Automation is a funny thing. Too little is the foe of efficiency. Too much kills engagement.
Think about email. Automated email nurturing campaigns were the answer to individually following up with every single person who downloaded a piece of content from your website. In the name of efficiency, marketers queued up a series of emails via workflows to automatically deliver ever-more-helpful content and insights, gradually increasing the personas trust in the company and stoking the flames of their buying intent. If at any time they had a question, they could respond to the email and get routed to a person who could help.
But as the number of inbound results skyrocketed, this system became untenable. The dreaded noreply @company. com address was the answer for scalability. Over day, this set the high expectations with purchasers that marketers didnat want to have a dialogue with them via email.
Automation attained us more efficient, but at the cost of relationships — ultimately defeating the purpose.
Then came live chat, and it felt like a revelation. Buyers were empowered to get answers to their questions in real day from a real person. Better yet, this interaction took place directly on the companyas website — where they were already doing their research.
We started employing website chat at HubSpot in 2013. Over the past four years, live chat has facilitated countless conversations between curious prospects and our business. We even generated our own live chat product — Messages — to help our clients adopt this model and serve their own prospects better, faster, and directly on the website.
But, just like what happened with email nurturing, at a certain point the system started to strain. According to our utilization data, one in every 30 website visits results in a chat. For companies that receive thousands of website visits a day, trying to keep up is daunting.
And similar to how anoreply @company. coma frustrated buyers go looking for information via email, customers are again the ones suffering when companies canat manage the demands of live chat. Recent research found that 21% of live chat supporting petitions go wholly unanswered. Even if the buyer gets a reply, they can expect to wait an average of 2 minutes and 40 seconds for it. I wouldnat call this alivea — would you?
Responding slowly( or failing to respond at all) on a channel advertised as alivea is a contradiction in terms. Forcing customers to wait after weave set the expectation of immediacy is unacceptable. We can do better.
Today, weare at the same intonation point we came to with email. What should companies do to accommodate the tidal wave of live chat conversations? Hiring an increasing number of chat coordinators clearly isnat a scalable answer. But more importantly, apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Slack have changed consumersa definition of a real day conversation( and also generated the infrastructure to support them ). If marketers are going to advertise alivea channels — and we must if we want to stay relevant — we need to step up and deliver.
Itas with this in mind that I assert the era of live chat is over. aConversationsa were once synonymous with website chats and incoming phone calls, but in the world of messaging apps and bots, the website is only one small piece of the puzzle. Purchasers are supposing beyond the website, but most industries arenat.
Buyersa New Expectations for Business Conversations
Website chat enabled buyers to have conversations with industries like never before. It was a good start, but merely that — a start. Similar to how inbound changed marketing, social changed content discovery and consumption, and conversational search changed SEO, messaging apps have changed how purchasers expect to interact with businesses.
Why tether your prospects and customers to your website when they want to chat? Why force them to re-explain their question when they switching channels, or when chat coordinators switch changes? Why stimulate them wait until the next rep are provided to get the information they need right now? This isnat world-class marketing and customer service even today, and itall become even more archaic and frustrating in the years to come.
Think your purchasers wouldnat want to interact with your company via a messaging app? Actually, 71% of consumers globally are willing to use messaging apps to get client assistance.
Even if your prospects fall in the anone of the abovea pail today, they wonat eternally. Cutting the data by age foretells the inevitability of messaging apps in a business context over day: The majority of consumers currently between the ages 18 and 34 are willing to use Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to contact companies for assistance.
When communicating with a business, todayas buyer expects that 😛 TAGEND Conversations happen where they are. That might be the website, but it could also be social media, or Skype, or Slack, or a messaging app . .” That might be the website, but it could also be social media, or Skype, or Slack, or a messaging app. Conversations are portable. Regardless of where a conversation gets started, it should be able to be transferred to any other channel seamlessly. A thread kicked off on live chat should be able to be passed to Facebook Messenger or email without data loss or crossed wires . .” Irrespective of where a conversation get started, it should be able to be transferred to any other channel seamlessly. A thread kicked off on live chat should be able to be passed to Facebook Messenger or email without data loss or crossed wires. Dialogues have context. Context shouldnat leave with the person who fielded the initial investigation. All of a customer or prospectas historical interactions and information should be attached to a common record which populates instantaneously.