Want To Recover 81% Of Lost Sales Opportunities? We Know How.

There is a giant misconception about calls and customer service. As millennial expectations seep into the commerce environment, more and more brands are relinquishing voice data in favour of clicks, shares, and views.

In fact, “61% of mobile searchers state that click to call is most important in the purchase phase of the shopping process,” states a study by Google. Customers want to talk on the phone.

With this awareness, giants like Facebook are utilising call data more with click-to-call ads on their platforms to push offline sales.
But we know what you’re thinking; what if those calls are missed? Isn’t it more comfortable to rely solely on channels like email which are automated to answer customers?

Nope. New technology has been developed to ensure that missing a call never happens again and allows businesses to lean a bit more on the value of an old friend, the telephone.

Abandonment recovery (AR)

Any customer-facing enterprise knows that communication is vital – especially in a world where most of society is firmly attached to mobile phones – missing a call is akin to losing a chunk of potential revenue. According to Freespee data, 40% of customers abandon during the first 60 seconds of a call. Worse yet, if they aren’t called back within three to four weeks, a potential buyer will never use the service again. That should never happen, particularly in the automotive sphere where margins are high and time is limited. This is where a tool like abandonment recovery comes in.

The benefits of abandonment recovery

Probably the best part of abandonment recovery solutions is the opportunity to recover every lost sales opportunity. Freespee customers have at times seen 81% recovery rates from abandonment messaging.

Integrating this sort of data into the rest of your sales and marketing stack offers pretty cool opportunities too – a Qubit study found that implementing abandonment recovery into a businesses CRM stack creates a 1.1% uplift in RPV (revenue per visitor).

Another positive of AR is the more holistic approach it brings to the brand/vendor/buyer relationship. For example, say an automotive brand isn’t sure of how customers (i.e. leads) are being managed when they leave the website and call the dealerships. A vast majority of a car salesman’s time is spent on the floor interacting with walk-ins, leaving call opportunities vulnerable. Abandonment recovery can ensure that any calls coming in during the dealership’s peak times are not ignored but that the customer is given an opportunity to reschedule the call at another time. With this process, the customer’s expectations of the brand and the dealership are managed and their experience is not broken. Both the vendor and brand can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that a vital buyer connection isn’t lost.

Freespee’s ACR – how does it work?

Obviously, we’re huge fans of abandonment recovery as we see its benefits amongst so many of our customers. That’s why we’re super happy to announce the latest update to the AR workflow.

From today, Freespee’s Abandonment Recovery workflow allows our client’s customers to reschedule time and date for a callback in the event that a call was missed or abandoned.

This puts to pasture legacy IVR systems which leave callers languishing in long call queues until finally they are connected to an agent who has little idea of how they got there or what they want to discuss.

You basically want to manage that calling customer’s experience – to allow them the opportunity to reschedule at a time that suits them. With this workflow, you are able to send callers an SMS post-abandonment (or missed call) to apologise for missing the call and requesting they set up a time to be called back.

The SMS is totally customisable and contains a link to a landing page where they can select a date and time for the callback or unsubscribe from the SMS service.

Most exciting, however, is what happens when the time of the call comes. Freespee are able to automatically connect the caller and your agent at the time of the call! This means you are able to continue tracking the outcome of the call and any subsequent conversion.

In conclusion, voice is the future of customer interactions and building a system to ensure every call is valued and coveted should be a priority for any digital business. We’ll leave with a classic film quote we wholeheartedly believe applies here, “nobody puts phone calls in a corner.”
Via: Google Think, Qubit, Freespee

To find out more about our Abandonment Recovery workflow, please speak to your Customer Success Manager or email us.

What We Learned About Feedback From Online Marketplaces

Not everyone loves feedback, especially the negative kind. Online marketplaces love it all. Feedback, both good and bad supports reputation, and without a good rep, there is little trust from the buyer and seller base – which is a marketplace’s bread and butter.

Since eBay began in the mid-nineties, they were arguably the pioneers of the online review system. Now, “61% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase decision,” claims Econsultancy. eBay Founder Pierre Omidyar introduced the process within six months of launching the website where he explained the benefits of open communication in a letter to customers.

“Now, we have an open forum. Use it,” Omidyar wrote in February 1996. “Make your complaints in the open. Better yet, give your praise in the open. Let everyone know what a joy it was to deal with someone.”

eBay soon achieved a reputation for candid feedback. However, the introduction of these feedback systems in online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay also highlighted the flexibility of our trust as buyers. It seemed that once we were able to connect and contribute our pleasure or distaste somehow, it was safe to exchange funds with another anonymously.

“How is it that strangers who have never transacted with one another, and who may be thousands of miles apart, are willing to trust each other? Any transaction requires some level of trust between the buyer and seller, usually in the shadow of some institutional support like the law or other enforcement mechanisms,” writes Steven Tadelis in a paper titled “Reputation and Feedback Systems in Online Platform Markets” from UC Berkeley Haas School of Business.

Pierre Omidyar and eBay’s reputation mechanism arguably caused a shift in how buyers interacted online then and today. The company did it by cleverly utilising an online buyer’s newfound willingness to trust, by creating an environment of transparency using age-old commerce methods like the two-sided market; which is the core business model of most online marketplaces today.

These days feedback goes beyond the online marketplace and is prevalent in most consumer-based businesses. It has evolved from a single channel to multiple forms, including SMS which has become a leading source of survey, making it even easier to gather relevant data for customer management.

We can learn a lot about feedback from eCommerce and its ability to automate a kind of moderation within the heavy customer traffic produced in online marketplaces. Here are few facts that taught us a thing or two.

There are two types of feedback

One-sided and two-sided. One sided is mostly derived from one party, such as the buyer reviews on Amazon, while Air BnB uses two-sided where both tenant and owner can leave reviews on their experience.  In the early days of this process, eBay introduced this idea of both buyers and sellers leaving commentary freely, but after 2008 their direction changed. Now, two-sided feedback is relegated to service-based forums like Airbnb and Uber, where both parties rely on each other. One-sided procedures put the onus the marketplace to oversee operations, viewing the product as the buyer and the seller as the client. eBay even initiated a protective scheme for their sellers/clients by introducing PowerSellers, “Buyers must wait at least seven days before leaving a negative or neutral Feedback for a PowerSeller who has been registered on eBay for at least 12 months,” states their website. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, at the end of the day, it’s about what’s healthiest for that particular forum.

It doesn’t affect the bottom line but something more important.

Surprisingly, feedback in online marketplaces does not affect revenue directly, “a one-point increase in reputation corresponds to a 4 cents increase in final price,” writes Tadelis. The one metric that is in fact undermined by a weak feedback system is buyer and seller trust. Trust is the backbone of any B2C e-commerce platform, and it can be difficult to attain, “Since there is no physical interaction with our customers, we rarely get to share traditional dialogue, build a personal rapport or shake their hand. Therefore, in case of marketplaces and e-commerce, on the whole, trust must be perceived and interpreted by the customer,” says WC Marketplace.

So does trust really increase revenue? Yes, it’s the motivation to turn a user into a customer and influence KPIs like growth rate which controls transactions between buyers and sellers. With growth comes higher liquidity, and that is the ultimate goal of all online marketplaces. Most of the time it starts with giving customers the opportunity to participate in the social environment created by e-commerce, feedback may be the most important tool they have in their belt.

There is an entire economic principle behind it.

The economics of reputation is legitimate and was touched on by “Luis M B Cabral, Professor of Economics at New York University, in his study, “The Economics of Trust and Reputation.” Cabral’s theory explores the benefits of investing in reputation, claiming that the better a brand’s reputation, the less they have to invest in building it. “According to Cabral, therefore, high trust and reputation can together help companies earn higher profits. Not only can a company increase the price of its products and services, but it can also decrease its expenses (the amount of money invested in reputation management),” writes Clear Logic.

The future of feedback

Feedback’s future looks more SMS based, a response to the growing impatience of tech-dexterous customers. Following up service with an SMS feedback survey is more rapid and proven to increase customer click-through rate, “The average open rate of a text message sits at about 99%, while email ranges from 28-33%. Next, to this, the click-through rates are vastly different. Include a link in your text message, and you will observe a CTR of about 36%. For email marketing, the CTR usually sits between 6-7%,” according to Business 2 Community.

Feedback aggregation is also on the table for upcoming developments, such as meta-platforms, which establish a culminative reputation score for a customer based on their interactions across e-commerce. There are companies out there currently attempting this idea by creating platforms to moderate reviews, so the marketplace doesn’t have to.

The art of reviewing has been around a long time; now the digital space has made it even easier to interact with each other, communication is only going to get more comfortable. As Tadelis notes, “It is apparent that the design of feedback and reputation systems will continue to play an important role in the broader area of market design as it applies to online marketplaces.”
Via: Econsultancy, Steven Tadelis, Business 2 Community, Clear Logic, WC Marketplace. 

A Conversation With Carl Holmquist, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer

carl holmquist

You’ve already made a considerable impact on how brands engage with their customers, what’s next for Freespee?

CH: We’re at a stage of international growth at Freespee – which can expose the team to significant challenges. That being said, the addition of scale-up experts like Anne de Kerckhove and Dominic Ely to the executive team – is a step towards contributing positive change to the multi-billion heavy communication tech stack.

Personally, I’m now able to do what I love and focus on the product more, especially regarding solutions to our customer’s problems two to three years in the future. Conversational user interfaces, like messaging apps, are growing quicker than social media interfaces. The impact is already considerable in private communication (friends and family) but has hardly started in B2C communication threads.

In 2017 we began to see some early trials on new ways to interact with businesses. Facebook wants their users to communicate with their bank through Messenger; Amazon took the chance to introduce voice-controlled shopping through Alexa for basic in-app purchases. Eventually, it means that the big three – Facebook, Amazon, and Google are investing in a future where consumers use their voice more frequently to interact with both machines and humans. This process is referred to as “conversational commerce.”

I believe Freespee is ahead of the curve, and we will accelerate our investments with the goal of embedding AI and machine learning into B2C communication.

How do you see the problem of connecting with customers, as compared to when you began Freespee?

CH: When we started Freespee, the first use case on our open communication platform that gained traction was our call analytics application. The perception in the market at the time was that consumers don’t want to talk to brands anymore, but that has changed with data-driven marketing. With the visibility that data tools introduced to marketers, they realised that digital consumers are more communication-intensive than in-store shoppers. The internet isn’t a tactile forum, so the number of questions you have before deciding to purchase is even higher than for in-store shopping.

But we’ve also got this paradox where, as consumers, we’re becoming less loyal to brands; the internet is influencing and enlightening us. A decade ago, my influencer was a friend, a family member. Now, influencers are more prolific. With less loyalty, the expectations from consumers increase. We’re never more than a click away from buying from someone else.

We need to help brands respond to that behavioural change by offering communication experiences that match the expectations of consumers tomorrow, not yesterday.

What is the most important lesson you learned through the years bringing Freespee to life?

CH: I think the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is that success comes from focus and obsession. If you’re obsessed with customer satisfaction and building a great product that solves their problem, you will develop a great company. If you have an obsession with your core offering, and you build a team with the same passion, then you can endure pretty much anything the world throws at you.

Which Freespee breakthroughs are you most proud of?

CH: I’m most proud of our amazing team. Our offices have grown throughout Europe: London, Paris, Dusseldorf, Barcelona, and Uppsala. It’s this team that global brands choose to trust. Our customer roster is unbelievable, for being a 70-people collective.

What do you think the future of customer communication looks like?

CH: I think the future is going to be increasingly consumer-centric, rather than brand-centric. It’s up to the consumer to decide how they want to speak to the brand; if I want to chat, talk or message. Brands are increasingly going to suffer if they are not available in the channel that the customer wants to speak in. You hear all the time that consumer expectations have changed and it’s no different in the communication space.

The enterprise communication software needs to be built like a consumer product – there’s two in the conversation, the consumer and the brand. Legacy contact centre platforms are built for the brand, not the consumer. This will change, and it will be a wake-up call for the tech industry.