leads that enter the next stages of your cycle.
Automate: The Power of Automation
Not all conversations require manpower to resolve satisfactorily or get the results you want. In fact, automation can sometimes deliver a better customer experience or get better results.
Automating answers is an easy win. When customers are looking for quick answers to frequently asked questions, the speed and accuracy of AI will deliver a better customer experience than a human agent would. Another common way to automate answers is by creating chat menus that empower self-service journeys.
However, while automation can handle routine inquiries, some conversations require a human touch. Automatically routing conversations to human agents is a more effective strategy than alternatives such as picking or manual assignment as its rule-based logic operates instantly and without fail or bias.
Strategies like round-robin and skill-based routing can be employed to ensure that conversations are directed to the right human agents with the appropriate expertise to handle these conversations when automation can't provide the desired outcomes.
It's all about ensuring each conversation is directed to where it can be most efficiently and effectively handled.
Converse: The Value of Human Interaction
AI and automated processes can handle routine conversations, but they can’t negotiate a deal or understand human emotion. Stage three, Converse, brings in the irreplaceable human element.
The goal of this stage is to utilize human expertise in handling unique, complex inquiries or high-value opportunities. Achieving this requires a deep understanding of the customer and engaging in highly personalized, relationship-building conversations.
For businesses, this is often where the customer relationship is cemented and opportunities to provide great experiences present themselves.
First, businesses must ensure they thoroughly understand the customer. This is because customers want to be recognized as valued individuals, rather than as anonymous numbers in a queue.
To achieve this, businesses can provide agents with tools to inspect customer properties from external CRMs, review conversation history and analyze recent purchase behavior to provide personalized assistance and make informed decisions when helping them.
To best help a customer, businesses can also leverage internal expertise within their teams by allowing agents to chat internally while replying to customers, escalate conversations when the issue is out of their expertise and more.
As agents now have the context and help they need, they can optimize communication with the customer while simultaneously aligning every message with the company's desired business outcomes for both the current conversation and long-term results.
One way to achieve this is by creating rapport and building relationships with customers, ensuring they receive the best possible customer experience. As a result, businesses enhance the customer experience, resulting in seamless and exceptional interactions.
Convert: Where Conversations Generate Business Results
Finally, we arrive at the last stage, Convert. The goal of capturing and automating conversations as well as conversing with customers is to convert the opportunity presented by the conversation into tangible business results.
Depending on your business goals, these results could include, improving CSAT scores, increasing brand loyalty, boosting conversion rates and securing successful purchases and deals. With that, let’s look at how respond.io can help manage your conversations according to the Conversation Management Framework.
Customer Conversation Management: Managing Conversations Effectively on respond.io
When it comes to effective customer conversation management, respond.io emerges as a dedicated platform offering a comprehensive suite of solutions to streamline and optimize conversations. This platform brings several key advantages:
Centralized channel management: Respond.io unifies your traditional and instant messaging channels into a single platform, simplifying conversation management. This ensures that your team has a unified hub to monitor and respond to inquiries across various channels, fostering consistency and efficiency in customer interactions.
Seamless conversation capture: Respond.io offers seamless methods for capturing conversations, whether through QR codes, chat links or click-to-chat ads. These tools effectively engage potential customers and leads, ensuring that every conversation finds its way into a unified inbox without being missed.
Powerful Automation: One of the platform's strengths lies in its capacity to automate processes, whether for basic tasks or complicated workflows. Respond.io's Workflows automation provides the flexibility you need to automate processes of any complexity.
AI-powered responses and assistance: Respond.io harnesses AI to provide not only automated, contextual answers but also valuable assistance to human agents. Respond AI lets you use intuitive prompts to improve and translate your message, ensuring that every interaction is personalized, professional and polished.
It can also analyze incoming queries and provide suggested responses with relevant information, elevating your ability to deliver prompt, precise and customized responses.
Enhanced conversations: Respond.io's features are designed to facilitate highly effective conversations. The platform provides flexible integrations to gain valuable customer context, aiding in tailored responses that ensure each interaction is both meaningful and valuable.
Collaborative features further enable your team to work seamlessly, streamlining communication and providing comprehensive support. Now that you know how the Conversation Management Framework works, let’s look at a real-life example that depicts the power of great conversations.
How Managing Conversations Well Boosted Conversions, Revenue and Customer Loyalty for H&H Skincare
H&H Skincare, a renowned skincare retailer, gained recognition for its 24/7 customer consultation and support. However, expanding their communication channels led to a critical challenge – a customer service bottleneck.
Respond.io emerged as the solution, unifying their communication channels and allowing H&H to scale its teams easily with tools to assist in context-gathering and collaboration. Combined with powerful automation capabilities, H&H was able to respond promptly to inquiries and provide personalized responses and solutions.
The outcome was remarkable: A 300% increase in the number of customers it chatted with daily, a 160% surge in sales over just six months and a strong 60% rate of returning customers. Respond.io's partnership revolutionized H&H Skincare's customer service, boosting engagement, loyalty and tangible business growth.
Now that you've explored the ins and outs of the Conversation Management Framework, it's time to put this knowledge into action. Try respond.io for free and unlock a world of efficient and customer-centric communication.
If you enjoyed this article, here are some readings that might help you kickstart your customer conversation management journey.