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How to plan out your chatbot integration

What to consider when introducing a chatbot to your ecommerce journey, for an omni-channel experience

We live in an age where answers and advice are expected instantly. As technology has advanced over the years, the ability to communicate instantaneously with companies and people across the world has come to the fore. The technology exists, and therefore, people have come to expect the answers they are looking for immediately, with a level of confidence around the accuracy of the response.

From a business standpoint, fulfilling this demand for answers solely with employees can be unworkable, both in terms of costs and logistics. For this reason, automated chatbots are becoming ever-present across the supporting websites of ecommerce and financial service businesses. But what exactly is a chatbot? And how can you integrate one into your ecommerce journey?

Defined as “a computer program that simulates and processes human conversation”, chatbot tools are progressing and evolving into more tailored solutions for niche businesses, tackling potential stumbling blocks in customer journeys that can be increasingly complex. The integration of a chatbot can alleviate conversion issues, if you plan out its execution.


Review Your Journey and Analytics


As with any new site feature, a formidable understanding of your starting point must be established. Scrutinise your online journey via analytics, ask yourself: at what point in the journey are users becoming confused or dropping off? Your analytics platform will unlock the answers. A review of the content and questions that are on the pages where you’re experiencing drop off, in turn provides you with the questions that need to be answered.

By adding a non-intrusive chatbot across your journey, and including query solutions that defuse the users’ confusion, you should see an increase in conversion. Your customer journey will evolve over time, so the support you provide to customers must evolve too. Any time you change anything in the customer journey, it’s vital to go back and review the analytics to identify potential risks.


Customer Feedback


What are your customers telling you? A moderately successful business could be dealing with hundreds or even thousands of customer queries every day. Are you monitoring what they are telling you? There will be trends in the difficulties they are having, or the preferences they express. Voice analytics, anecdotal feedback, or NPS surveys all provide you with clues as to how your customers rate their experience during your online journey.

The information you’ll input into your chatbot in terms of the canned responses will be largely driven by the feedback you’ll receive from existing customers. If your existing customers are having an issue somewhere along the journey, then chances are, a new customer will too. The better informed you are about your customers, the easier it’ll be to populate the responses of the chatbot. With that in mind, it’d be in your best interest to make your customer feedback channels as easy to operate as possible. With as many as 40% of standard customer surveys now being conducted on mobile, something as simple as ensuring your survey or feedback platform is mobile optimised can make all the difference.


How does it fit with your Omni-channel approach?


You know your brand and your business best. There’ll be many moving parts to it. Automated emails, call centre activity, direct marketing, and brand marketing. All these things create a perception of your brand for a prospective customer. Businesses at the forefront of ecommerce tend to adopt an omni-channel approach, so as to seamlessly transition customers through channels while retaining a consistent message and level of satisfaction. According to one study, 90% of customers prefer to use messengers like chatbots for connecting with a business.

This level of understanding on what the customer actually wants, allows you to shape your other communication platforms around this. It may be best for your business to retain traditional methods like phone calls, SMS messages, and push notifications when reaching out to a customer, but with research showing that customers prefer to use messengers when they are reaching out to a business, it’d be in that business’ interest to ensure that option is easily available.

While some employers are concerned about the lack of human touch being detrimental to customer experience, another study showed that most users are indifferent towards a chatbot having a personality, so long as their issue is solved. As popular as the likes of Alexa and Siri are, it’s a stark reminder that solving the user issue in alignment with an omni-channel approach should be the main priority.


And in the future?


Innovation and improvement. Your business will continue to change, your communication tools must follow suit to keep up with the competition. The standard website integrated chatbot for some businesses may be complemented by a WhatsApp or Facebook based chatbot. With these platforms being so universally accessible, it stands to reason that users may feel more comfortable engaging via that channel. Facebook messenger already has over 350,000 chatbots, and big brands like Netflix and KLM utilise a WhatsApp chatbot, so you may find that this becomes the norm in years to come. When it comes to the financial sector, however, a tailored chatbot solution is the best for most businesses, as features can better accommodate the user journey.

At Ibby, we’re integrating chatbots with Open Banking and co-browsing technology, so you can go beyond the basics of chatbot functionality and really maximise results with messaging and Intelligent Automation.

Although not a pre-requisite for use, voice activated search is expected to increase too, with 250 million people estimated to be using smart speakers by 2020. Beyond that, the sky is the limit. Technology converges and the boundaries continue to be pushed. The objective will always be to solve a user issue as swiftly and as comprehensively as possible, while keeping costs for businesses at a manageable rate throughout.


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Mastering the online human touch in the financial sector

How can an online web journey retain an element of human interaction?

Ever since the dawn of the Ecommerce platform almost 30 years ago, financial institutions have sought to perpetually optimise their online journeys. Bounce rates have reduced, UX inertia is being continuously ground down, and more users are being lead through the funnel than ever before. Unquestionably, the process of financial applications has been getting slicker and slicker as the years have gone by, but as these processes become more and more automated, are they inadvertently putting off a key demographic who look for a recognisably human interaction?

Naturally, by streamlining online journeys, an element of human touch has been lost. While a streamlined journey in theory is beneficial for business, the absence of human style interaction features can cause distrust, and can lead to missed sales opportunities as the user doesn’t have adequate purchase support. But is it possible to retain an element of human interaction within an online sales journey?

In short, yes! While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to any customer journey, an audit of key drop off phases in the journey and potentially confusing application points should reveal clear opportunities for human interaction based enhancements. Banks, financial institutions, and credit unions have all historically not been the most forward-thinking when it comes to tech advancements. However, the human interaction these businesses are crying out for can more often than not, be solved by tech advancements.


Humanising the digital journey with conversations


Fintech, as well as automating laborious processes, can allow for a modern human interaction in the financial services and banking industry. In years gone by, when a customer would be looking to choose between a range of financial products, they’d need to come out of the online funnel, and either call up a contact centre, or engage face to face with someone in a branch. Thanks to tools like live chat, the human interaction element can be retained, while the user keeps or even advances their position in the online sales journey.

Live chat functionality allows the user to have a full conversation with a financial services specialist, to eliminate any concerns or misunderstandings they may have. If correctly staffed, a seamless switch between browsing, to chatting, and on to purchasing or applying for a financial product can be achieved.

Research has found that customers value high-quality support over speed when buying online; there is a real desire from the end consumer to have a human interaction, personalised to their query, which live chat can provide. As well as the benefits the technology represents on the sales front; human interactions also reap long term benefits for companies who invest in it.


Human support that comes to life on the screen


Depending on the nature of your product offering and target demographic, other fintech advancements may also be of use in giving the customers the human interaction they are craving as part of their purchasing journey. Either alongside, or in place of a chatbox on a website, Co-browsing has also proven to be a beneficial inclusion to online journeys in the financial sector. While filling out online forms or navigating jargon-laden applications, often real-time human support, walking through the journey with you while you browse can be beneficial. This is exactly what co-browsing software can bring to the table.

If used in the correct scenario, the ability to overcome online journey obstacles together with the user can be invaluable, as it eradicates potential confusion over having to describe the situation. The human interaction brought about by way of this software can provide absolute clarity, which enables trust to develop between the consumer and business. As with any online feature, the proof is very much in the customer feedback. A study by Forrester showed that customer satisfaction for co-browsing interactions was actually higher (78%) than phone help (74%). This is surely in no small part down to the level of convenience brought about by having live personalised support, without having to deviate away from the end goal of completing an application or sale.  


Using chatbots to bridge any resource gap

A fully resourced online support team ready to hop in to assist customers proactively is widely regarded as best practice, however, this is often not possible within the financial confines of modern business. If the nature of your product or financial service leads to highly repetitive customer queries, to which you can provide a clear and concise answer, chat bot software may be useful to bridge the resource gap, while freeing up staff to cope with more complex cases. A well-tailored chat bot would even be capable of triaging customer queries between relevant departments, while weeding out the less complex questions that can be answered with a single line or two of advice, or link to a support article.

If a financial organisation is focusing solely on conversion metrics without looking to gain an understanding of the human interaction element of their offering, they may find themselves underperforming, without having a clear understanding why.

By remembering that any business is created by people, with a view to serving other people, a level of perspective can be realised. By Identifying where people need help and support along your sales journey, a clear scope can be realised for human interaction based fintech software. While each business is different, efficiency will be key across the board.

Find the right balance between a slick journey and intuitive support to continue to unlock the potential of your financial service business.



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Chatbots and open banking: the next step for lenders

Don’t get left behind. Find out why lenders and loan brokers should know about chatbots and open banking.

Financial technology (fintech) is developing at a rapid pace. Customers want quicker, more convenient interactions with lenders. Lenders and loan brokers want technology that will meet those demands and drive business efficiencies.

Businesses that don’t keep up with the latest trends in fintech risk appearing outdated. Most people don’t want to meet their lender in-person anymore. These days, 7 out to 10 people use computers and mobile devices for banking. People want to apply for loans anywhere and at any time. Smart lenders are using this trend to their advantage. Their customers can access their products whenever it’s convenient for them to do so, thanks to fintech.

Advances in messaging software, in particular, have revolutionised customers’ expectations. According to a recent worldwide survey by Statista20% of people want to use chatbots for banking or financial advice. If their bank can’t offer chat automation, there are plenty of others that will. 30% of large financial institutions are investing in artificial intelligence.

Innovators within the financial sector aren’t settling for a simple chatbot. They are looking at how AI can combine with the latest major disruption, open banking, to enhance the customer experience. Find out why chatbots and opening banking is the next step for the lending industry.


Never miss a lead


24/7 access to banking services was the second most important factor for customer retention in a recent study. Lenders that want to remain competitive use chatbots to provide customers with round the clock customer service. Using an AI powered chatbox on their websites also ensures that they never miss a new business lead.

Advances in AI and computer linguistics have helped to boost the adoption of chat automation. Chatbots can mimic human interactions and improve over time through machine learning. This makes them well-suited to carrying out customer service tasks. Large enterprises looking to reduce operating costs are driving industry growth. By 2025, the global chatbot market is set to reach $1.25 billion.

In the lending industry, chatbots are being used to collect new business leads outside of normal working hours. Automated chat templates can collect loan applicants’ names and addresses at any time of the day or night. It doesn’t have to stop there; you can collect as much or as little information as you need. Chat templates can be tailored to your business. Smaller lenders or brokerages can use chatbots to upscale their new business strategy without needing to hire extra staff.

Ibby’s workflow automation tools will save customer contact details to your CMS and set-up tasks and reminders to help your team nurture leads. It will also send out automated emails once a visitor submits a loan application. Why is this important? Timely customer communications can help build trust, satisfaction, and loyalty.


Qualify leads with chatbots and open banking


Traditional lenders cannot afford to be complacent. Competition from digital-first fintech companies is eating into their market share. Fintech companies make up 38% of the personal loan market in the US. Five years ago, digital start-ups only had 5% of the loan market.

Traditional banks and credit unions can learn from fintech companies if they want to thrive in today’s digital era. US banks’ share of the loan market dropped by 20% from 40% in 5 years and credit unions’ share dropped 21% from 31% in the same period. Most fintech companies are at the forefront of emerging technology in the financial sector. They use or develop digital tools that are pushing the boundaries of customer experience. They are finding ways to make applying for a loan faster and more convenient. Customers can access their services whether they are at home or on the go, as long as they have an internet connection.

Traditional lenders that are not willing to change their business model may struggle to compete. Consumers’ appetite for digital-first loan providers may impact even the largest market incumbents.

Many fintech companies recognise what open banking can do for their business model. Individuals can give software permission to access their financial data automatically. The impact this has on streamlining the loan application process and making it more convenient cannot be underestimated.

Individuals don’t have to submit proof of their financial history manually anymore. Now, fintech can fully automate the process. In just a few taps, lenders can run financial checks on behalf of applicants. Loan brokers can immediately see what products a person is likely to be accepted for. Automating this part of the loan process makes it less daunting and time-consuming for individuals. The result? People are less likely to abandon the application process and lenders may see an increase in successful applicants.

Ibby can help businesses to drive efficiency by combining the benefits of open banking with its chat automation tools. Before applicants even reach an advisor, Ibby’s chatbot technology will use open banking to conduct credit checks and assess applicants’ eligibility. Sending your advisors pre-qualified leads only will free up time so they can focus on converting leads into customers.


Get personal with customers


In a recent study, 64% of lenders claimed they are worried about losing customers to emerging technology companies. Competition for customers is fiercer than ever before. Emerging challenger banks are taking market share from traditional lenders, and customers can easily switch providers if they are offered a better deal elsewhere. Financial institutions are turning to fintech to help them hold on to their customers. In the same research, customer experience and technological innovation emerged as being very important for customer retention.

Fintech can make it possible for lenders to offer a personalised service which is essential if they want to improve the customer experience. New technologies make it possible to gather an unprecedented amount of customer data now. Companies that can turn this information into insights will be able to stand out from the competition. 74% of professionals plan to invest in data analytics tools so they can keep track of customer trends.

Loan brokers, in particular, need customer data to provide tailored advice. It isn’t enough to only know top-level facts about your customers anymore. People using a brokerage service want their advisor to understand their circumstances and future needs. If they can’t deliver this, customers may decide to go direct to lenders or try a Robo-advisor.

Before they can analyse customer data, lenders and brokers need to collect it. That’s where chatbots and open banking comes in. When used together, it can create an in-depth picture of individuals’ financial circumstances. This data can be mined to identify trends in customers’ lifestyles and financial needs. It will give lenders and brokers the context they need to understand what customers want and why they want it. With this knowledge, they can provide better product recommendations and create bespoke offers.

Ibby will make it easy to store customer data and act on insights. Its CMS software saves customer interactions with chatbots, making it easy for advisors to access the information when they need it. These insights will be combined with data from all other customer touchpoints to build a full picture of every individual using your service. This can be used to drive your marketing efforts, develop your business offering, or automate personalised messages sent at key times in the customer lifecycle.

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What is Co-browsing and why your business should know about it

New technologies are taking the world of banking and finance by storm. The use of co-browsing software is spreading quickly in the industry; here’s why.

As new applications and software developments keep gaining momentum and reshaping the ways companies in financial services operate, co-browsing is one of the latest technologies that is making an impact and getting noticed.

Agents in banks, insurance and lending firms, loan brokers and firms operating in the wider finances market as well as other industries, are increasingly adopting co-browsing as a means of building engagement and improving the overall customer experience.


What is co-browsing?

Co-browsing is short for collaborative browsing and, as its name suggests, it’s a technology brought to life by SaaS companies to allow representatives to navigate on a webpage at the same time as a visitor or customer online, to assist in different processes and in different stages of the customer journey.

By browsing together, a customer representative can show individuals around a page, and use extra features that usually come with co-browsing, such as dual-cursor and annotations, to make handy notes on the screen and interact with the user on the other side. This provides an online resource for assisting users more proactively, and can therefore be very effective for various procedures.

The functionality can be used alongside other channels to complement communication, such as video call, live chat, messenger, or even a traditional phone call. This way, co-browsing provides an extra layer in customer contact that adds a personal touch and creates a space for building loyalty and engagement.


Why is co-browsing relevant for the financial services market?


Many firms in banking and finances, including businesses in insurance and lending, still operate with lengthy and complicated processes. Even though digitisation has progressively taken businesses to move the process to the online space, the result is often a website that is not optimised for providing the best user experience. Customers applying for loans, credit cards or navigating through bank accounts can find websites to be tedious, and application forms to be confusing or very time-consuming.

Digital banking has innovated significantly especially in the last few years, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement. It’s not uncommon for consumers to get stuck in the middle of an application process online, to get confused about what to enter in a specific field, or to give up along the process because it’s all taking too much of their time. 

Sometimes, all that users need is a simple conversation with an agent, and a question to be answered instantly. In this case, a live chat or instant messaging platform can be just what a business needs to qualify and convert the lead. The problem is that the challenge can be much greater when it comes to complicated websites and forms. Customers may not know how to word their doubts, and agents can struggle to provide an answer that makes sense on the screen. How to tell a customer “click on this button” when there’s 20 other buttons on the page? This is when co-browsing software can be tremendously handy.

Co-browsing is a tool that can help to fill this gap in the online journey. With a simple click, a representative can request the online user to grant access to browse together, and without any need for downloads or installation – the co-browsing session begins. The ‘show and tell’ form of interaction that is enabled through co-browsing creates an ideal flow for users needing assistance online.

Helping potential customers with co-browsing has proven to be more engaging and personalised; it helps businesses to convert leads quicker while contributing to customer success.


What about screen-sharing?


Screen-sharing is an older technology, which understandably gets often confused with co-browsing.

Both tools provide visual forms of engagement to assist in sales and support scenarios. They are also similar in the fact that demonstrations or sessions happen online and in real-time, making them effective resources to solve problems quicker. There are, however, some key differences between the two solutions. The advantages that each technology represents can make one or the other more appropriate depending on your business’ objectives and needs.


Co-browsing vs Screen-share: The differences

  • With Co-browsing, sales or support representatives can interact with the browsers to provide live assistance in an online session, but this is limited to a specific webpage. In Screen-sharing, the agent can access and control the whole screen of the user.
  • Co-browsing can be enabled on specific pages online, which means once this is done, each session doesn’t require further downloads or installation from either party – all that is required is permission from the visitor or customer. Screen-sharing typically does require both the agent and the online user to install the application that enables the session. In this sense, co-browsing helps to save time and minimise malware threats.
  • In terms of security and protection of the end user, co-browsing is a much safer tool to use. The latest co-browsing software tools include features to protect and mask sensitive information on the screen, such as confidential data or credit card numbers, so that users aren’t at risk of giving away this information. Also, as mentioned before, co-browsing sessions are limited to a single webpage; access to other tabs or pages on the browser are restricted, further protecting consumers’ personal data.
  • In screen share, the agent has full control and can take over to solve a problem, with little or no interaction from the end user. Co-browsing, on the other hand, is more designed for demonstration purposes, which means the agent doesn’t require the same level of control over the user’s interface. With features like notes on the screen and dual-cursor, they can simply show the user what to do, pinpoint elements or highlight sections on the screen, in order to get the end user to complete a task.


Where to go from here

For businesses, and especially those operating in the financial services space, visual engagement tools can be highly effective for both sales and support objectives. It can also make a huge difference in enhanced customer experience, helping you to stand out from the competition.

Co-browsing presents a safer alternative to screen-sharing, that can be used for guiding customers along the online journey, to engage with them from the moment contact is made and to prevent drop-off points on their business site – aiding in conversion, quicker sales, and customer success rates.


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How Financial Advisors can improve their customer experience

From the traditionalists, to the new kids on the block, everyone can learn a thing or two from the fintech revolution

Financial advice is anything but a new phenomenon. Steeped in tradition and upheld in academic practice, most people at some point in their life turn to a financial advisor when making a decision on where to place their hard-earned cash.

Such is the level of analysis and detailed interrogation of statistical evidence required to conduct a reasoned piece of financial advice, it’s understandable that the Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) industry has developed a reputation of being somewhat laborious.

However, given the easy access plug and play nature of the digital age, there’s no excuse for any industry not to turn to modern tech to kick their customer service offering up a notch and alleviate any potential pain points in the journey.


Live chat: Reducing friction to enhance the journey


Navigating potential customers through a miasma of intake forms and nuanced question sets can be a major blocker in terms of conversion, so anything that reduces the friction and white noise around this intake process has to be a good thing for those in the IFA industry.

For example, the simple addition of live chat functionality to an IFA website can serve as an invaluable route to boost lead numbers and collate them straight into a CRM tool to be actively pursued.

The impact of chat and instant messaging for improving lead conversion is hard to dispute; recent studies have shown that these online conversational platforms can increase revenue per hour by up to 48%, and increase conversion to sale by as much as 40%.

The logic behind this would be that many potential customers can be over-awed by the number of options they have in front of them in terms of supplier and product. A quick live chat session can eliminate many concerns they have, and help guide them to a point where they become a qualified or valid business lead.

Most users will have a rough idea what service they require, and if you can defuse the one or two concerns they may have, simply and effectively, then the path to conversion becomes much more promising. There’s even the added bonus of being able to lead capture via form fields when your live chat agents are unavailable or offline.


New tech to go the extra mile


If the IFA service offering is a more phased approach, then perhaps co-browsing may be more suitable as a replacement for, or supplement to live chat.

Co-browsing allows a user to share their screen with a customer service or sales agent at a company, with a view to talking the user through a more complicated journey, or series of options. Given the number of variables at play and the obsequious adherence to technical jargon in financial services, it makes perfect sense for any grey areas to be removed by way of co-browsing.

A recent case study by Glance Networks indicated that the introduction of co-browsing directly cut down the time taken to convert a new customer to a sale by 60%. An efficiency gain of this magnitude would be a stellar enhancement to any IFA’s bottom line, and can be achieved via a fairly modest tech spend.

Technical enhancements of this nature defuse potential drop off points throughout a sales journey; depending on the nature of the IFA, or the market they operate in, the deployment of live chat or co-browsing software can be tailored to maximise the potential returns. It may be the case that both tools contribute positively to performance, but proper analysis should be conducted, so as to plan out a bespoke implementation for maximum effect.

While a competitive advantage is gained not solely by a smoother online journey, it’d be foolish to discount the impact it can have if integrated after a proper analysis of key points in the journey. Through close attention to the site’s analytics, the users’ behaviour will show where they are becoming confused, overwhelmed, disinterested, or dropping off the site entirely.

An increased bounce rate in particular on a web journey should serve as enough of a stimulus for any IFA to review the information they are presenting to a user, simplify is where possible, and add a leverage point like live chat or co-browsing to ensure that a higher proportion of their traffic reaches the next stage in the journey.

These types of tool can give an almost immediate return for IFAs, but beyond that, they can serve as the first step in a longer term development strategy. For example, if trends emerge via live chat or co-browsing feedback, this can help shape where an IFA takes their approach. Themes could be anything from pricing, product suitability, or transparency of the terms; all of which could be modified over time to be more enticing for a customer.

There is no one size fits all approach, and the market never stays still, so constant analysis and iterative creation is absolutely necessary. Anything an IFA can do to make life easier for a potential customer lost in the consideration phase of the sales funnel will have a benefit for both parties.

Analyse the setup, spot the opportunities for improvement, and smooth out the rough edges with the help of on-site enhancements.


Boost your customer experience with Ibby


At Ibby, we are combining the latest tech for financial advisors to optimise their customer journey. From chatbots to messaging workflows, open banking features and co-browsing – we can empower your journey to make sure you are equipped to deliver a truly exceptional customer experience.  

Looking for a chat solution tailored to financial advice? Sign up to start your free trial and discover the power of conversational automations for financial advice.

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Top tips to optimise your messaging over the festive period

With December just around the corner, it’s time for businesses to kickstart the festive marketing efforts.

This time of the year always presents a fantastic opportunity for businesses to re-connect with customers, engage and grow their communities, and ultimately increase sales.

Whether your company is participating in festive events, running special promotions or sharing season greetings with customers – it all comes down to getting your messaging across at the right time, through the right channel.


The festive period in stages

First, consider the stages for the festive period in order to get the timing of your communications right. For the UK and much of the Western world, there are mainly 4 stages:

Late November: Black Friday and Cyber Monday kickstart much of the Christmas shopping, as thousands of buyers seek to take advantage of the best deals for the latest products.

1st to 24th December: Christmas is coming! And that means busy times for shops, buyers, and brands running Christmas campaigns. The most popular days for shopping are the Mondays of December, a.k.a. “Mega Mondays”, with sales spikes of up to 15%.

25th December: The big day, when all we do is open gifts from others, right? Wrong! According to stats, over half (52%) of shoppers in the UK buy items for themselves on December 25th, and most of them use a smartphone – making Christmas Day the busiest day of the year for mobile shopping.

26th December – Early January: A window for people to make the most of reductions and further deals, while many brands focus on sharing content related to new year resolutions and trends for the year ahead.


Making the most of your festive messaging

Now, here’s a few tips to optimise your messages across different communication channels.

  • SMS

According to research, text messages have a remarkable open rate of 99%, and 90% of messages are read within 3 minutes! With such high and speedy open rates, text messaging can be a super effective channel for sharing time-sensitive information and CTAs over the festive period.

Text messaging also helps to improve ROI. Response rates from SMS are a whooping 209% higher than phone calls, email or Facebook. As much as 29% of targeted customers will respond to text messages, and almost half of these responders end up making a purchase.

Albeit the great benefits, it’s important not to overuse this channel. Text messaging is best used sparingly – otherwise it can end up feeling spammy. Pick your dates carefully and segment your audience to make sure you’re reaching the relevant contacts!

Always aim to keep text messages short – under 160 characters. You can make use of SMS abbreviations (texspeak) to fit your content within this limit, if you’re struggling.

  • Email

Many brands use email to communicate about delivery dates, letting their customers know when the last orders can be placed to ensure delivery in time for the big day. With this in mind, think about any ways in which the busy festive period may affect your business; and communicate with your customers.

Email is also used for sending festive eCards, which present a much kinder solution to the environment than traditional cards sent by post. Going green is no longer just a trend; it’s becoming a top priority for businesses around the world. Firms choosing eCards over print to reduce their footprint are sure to please eco-conscious customers.

When creating your festive emails, make sure to use images and messages that truly represent your brand and values.

Plan your email campaigns in advance, taking into account that emails are generally opened within 24 to 48 hours after they’re sent.

  • Website

The impact your website has on your visitors can be huge, especially if you are an e-commerce brand.

Online shopping is more popular than ever. In 2016, out of all online sales, almost 20% was carried out between November 13th and December 24th, so consider this window of opportunity to make your website stand out.

If you have live chat on your website, how about adjusting your greeting, or decorating your widget with a festive-themed emoji?

  • Social media

This time of the year, social networks get invaded with festive content, and there’s no good reason for your brand to fall behind!

Social media remains the top place to go for engaging with your audience. Apart from sharing traditional season greetings, don’t forget to use social channels to echo on any special promotions.

As Christmas is a time for giving, the time is also ideal for businesses to participate in fundraising events and amplify reach with social channels. If you have a large base of followers on Facebook, you can make the most of charitable giving tools, such as donation buttons, to support your business’ cause and engage your audience.

Social media competitions are also a great initiative to give back to your community. If you are organising any competition, try not to set the closing date and announcements too close to the big day, as this may affect participation and engagement.


Final thoughts

In general, think about the holiday period as an opportunity to deliver a great festive multi-channel experience for your customers, while showing that you care about giving and engaging with your community.

Plan your campaigns in advance to get ahead of the competition. Use automation to help you ensure your communications are sent at the right time and triggered by relevant actions.

Integrate your channels to make the most of your campaigns. For example, if you’re having a flash sale on your website, let your subscribers know in advance with an email, share announcements on your website and social channels, and remind them with a text message right when the sale starts.

And above all, keep it positive and enjoy the festive season!

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