How Do You Improve the Customer Experience? By Ensuring Customer Care Messages Are Expected, Timely, and Relevant
March 6, 2023
An honest look at today’s customer <-> business relationships reveal at least one important truth — your customers are in charge. No matter how many strategy meetings you have, innovative agencies you engage, or life-changing features you deliver, consumers are always connected, with limitless options in the palm of their hands. And a study on customer expectations from Emplifi shows 63% of them will leave a brand they’ve been loyal to over a single poor experience.1
This makes the potential cost of poor customer experience too large to ignore. And given that customer care is a primary experience touchpoint in a digital-first world, providing cludgy customer service on legacy channels ain’t gonna cut it. In fact, it could even be said that if you’re not offering conversational care, you’re late to the game.
Which is why many businesses are scrambling into new technologies, channels, and ways of communicating without fully baking their plan. But taking the time to get the basics right is critical to avoiding those poor customer experiences.
So what does it take to get them right? Essentially it boils down to making sure your messages are expected, timely, and relevant.
Unpacking expected, timely, and relevant
Expected, timely, and relevant, at its most basic level, means your customers have agreed to receive messages from you, you’re sending them at the most appropriate time, and those messages actually matter to your customers. Sounds good, but what does that look like in use? Let’s unpack this principle into actionable best practices for your messaging strategy.
Best practices when using messaging as part of the customer experience
Respect your audience’s time
Everyone’s time is valuable — so before rolling out a messaging channel, it’s important to know why your audience would want to spend some of that time with you. And once you are engaging with them — to make sure they know that you value that time.
Some key ways you can do this are being mindful of when you send messages, how often you send them, and how long those messages are.
How often you send
One key is your weekly message cap – i.e.: how many total messages your audience finds acceptable from your company each week. This cap is often cumulative across all channels. Coordinating all customer contact across functions helps keep your customers from reaching for the unsubscribe button.
When you send
You know your audience better than anyone. Which means you probably know when they’re most likely to engage and when they absolutely don’t want to hear from you.
Traditional thinking says “only send messages weekdays during business hours,” but that may not work with your customers. Thoughtfully schedule your messaging efforts for the best times for your audience.
Unless you’re marketing your latest novel, your messages shouldn’t look read like a chapter in a book. But you don't want your customers deciphering unintelligible txt-speak either. Both approaches can lead to your audience glancing at your message and moving on.
Being clear and concise doesn’t just help you communicate better, it shows you respect your customers’ time.
Provide value to your customers
It should go without saying that any time you message your customers you should be sharing something valuable. There are three key practices that can help ensure you’re providing value with each message: personalization, education, and having 2-way conversations.
62% of consumers say a brand will lose their loyalty if they deliver a non-personalized experience.2
In the early days of personalization it was often seen as a nice-to-have. But Twilio’s research is showing that not only do customers now expect it, they’re willing to move their business to a company offering it. This makes personalization a critical aspect of the customer experience.
The good news is that a properly integrated messaging solution – like the WhatsApp Business Platform – empowers you to leverage customer data from your CRM to help shape your messages. Using browsing and purchase history along with their previous conversations, you can recommend products they may find helpful, provide relevant educational content, or just check-in on how they’re using your products.
Companies are developing a myriad of educational content these days and it’s often shared across multiple disciplines — customer care, marketing, sales, and more. A great use for personalized messaging in customer care is helping connect your customers with the content that is directly relevant to their needs. As a bonus, this is something that’s easily automated with thoughtful chat flows, well-indexed content, and intuitive AI-driven chatbots.
Not only can this help build customer loyalty and satisfaction, it helps establish your company as authoritative and helpful when they want to know more.
It’s really easy to stand up a messaging channel and treat it like just another way to dump information on your audience. But that’s not how people typically use messaging apps. It signals to them that this channel’s no different from email or your website, reducing its value to them.
It’s important to make sure messaging not only feels conversational, but that you’re available for follow up as needed. This can be accomplished with live agents, AI-powered chatbots, well-constructed automated chat flows, or, ideally, a combination of all three.
Keep it interesting. And actionable.
“The one unforgivable sin is to be boring”
— Christopher Hitchens3
Between the dreaded wall of text and a garish line of nothing but emojis, lies content that, at-a-glance, entices your audience to engage. Making sure your messaging appeals to customers on different wavelengths helps you avoid what Christopher Hitchens called “the one unforgivable sin.”
So how do you keep your messages from being boring? Start by making your messages as interactive as reasonably possible. Make sure your copy includes a clear and distinctive call-to-action. Then, make sure it’s all wrapped up in a conversational tone and casual language.
Conversational tone and casual language
Your company likely has a distinct brand voice. But your customers also have specific ways they’re used to talking in messaging.
The key is to make sure your brand identity shines while also sounding like you’ve sent a text message before. Some companies may see very little change in their brand voice, some may use the voice they adapted for social media, while others may have to develop a new interpretation of their voice for this context.
Leverage interactive features
A great way to keep your messages interesting is leveraging both the multimedia and interactive features of the messaging channel. Images, videos, even GIFs are acceptable when messaging, even if you’d never use them in other contexts.
Additionally, many messaging platforms — like WhatsApp — include multiple interactive message features like product catalogs, lists, or multiple choice response buttons. All of which can help you entice your audience to engage with your messages.
Include a CTA
This should be a no-brainer. When you’re interacting with your customers across customer care, marketing, or sales, you’re encouraging them to take the next step on their journey. Your casual, interactive messages should build to a single, clear ask of their time.
Including a CTA is not only helpful to your efforts, it signals to your customers that your messages have a purpose and a value to them.
Keeping your audience’s trust
When your audience – whether previous or potential customers – opted-in to hear from you, they communicated that they trust you to send them messages that are expected, timely, and relevant. Traditional, reactive customer service had a much more straightforward path to meeting that standard with highly transactional messages.
However, the modern customer experience has evolved the role of customer care into a more proactive function. This has led care leaders to focus on driving revenue and to using traditional marketing activities under the care umbrella. This change makes fulfilling the expected, timely, and relevant framework more complicated. But by respecting your customers time, providing value, and keeping your messaging interesting, you can help drive engagement with your proactive care efforts.
Want more insights into how to better connect to your customers with messaging? Explore how personalization has moved from a nice-to-have to a must-have for modern customer care in our article, The Personalization Revolution in Customer Care