Contact At Once!

Archive for the ‘Mobile Messaging’ Category

Contact At Once!’s New Web-Based App: Connect Like Never Before

It’s now even easier for your team to connect and converse with shoppers via Contact At Once! That’s because we’ve launched CAO! Connect, a new, web-based answering app. If you haven’t jumped on it yet, now’s the time!

New Things to Love

Connect replaces your desktop app, and there’s no download needed. Just open a browser and log in. Keep the Connect tab open in the background as you work, and you’ll get in-browser notifications whenever conversations come in.

Speaking of those conversations, you can now…

Easily see where shoppers come from

Connect’s dashboard shows you, at a glance, which messaging channel shoppers are using (chat, text, Facebook Messenger) AND where each conversation originates (your site, advertising sites, OEM sites, Facebook, etc.)

Search & share inventory, vehicle history reports & more

Agents can pull up this information to answer specific questions, share inventory recommendations, vehicle history reports and more to come! These tools can help you guide shoppers down the purchase path.

Translate in real time

Have a multilingual customer base? Your agents can type in the language they’re most comfortable with, and Connect will translate it to the language of the shopper (12+ languages supported). Agents will see both languages presented; the consumer will only see the conversation in their language.

One Important Tip

Make it part of your morning routine to open your browser, log in to Connect and leave that tab open. Since Connect is a browser-based app, you need to so in order to receive messages. (It won’t do it for you automatically.)

Set a reminder, write a post-it note—whatever it takes! You might also want to set your mobile app to keep you logged in there, too, just in case you forget.

How to Get Started

Ready to put these (and more!) messaging capabilities to work for you? We’ve enabled Connect for all of our customers. So if you don’t have your login yet, it’s easy!

  • New customers will automatically get set up with Connect.
  • If you’re an existing customer, your admin (the person who manages your CAO! account) can “migrate” your agents (the people who answer the chats/texts) in the Portal. Here are the steps!
  • Once agents are migrated, they will each receive an email with details on how to log in and start answering through Connect.
  • You can chat or text with us for help or more information, right on this site, too!

And don’t forget the training that will help you learn the new answering app layout and capabilities: Admin training and agent training are available online at your convenience!

We hope you enjoy this new way to “Connect”!

How to Answer the “Is This Vehicle Available” Question via Chat or Text

large inventory of vehicles in stock

Recently, an acquaintance told the story of chatting with a car dealer about a specific vehicle. Excited to find exactly what she was looking for, she asked the agent, “Is this vehicle available?” The answer: “Sorry, no.” End of chat.

With over 10 years of chats under our belts, we at Contact At Once! have plenty of data. After reviewing that data, we found that the Number One Reason consumers chat is to find out if your inventory is still in stock. In fact, 24% of all conversations revolve around that question.

But are you answering correctly? Have you trained your team for this? Are you ready? (I won’t call out any names, but I’m afraid that the answer is “no” for a great many of you!)

3 Tips to Keep the Conversation Going

If you have the vehicle they’re asking about, the answer is simple: “Yes.” If that car was just sold, though, it’s another story. The key is saying no in a positive way…and that may require a little proactive digging on your part. Here are some ideas to help:

  1. Resist the urge to answer quickly with “No.” Even if you’re prepared to offer something else, they may not stick around to see your next message.
  2. Ask a question of your own to buy time. Along with reassuring the shopper that you’re double-checking the inventory for them, ask what they like best about that vehicle. That may help you gather a list of wants and needs to help with point #3 below.
  3. Take a moment to find an alternative before you respond. Review your inventory and find a similar vehicle based on what they were looking for (and why they liked it). Then suggest that other vehicle in your response.

You may find that another vehicle meets their requirements and results in a sale due to your quick thinking and persuasion!

Check out this blog for additional tips on having a great conversation via web or mobile messaging.

Are You Getting the Message?: Connect With Consumers the Way They Want

In today’s mobile-driven society, consumers have an array of different channels at their fingertips to reach out to businesses and providers. Most people think of these common options: 1-800 number (if you’re desperate), email (if you want to wait) and live chat. While the automotive industry has adopted live chat in large numbers, still only about half the U.S. dealer market offers the capability to consumers. If we’re being totally honest, most of us probably wish consumers would just put down the mobile phone and come to the showroom, right?

But they won’t.

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

Whether a consumer is seeking information about an upcoming car purchase or vehicle service need, he or she will use the communication channel that best suits them in the moment. In a consumer study done by Contact At Once! involving 1,000 recent auto purchasers or near-term intenders, nearly 80% said they’re likely to message (chat or text) during the research and shopping phases. More than two-thirds said they would use messaging to schedule appointments and even to help finalize purchases.

So, what’s involved in developing a messaging strategy? It starts with a stop. Stop thinking of the way “Contact Us” has traditionally been done (nope, no one is going to fax) and start thinking about how consumers are communicating right now. As a matter of fact, you’re a consumer: how do your conversations happen most often these days? It probably involves a combination of chat, phone, social and, of course, text.

And that’s what car shoppers and purchasers said they do too. In another consumer study we recently did, the majority of consumers said they’d rather chat about an auto-related question when they’re using a computer or a tablet. A little over 40 percent said they’d call if they were on a mobile phone and one-third said they’d text.

Here Are Things to Think About:

  • Do you have a chat platform? 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.
  • Can consumers easily (and legally) text you? Text messaging is incredibly popular among all age groups today—globally mobile device users send more than 18 million texts every single day, but there are compliance considerations, opt-outs and more that have to be ironed out.
  • Do you have an app? If so, embedding messaging allows consumers and customers to connect with you without ever leaving the app, making it simple for the consumer and improving stickiness for your app.
  • Are you using Facebook Messenger, Facebook Marketplace, Google My Business and Google Adwords? Silly question…of course, you are. And because you are, you should enable messaging in all of them, then funnel the conversations through your chat and text platform.

Why is that important? Consistency of message, fast response, tracked/documented conversations and capture of lead information are all critical components of an effective social and search messaging strategy.

As you can see, messaging includes a host of platforms and technologies that your customers are currently using. Now, it’s your turn to get in there and start connecting! At Contact At Once! and LivePerson, we call that conversational commerce – engaging with consumers whenever, wherever and however it suits them when they’re in a shopping moment.

You’ll find that it increases the number of meaningful interactions you’re having, that consumers actually value the ability to message vs. phone tag or email and you can toss that fax machine. Now, that’s a relief!

See How We Can Help

 

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.