It’s time for brands to bargain with customers

The rise of digital channels has enabled customers to expect more from their favorite brands and businesses. Customers want 24/7 access to brands, but they also want more control over their shopping experience. Recent research from Facebook and Boston Consulting found that during the 2020 holiday season, two-thirds of global consumers tried to message a company.

Customers want it, but businesses are slow to adopt technology that allows them to respond to customer messages at scale. Many of these businesses still rely on old-school marketing: one-way, high-frequency communications that give customers little or no control over their brand experience. Marketing without personalization often produces offers that aren’t relevant to their customers. Even though over 80% of consumers say they are more likely to buy when a brand offers a personalized experience.

Marketing the same way in the digital age is outdated. Luckily for brands, conversational marketing is the answer. Conversational marketing encourages customers to actively start a dialogue with a brand, wherever and whenever they want. While this may seem daunting for a small business, tools like omnichannel conversation APIs and chatbots allow businesses of all sizes to engage in conversational marketing.

Less Control, More Trust

The use of conversational marketing allows customers to easily understand their options and make informed purchases. This is a big change in marketing, but customers will still want control.

A true two-way dialogue with brands is a good start. To increase loyalty and sales, brands will have to give up even more control to their customers in the future. Customers should be able to customize offers and explore alternative products and services.

Those who do not work to strengthen their relationships with existing customers may lose trust in a brand. So, where do you start?

Firstly, be human and try to emulate the type of service a customer would receive in a physical store. Changing the tone of your messages to match a specific customer’s voice will enhance their experience and make them feel unique. Using a customer’s name, purchase history, preferences, or other key insights can help shape an offer or message. Brands that value existing customers will build stronger, more trusting relationships with them.

While having a dedicated customer service agent type out personalized messages to each customer may seem ideal, most businesses cannot afford this. Back to conversational marketing, low-code AI chatbots are essential for mass personalization. These bots can appear as live agents on any mobile channel and initiate conversations with customers rather than simply responding to their queries. For example, by asking a customer if they’re interested in a special offer via Instagram DMs, these bots can shift the power balance to the consumer in one short message. As a result, the customer can control the conversation and tailor the experience to their own interests (just like in-store), increasing the likelihood of a repeat purchase.

Leveraging Conversational Marketing

The new direct marketing is conversational. It increases customer engagement and experience by facilitating conversations between brands and consumers. Rather than price or product, today’s consumers reward loyalty based on experience.

To achieve true conversational marketing, marketers must abandon preconceived notions about campaign design and customer targeting in favor of personal preferences. To build trust with customers, brands must relinquish control and let customers drive the sale. A little power can go a long way. Now is the time to invest in marketing technology that supports this new customer experience standard.

Brands gain trust and loyalty when customers feel empowered. This approach helps brands deliver great experiences and strengthen relationships with existing and potential customers. As a result, businesses will be able to differentiate themselves from competitors in terms of customer engagement and loyalty.

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