Consumers have certain, basic expectations when it comes to customer service. That’s nothing new. For example, most have always expected friendly agents and quick resolutions to their issues.
But these days, consumers have higher standards than ever before. Per Salesforce’s State of the Connected Customer, over half of consumers say the crises of the past two years have raised their customer service standards. They expect service whenever and wherever they need it – and they demand seamless personalized experiences across all channels.
Businesses that meet those heightened expectations are more likely to win the initial sale – and a customer’s long-term loyalty. According to Salesforce research, 71% of consumers have made purchase decisions based on the quality of customer service they received. And 91% say a great customer service experience makes them more likely to make another purchase in the future.
On the flip side, brands that fail to meet customer service expectations are sure to lose prospective customers – and the ones they’ve already got. American Express research (cited by Glance) found that 78% of consumers have backed out of an intended purchase because of a negative experience. And according to Microsoft, 58% of consumers will sever a relationship with a business due to poor customer service.
At a time when 80% of consumers consider the experience a company provides to be just as important as its products and services, brands are under pressure to get it right. A solid strategy and great customer service agents are essential.
Customer Service Agents are Essential to Delivering Great Customer Experiences – But Their Jobs Are Getting More Challenging
Customer service agents might not wear capes. But they’re heroes nonetheless, working day in and day out to resolve issues, foster relationships and delight customers on their company’s behalf.
Customer service agents play a vital role in the experiences a consumer has with a brand. And those experiences have a huge impact on the consumer’s perception of said brand. It’s probably not surprising that per Salesforce research, 78% of customer service agents say their company views them as brand ambassadors.
Visual Call Out: 78% of customer service agents say their company views them as brand ambassadors. Source: Salesforce State of Service
But being a customer service agent isn’t easy. In fact, it’s getting more challenging by the day. Though workloads are growing, resources (think budgets and headcount) remain largely stagnant.
As a result, many brands struggle to consistently deliver great service. Per Salesforce, three-quarters of service professionals say managing case volume has become more challenging during the pandemic. And Google research tells us six in 10 businesses struggle with their employees not being able to manage inquiry volume – as well as the time it takes for employees to respond to communications.
At a time when demand for service is high (and customer expectations are even higher) brands must find ways to scale and extend their live agent capabilities. Many brands are turning to messaging solutions to help. One that stands above the rest? Google’s Business Messages.
What is Google’s Business Messages?
The vast majority of consumers use messaging apps (think Whatsapp and Facebook, among others) to communicate with family and friends. In fact, nearly 91% of internet users use chat or messenger apps.
Messaging has a lot of benefits – which explains its wide adoption. Messaging is simple, convenient and personal. So it’s probably not surprising that a large (and growing) number of consumers also want to be able to communicate with brands via messaging. In fact, Salesforce research shows that messaging is climbing the list of consumers’ preferred channels for communicating with brands.
Google’s Business Messages allows consumers to communicate with brands through their preferred channel. And it empowers brands to deliver great service in a consumer’s moment of need – directly from Search and Maps.
Let’s say a consumer is starting the search for the perfect wedding dress. Before scheduling an appointment with a particular wedding retailer, she wants to know what options the store has in stock for her to try on. She opens Google on her phone and does a search for the retailer and her city name. An icon appears, allowing her to chat with the retailer.
She chats with a virtual stylist, who tells her which options are in stock at her store. The agent even shares a shoppable image carousel so the shopper can see them. The bride likes her options, so she schedules an appointment to come try them on. When she arrives, the store has all of her favorites ready for her to try on – and she finds one she loves.
4 Ways Google’s Business Messages Can Extend Your Live Agent Capabilities
Demand for service is growing. And now, more than ever, consumers are using digital channels to interact with brands throughout the sales cycle. Forrester predicted a 40% increase in digital customer service in 2021.
Incorporating Google’s Business Messages into your online chat strategy can be an effective way to extend your live agent capabilities. Here are four key ways Business Messages extends your live agent capabilities – and positions you to better serve your customers.
1. Broader Chat Coverage
Modern consumers expect to get the service they need, whenever they need it. And let’s face it – they often need it outside of the standard business hours of 9 to 5.
If a consumer can’t get the help or answer they need when they need it, they’re likely to forgo a purchase. According to Forrester, over half of adults in the US are likely to abandon an online purchase if they can’t get a quick answer to a question.
Ideally, consumers should be able to get the help they need at any hour of the day. That can seem like a tall (and costly) order for a brand. However, with Google’s Business Messages, brands can more easily offer around the clock service so consumers can get the help they need, when they need it.
For example, a consumer might be scrolling their phone at night, browsing for a new pair of jeans. But they’re not sure what size to order. With Business Messages, they can initiate a conversation – even after the store has closed – and get assistance from a chatbot. After the conversation, they feel more confident about ordering the right size of jeans.
2. Faster Responses to Customer Inquiries
Consumers want answers – and they want them fast. Per Salesforce’s State of the Connected Consumer report, 83% of consumers expect to engage with someone immediately when contacting a company – up from 78% in 2019. And Google research found that 4 in 10 consumers are frustrated at being stuck on hold for too long.
Providing speedy service is a key ingredient to delighting customers. After all, 73% of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.
With Google’s Business Messages, shorter wait times, faster resolutions, and happier customers can be a reality. How? Brands that use Business Messages can leverage AI to answer common questions or solve simple issues. For example, a consumer can use Google’s Business Messages any time of day to determine the availability of COVID-19 testing at Walmart. And they can get an immediate answer – no wait time required.
Of course, there will be times when a chatbot isn’t enough; the consumer needs to chat with a live agent to resolve a more complex issue. But even in these instances, consumers can expect shorter wait times than they’re used to. That’s because agents can more easily juggle multiple chats than they can several phone calls or emails. That significantly cuts down on wait times – and increases customer satisfaction.
3. Self Service for Simple Matters
Sure, there are times when a customer needs to interact with a real, live person to solve an issue. But a lot of customer service inquiries are simple ones. In those instances, self-service can be a great option. In fact, many (65%, according to Salesforce) of consumers actually prefer self-service for simple matters.
Using Google’s Business Messages is a win-win for consumers and brands alike. Consumers get fast answers and quick resolutions to simple matters. And this can reduce the volume of cases going to live agents – which gives those agents more time to assist and delight other customers. Per Salesforce, 66% of service professionals agree that self-service channels reduce case volume.
4. Higher Customer Satisfaction
A growing number of consumers prefer to interact with brands via digital channels, and messaging is a channel that’s quickly growing in favor. Communicating with consumers via their preferred channels improves customer satisfaction. And happy customers are more likely to be loyal – and refer their family and friends.
What’s more, incorporating Google’s Business Messages into your strategy is an effective way to lighten your live agents’ load. Salesforce research found that 77% of agents say that automating routine tasks allows them to focus on more complex work. With a smaller caseload, agents have more time to nurture relationships and delight customers.
In addition, Salesforce research found that 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. Yet only 34% of companies treat customers as unique individuals and 52% describe their customer service interactions as fragmented.
Google’s Business Messages supports consumer conversations that are powered by Salesforce Clouds and data. That means brands that use both Salesforce and Business Messages can gain a 360 degree of the customer, which allows them to deliver better experiences that align with the preferences of the individual customer.
Start Extending Your Brand’s Live Agent Capabilities with Google’s Business Messages
Customer service cases are growing, and so are their complexity. At the same time, consumers have higher expectations than ever before. Yet resources remain stagnant. Brands must identify ways to scale customer service – and do more with less.
Google’s Business Messages is a powerful tool that can help extend your live agent capabilities – and in doing so, boost sales, customer satisfaction, and retention – while adding another layer to your 360-degree views of each of your customers.
1440 is excited to integrate with Google’s Business Messages to help you better assist your customers in their moment of need. Ready to get started? Contact us today.