How is the in-store retail customer experience evolving?
American retailers appear to be facing a crisis. Brands like JC Penney, American Apparel, and Sears are all closing stores and customers there...
One of the biggest changes in the customer experience over the past few years has been the introduction of chat apps and messengers. Facebook has even released a toolkit for their own Messenger that allows the service to deploy artificial intelligence (AI) when interacting with customers.
This is an important development for smaller businesses. Could you imagine a flower store a couple of years ago having an AI customer service centre available 24/7? Now it’s possible thanks to the free tools Facebook makes available.
But what is really happening is a shift towards text-based communication. People now prefer to text and have conversations on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, rather than making calls. With this shift taking place in the way people communicate, it’s important for companies to adjust to customer desires and improve the ways that they offer chat app- or Messenger-based customer service.
It’s worth knowing that Facebook is constantly rolling out new features for Messenger. The latest is a polling system and peer-to-peer payment. The polling service allows groups of friends to take decisions together interactively. Imagine you are meeting a group of six friends for dinner, but you don’t know where to go. Create a poll featuring the top three choices of venue and let everyone who is on the chat vote on their preference – a great way to speed up group decisions!
Peer-to-peer payments and payment reminders are interesting too, because they enable individuals to send money to each other using Messenger. If you owe your friend £20 then they can request to be repaid via Messenger and the system will automatically remind you if you have not paid. The reminder service is very useful, but the ability to pay friends anywhere in the world, so long as they are on Facebook, is a very exciting financial service.
It’s clear from these developments, and the way the public is generally behaving, that messengers are only going to become more important in 2017 as a link between brands and customers. How far are you in your own strategies when it comes to what chat apps can do for your business? Leave a comment below and let me know, or contact me on LinkedIn.