With ongoing economic uncertainty, the need to focus on your customers is urgent. Research shows that the businesses that have successfully weathered recent storms have their eye firmly on customer health, retention and upselling.
Conversations are the single best way to gain accurate and unique insights into your customers. They let you gather the highest quality data, provide maximum value, and transform your customers into raving fans.
But engaging with customers can be time-consuming and expensive. Creating a scalable approach to dynamic conversations takes great content, the right tools, and a solid data pipeline. In this guide, we’ll break down:
Why conversations are the key to unlocking more revenue in 2023
How to have great conversations with your customers
The best ways to harness conversational insights to grow your business
Why you need to converse with your customers
A thorough knowledge of your customers is more important than ever in these hyperconnected times. While companies that provide a poor experience will send their customers flocking to social channels to complain loudly and publicly, those that demonstrate a keen understanding of their customers will see sales soaring:
86% of buyers will pay more for a great customer experience
70% of customers say they will purchase exclusively from brands that understand them
66% of customers expect brands to know their unique preferences and expectations
Despite this, so many businesses are failing to converse with their customers. More than two-thirds of the consumers surveyed by Salesforce say they feel seen as a number, rather than a person. Over 60% feel that companies show no empathy at all.
In a market that demands a thoughtful conversation, most brands are monologuing.
The best conversations, as William Hazlitt references in his quote, are a two-way street of hearing as well as being heard. Likewise in marketing, conversations with customers must be treated like a dialogue. When they are, the results are transformative; deeper understanding of your ICP, finely tuned personalization, and marketing tactics that drive sales and ROI.
Here are just a few of the benefits of using conversational tools to dialogue with your target market:
1. Conversations bring in the highest quality data
With cookies and other forms of third-party data on their way out, it’s becoming harder than ever to track your target market online. The approaches that digital marketers use to target, personalize, and optimize campaigns to acquire and convert leads are becoming increasingly less effective.
The solution to this new challenge is to build a solid pipeline of zero-party data. Zero-party is the data that your customers and leads provide voluntarily. While it can be harder to get than passively-sourced third-party data, zero-party data is:
More accurate, because it comes straight from the horse’s mouth
More informative, because customers may tell you things you didn’t even think of asking
More transparent, because customers know that they are providing the information Customer conversations give you richer customer profiles
In sum, with a cookieless future on the horizon, building marketing strategies that use zero-party data is a smart idea.
2. Customer conversations give you richer customer profiles
Right now much of our data is gathered through third party data. Cookies assume that your browsing behavior is who you are as a person. The result is that many B2B and B2C personas may not be entirely accurate:
On the other hand, entering into a dialogue with your customers lets you gain more granular insights into their personas, preferences and pain points. As a result, you can create customer journeys that truly resonate with buyers and build brand trust.
Calm: Using conversations to create a more customer-centric app
Here’s a great example of using conversations to create a better customer journey:
Calm is a mindfulness app, so they knew they needed to find ways to interact with their customers without being irritating or grating. After all, people find their way to Calm specifically to avoid that kind of stress!
Now, when you land on the Calm homepage, you’ll find this:
Instead of telling people what to do, Calm’s conversational poll invites them to reflect on their own needs. The conversation focuses on the person visiting the website, not on Calm’s business or products.
Calm also uses conversational polls and surveys within the app itself, to uncover user needs or verify product decisions. “We need to know that we’re building the right things for real problems and just keeping a pulse on what has changed,” reports Chase Clark, Senior UX Researcher at Calm. With such a close eye on what its customers really want, it’s small wonder that Calm currently reigns as the top sleep app in the world, with over 100 million downloads and 1.5M+ 5-star reviews.
3. Conversations help you engage, convert and score more leads
As we saw in the Calm example, conversations aren’t just for customers. Swapping out a standard newsletter pop-up for a conversational quiz won’t just draw in more leads. It will also start to build a relationship between you and your leads, while also helping you gather insights into their behaviors and interests.
After all, which would you rather complete? A standard email sign up form? Or this quiz by Beardbrand, which features questions like:
In addition, you can use the same quiz to qualify and segment your leads. As a result, your leads get a more personalized and enjoyable experience, while your sales and marketing teams get more insights and more qualified leads.
Agexa: Using conversations for a better close rate
Agexa is an integrated digital marketing agency that uses conversational marketing techniques extensively in the top-of-funnel customer engagement content they create for their clients. For instance, they created a quick poll for their client Credit Stacking, which included a question asking leads for their credit score.
As Credit Stacking already knew that only leads with a credit score over 650 were likely to convert, their new conversational poll let them easily score their leads and direct them into the appropriate customer pathway.
Sam Queen, a Publishing Partner for Agexa, told us that this new engagement tool helped Credit Stacking increase their close percentage from 10% to 18% “pretty much overnight.”
4. Conversations help strengthen your brand
Building beautiful, conversational interactions with customers powerfully reinforces your brand. After all, you’re going to need to gather data from leads and customers at some point—why not make it a positive, fun and helpful experience?
For instance, our research shows that 96% of companies that use conversational forms report that they help strengthen their branding.
How can I use these conversations at scale to drive revenue?
Of course, in an ideal world, every marketer would have the time to sit down with each and every lead and get to know them as people. Just imagine those conversion rates! Sadly, we know that’s simply not practical. Busy marketing teams need a far more scalable way to converse with customers and capture that high-quality buyer data.
Here’s how to have better conversations with your customers and leads:
Use intelligent conversational forms that mimic a real conversation
Short of actually conversing with every potential customer, the most effective way to engage your customers in dialogue is with a dynamic, well-written, and well-designed form. If you want your forms to genuinely feel like two people talking, you’ll need features like:
Logic and branching
If you want a form or survey to sound conversational, you need to be able to guide users down different pathways depending on their answers. In other words, you need a form that allows for logic jumps.
For instance, here’s a multiple choice question:
If someone picks The New Yorker, you want to make sure they only see questions relating to that. But if they pick The New Yorker and Time, they should see questions relating to both. This makes things feel much more like two people talking. And of course, it also allows you to segment leads and customers and show them more relevant content.
Recalling previous answers
Nothing is more likely to put people off completing a form than forcing them to repeat themselves. If you want your forms to sound conversational, you need to be sure that they “remember” what the user said before.
Typeform’s recall feature, for instance, allows you to pull answers from previous typeform questions into other questions that you ask later on.
Answer recalls also allow you to use everyone’s favorite word: their name. Nothing makes a form feel more like a chat than using the person’s name.