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EDITOR’S BLOG 230317 Customer service the key to conversational commerce

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These days any business, no matter what sector they operate in, has a struggle to control customer churn. Consumers have more choice than ever and, in many cases, the race to the bottom in terms of price is a competitive dead end. In its place, consumers want ‘an experience’ – and a substantial part of that is great customer service.

And that is proving to be another boom area for telemedia companies. Back in the day, much of what we covered in Telemedia Magazine (and before that, Voice International, for those of you with long memories!) centred around the call centre industry and the rise of computer telephony. Well, its back.

Of course, in this day and age, customer services is a multi-channel affair, taking in phone, web and text – and WhatsApp, and IM, and live webchat, and push messaging, apps and even chatbots. Customer service is a complex area.

But telemedia companies have the expertise and technology to make this happen – and we are seeing more businesses taking them up on it.

The key driver is that consumers need to be kept in on a tight leash. It is unfashionable to say it like that, but that is the truth. Once you have a customer, you need to hang on to them. The stakes are high.

As the latest study by Urban Airship shows that if you push message consumers of apps within 90 days of the consumer downloading it, then they are more likely to stick around. In fact, it can lead to three times as much retention in some circumstances.

While this study pertains to apps, the overall message (if you’ll pardon the pun) is that customer contact works.

And we are seeing many companies getting in on the act. Conversocial, a leading social customer engagement platform, announced today its acquisition of HipMob, a Y Combinator Alumnus that developed an integrated live chat platform for websites and mobile apps. The acquisition paves the way for Conversocial to extend its best-in-class digital customer engagement platform to better serve customers who prefer web-based chat channels and in-app messaging on mobile for customer care.

In New Zealand, Spark New Zealand, a leading MNO and its sub-brand Skinny has rolled out a new customers service solution to deliver excellent service to Skinny customers after working with Comsys and I-New Unified Mobile Solutions.

The goal that companies are chasing is making conversational commerce work. Conversational commerce is where online and mobile commerce meets this new world of customer service and engagement and attempts to make the sales process encompass all customer contact from initial search, through to purchase and even beyond, when the retailer or brand reaches out to those shoppers to keep them hooked.

This is the thinking behind the integration by iAdvize, a European leader in online customer service, and the instant messaging app, WhatsApp, within iAdvize’s conversational commerce platform. The integration solution means brands can now communicate directly with their customers and prospects via WhatsApp.

The integration of WhatsApp within iAdvize enables online shoppers to contact a brand’s customer service team directly in the WhatsApp discussion thread and allows then to ask questions via private messages. Customers can find all past exchanges in one single place as a result and can have straightforward, quick and convenient conversations direct with brands and retailers. More than twenty iAdvize partners now offer this service to their customers.

This drive for interaction and contact is becoming central to all commercial businesses as the customer becomes the centre of how things are run. And handling that is becoming a key telemedia trend.

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Editor and content creator for Telemedia – for 18 years and counting

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