The Holidays Are Upon Us
If you’re a B2C company, particularly in the retail industry, you’re likely gearing up for the holiday season. It’s no wonder, since holiday spending has jumped to more than $800 per person, a gradual increase since the Great Recession in 2009. A good holiday season of sales may account for 20 percent of total annual revenue, a number even Santa can’t ignore.
Sales, marketing and customer service teams are all in this together. If a company markets itself well, it should generate more sales. If they can offer great customer service on top of the sales, they may win loyal customers who become advocates in spreading the word to more people who will hopefully become brand champions. It’s a nice cycle every company strives to achieve.
Not everything, however, needs to be about driving revenue or solving customer service problems. The holidays present an ideal opportunity to have fun and leverage the typically improved moods of consumers, or help them turn from a Grinch to a Who. It gives brands the chance to stand out from the competition by engaging customers and prospects with humor, entertainment, contests, and holiday cheer.
Tapping into The Potential of Messaging Apps
Messaging apps, such as Facebook Messenger, gives organizations the ability to do better than launch marketing campaigns and blast out one-way promotions. Instead, Messenger can be used to have actual dialogue with the customer in a private setting or draw them in with a personal incentive. This can be highly valuable when you consider how consumers constantly compare brands online and on sites like Amazon for every product. It’s all about price, availability, quality and options, all of which are becoming harder and harder to win in this flat world. It’s becoming more challenging for brands to make a name for themselves and earn their share of the consumer wallet.
If a company wants to turn one-time customers into loyal followers, they have to do more. Messaging apps provide the perfect platform for developing relationships with customers. Using Messenger to share games, trivia, jokes, songs, cartoons, fun pictures, etc., can drive brand loyalty and humanize the brand. It can enhance consumer perceptions by offering entertaining content that makes them enjoy interactions with the brand, not just a product.
While many companies have jumped on the social media bandwagon, few have realized the true differentiating factor of messaging apps. As many as 95 percent of brands’ social strategies are stuck in antiquated “broadcast” mode and fewer than 40 percent of brands ever ask questions of their followers or engage with follower content. It appears the one-way messaging is the wrong way to win fans and a hugely missed opportunity.
Consumers Are Driving Change
Today’s consumers want more than social media, they want two-way conversations whenever they want, on their mobile devices. In fact, 66 percent of consumers now prefer to reach a brand (or be reached by brands) through messaging apps. Messaging ranks as the number one customer service channel preferred by consumers in the U.S. and many other countries, proving that social media and call centers alone are insufficient. If you’re going to win customers, you have to meet them where they are and every indication is they are going to be on a messaging app.
Since messaging apps are so popular, particularly among Millennials, it only makes sense for companies to use them for more than just sales promotions and customer service. Messaging apps have high daily retention rates, meaning users keep coming back to the apps long after they are installed. The average daily retention rate for messaging apps is 50-60 percent. That is significant time (i.e. opportunity) to do more than push a product. It’s time that companies can leverage to keep the consumer’s attention on their brand, instead of the competition’s.
Using Messenger To Redefine The Customer Experience
Using Messenger to bring alternative forms of content – some fun, some holiday cheer, some distraction while consumers wait in the long checkout lines – can go a long way in retaining customers and attracting new ones. Companies can leverage celebrity spokespeople, branded entertainment and non-traditional marketing content to get the attention of their intended audience.
The holidays present more than just a sales boon for B2C companies, it inspires a unique opportunity to redefine the customer experience, to improve brand responsiveness and availability throughout the buyer’s journey, and to support pre-sales and post-sales customer service. It can drive engagement and subsequent transactions through conversational marketing.
Don’t let the holidays go by without grabbing hold of the potential to do more than generate sales. Holidays are about being together, sharing stories, and having fun. Use Messenger to connect with your customers and prospects, enable them to share a little about themselves and engage in other ways than through a credit card or a customer service issue. Give them content that entertains them, puts a smile on their faces, and provides helpful information that makes the holidays a bit easier. It’s a little thing that can do wonders for customer satisfaction.