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We all know that, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, communication has become… well… many things: Always on, easy, personal, efficient, and more.
When Alexander Graham Bell first invented the telephone, it wasn’t until quite later that he realized the sheer implications of what he had invented.
The telephone led to a huge revolution, and it wasn’t long before telephone lines were being laid down throughout the country. However, that was many years ago. Currently, the telephone is but one of the many different channels of communication available to us all. Moreover, technology keeps running and new channels keep emerging and gaining popularity every day.
We all keep adjusting. While kids are born to the digital age, grownups need to adjust and constantly learn how to use the new methods, and online businesses need to adjust too.
Online Businesses, like ecommerce websites or consumer services websites must make a solid effort to interact with their customers and support the communication platforms their customers know and love using. Opening multiple communication channels between a business and its prospects or clients is critical to the customer’s satisfaction and hence to business success.
Moreover, opening new popular communication channels is key to gaining an advantage over competing businesses and to build trust.
Long story short, successful online businesses make sure that their customers can easily ask queries, in unformal and popular ways they love using and they make sure that prospects get their questions answered with minimal delay and zero headache.
With regards to online customers who are thinking of purchasing your products or services for the first time, efficient communication may prove to be the nudge in the right direction (to the shopping cart or subscription).
For people who already are regular customers of your company, efficient customer service will help convince them that they made the right choice in buying from you.
Online businesses choose to integrate on their websites different communication solutions and technologies. There are so many out there! So how do you choose between them? Which is the best one suited for your online business needs?
We have gathered the five best communication channels that we believe you should consider for your online business.
Don’t worry, there are tools that can help you implement multiple communication channels with simple integration, almost zero costs and no headache to your development team. I am sharing more details below.
( 1 ) Telegram
Despite its old-school name, Telegram by Twitter is actually one of the most effective tools of communication online. It’s an online messaging app which is used by more than 100 million people, primarily because it offers encrypted communications. The app is based on the Cloud, which means that messages are delivered faster than many other platforms. Telegram doesn’t require you to pay any subscription fee, and is completely free to use. The open API and the free protocol mean, that you can use the app without having to worry about any restrictions on media or chats on the platform. By offering customers to communicate with you via Telegram, you will get them using an app that they already know and love (which is also a trust builder). They will appreciate your innovative and personal approach, do we even need to explain how this can increase your conversion rates?
( 2 ) WeChat, Viber, Line
All three apps focus on the consumer, and provide cross platforms instant messaging. Viber and Line also offer free calls to its users. All of them are also excellent for marketing with a geographical focus, and great for increasing customer engagement.
WeChat has around 818m accounts, with 570m showing daily activity, making it one of the most active communications platforms around. On the other hand, Viber has 800m users and sees monthly activity of around 236m. All of these apps are available in several different languages, including Chinese, which gives you an even greater reach when targeting customers and gets you in to the very closed Chinese market. Some of the biggest names on the Internet, like the Huffington Post, are now using these apps for online conversions. Depending on your geo there are a number of account choices like, Subscription accounts, Service accounts and Enterprise accounts: Offering messaging and business tools. Interactions happen in real-time, which means a live interaction with clients and better quality of service. Also, a great opportunity to handle any objections, funnel sales and increase conversion rates.
( 3 ) Facebook Messenger
The de facto choice of most marketers nowadays, Facebook Messenger is a tool that’s used by almost 900 million users. More than 72% of the adult user base is now on Facebook, thus allowing you to tap into an extensive market. More than 50 million companies are currently using Facebook to market their products online. Because the platform is available to everyone, and is checked so frequently by customers, it’s easy to see why Facebook Messenger is such an excellent choice for marketing. You can gain a stronger understanding of your clients, demographics and interests which can help influence what you try selling them and how you offer it to them. It’s a great way to personalize sales and create user retention. If you have a Facebook page (as any modern online business should), you should ensure that you respond to your customers’ queries via Facebook as quickly as you can. Having a slow response rate to clients can cost you extra business.
( 4 ) Web Chat
Apart from the three channels listed above, you shouldn’t forget the regular channels of communication that are universally used by all types of businesses. The first, of course, is the Web chat facility. The Web chat facility allows online customers to get in touch with a representative right away. When a customer is on your website, offering a Web chat option makes it easy for them to quickly have their queries answered, with no hold times, so that they can decide whether to purchase your products or services. According to a Forrester study, “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer”. Well, how can you argue with that? Features like metrics tracking, and transcript recording and storing can help you stay on track and you can kick off where you last left off with customers.
( 5 ) Emails and SMS
While these may be pretty mainstream options, it would be foolish to ignore the importance of e-mail and SMS communication. E-mail is still one of the most commonly used channels of communication amongst users nowadays. It allows people to communicate directly with each other without having to worry about advertisements and so on. More importantly, since the rise of the smartphone, SMS communication has also become very important. 80% of professionals currently use text for business purposes. (RingCentral). 64% of consumers are likely to have a positive perception of companies that offer communication via text. (Harris). If you want to stand any chance of succeeding in this competitive landscape, you will have to utilize these communication channels to their fullest, in order to get maximum online customers.
So… Which one is best? How should you choose?
The correct answer is – you don’t. You need to have as many communication channels on your website as possible. Let your online customers choose the one they prefer. Don’t miss out a sales opportunity just because your customer wasn’t using (or wasn’t familiar with) a specific app/channel. You should install all these communication apps on your website (and probably several more). A better option, is to install only one app which integrates on it all these great communication apps. An all in one. It will save your team a lot of time and effort, plus you won’t risk your website speed load times (having all those apps installed might cause that). There are several ones out there, one of them is Bontact (we think it’s the best of course). Bontact – A one stop shop that allows you to seamlessly add multiple communication channels like FB messenger, WeChat, Telegram, Line, Viber, Voice, SMS, the “regular” web chat and more, with no need to connect directly with service providers.
The bottom line…
So, I am sure you are familiar with most of the channels we have been talking about. Perhaps you have even used a few of them simultaneously. But using these communication channels in your online business is a whole other ballgame. So, those who take the extra steps to have an innovative approach, add channels that are beyond the norms and get ahead, will pave the way, and set new industry standards. They will have tremendous benefits over competition. Of course, increased ROI is one of them. Thankfully there is no need to stress yourself trying to implement these channels, as there are multi-channel communication platforms like ours, that take care of everything for you.
Good luck with boosting your sales!
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