What do customers want from the brands they interact with?
Our recent report on “The State of Social Conversational Commerce: 2023” found that amongst the over 1700 consumers in the EU and the US we surveyed, messaging is the way they prefer to communicate with brands. Overall, they’ve come away with positive experiences having one-to-one automated conversations with brands on the messaging and social apps they use every day.
But since conversations go both ways, consumers who enjoy messaging have a few suggestions for how brands can better leverage those interactions to provide even more positive experiences.
Top Three Ways Consumers Want Brands to Use Messaging
Our respondents are clear: the majority prefer messaging with brands (60% of EU respondents and 51% of US respondents). They enjoy messaging with brands because it’s fast and convenient for them. It allows them to get answers to questions they have about products and services. Automated one-to-one conversations can guide them to what they’re looking for, whenever they’re ready to buy, day or night.
But while consumers like the ease and convenience of reaching out to their favorite brands through a message, they also have some thoughts about how brands can reach out to them, too.
According to our respondents, they want brands to use one-to-one messaging to serve up personalized offers and coupons to them (47% for EU, 43% for US). Messaging is inherently personal — think about the back-and-forth conversations we all have with our friends and family every day. Once that conversation is started, consumers want brands to use that channel to offer them a personalized experience.
Customers want personalization — but for marketers today, the ways they gather information about their customers is being restricted by privacy regulations, like GDPR and CCPA, operating system privacy updates like iOS 14, and third party cookie blocking browers. However, when a consumer offers their preferences through a one-to-one conversation, that’s zero- and first-party data that you can use to personalize your offerings. Additionally, we found that 81% of EU respondents and 78% of US respondents said they would be comfortable giving preferences to a brand in a private and safe way, in order to receive a more personalized experience.
Find Products and Services
How else would consumers like brands to use messaging? To help them find products based on their unique preferences or needs (44% for EU, 41% for US). When consumers enter into a private conversation with a brand, they’re looking for answers to their pre-purchase questions. Once they interact, an automated chatbot begins learning their preferences from their interactions, and offers up guided questions and options to ensure that the customer is getting to the products or services that will best fit their needs.
Single Point of Contact
Finally, consumers want brands to use messaging as a single, convenient place they can always come back to (29% for EU, 41% for US). We all have direct conversations with friends and family in messaging and social media apps where we simply pick up where we left off with them. Respondents say they like having that option with brands, too: They go back to that conversation and pick up where they left off if they have questions or need more assistance.
But brands can do the same, and a one-to-one conversation becomes a great retargeting channel where brands can reach out to offer personalized recommendations. What better way to engage with customers and get their attention by showing up as a notification on their lock screen?
Creating More Positive Customer Experiences
Consumers enjoy reaching out to brands, and find a lot of value being invited into a one-to-one conversation to get their questions answered and to find products and services they need. But they believe that brands could do more with the channel, especially when it comes to proactively reaching out to customers with personalized offers and recommendations. In other words, once the conversation is started, customers don’t want it to end.