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Latest 23 Jul 2020 | Customer Service | 6 min read

Could Messaging Replace Your Website?

Yep. In the not too distant future, messaging has the potential to leapfrog the humble website and become the number one digital entry point for consumers.

The place they go to engage with your brand, browse new products, make purchases, ask questions, track orders and so much more. The future is a two-way relationship between brands and consumers.

Take a moment to think about your website. Do you love it? Or do you merely tolerate it? Think of the many thousands of hours of work that go into your website only for your customers to engage with just a small percentage of the content you create. What if there was a way of connecting with customers before they even enter your site? Without them even having to come to you. Messaging channels allow brands to engage with customers, build relationships, and drive loyalty. The concept of website-less customer experience is perhaps a bit far off for most brands, so let’s start off with the basics.

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  3. Why Move to Messaging?

Send Useful Notifications

There aren’t many times in customer experience where you can kill two birds with one stone, but this is one of those times. 

After pouring through the data, we found that the most common reason for customers contacting retailers was for an update on their order. 

Maybe an email went to their junk or they couldn’t be bothered to go to the website, log in to their account, navigate to their orders, and check for an update. 

Either way, what if you could nip this in the bud by proactively messaging your customers on their preferred channel?

Save your customers time, save your customer service agents time. Win/win. 

Your customers can even respond to the message within the same thread. No finding the right email address or heading back to your website. It’s one seamless experience that starts with your brand providing the information your customers need before they even know they need it.

" It’s one seamless experience that starts with your brand providing the information your customers need before they even know they need it."

How About an Upgrade?

Customer experience is all about removing friction. That’s why your Netflix stays logged in and that show you’ve been watching autoplays when you’ve been idle for 5 seconds. Less clicks = greater engagement.

So, how can you replicate this with messaging? It’s easy. Imagine you’re an airline offering passengers the option of adding additional luggage. 

Here’s how it goes on a website:

You get offered additional luggage at the time of booking but you’re not sure whether you really need to pack 6 pairs of shoes and you end up leaving it. And that’s the last you hear of it. Unless you decide that, actually, you do need to bring 6 pairs of shoes and you find the airline website, log in to your flight, select the additional luggage, and make the payment. I make that five steps.

Here’s how it works with messaging:

A week before your flight you receive a message asking if you need additional luggage. “Reply yes to add additional luggage.” You reply “Yes” and then make payment using Apple Pay all without having to do any real work yourself. Two steps. Just five taps of your iPhone. Done.

Messaging allows for seamless experiences that happen without putting the emphasis on your customers doing the leg work. Reduce friction. Drive revenue.

 

All Roads Lead to Messaging

What do people do when they want to know something about your brand, your products or your services? It’s likely that they’ll go to your website. They’ll browse a few pages and hopefully they’ll find the answer they need. If they don’t, they’ll find their way to your contact us page and then either pick up the phone, send you a DM on Twitter or (god forbid) fill in a contact form that lands them in a customer service inbox that gets checked once a month. In that last scenario, there may be upwards of 15 steps for a customer to get an answer.

What if there was a better way? What if you could give customers the option of messaging you before they even land on your website? Well, you can.

Google Business Messages

Google Business Messages appearing in Google Maps and search results

Google Business Messages gives brands the option of listing their messaging capabilities within search results and Google Maps. This empowers customers to start conversations with customer support at the earliest possible opportunity. It cuts out all of the noise, the wading through pages and pages just to finally get what they need. Giving customers the options they need at the right time is key to seamless customer experience.

 

Messaging is a One-Stop Shop

Now, with this last point, messaging becomes a fully-fledged website alternative. With the likes of Instagram Shops and WhatsApp Catalogs, the full shopping experience from product discovery through to payment and aftercare can all happen with messaging channels. The entire customer journey can happen without ever touching a website.

You can browse available products and ask any questions over messaging before making payment. On Apple Business Chat, customers can even pay for their purchase using Apple Pay within the conversation without ever being redirected to a website. Everything happens within the continuous thread of communication between the customer and the brand. It’s a true two-way relationship that is proven to build long lasting relationships.

 

Is Messaging Ready to Replace Your Website?

We know, we know. Brands aren’t going to switch off their websites and move to messaging overnight. For now, we see both working side-by-side with messaging being used as an extra layer to enhance the customer experience. But in a world where people crave meaningful connections online, even with the brands they do business with, isn’t it time that your brand took its first steps in moving to messaging?

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