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Archive for the ‘Text’ Category

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.

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…

  • Your site (chat/text)
  • Your mobile apps (in-app messaging)
  • Brand, regional or corporate sites (chat/text)
  • Classified / shopping site listings (chat/text for your advertisements on Autotrader.com, Cars.com, KBB.com, Apartments.com, NewHomeSource.com, etc.)
  • Facebook Messenger (managed through your Contact At Once! messaging platform)
  • Google AdWords (text-enabled number placed in click-to-message extensions)
  • Print (text-enabled number)
  • Radio (text-enabled number)
  • TV (text-enabled number)
  • Signage (text-enabled number)
  • Craigslist (text-enabled number)

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.

Bonus: If you’re currently using Mobile Text Connect on your main site and complete this short survey, we’ll give you a text-enabled number for use in advertising at no extra cost!

#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?

How to Transfer an MTC Text Conversation

Oh, look at that! You just received an incoming text message from a consumer. Now’s your chance to be super helpful and answer their questions. As you text back and forth and help them narrow their options, they are subconsciously trusting your advice more and more.

But what if they text in asking to speak with a different department or if you need to connect them with a manager?

It’s easy with Contact At Once! Just transfer the conversation.* Of course, to transfer between departments (like from sales to service), you first need to have that option available (and configured) within your Contact At Once! package. Ask our Support Team if you’re not sure.

Mobile App: Transfer Texts to Agents or Departments

  1. Send a message to the consumer, letting them know you’re going to transfer the conversation to the person they requested.
  2. Tap the “Actions” menu (3 vertical dots on top right).
  3. Tap “Transfer Conversation.”
  4. Select the agent or department to whom you want to transfer the text conversation.

Desktop App: Transfer Texts to Agents or Departments

  1. Send a message to the consumer, letting them know you’re going to transfer the conversation to the person they requested.
  2. Look to the top right of your desktop app window where the gray circle buttons are, and click the “T.” (It should say “Transfer” below the button.)
  3. Scroll through the “Transfer List” that will pop up. This shows all the people—and the different departments if eligible—who can accept the text message at your company.
  4. Choose the person/department and click “Transfer.”

From here, the Contact At Once! Mobile Text Connect system takes over, connecting the customer (let’s call her “Jill”) with your colleague as requested (let’s call him “Jim”). To confirm it’s happened, Jill will get a text message saying her conversation has been transferred to Jim. Even if Jim isn’t available to reply immediately, the system will reassure Jill that he’s been notified and will respond as soon as possible.

When Jim’s done helping Jill, he can even transfer the conversation back to you if needed!

*Note: This feature is only supported in desktop app versions 5.4 and higher AND mobile app versions 4.1 and higher. If you don’t see the Transfer option, you may simply need to update your app. (Just ask Support if you need help).

Solve This Common Service Follow-Up Challenge with Text

hang up the phone

I’m willing to bet that 9 out of 10 service managers have team members who’ve experienced the following (and hate it):

  • A service advisor calls a customer to provide an update, remind them about recommended work they initially declined, or follow up about something else.
  • The customer doesn’t answer. Not surprising. Who answers their phone nowadays?
  • The service advisor begins leaving a voicemail.
  • Meanwhile, the service advisor is paged (on the overhead PA or on their literal pager) and told that the customer he/she is currently leaving a message for is on another line.

Imagine that happening multiple times a day. Imagine how inefficient it is.

That said, service follow-up is very important, and it’s often one of the KPIs that service departments are measured on. And for good reason! Automotive News interviewed a dealer who focuses on this type of follow-up and produces 2 – 5 extra service appointments per week.

So you know your service department needs to consistently follow up with customers. You also know that when customers don’t answer the call, the perception is that your follow-up performance is poor.

Text messaging may be the answer to better follow-up connections.

Imagine if the advisor in the above example had spent 3 – 5 minutes sending multiple outbound follow-up texts instead of calling. Not only would it be more efficient, it’s what the majority of consumers say they prefer: 76% of car buyers in our 2016 Consumer Survey said they’d prefer to message with businesses rather than talk on the phone. In addition, 77% of car shoppers in that survey said they’re likely to message with the business that services their car.

Will that include you? I sure hope so!

How to Better Track Texts From Google AdWords (& Other Advertising) Campaigns

Man searching

In late 2016, Google made it possible for consumers to text with you from pay-per-click (PPC) advertising in mobile search results. Pretty cool, huh? Contact At Once! clients are in the perfect position to take advantage of this new placement, too, especially with our latest reporting enhancement.

How the Google Integration Works

First, a quick reminder about how you can use Contact At Once! with your Google PPC campaigns:

  • If you have Contact At Once! text messaging options on your website, you have an eligible text-enabled number. Note: This is your “Mobile Text Connect” or “MTC” number.
  • You can add that MTC number to a Google AdWords campaign, creating a click-to-message ad extension. Here are Google’s step-by-step directions.
  • All text messages and resulting leads will flow through your existing Contact At Once! platform and processes.

How Our Reporting Helps Attribution

Contact At Once! helps you better track the performance of those AdWords campaigns, too. Sure, Google tracks your ad up to the click of the text message option. But we track after that click, giving you a better sense of if that click and resulting conversation turns into a real lead, a visit and eventually a paying customer. This helps you to see which Google Adwords campaigns are generating the most valuable conversions!

There are a couple of ways Contact At Once! makes this easy:

  • Additional MTC numbers – We can supply unique numbers for each AdWords campaign. Interested? Just ask via the chat or text options on this site.
  • Mobile Text Connect Detail report – This shows you the captured consumer information, who answered, timing, the entire transcript and more for all text conversations at your company.
  • New sorting capabilities – Now you can sort and filter this report by MTC number, allowing you to tie the report results to the exact AdWords campaign!

How to Access the Report

Your Contact At Once! admin can schedule this report to deliver via email automatically or just view it in the Contact At Once! portal as needed:

  • To view the report at any time, the admin clicks on the “Reports” tab in the Contact At Once! portal and chooses “Mobile Text Connect Detail.”
  • To schedule the report, the admin simply scrolls to the bottom of the Mobile Text Connect Detail page, clicks “Schedule Report” and chooses to whom and how often they want it sent.

Happy texting!

2016 Dealer Survey Infographic: Automotive Chat & Text Bring Results

 

When you learn what shoppers prefer, do you ignore that knowledge? Or do you use it to appeal to—and win—more of them? Let’s say you learned that 4 in 5 people were drawn to the color red. You’d probably rearrange your inventory in both physical and virtual showrooms to feature the red cars (and possibly draw more attention).

Well, more than 4 in 5 car shoppers and buyers shared their preference for mobile messaging. And dealership professionals are using that knowledge to their advantage.

In the newly released 2016 Dealer Survey report, we share how messaging—automotive chat, mobile text and the like—continue to pay off for dealerships. After all, such communication allows you to meet shoppers where they already are, on the channel they’re more likely to respond on.

Check out the infographic below (or click here) for a peek at the numbers. Then read the full 2016 Dealer Survey results for more insights, including why the automotive industry may embrace messaging even more this year (and how you can prepare).

Consumer Survey Infographic: An Easier Homebuying & Renting Process for All

Mobile messaging is what homebuyers and renters of all ages want

Property management and real estate in general are industries that thrive on referrals, which are fueled by good experiences. But what constitutes a good experience evolves with technology…because technology can change our expectations.

For example, we, as consumers, increasingly expect to engage with your real estate or property management team wherever we are, however and whenever we want to connect. In other words, we expect mobile messaging. Don’t believe me? Check out the infographic below, and consider the following:

Today’s Trends Can’t Be Ignored

  • MORE micro-moments – Consumers turn to smartphones or other mobile devices when they need to find answers or complete a task like researching apartments (91% of smartphone users do this).
  • LESS patienceMicrosoft says that our attention spans have gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds. No wonder we don’t like to sit on hold or wait for emails.
  • MORE expectations – We’ve come to expect a much smoother experience from start to finish. Many smartphone users immediately switch sites or apps if the one they’re on “doesn’t satisfy”: 70% switch if it’s too slow (by seconds); 67% switch if there are too many steps in the process.
  • LESS brand loyalty – Perhaps because of all the information at our fingertips, consumers consider more companies/brands than they did 10 years ago…and almost half say they’re more likely to switch.
  • MORE mobile research – Almost 90% of buyers use a mobile search engine during the homebuying process. And homebuyers aren’t just researching on mobile, many are also ready to connect and contact an agent.

It All Adds Up to Mobile Messaging: Text, Chat, Etc.

The good news is that the same technology fueling the above trends can help you adapt. If you make it easier to connect and get things done with text, chat and in-app messaging, you’re setting yourself up to provide the type of experiences that can lead to more referrals. According to our 2016 Consumer Survey results…

  • 83% of respondents would prefer to use mobile messaging to communicate with businesses about purchases.
  • Almost 9 in 10 respondents agreed that they’re more likely to buy from a business that offers the option to communicate via mobile messaging.
  • And 98% of those who used mobile messaging during their buying cycle said it improved their experience.

The people have spoken. Read the full 2016 Consumer Survey here, or check out the infographic below for a snapshot of why chat and text are such smart options for your team:

2016 Consumer Survey Infographic for Real Estate Teams

Shoppers Can Now Text You From Google Ads. Are You Ready?

 

 

Google just made it possible for consumers to text with businesses right from an ad.

Similar to the popular click-to-call and site extensions that already existed for AdWords marketers, these new “click-to-message” (CTM) extensions have been in beta for months and are being introduced in the coming weeks. (In fact, Contact At Once!, a LivePerson Company, helped Google beta test the extensions with some of our automotive customers!)

When you enable this message extension, consumers will see a “Text” call to action icon when your Google ad appears in mobile search results. Tapping the icon sends a pre-populated text message to you (the advertiser) through the consumer’s native text messaging app. Quick. Convenient. No time spent on hold.

Sounds good so far, right?

What You Need to Know:

  • Already have a text-enabled number like those used with Mobile Text Connect, the Contact At Once! business texting solution? Simply use these steps to activate your AdWords campaigns with that number for the new messaging extension (or have your agency do it). Note: If tracking attribution is important to you, consider getting a texting number(s) specifically for AdWords. We can help with that too!
  • Don’t have a text-enabled number? That’s a requirement for this click-to-message ad extension. You can get them from Contact At Once! (and all the assistance you need to manage the resulting conversations). To get that text help, click here or message us anytime.
  • All the same consumer texting rules apply, including opt-ins and -outs, so make sure you’re using a business texting platform that helps enable compliant texting options. (You’ll also want the ability to track conversations, document transcripts and prevent employees from mistakenly texting consumers who’ve opted out.) For more best practices, download our texting guide.

Why You Should Jump on the Opportunity:

  • Increase sales or service opportunities – Americans exchange twice as many texts as they do calls (on average), and Contact At Once! customer sites adding mobile messaging have shown engagement increases of up to 40%.
  • Lower the barrier to customer connections – People searching for car dealers, service, apartments or homes could pull up a list of search results on their phone and tap to text with you right then and there. Convenience and instant gratification!
  • Use Contact At Once! to manage all those Google click-to-message conversations along with texts and chats from your websites, third-party listings, etc.

Contact At Once! Enables Your Brand’s Conversation Network

More conversations with more shoppers is always good, especially if you’ve got the help you need to keep track of everything. That’s where being a Contact At Once! customer comes in handy:

  • You can add your existing Contact At Once! text number to your Google click-to-message ads. (We can even generate a new, AdWords-specific text number for easier attribution.)
  • All text messages and resulting leads from those Google ads flow through your existing Contact At Once! platform and processes.
  • Your team can respond via your desktop and/or mobile app as usual. And if you use Contact At Once!’s professional messaging experts, they’ll be there to catch any texts from Google ads that your team may miss—or all of them if you’re fully managed—just like they always do!
  • All those new text conversations will remain tracked and secure with added help for compliance management.

It’s just one more way we are dedicated to making mobile messaging easy—and effective—for you. A good thing when you consider that almost 9 in 10 shoppers surveyed said they’re more likely to buy from a business that offers the option to communicate that way!

 

Have questions about using Contact At Once! text numbers on Google AdWords (or anywhere else)? Want to get an AdWords-specific Contact At Once! text number? Just ask! Text or chat with us anywhere on this site (or fill out this form if you want to go old-school).

 

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