What every marketer should know about managing customer communication channels

What every marketer should know about managing customer communication channels

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On the surface, messaging is simple. Yet when it comes to messaging customers, many businesses struggle to get it right.

The customer communication journey often begins by introducing a simple messaging feature within your product or service. For example, a user receives an SMS for a password reset when locked out of their account, or for an appointment reminder.

This works well for both you and your user when messaging is kept to a single channel. They get clear communication from you, and you can easily keep track of the information you want to send them. But things are rarely so simple.

Customer communications are complex

What happens if the same user decides to download your mobile app and turn on push notifications?

You decide to stop sending SMS alerts in favour of push notifications to avoid double notifications. But then the user disables push notifications, accidentally clears them, or buys a new phone and never re-downloads the app?

These are just a few common scenarios that can cause the user to stop receiving notifications, leaving them out of the loop.

Too many messages can backfire

Taking a shotgun approach is an alternative. You can blast notifications to the user via SMS and push notifications at all times.

While there are customers who want to stay connected and don’t mind getting relevant, targeted alerts by either SMS or push notifications, opt-out rates begin to soar when they are barraged with duplicate messages.

You will notice the list of people who use messaging to talk to you shrinks.

So as a product or service manager how do you implement messaging to benefit your business? How do you plan to connect the customer communication systems that you already use with new channels? And most importantly, how do you create a convenient experience that does not become a new source of frustration or failure?

The Four I’s of Messaging

The key is adhering to a simple framework when adding messaging to your customer communication mix. The framework focuses on four key areas, helping you to establish a clear strategy so the right solution is built from the get-go.

1. Know your messaging INTERFACES

You have many messaging technologies to choose from — SMS, push notifications, in-app chat and messaging apps. Select one based on your customers’ preferences, and what you are trying to communicate.

2. INTEGRATE messaging

Integrating mobile messaging into the customer conversation makes interactions more productive. Add customer, order or issue information from CRM, ERP, and other enterprise systems to bring context to your communications. Contextual information also influences the channel you use to reach the customer, how you route your messages internally and how you engage in customer conversations.

3. Add INTELLIGENCE

Artificial intelligence is the key to delivering human-style messages at scale. Add intelligence to engage with larger numbers of customers efficiently, without sacrificing the quality of the user experience. A hybrid approach of human-assisted bots — where bots handle most requests and escalate to human agents only when needed — is gaining adoption.

4. Build on Other’s INFRASTRUCTURE

Adopt an incremental building block approach to get global reach, delivery intelligence, and the highest reliability over both IP and carrier networks, all with minimal development effort. You could, for example, use programmable APIs as part of an all-in-one messaging toolbox. This would orchestrate across every major messaging channel to reach your customers in the way they want to be reached.

Messaging can be simple if you organise your customer communication roadmap around these four I’s, ensuring you use messaging to improve the customer experience, not overcomplicate it.

Angie Bell, Managing Director, APAC, Twilio – a cloud communications company

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