In this two-part series, we’re looking at the trends to be expected for customer communication in 2022. How will businesses most effectively reach their customers? In Part One of our series, we reviewed the trends of 2021, and then we looked at the following five customer communication channels, which will be key in 2022:
Our conclusion, however, was that the ability of a business to reach its customers effectively hinges not on which channel to use, but rather on the plurality of channels to be used. The most effective way for businesses to reach their customers—and find new ones—is through the omnichannel experience. It’s only through an omnichannel solution that your business can direct the right messaging at the right time to the right customers.
In this article, we’re going to explore how to get started in implementing an omnichannel solution. There are many services out there that can help you reach your customers through an omnichannel solution, including Mitel, Reve, and Twilio, just to name a few.
For our example, we’ll use Moments, from Infobip. This is a great solution to use for examples because it allows you to leverage all of these channels with low-code or no-code solutions. Let's walk through how it works.
For this walkthrough, we’ll assume that you’re already logged in to the Infobip Portal. The first thing we’ll do is create a Person, on whom we’ll use a communication flow (which we’ll create shortly). In the navigation on the left-hand side of the UI, click the “People” icon shown with the arrow in the image below:
Now that you’re in the People section, you’ll want to create a new person profile using the button shown below.
If you’re following along and testing this out yourself, I recommend using your real phone number and email so you can understand the experience as the customer.
After filling out the information, click “Create Person” to be redirected to that person entry. Let’s validate the info by going to the “Contact Information” section. Click the “Verify Number” link to send a one-time text to the number you entered; this will allow you to receive text messages from Moments.
With our Person (representing our customer) created, we can now create a flow that will handle the communication paths with our customer. Click the Moments icon in the navigation menu.
On the right-hand side, there will be a “Create Flow” button that will take us to the list of default flows:
We will select the “Reminder” flow which will leverage the SMS send and receive capabilities of Moments.
When you click “Use”, you’ll be taken to a flowchart-style UI. The flow will remain mostly the same, but we will add one step to send an email if no response is received via text when using this flow. Near the center of the flow you will see the evaluate SMS block with conditions listed underneath:
By default, the “If no response in 1 day” condition results in exiting the communication flow. However, maybe our customer just missed the text and needs an extra reminder.
First, delete the “Exit flow” block connected to the “If no response” condition.
After deleting the exit block, you will be able to add an element by clicking the arrow next to the “If no response” condition and selecting “Send Email”.
The form for sending email has several options, allowing you to define who the sender is, use custom email templates, and even schedule when the email should be sent. For the sake of brevity, we will leave these details up to you to fill in. For now, though, you have the foundation to create a person and a flow as well as the ability to modify the flow to meet your needs!
Next, let’s look at broadcast functionality in Moments, used for sending a message to a large audience. Navigate back to the main Moments section on the Infobip platform, and click the “Create Broadcast” button.
In this case, we just have one Person to send a message to, but you can select multiple Person entries to send an SMS to several people at once. Fill out the necessary details and then click “Continue to Preview”.
The preview of a broadcast provides a realistic example of how your SMS will look to your customer, along with a breakdown of the cost, the number of recipients, and the options you have defined.
The final step in the broadcast process is to click “Launch”. Again, because we only have one recipient defined, the completion of the broadcast happens quite quickly. If you entered a valid phone number when creating the Person entry, then you will receive an SMS message!
Infobip actively manages message sending when processing large broadcasts so that your messages do not get flagged as spam. This could result in a bit of extra processing time for a broadcast, but it ensures that your customers receive all of your messages.
Now that our broadcast is complete, we can check out the Person Insights view to see that John Doe was included in our broadcast. Navigate to the People section and click on “John Doe”. You’ll see the broadcast under the activity feed!
The activity feed will ensure that you have full visibility of all communications on a customer-by-customer basis.
If you ask the question What's next for 2022?, the answer can best be summed up in one word—growth. Customer expectations will continue to grow. The driving forces behind customer communication in 2022 will be ease, the number of options, and efficacy. The number of communication channels will continue to grow. There will be more mobile options, more online options, and more diversity as the demographics continue to evolve. Finally, the criticality of customer-centric communication will grow.
In 2022, your business will need to invest in an omnichannel communication platform to meet customers’ needs and to ensure a customized and valuable experience. Customer acquisition and retention are paramount, so using a platform that makes omnichannel communications simple—like Infobip Moments—will ensure all of your customers feel heard and cared for.