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Why a Conversational Growth Strategy is a Must-Have for Businesses

February 27, 2023

Businesses use conversations to reach customers around the world every day. But only the most savvy businesses know how to use two-way conversations to maximize those interactions and scale growth.

A recent Forrester study found that 68% of customers they surveyed were more likely to buy from businesses that offer convenient communication options1—and for many, that means using messaging. More than half of the study’s respondents named live chat, social media messaging, or messaging in their top three brand communication methods.

The key to unlocking the potential of these conversational tools is having a conversational growth strategy.

Not sure what this plan looks like and how it can benefit your business? We’ll explain all of that below, plus guide you through the process of implementing a conversational strategy successfully.

What is a conversational growth strategy?

A conversational growth strategy is a plan your business creates for scaling communications with your customers through two-way interactions—like video calls, live chat, automated chatbots, and more. These two-way interactions span the entire customer funnel, from marketing communication to support chats.

Your strategy should define how you're going to create and implement customer communication initiatives to support better business growth. It should also outline what measuring the success of your initiatives looks like.

One thing to note: a conversational growth strategy isn’t set in stone—it evolves as customer communication preferences change. So your strategy should be adaptable and dynamic, too.

How to build a conversational growth strategy

Chances are, your brand is already having two-way conversations with customers to some extent—like offering live chat on your website or phone calls with support agents. If so, you don’t need to build a plan from scratch.

Instead, analyze your current customer interactions to figure out what changes can be made to better engage customers on your conversational channels. Perhaps your customers are asking common questions that can be answered by a chatbot to create quicker, more efficient replies. Or maybe you’ve noticed customers engage more often with conversational messages that include content from your brand. Use these kinds of indicators to shape the structure of your plans.

Analyze your current conversational growth efforts

Consider how you have been interacting with customers so far to identify what’s working and what isn’t. Focus on the channels and tools you’re using to interact with customers and how they’re responding to each.

Say your data shows that customers like contacting you, but many get frustrated by your away message telling them that an agent will contact them shortly.

These types of insights tell you that integrating chatbots to potentially answer common customer questions could be a worthy investment. You can then prioritize adopting chatbots to replace boiler plate away messages in the next iteration of your conversational growth strategy.

Create consistent communication across channels

According to Salesforce, 85% of customers expect consistent interactions across every one of your teams.2

To keep your conversational interactions consistent, work to craft a conversational style guide that covers:

  • Tone: The mood or emotion your brand wants to convey to your audience (humorous and friendly, or informative and authoritative, etc.).
  • Emotion: What emotions do you want your interactions to evoke? Think about what needs your product or service fills for your customers and how you want them to feel when these needs are being met.
  • Audience: Define who you are talking to in order to interact with them appropriately. What demographic are you targeting, and how do they expect to be addressed?
  • Common words/phrases: Words that your company often uses in brand communication to either describe itself or its services/products. These are often related to your industry.

By standardizing your communication, you can determine which messages customers are responding to best and tailor your style for different audiences.

For example, customers might enjoy a more friendly and lighthearted tone when they’re engaging with your content. However, they might find it frustrating in support situations where they would prefer more clear and concise communication to help solve their issue.

Using standardized message templates can help create a solution for generating, implementing, and managing consistent messaging. They’re easy to organize and tweak when necessary, enabling you to reuse and send quality customer messages in bulk.

Monitor conversational growth performance

Dig through conversational data to learn more about what’s working and where you can make improvements. Metrics can include:

  • Volume: The number of conversations happening over each channel on an hourly/daily/weekly basis.
  • Time of day: The volume of conversations at specific times of the day.
  • First reply time: How long it takes customers to receive an initial response from you.
  • Average response time: the average amount of time customers have to wait to receive a response.
  • Task resolution rate: Your success or failure rate in resolving customer inquiries.
  • Modality: If customers prefer typing their questions or using their voices to interact with you.

Metrics like these can help you determine which specific areas need improvement in order to make customer interactions more efficient and helpful.

What does a conversational growth strategy help you do?

A conversational growth strategy should assist you in providing a seamless customer journey across all teams. According to Drift’s 2022 State of Conversations report,3 conversational tools help:

  • 67% of marketers understand customers better.
  • 48% of sales reps learn more about customers more quickly.
  • 63% of support agents assist customers in real time.

But to take advantage of these benefits, you’ll need a comprehensive strategy that aligns communication in every phase of the customer experience. Here’s how a thoughtful strategy can help you make the most of your conversational growth efforts, and maximize the return on your efforts.

Person sitting at desk reading a message via WhatsApp

Focus on the conversational channels that matter most

A recent Sinch survey shows that 45% of companies surveyed plan to increase spending on conversational engagement messaging.4 That’s almost half who are doubling down on using conversations to better engage customers. With a strategy in place, you can ensure you’re not wasting your time and spend focusing on tools that won’t effectively reach your audiences.

Invest in improving channels that customers already prefer instead of adding new ones on a hunch. By using channels that your customers know and love, you can set your business up for success and see higher rates of engagement and open rates as a result.

To figure out which conversational channels should be a part of your strategy, survey customers about the tools they prefer and review your existing communication data. We’ll cover how to prioritize channels in more detail later in the post.

Collect customer data (without being intrusive)

The two-way nature of conversational interactions creates plenty of opportunities to learn more about your customers, whether that’s a live agent asking questions on a call or a chatbot survey about product preferences. But with so many consumers concerned about their privacy, brands can’t request this data carelessly.

Zendesk’s 2023 Customer Experience Trends report found that almost 60% want businesses to use the data they collect if it’s going to result in more personalized experiences.5 Conversational channels are a great way to collect first-party data from customers—meaning, information you collect directly from them—instead of relying on third-party customer data from questionable external sources.

Say a customer messages your business about a particular product in a live chat with one of your company’s agents. Using valuable first-party data about their preferences, your team can recommend their preferred size and color, or show them where they can pick up the product in-store.

Define how your brand collects data through conversations with customers in a way that makes them happy, not annoyed or concerned. You and your team can form a plan about how to keep your requests compliant, like creating a template that asks customers to opt in to communications with you to show that you value their privacy.

Over time, update your strategy based on the customer data your teams find most valuable and focus on creating plans that help you collect that data most effectively.

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Offer convenient, helpful customer support

If your team members adopt conversational channels without any guidance, customers may find the communication unhelpful—or even worse, annoying. Maybe your chatbot makes it difficult to reach a live agent, or agents on video calls always ask customers to repeat information.

A comprehensive strategy can help you create a smooth conversational experience for customers seeking support. Your business can implement processes that outline how team members and chatbots should interact with customers on each conversational channel to solve problems quickly and efficiently. This might include creating communication templates for live agents, and processes for designing and implementing support chatbot flows.

Consider self-service as part of your conversational support strategy. Customers want to be able to quickly answer questions themselves, and solve issues independently. To address this, your business might integrate a chatbot with your knowledge base so the bot can recommend self-service resources.

By imagining conversational interactions before they happen, you can build a strategy that clarifies what to do at each touchpoint to avoid roadblocks, and help customers move more quickly through the buyer journey.

Two people sitting at breakfast table while one shows other an online purchase through WhatsApp

Create better customer relationships–and forge a better path to success– with a conversational growth strategy

Messaging apps have billions of active users worldwide, making them ideal channels for reaching your customers and scaling business growth. Using two-way conversations to help your customers find the products they need, on a channel they use every day, can not only build stronger relationships but also enable your business to reach new and larger audiences.

Rich with features that boost conversational growth, businesses can use messaging apps to share relevant products and offers, send cart abandonment reminders, broadcast product/service news and announcements, create ads, embed calls to action, and so much more.

To learn more about using messaging to fuel your marketing funnel, read some of our relevant posts.

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