Special Contribution by Aaron Christopher (A.C.) Evans, CEO, Drips.com
It’s the daunting task of modern digital companies to stay relevant to their customers and target audience through the channels used most frequently that this audience prefers. In this tech-driven world, the smart, competitive companies listen to what consumers are using and also what they no longer want, and adapt accordingly. In the past few years, conversations have moved farther away from the telephone as consumers gravitate more towards email, text messaging, and AI bots to have their conversations here instead.
What’s the biggest issue with the phone call? It’s intrusive.
A massive pain point for businesses is no one wants to talk on the phone anymore. The DNC (Do Not Call list) is more prevalent than ever. Telemarketers call during inconvenient hours (like dinner time, during the workday or while you’re driving), contributing to this stigma and causing the formation of new formidable laws.
One of the largest shifts in a company’s marketing strategy of the 21st century is the way they market at and communicate with millennials. It’s no secret that millennials have moved away from phone calls almost entirely, and have made their communication preferences known. In doing so, businesses must adapt to this demand or risk losing that massive consumer base.
As millennials gravitate away from making and answering phone calls, other focus groups are following suit.
Enter conversational marketing.
In the customer-focused world we live in now, interrupting people’s lives is no longer the way to get the sale. When someone inquires on a website, a landing page, or sends a tweet, it’s done on their time. The follow up should done be in similar fashion. We live in an on-demand 24/7, 365 economy.
This on-demand world has caused consumers to demand respect of their time. Want to talk to them on your time? Too bad. Businesses must adapt and connect with people on their terms, not vice versa. Every lead is a person, and every person has their own preferred method and manner of contact. Humanizing your lead process is the key to conversational marketing. Tuning into each person’s preferences will build rapport very early on in the sales process, and in turn, get the outcome you want, but in the method and at the time that the person wants.
Maybe someone fills out a form on your website after hours… Easy enough. Regardless of the time of day, there should still be an automated email going out, thanking them for inquiring and asking for a convenient time to call or email to follow-up and get more information from them. This way, they get to choose the time and method of contact. It’s all completely in their hands. If you want to go a step further (as I do), you should have systems in place (like Drips), that can instantly SMS the user that came in after hours with a personalized text. “Hey Bob, sorry you caught me after hours. I’m back in the office tomorrow at 9am, can I call you then?”
Sending a follow-up text or email allowing them to choose a time for you to reach out, whether it’s tomorrow or a week from now. That’s effective conversational marketing, and it’s happening now.
Conversational marketing is just one example of the ways that businesses are phasing out phone calls from their marketing and sales strategy to connect with their audience. Here are a few others:
How Smart Companies Are Adapting
Integrate live chat on their website so customers can chat rather than call for Support
Offer customer support through social media channels like Twitter for instant communication
Chatbots for a seamless mobile app experience
Offer a ticketing system hosted via email so customers can check the status of their tickets through email
Integrate with a communications API for text and email functionality to communicate with customers in ways other than just a phone call