In this series, we’ve already looked at Google and Apple’s chat innovations, as well as payment services in messaging platforms. But now we turn our attention to web apps and consider just how important they are – as customer service and conversion tools.
With so many user touchpoints at our disposal, it can often be easy to overlook good old fashioned websites as a primary source of customer contact(!).
The fact is, when someone visits your site they are actively looking for something. They are engaging with your content – the same content your marketing and SEO team have worked so hard to make it attractive, compelling, and relevant.
Now is not the time to let prospects get away! You need to deepen their experience and use this opportune moment to educate, inspire, or incentivize your visitors. But how do you do that?
With web-based messaging apps! While other messaging platforms, like Apple Business Chat or Google Chat bring a brand’s customer experience to the digital environments that users frequent, web apps are designed to showcase the brand in its native environment (albeit in an online context). And while they are still very valuable as customer service tools, they also have a bigger responsibility in terms of maximising sales.
Let’s take a closer look.
Need instant additional awareness when visitors to your site are most engaged? Want to draw their attention to a single sign-up message or a ‘today only’ discount code? Then you need in-browser messaging (or in-app messaging when they appear on mobile). They are basically those pop-ups, sliders, and reminders that seem to suddenly appear when you have spent a bit of time on a website. They work too! Studies show that they are 15 times more effective than emails. And unlike email marketing or push notifications, no opt-ins are required with these messages.
The fact that you have already interested parties on your site may mean that a well-timed call to action could be the prompt a visitor needs to become a paying customer. Also, as they pull through any personal information – if your site is account based – you address customers directly and provide them with a personalized message in a native environment.
In-app messages are perfect for guiding visitors: whether you want them to carry out a specific action on your site, or navigate across it in a certain way.
So do they have a downside? Well, they will not bring anyone new to your site. But that is where this next set of web app messages excel…
You have most probably seen these kinds of messages appear on mobile or tablet devices. But they appear on computers too. They are the short, to the point messages that usually appear in the top left of your screen. The best thing about them from a digital marketer’s perspective? Users don’t need to be on your site to get these notifications. As long as they have their browser open, that familiar ‘ping’ can sound at any time.
But there is one snag: users have to opt-in to receive these notifications, and part of the issue is that many don’t. Some brands are bold enough to outright ask users to accept push notifications (using an in-browser message, of course). Others go about it a little more strategically.
But all web apps being equal, push notifications are like calendar reminders for your brand; making them ideal for reaching previous visitors; reminding them of that abandoned purchase as time ticks ever closer to the next event, birthday, or holiday.
Lastly – and this is probably the closest to our own work here at Mesaic – there are web apps that directly converse with website visitors: live on-screen chat functions that encourage a two-way dialogue between brand and customers.
True, using messenger platforms as marketing channels are nothing new. You only have to look at the success of Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and others to see just how effective brand communications have become. But unlike these, and in a similar way to in-browser messaging, on-screen chat can be leveraged at moments of actual engagement; making them ideal for customer enquiries.
As discussed previously, instant messaging is an opportunity to offer round the clock customer service; using a combination of chatbots and human moderation. But, as exemplified by Facebook’s move to push chat traffic to Messenger, it might look as though on-site chat could lose ground to an easier to manage app experience.
So, perhaps the answer is to combine the two? Integrating Facebook Messenger into a website is increasingly common. It means conversations that start on a site have greater longevity; they will also be visible in Messenger, allowing you to pick up the thread a later stage.
Ultimately, each kind of web app messaging service offers a different purpose. And, as with any multichannel marketing strategy, it pays to use them to create a coherent customer journey, and to make sure they work in tandem with all of your other channels.
Here at Mesaic, we offer a Software Development Kit (SDK) which allows you to integrate our on-screen messenger chat into all kinds of web pages. So talk to us if you want your website to start actively communicating with your customers; and offer the same high-quality customer experience across all of your online touchpoints.