Conversational Mobile Messaging Can Personalize Engagement—and Build Brand Equity
Conversational messaging helps brands build closer, more equitable relationships with their customers across channels that are critical for brand engagement. While more traditional messaging channels have proved effective over the years, new capabilities deployed through SMS and mainstream messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook messenger are proving to be more impactful, meeting consumers directly where they are in a responsive environment.
The methods by which brands engage with consumers are rapidly evolving. Preferences for how products, services, and key information are accessed by buyers are changing—but those preferences vary from one consumer to another, especially in terms of the channels they use to interact.
Marketers believe their companies compete mostly or completely based on the customer experiences they provide. But here’s the thing: Modern consumers expect brands to treat them as individuals rather than customers, providing them with personalized experiences rather than marketing content designed to drive conversions.
The onus is on brands to differentiate themselves in this new paradigm. Brands need solutions that allow them to interact with diverse customers across many platforms and improve the nature of those interactions to become more personable and efficient, and superior to the interactions their competitors provide—and conversational messaging is the latest frontier to maximize that engagement.
Why Conversational Messaging Matters
Conversational messaging—a brand’s use of mobile messaging to initiate purposeful two-way engagements with customers at scale—is transforming experiences for mobile customers, offering them more meaningful, personalized interactions within a wide variety of contexts. Conversational messaging fosters an easier method for brands to have authentic engagements with consumers on any channel, and to scale those capabilities as their companies grow.
Conversational messaging channels have already proved more effective than traditional mediums across metrics. For example, recent experiments have shown content offers sent via Facebook Messenger result in open rates that are 2.5 times higher than they are with email, and clicks that are six times higher, HubSpot reports.
These omnichannel messaging strategies that are richer in nature and approach present new opportunities for brands in multiple business capacities. While consumers may have their own preferences for how they choose to engage with their favorite brands across a range of platforms for various reasons, these new technologies are integral in facilitating and scaling these interactions across any use case.
Converting Personalization to Loyalty
A successful marketing campaign builds and sustains brand awareness by using personalization to zero in on customer needs and interests. This one-to-one approach applies to marketing content and timing, applicable channels, and the nature of those engagements. Now, conversational messaging has emerged as a natural extension of this new marketing philosophy.
Personalized content has a greater impact in the context of a one-to-one conversation than it does in the context of a marketing email. By allowing consumers to engage in two-way conversations through their preferred channels rather than pushing content at random to target segments, marketers can employ artificial intelligence capabilities to engage in highly tailored, natural interactions with consumers both efficiently and at scale. This also creates additional opportunities for creative teams, who can leverage these unique interactions to showcase their brand’s image and customer loyalty to a fresh audience.
In 2016, Harvard Business Review described messaging apps as “a continuous thread between customers and brands.” This connection provides an unparalleled opportunity to build relationships with customers in much the same way they do with personal contacts—via direct messages, personalized to meet users where they are. Using the right channel with the right individual at the right time—and with a desirable degree of regularity—can dramatically improve customer engagement.
Evolving Your Customer Service Protocols
Conversational tools outside of the traditional customer service phone call have already established themselves in most leading customer service operations today. The right tools enable both agents and AI chatbots to engage customers in an omnichannel fashion.
As consumers grow increasingly comfortable engaging with brands via messaging apps from a point-of-sale perspective, turning to the platform for their customer service needs is the logical next step. Consumers are used to having these conversations on a traditional phone call routed through a 1-800 number or contact center. However, by engaging with customer service support through conversational messaging, these interactions will become customary as instant gratification and responsiveness is established as the industry norm and users continue to prefer all of their communications live in one central location.
Once AI enhancements are also brought into the fold, the repetitive customer service inquiries regarding location, product, or even warranty information can be eliminated as it all becomes readily available once the specific user is automatically (and securely) recognized within the network. These conversational channel enhancements can help service teams manage tickets with efficiency, prioritizing issues that require human problem solving while others are solved through automation.
Ultimately, a brand’s success with conversational messaging will depend on its ability to leverage each channel's strengths and value from each interaction. They must create a seamless, logic-based customer journey across these channels and drive business value using insights and successes from these interactions.
To make this happen, brand managers will need to adopt tools that help marketing, customer service, and other consumer-facing teams become more agile, and then work to scale this approach across multiple messaging platforms. Fortunately, all of these applications can work together for a single brand, helping that brand differentiate itself from competitors regarding the quality of its relationships with customers. Whether it is a chatbot, customer care portal, or promotional offer alert, investing in a conversational messaging solution is the gateway to building closer, equitable, and engaging customer relationships that truly contribute to the spirit and longevity of your brand.
Matt Ramerman is president of Sinch for Marketing, a mobile engagement consultancy and personalized mobile messaging platform. Sinch for Marketing is part of Sinch, a global leader in cloud communications for mobile customer engagement. Previously, Ramerman was CEO and co-founder of Vehicle, which was acquired by Sinch in 2018. Ramerman was also a principal with one of the largest privately held full-service agencies in the U.S., working with iconic brands such as AT&T, T-Mobile, HTC, and Microsoft, among many others.