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Brands

Chatbots and VR to take over brand interactions by 2020…

Research by Oracle suggests the relationship between customers and brands is set to undergo a “technological revolution” which will cause the number of human-to-human interactions to fall.

A total of 800 senior marketing and sales professionals across EMEA were polled for the ‘Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality?’ report and found 78 per cent of brands expect to provide customer experiences through virtual reality in the next four years. Meanwhile, 80 per cent expect to serve customers through chatbots. 

Despite brands willing to embrace new technologies for the customer journey, many are struggling to make use of the valuable customer and prospect data, with 60 per cent not currently including social or CRM data in their customer analytics.

42 per cent already collect a great deal of data from multiple sources, but are unable to extract customer insights from it; and 41 per cent agree smarter analysis of customer data will have the biggest impact on the experience they deliver to their customers.

Daryn Mason, senior director, CX Applications at Oracle said: “While virtual reality may be seen as a passing craze by some, the commitment of some of the world’s biggest companies to develop VR products for consumers suggests otherwise.  Brands will always look to experiment with new technologies as they try to find ways of delivering innovative and memorable experiences for their customers.

“Brands are at a crossroads. There’s an early-mover advantage to experimenting and launching innovative services while others wait and see, but they need to walk before they can run.”

The report indicates brands are looking to implement innovative technologies that allow their customers to continue interacting with brands on their own terms. 80 per cent of brands will be using chatbots for customer interactions by 2020; 78 per cent of brands expect to be using VR for CX by the same year; and 48 per cent have implemented automation technologies in sales, marketing and customer service.

Mason adds: “The reality is that many brands are still unable to get a complete view of each individual customer so the immediate priority needs to be to organise and get value from the data they already have.  Customers will value a quick, helpful, personalised interaction regardless of how it’s delivered so there’s hope for us humans yet.”

Access the full report here

Hootsuite highlights social media significance across the customer journey…

Companies that are not investing in their social media strategies may risk losing touch with their customers and being outdone by competitors, a new Hootsuite survey has discovered.

Surveying 2,048 adults in the US and 1,029 adults in the UK, 48 per cent of Americans have interacted with companies or institutions on at least one of their social media accounts, and 41 per cent say it is important for companies they engage with to have a strong social media presence.

In regards to UK consumers, 40 per cent of agree it is either ‘somewhat’ or ‘very important’ for a company to have a significant social media presence, and more than one in three (34 per cent) would rather engage with a brand or company on social media than visit a physical location. 

Penny Wilson, chief marketing officer at Hootsuite, said: “This research underscores the pervasiveness of social media and the massive opportunities available for organisations that use social to engage with their customers. 

“Today, social plays a key role in determining and influencing customers’ attitudes, motivations and behaviours. Now, more than ever, there’s an opportunity to tap into social and connect with customers when, where and how they want, helping to maximise sales.”

US and UK respondents also find customer service via social media has made it easier to get questions and concerns resolved, with 59 per cent in the US and 56 per cent in the UK, respectively.

Read Hootsuite’s 8 Social Media Tips for the Retail Industry here 

Industry Spotlight, Apple iOS 10: What do brands need to know?

Product marketing manager for Urban Airship Engage, Diana Laboy-Rush looks at the implications for brands following Apple’s recent iOS 10 release , with its support for Rich Notifications, where images, video, audio, GIFs and interactive buttons are embedded directly within push notifications.

For businesses, iOS 10 brings massive changes to Apple’s operating system that place better and richer app engagement front-and-centre. If past adoption rates hold steady, it won’t be long before all of your iPhone app users gain richer experiences that offer deeper insight into what they care about. Here are some key points that businesses should be aware of…

 

Reap before you sow with key improvements

iOS 10 solves existing barriers that will make current engagement efforts more effective. A Raise to Wake feature means TouchID users won’t blow past lockscreen notifications when unlocking their phones. Notifications are immediately visible as users pick up their phones. Notifications also become the default view for the Notification Center, a chronologically-ordered archive that makes messages easier to find later.

 

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then a GIF or video could be worth more

Rich Notifications can include images, GIFs, audio, video and interactive buttons embedded directly within push notifications. Grab the attention of your audience with notifications that inspire action. Recent Android data analysis found a 56 per cent higher response rate to notifications with pictures versus those without.

 

Better visibility for richer, actionable notification experiences

With iOS 10, users get visual and written cues that there’s a richer notification experience awaiting them. Lockscreen notifications arrive with rich media thumbnails and an instruction to either “Press for more” or “Slide for more” depending on whether Force Touch is available on the device.

That’s in stark contrast to previous Apple operating systems, which had businesses building these instructions into notification text to help ensure interactive buttons were discovered.

 

Mind your media, or risk ruin with too much of a good thing

Apple provides maximum file sizes for images, audio and video that would be best to undercut dramatically. Rich media will impact consumers’ data plans, ranging from barely noticeable with judicious use of images, to potential reasons to delete an app for sending files that are too large or too frequent. These files will impact your bandwidth costs too. Think about opt-in campaigns where users can get a taste and choose to receive these richer, more immersive and data-heavy experiences.

 

Don’t be a blockhead with Rich Notifications

With brands running to emojis for a quick if quirky engagement hit, it would be easy but wrong to approach Rich Notifications in the same manner. When rich media is tailored to specific users’ interests it adds immersive depth not interpretive color to messaging campaigns.

Remember also that not all users will immediately upgrade to iOS 10, so messaging should be made to work without reference to embedded rich media or sent specifically to the segment of your users that have adopted iOS 10. Some solutions will allow you to provide alternative text if the rich media successfully downloads.”