Contact At Once!

Archive for the ‘Mobile Messaging’ Category

What Is Messaging? Connecting with Customers Beyond Chat

In today’s customer service landscape, consumers have an array of different channels at their fingertips to reach businesses. Most people think of these common options: 1-800 number (if you’re desperate), email (if you want to wait) and live chat. Chat—the ability to send real-time communications via a website or mobile platform—certainly has its advantages. But it isn’t the only avenue customers could use to get a hold of you and your business quickly and conveniently.

In other words, automotive brands, dealerships and other companies need to embrace messaging, not just live chat.

Customer Communication: Preferences Are Changing

Years ago, simply having a contact center through which customers could place service calls or inquiries was sufficient. Shoppers have drastically changed their communication preferences, however. In fact, 67% of consumers reported hanging up the phone after making a call to contact a business, terminating the connection after being frustrated that they could not reach a real person.

Plus, talking just isn’t the preferred interaction for many. Customers now prefer digital messaging capabilities over traditional telephone calls, per this IDC InfoBrief. Not supporting these channels could end up costing your company considerably—one study from Lee Resources found that over 90% of shoppers would not do business with a company again if they weren’t happy with their experience the first time.

Messaging Is Now an Essential: What Does This Mean for Business?

In this way, providing more complete messaging capabilities is now a requirement for communications across industries. Whether a consumer is seeking information about an upcoming car purchase or vehicle service need, he or she must be able to use the communication channel that best suits his or her tastes.

But what does messaging actually entail? Today’s retailers and service providers must have a more holistic messaging solution in place that encompasses all of the top communication channels, including:

  • Chat: Even with a wide variety of other options available, live chat is still one of the most-preferred communication avenues today. In fact, 44% of shoppers noted that one of the most critical features a company can provide is a live chat specialist to help facilitate online purchases.
  • Text: Text messaging is incredibly popular among all age groups today—global mobile device users send more than 18 million texts every single day. A powerful way to capture customers is enabling them to text you using their own native text application, providing a familiar and easy-to-use platform for customer service communication.
  • In-app messaging: While many brands and large groups now have their own mobile apps or owners’ apps, not all of these support in-application messaging. If they did, customers would be able to communicate with the company without having to leave the app and that can boost customer satisfaction (a major telecoms carrier saw a 4-point increase in 2 months).
  • Facebook Messenger (& Marketplace): Now that social media plays such an important role in marketing and customer outreach efforts, it’s imperative that consumers be able to connect with your business through this route as well.
  • Apple Business Chat: In order to remain on the cutting edge of customer service and communication, brands need to look forward to emerging channels as well. Apple Business Chat could represent the next big thing here, and will be released in 2018. Auto manufacturers need to be working on a strategy now.

Messaging doesn’t just include live chat, but a whole host of other messaging platforms that your customers are currently using. Your company needs a system that will help it easily integrate and manage these channels from a single, streamlined portal.

This is where the Contact At Once! messaging network comes into play. It supports all of these communication channels, and allows customer service reps to connect with customers and take part in conversations across an array of platforms.

To find out more, check out our infographic or message us below!

Why We Can’t Shut Up About the “Messaging Network”

 

Today’s car shopping path is more complex than ever. People research across brand and dealer sites, Google searches and Facebook Marketplace, aggregate search sites, review sites and more. In fact, Google followed one shopper throughout 139 searches that could have given brands and dealers over 200 interaction opportunities…had they been ready.

Would you have been ready?

Car shoppers can interact with your company in so many places now because messaging makes it easy. Hundreds of conversations could come in from dozens of channels, but you could be using a single platform to manage them all…if you set up a messaging network. Contact At Once! makes this possible.

Click the infographic below for more details:

Hot Opportunity Transfer: See How It Works

Despite your best intentions, it’s almost impossible to be instantly available 24/7—especially when you’re already busy helping people buy your products. That’s why we created the Hot Opportunity Transfer (HOT) feature.

HOT allows us to buffer your team from shoppers chatting in with more general questions. (We can usually handle those on your behalf.) Yet when a shopper gives off buying signals, we can push them into a direct text conversation with your team for the best experience. After all, no one knows your company better!

The goal is to give your team more flexibility and help you capture more sales opportunities…whenever they come.

Check out the above video to see how HOT could work for your dealership.

Facebook Marketplace: Adding to the Contact At Once! Messaging Network

Last year, Facebook officially launched Marketplace as a “convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community” —including millions of people in the U.S. who already use it look at auto listings. And today, they’ve expanded the invite to dealerships to add their used vehicle listings!

Contact At Once!, a LivePerson Company, has already been working with Facebook to provide messaging support for dealerships who want to add inventory to Facebook Marketplace.

Have More Conversations with In-Market Shoppers

Facebook is an overwhelmingly popular social media platform. It’s no surprise that people are also using it to connect about buying and selling! Adding your own pre-owned inventory to Marketplace can help you:

  • Connect with more car buyers where they’re already researching.
  • Respond swiftly to inquiries with Facebook Messenger. (Hint: We can help!)
  • Share information needed to narrow the decision, from price to mileage, helping you uncover the serious buyers.

Where Contact At Once! Fits In

The only way to communicate with auto buyers browsing Marketplace is through Facebook Messenger. But don’t rely on your social media team to hop on those sales conversations. Instead, you can set up the Contact At Once! / Facebook Messenger integration. This lets you:

  • Use a familiar process – Our integration sends Messenger conversations through the Contact At Once! system, similar to receiving a chat or text from your website or other advertising.
  • Spread the messages across your sales team or BDC – Everyone who is set up to respond will get the notification through their desktop or mobile app and can pick up the conversation immediately. This helps ensure a quick, knowledgeable response!
  • Bring in backup as needed – Your team doesn’t have to handle these conversations alone. If you’re on our Pro packages, our professional messaging experts can catch the Messenger conversations your busy team might otherwise miss. (Note: You can always add this co-managed coverage if you don’t have it yet.)
  • Track & report on the conversations – You can track these Facebook Messenger conversations in the Messaging Details report.

How to Get Started

If you want to try it out, here’s how to get started:

  • Create a Facebook page for your dealership if you don’t already have one. (Most likely you do.)
  • Fill out this short Facebook form to show your interest in listing on Marketplace.
  • If you’re working with an eligible inventory provider, they’ll then contact you about next steps and work with you to get your listings on Marketplace. (The list of providers is on the form.)
  • Integrate Messenger with Contact At Once!, making it easier to communicate with interested buyers. If you haven’t already set up this Facebook Messenger integration, your Contact At Once! admin just needs to log into our customer portal and follow the steps. (Here’s a quick video to help!)

In other words, Facebook Marketplace can be one more point in your messaging network with direct connections to buyers. Happy socializing…and selling!

Remember: The Facebook Messenger integration is included at no additional cost if you’re a direct customer with Contact At Once! on our Core or Pro packaging…including Fully Managed or Pro Unlimited. (Not on an eligible package? Chat or text with us below!)

 

 

 

Ghosted? 5 Ways to “Resuscitate” Conversations with Unresponsive Online Shoppers

We’ve all been there. Someone texts in, asking a question. You respond with an answer. Maybe you have a back-and-forth conversation for a bit then…poof! You’ve been ghosted. You’re now dealing with an unresponsive customer. How do you breathe new life into that conversation and determine if they’re gone for good or ready to come in?

One of our advocates posed that question to our CONNECT Rewards community. Here are some of the follow-up text ideas shared by other industry professionals:

1). Send a photo of what they were interested in.

Remind shoppers why they reached out to you in the first place by texting them a picture of the vehicle, apartment other other product they were eyeing. Have a little fun with it, too. Consider putting a sign on the window or door that says, “Reserved for Bob” or “Adopt me, Bob.”

2). Send a video.

You can get really creative here if you want. This is a great opportunity for you to “introduce” yourself and send a personalized video that showcases something new about the vehicle, home or apartment. Remember to get a shot of the interior or the part they were most interested in. (You can use the same sign as in the photo here, too.)

3). Give them an update.

If the product they’re interested in is still available or if new inventory that matches their specs has arrived, let them know. And shoot them a text if someone else expresses interest in that same vehicle or home! It’s an easy way to double-check if they’re still in the market or not (and create some urgency).

4). Share new incentives or promotions.

Just about everyone loves a good deal, so share any specials that have changed…or let them know of an incentive that is expiring soon. It might prompt action.

5). Sometimes, just a nudge works.

While you don’t want to be pushy and bombard them with communications, it doesn’t hurt to ask. Simply acknowledge that you haven’t heard from them for awhile and that you want to make sure all their questions were answered. One dealership (John Roberts, VP & GM at Roberts Motors, Inc.) has a great response rate by asking previously unresponsive customers if they’ve been eaten by alligators!

Regardless of how you follow up via text, don’t be afraid to have a little fun. Add some personality and make that communication different than the usual automated responses people often get. After all, the connections you make can set you apart from the competitor down the street.

3 Stepping Stones to Successful Digital Retailing

To say the car-buying experience has seen significant changes in recent years would be an understatement. Customers can get a whole host of information about their purchase before ever setting foot on the lot or in a showroom. What’s more, car shoppers are demanding a digital aspect to this experience in increasing numbers—86% of consumers said they’d rather work with a dealer that offers online buying capabilities, according to a study from Root & Associates and CDK Global.

This means brands (and their dealerships) that don’t provide digital retailing could be seriously missing out.

Build the type of digital experience today’s consumers gravitate toward with these three stepping stones: a collection of digital retailing apps, integration with a robust digital messaging network and dedicated consumer advocates to offer concierge support.

1) Digital Retailing Apps

Help shoppers save time by offering the appropriate digital retailing apps, such as bank pre-approval, trade-in appraisals and support for digital paperwork as well as payment. When integrated correctly, digital retailing apps help consumers complete paperwork and processes online, giving valuable time back to them…and dealership sales teams.

2) Digital Messaging Network

The digital messaging network is the bridge that connects consumers with product specialists who help shoppers find information and complete digital retailing processes when it’s convenient for them. As customers shop and use digital retailing apps, they will surely have questions. Messaging provides a quick, simple way to reach out for assistance.

Messaging networks should provide live-person connections for customers—wherever they’re shopping, your brand or dealership is there. This level of engagement helps build relationships and ensure consistency of experience. (If it’s hard to get in touch with your team, it’s hard to believe any other claims of great service!)

In fact, the best digital messaging networks are those that can be deployed at any touch point within the digital retailing process. This includes brand sites, dealer websites, in apps, car search and other third-party platforms, as well as on Google and Facebook. In this way, no matter where a customer is in their car-buying journey, assistance and support is never out of reach.

The support provided by such a robust digital messaging network matches the level of service customers now demand:

  • According to the Root & Associates’ study, 53% of customers are very or extremely likely to complete their car purchase online, and only visit the dealership for a final review. The digital messaging network ensures customers are engaged during every step of this process, and understand how to use the necessary digital retailing apps.
  • Consumers prefer live messaging 83% of auto shoppers prefer to message with businesses about purchases. And 60% are more likely to purchase if they get help from a human being via messaging like chat.
  • Messaging networks now account for 73% of customer satisfaction, beating out email and phone combined (61 percent).

3) Dedicated Consumer Advocates

Finally, dedicated advocates who provide personal assistance for consumers complete the digital retailing picture and support the kind of concierge experience today’s car buyers want. From answering queries submitted through the digital messaging network to ultimately connecting shoppers with a dealer salesperson, these product specialists make the digital retailing process as efficient for the dealer team as it is for the consumer!

These 3 components can help you build a smart, effective approach to digital retailing. In fact, you can take a deeper look by downloading our guide: “A Playbook for Winning with Digital Retailing.”

Contact At Once! Messaging Extends to Google My Business

It’s a fact of life that before they buy, people research online (and most use Google). The search giant is making it easier and easier for consumers to connect with the businesses they’re researching, too—first with Google AdWords click-to-message ads and most recently with Google My Business messaging!

Contact At Once! can help you manage all the resulting consumer messages from these different Google placements. In fact, we’ve been piloting an API integration on Google My Business for months now with several brands.

Let’s break it down into the important facts that matter to you…

What Google My Business Messaging Means

Google My Business pages are free local listings that make it easy for potential customers to learn more about your company and take the next step. These prospects are usually lower in the funnel, searching for a company by name or by “xxxx near me.” (According to Google, searches for businesses “near me” increased 34x from 2011 to 2014, and 80% came from mobile in Q4 2014.)

In other words, they’re likely to take action. Soon. And now, once these mobile users get to your Google My Business listing, they can start a text conversation:

  • If you’ve set up this option, consumers will see a “Message” button in your Google My Business listing.*
  • Consumers tap to message, starting a text conversation in their phone’s native messaging app.
  • Remember: Google masks the numbers of both company and consumer for privacy. You can still message back and forth, but don’t treat the number you see as the consumer’s mobile number.
*Currently, this feature is only available in the U.S.; however, deployment in other countries is anticipated.

How to Use Contact At Once! + Google My Business Messaging Integration

Instead of relying on a single person to handle these text conversations, use Contact At Once! to manage it all! Here are some tips:

  • Use our text integration – Our integration lets you use a text number provided by Contact At Once!, so you can manage the resulting Google My Business conversations in the same platform/app you use for the rest of your chats/texts across the web. (So your first step is to ensure you have a text number from Contact At Once!)
  • Easy setup – Google provides step-by-step instructions here: Basically, once you sign in to your account, look for the “Messaging” card in the Home menu and type in the text number provided by Contact At Once!. Google will send a verification code to you (to confirm the number is working), and you can find the text message with that code in the Mobile Text Connect Details report* in the Contact At Once! Portal.
    *Remember that Google assigns you a proxy number, so the verification code will appear to be sent to/from a number other than the one you provided.
  • Business as usual – Your team will receive and respond to the resulting text conversations through the same Contact At Once! processes, platform and answering apps you currently use. And if our messaging experts respond on your behalf, they’ll continue to do so—no matter if the messaging conversation starts from your website or Google My Business!
  • Update the consumer profile – Because Google hides consumer numbers, it’s smart to ask the person you’re texting with to confirm their mobile number (if you intend to capture it as part of the lead).

As people get used to seeing the “Message” option on these listings, engagement will rise. We already know consumers like the convenience mobile messaging provides! Contact At Once! is ready to help you meet those increased inquiries and impress consumers with your attentive, helpful responses.

Pump Up the Volume: How to Increase Consumer Engagement

You’ve been chatting and/or texting with customers for a while now, and you’re loving it. You’re one of the thousands who have discovered your customers would rather message than call or email! In fact, messaging is their #1 choice for communicating with brands (more than 75% preferred it over phone or email in this survey).

So how do you pump up the customer conversation volume to get even MORE incoming messages?

Check out these ideas on encouraging engagement—and hopefully close more deals as a result:

#1 – Be “Present”

Before consumers can reach out via messaging, they have to know the option is there. Then they need someone to respond when they do chat or text. Aiming for always-on presence can help you with both!

The goal is to have someone available to message with customers on your company’s behalf whenever they reach out. (Hint: our co-managed or fully managed options make this easy!) Not only is immediate availability the best customer experience—which can encourage more use—it can also mean that your chat invitations are delivered to more people, boosting potential volume. At least, that’s the case if you use presence-aware chat invitations, which only display if someone is there to respond instantly, reducing consumer frustration.

#2 – Connect on Shopping Sites & Google My Business

You can also increase messaging volume by deploying chat and text options beyond your website. If you list inventory on Autotrader.com, Cars.com, CycleTrader.com, NewHomeSource.com, etc., take advantage of the ad packages that include chat and text. Extend your messaging to Google My Business while you’re at it—we can even activate it for you. After all, the more connections you make, the more sales conversations you can have!

Not sure if the classifieds site you use offers messaging? Ask! Many of them do, and you’ll likely use Contact At Once! to manage all the resulting conversations.

#3 – Enhance & Expand Messaging with Our Partners

Take a look at Contact At Once!’s partner integrations, too. Many of these tech partners integrate our chat into their products, so if you’re a mutual customer, you could engage consumers in more places! For example, one integration helps you manage Facebook Messenger, another lets you add chat links Digital Air Strike’s ResponseLogix SmartQuote™, and yet another adds chat options to eLEND Solutions’ CreditPlus program.

#4 – Add Text Messaging Everywhere

Take the Mobile Text Connect number you get with Contact At Once! and put it…well, everywhere! You’re not stuck with a tap-to-text button on mobile or desktop sites. You can put the number on print/TV/radio ads, billboards or window stickers, promote it at the front desk and add it to your pay-per-click campaigns (Google AdWords). The more places you add text, the better your chances at reaching the shoppers who are ready to take action that way.

Hint: You can even purchase additional text numbers and dedicate them to different advertising campaigns for better attribution.

#5 – Consider the Look, Feel & Placement

Along with adding messaging in more places, double-check the calls to action on your own desktop/mobile site: Have you checked to ensure you’re using the latest, most updated options from your provider? Is the invitation to chat or text appearing in the right location (and in the right color) to attract clicks?

The following designer advice may come in handy:

  • Position smartly. Bottom right is where the eye naturally lands (for the Western world), so invitations that appear in that position seem to get more attention.
  • Less is more. You might think flashy animation looks cool; however, animation can sometimes come across as a pop-up ad. Be subtle so the engagement feels more like a natural part of the website experience.
  • Try to blend with your website colors. For example, use a contrasting (or accent color) to grab more attention. You want the call to chat or text to stand out while still being a part of site design.
  • Photos are key (even if subconsciously)! People often feel more comfortable asking questions when they can see who they’re talking to on the other end.

After all, even though most consumers prefer to message, we have to make that action easily noticeable and accessible wherever they are! Are you ready to turn up the volume and get more from your messaging?

 

6 Reasons to Build a Business Messaging Network

If you’ve been around Contact At Once! for any length of time, you’ve heard us talk about the “messaging network.” No, it’s not a secret society. It’s not a garage band. The network refers to how we link multiple touch points together for you, giving you easier access to customers and the resulting data. (Much cooler than a secret society, in my mind!)

What’s in a Network?

Think about how consumers (including yourself) research big-ticket items, from cars to homes or apartments. Think about how they find or hear about your company. Almost all the resources used during those processes can be turned into interaction points with Contact At Once! messaging. That’s what we call the messaging network.

In other words, you can enable people to chat, text or message with you from…

Click image above to see the messaging network explained in an infographic.

The advantages of tying all these touch points together are powerful. Here are a few of our favorites:

#1: Help Shoppers Take Action

People search, compare, ask questions and schedule appointments whenever and wherever it’s most convenient. Easily found tap-to-text or chat options on all your sites and ads will help you interact at shoppers’ most impressionable moments.

#2: Guide Shoppers Earlier in the Process

Adding messaging to your classifieds and other advertising may help you reach shoppers before they’ve decided on your company. The convenience of a messaging conversation here can lead to increased inquiries, which can convert into leads, leases and sales.

#3: At-Your-Service Attention Wherever Consumers Find You

Adding messaging options in all those places means shoppers can get prompt responses to questions. This gives them more chances to “preview” the level of service they can expect should they become a customer.

#4: Include Company Departments Within Your Network

Mobile sites adding Contact At Once! messaging have shown engagement increases of up to 40%. Why restrict that to a single department like sales? For example, automotive dealerships can dedicate messaging channels—a specific text-enabled number, a unique “Chat with Service” button—to help fixed ops departments connect with service customers. Funneling those inquiries to the right team provides a better experience (and increased team efficiency).

#5: Track Your Advertising Spend

When you add Contact At Once! to advertising, you can tell which source encourages the most conversations. For classified listings that offer chat or tap-to-text options, you can see the originating URL for each conversation (or review the Contact Source report). You can also place dedicated text-enabled numbers in various locations, from Google pay-per-click to print, radio and TV advertisements. All the resulting text conversations will flow through your Contact At Once! platform and processes…and you can filter reports by text number.

#6: Streamline Management for Increased Efficiency

A messaging network can minimize the learning curve and training costs for your company, too. Instead of juggling one system to chat with a shopper from Autotrader, another one to chat or text from your website, and yet another for those texts from Google ads, you can do it all with Contact At Once! One system and app to learn means more time for your teams to focus on the sales and service they do best.

Consumers are ready to message across the network of sites and ads that make up the shopping path. Will your company be there, ready to help?

(Post updated November 6, 2017)

Your Site vs. Ads: What You Get By Messaging in Various Places

You know we’re big fans of web and mobile messaging here. We’re not alone, either. Just look at what consumers and automotive businesses had to say about messaging in the shopping/buying process during our 2016 surveys! In fact, there are so many messaging options with Contact At Once!, a LivePerson Company—including where you can deploy it—that understanding the differences can be a little confusing.

Let’s start with what it means to use Contact At Once! on your own company site vs. using it to chat or text with shoppers from third-party search sites. Both are similar (and important!), but not quite the same.

Messaging From Ad Listings

Do you offer shoppers the option to chat or text in questions from your inventory pages on third-party sites like Autotrader (U.S. and U.K.), Cars.com and the like? Then you use Contact At Once! to message from ad listings! (Well, it’s pretty likely. We power the chat and text options for the vast majority of the industry’s search sites.)

How Shoppers Engage: Many shoppers visit search sites as part of their research process. As they narrow their search, they may click on your ad listing to learn more. Doing so will display the chat and/or text option, and shoppers can tap it to start a conversation with you. This lowers the barriers to lead entry and gives you extra opportunities to earn their business!

How You Get It: These messaging packages must be purchased directly from the search/shopping site (Autotrader and the like). They may be offered as an add-on or included in your bundle, so just ask.

What to Keep in Mind: Messaging with shoppers from these search sites is an important step in creating a better consumer experience. Just remember…

  • If you use a different provider for chats or texts on your website, you may experience some inefficiencies as your teams switch back and forth between different tools. (An easy solution is using Contact At Once! to do it all!)
  • If you currently only chat or text with shoppers from these third-party ad listings, you’re missing out on some pretty handy features (see below).

Messaging On Your Own Site

This option means Contact At Once! chat and/or text invitations appear on your company website…and can be added throughout your other consumer touchpoints (including ad listings on search sites).

How Shoppers Engage: Any of your site visitors can tap to start a direct chat or text conversation with your sales team (or our messaging experts). And naturally, it’s responsive. Consumers can initiate these conversations whether visiting your site on a desktop or mobile device (and continue it as they go about their business).

How You Get It: You can purchase these messaging packages directly from Contact At Once! or one of our partners, like Dealer.com or CDK Global. (And check to see if your OEM has a Tier 3 program with us. Many do!)

What to Keep in Mind: Being a direct Contact At Once! customer like this nets you the most flexibility and an armful of additional goodies. Here are just a few:

  • Wider deployment & streamlined access – With most packages, you have the ability to extend your chat/text engagements beyond your website, yet manage all conversations in the same platform, which could save time and money. Add these invitations to your landing pages or emails, put your text number(s) on print or digital advertising (including Google pay per click and the ad listings mentioned earlier), integrate Facebook Messenger, etc.
  • Dealer-initiated texting – Along with responding to inbound text inquiries, certain packages also allow you to text customers who haven’t communicated that way yet. It’s a form of outbound texting that may encourage greater response rate as reminders or follow-up!
  • Chat & text management – You have the option to get expert assistance in answering chats and texts if you’d like. Our team can manage conversations as much as you’d like (including those from your ad listings). This can help “keep your lights on” 24/7.
  • Extra partner integrations – You can also take advantage of our integrations with other technologies, from AutoHook to CarFax, eLEND Solutions, PureCars and more.

Basically, no matter where you use it, messaging options spell convenience. And it’s smart to loop that convenience into every customer entry point, from your site to ads and the network beyond. Luckily, if you use Contact At Once!, it’s just as convenient for your team as it is for your customers: One solution to do it all.

captcha