Episode 142

Turning Conversational Commerce Into a Competitive Advantage

Phil Roireau - Gorgias
November 25, 2020
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Conversational commerce.  What is it?  Basically, it’s taking the in-person shopping experience of asking questions and talking to retail sales staff and moving it into multiple online channels seamlessly.  Today shoppers want to interact with you in a variety of ways and they want near-instant feedback.  Messenger.  SMS.  Chat.  Facebook comments.  Your customers expect you to be everywhere they are when they need you.  

In this interview, Phil and I talk about some of the foundations of conversational commerce - both strategies and tactics.  This will help guide all of your conversational commerce efforts. Here’s a quick look at what we discuss.  

  • What components of conversational commerce should you consider?
  • What impact can conversational commerce have on conversion rates?
  • How to look at the dashboard and KPIs related to conversational commerce.
  • How this impacts your paid acquisition efforts.
  • Lots of real-world examples
  • Plus more

Mentioned in this episode:

Sellers Summit

Steve Chou

TrueView

Shopify

Magento

Gorgias - Customer Service Made Easy for Online Stores

Via LinkedIn

Via Facebook

Via Twitter

Via Instagram

Via YouTube

Phil Roireau - Executive of Partnership and Business Development at Gorgias

Via LinkedIn

Episode Transcript:

Brett:

Well, hello, and welcome to another edition of the E-Commerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of O-M-G Commerce, and today we're talking about conversational commerce. What is it, how to form a strategy, how to execute on that strategy, and really how to make this count as we prepare for holiday/post-holiday/next year, all of these important events. How do we use conversational commerce to form better customer relationships to increase sales and to grow the business?

Brett:

I am bringing on the show today an expert in this topic, and he's with a company that is really leading the way in innovating, in a lot of ways, around conversational commerce. I'm talking to Phil Roireau. He's the Exec for Partnership and Business Development at Gorgias. And, so, with that, Phil, man, welcome to the show and thanks for coming on.

Phil:

Yeah. Thank you so much, Brett. Pretty excited about helping brands use conversational commerce in order to grow theirself. That's, really, the bottom line of it.

Brett:

Yeah, me too. I'm excited to talk about this. This is not one of the areas of e-commerce that I deal with on a day-to-day basis, but it is growing. It's extremely important, and, so, I know that the topic we're going to talk about today will really help our listeners out.

Brett:

Now, I was first introduced to Gorgias, I believe, a few years ago. I was at Sellers Summit. My buddy, Steve Chiu, runs -

Phil:

Yeah.

Brett:

... out of it, and you guys were there. You were maybe speaking there. I know you were exhibiting. I thought the name was cool. So, that's how I think I first got introduced. And, man, you guys have just been blowing up. I'm hearing about you... Like you, I'm part of several e-commerce groups on Facebook. People are talking about you. So, you guys have really made a splash on the e-commerce scene, which-

Phil:

Yeah.

Brett:

... I want to applaud-

Phil:

Thanks for that.

Brett:

... you for that.

Phil:

Thanks for that.

Brett:

Yeah.

Phil:

We came a long way since we first met a few years ago at Sellers Summit. It was a different level of company back then. But, a lot of things in the Shopify ecosystem moves really fast.

Brett:

Man, that is so true. Everything in this industry moves fast, but, yeah, the Shopify ecosystem... It moves about like their stock prices, really fast. It's like three years ago the stock was nothing and now it's like blow-your-mind..

Phil:

Yeah, yeah.

Brett:

... type of growth.

Phil:

And we're September 4th when we're recording this. They're down 10% today.

Brett:

Yeah.

Phil:

I'm sure they're going to have those nights more, but I love moving fast like 10%.

Brett:

Right, right, right. So, yeah, and by the time this comes out who knows what the stock will look like. But, it's been a crazy ride-

Phil:

Yep.

Brett:

... over the last several months and crazy growth over the last several years, for sure.

Brett:

So, let's do this, Phil. Let's sight in and let's just explain... Because I think once we break down the components, people will be like, "Oh, yeah. I'm thinking about some of those things," but maybe this idea of conversational commerce may be a new concept for people.

Brett:

So, first of all, what is conversational commerce?

Phil:

Yeah, so, conversational commerce is really about helping buyers make their decision through one-on-one realtime interactions. It follows your marketing strategy. So, where are you going today to engage with potential buyers? And, then, it's really about having those conversation channels behind those marketing channels open for your clients to get in touch with your team and, at the same time, your team needs to be hyper-receptive with different type of messaging depending on where the clients are interacting.

Brett:

Great. I love that.

Brett:

And, so, if you think about some of your marketing efforts, some of your advertising efforts... As you know, we do a lot with YouTube and Google ads and Amazon ads... Some of those efforts, they're one to many, right? We're trying to reach an audience or a group of people or a list of people and, certainly, we want to segment and make those messages as relevant as possible and want those messages to feel like it's one-on-one communication, almost. But, it's not, right? It's advertising. It's not one-on-one. And, so, conversational commerce, that truly is that one-on-one conversation.

Brett:

So, talk about... I know this is, kind of, a multi-channel endeavor. What are some of the channels where we're engaging with our customers one-on-one?

Phil:

Right.

Phil:

So, well, you mentioned Facebook or Instagram or YouTube. Those are all great channels where you must have that part of your conversational commerce driving. You're creating ads that are very engaging and people start commenting on it, and there's common that are coming back in those comments. How are you engaging there with them? How are you helping your customers on your ads make the decision to purchase your product or replying at scale? And, so, it's really about, yeah, breaking down that one-to-many channel and bringing it into a one-to-one channel when there is an intent from the customer.

Phil:

So, you're making an ad. Somebody replies or a hundred people replies. So, then you need to transform the message that was created from that ad by the customer into a conversation.

Phil:

You're doing, let's say, a Chat Campaign. So, somebody's on your website with a specific product and you're like, "Hey, I see you're looking at those women shoes. Those shoes are great, and usually women go half a size up. Let me know if I can help you choosing the right pair for you." But, this message will be sent to a thousand people, potentially on the day on your best seller page. But, then, people start interacting with different questions. But, they are a team again, so it's really about being ready-

Brett:

Yeah.

Phil:

... at scale to create those personalized interactions.

Brett:

I love that, and, actually, I want to circle back to the interactions on Facebook and Instagram ads in just a second.

Brett:

But, to use the example you just gave... So, I think we're all seeing this more and more, even our agency uses Chat on the website to interact with someone as they're there. But, I think having that specific example like you talked about where if someone is on the Women's Shoe category on your Apparel store, and you could pop in with a message saying, "Hey. Glad you're here shopping around. Welcome. Just a heads up, they run a half size small or large," or whatever the case may be. "Let me know if I can be of any assistance." Having that specific of a feedback, really, I think it helps with engagement and helps people want to talk.

Brett:

And anytime I think conversational commerce, I think retail store or trade show or out in the marketplace where the seller and the consumer are interacting and they're having a little dialogue, but it's a useful dialogue. And it's one of those things where you come into a physical brick-and-mortar store and the shopkeeper... And that's an old term, obviously... But, the sales associate or whatever is like, "Hey. Anything I can help you with?" "No, no, no. It's fine. I'm just looking around." But, if they see you're looking at something and you say, "Hey, I see you checking that out. Great. Just a couple things to keep in mind as you look at it..." That probably will spark a question, right? So, that specific interaction is really cool.

Brett:

Anything you can share on that, like how to make online Chat better and are you advising people to lead with specific questions like that example you just gave?

Phil:

Yeah, absolutely.

Phil:

So, just to reinforce what you said... Six months ago, COVID hit big time and, then, a lot of people get worried. Retail stores get shut down, and some retailers go online as fast as possible. So many of our clients... And we on-boarded well over a thousand clients over that first three months of COVID-

Brett:

Dude. That's crazy.

Phil:

Yeah. It was nuts.

Phil:

But, so many of those conversations were about, "Hey, my retail store is closing-

Brett:

Yep. Yep.

Phil:

... I need to go online," and we're like, "Yes..." So, conversational commerce, at the core, specifically what it is, it's about getting back to that... It's retail-like experience to your online shop. That's really what it is.

Phil:

It's, as you said, like walking through the store. "Hey, welcome, and, if you're wondering, in that section there in that corner, there is a sale on the woman dresses." And, now, you're leaving that person alone, right? And, then, the person walks toward, let's say, that section is like, "Oh, now I see you're in the woman dress. Here, this model could fit you well. But, let me know if you have any questions?" "Oh, yeah, and I have a question," right? And, then, they're walking to the cashier and you're like, "Hey, have you found everything you were looking for today?" Just that question. Those three questions, right?

Phil:

You're walking in the store, you're looking at a specific section, and then you're checking out. Those are three key moments in the retail experience. Now, bring this online with your Chat in your store: homepage, collection of product page, and cart page.

Brett:

I love this so much because... And, again, I'll use an offline example. You walk into Walmart and, especially, you're walking into Walmart anytime around the time we're recording this during lock-downs, after lock-downs, it's pure chaos. It's not a bad shopping experience. But, usually, you see a Walmart associate. They're not eager to help you, right? They may not make eye contact because they don't want you to stop them and stuff. If you ask them a question, they may be like, "Yeah, the milk is back in the back," or whatever-

Phil:

Yeah.

Brett:

... versus one of my favorite local shops here where I live in Springfield, Missouri... It's an outdoor home store, so they sell outdoor furniture, but they also sell barbecue grills and barbecue grill accessories, and you walk in there and they really want to help you, educate you, take care of you. You walk to a certain section of outdoor furniture, they can tell you exactly how that furniture is made and what it does and why it's unique and they're passionate about outdoor furniture... I love to grill and, so, I used to call Greg, the GM there, my Grilling Yoda because he was always teaching me stuff about grilling... But, those people, you interact with them and that creates a competitive advantage. They're priced higher than most of the people other places that you could buy. But, I still like going there because they help you out.

Brett:

And, I think, this is a competitive advantage that you can create on your store that other big e-commerce stores or other small e-commerce stores are not going to do, and it greatly enhances the shopping experience, but it also increases the OV, improves your conversion, all of those things it really helps with. So, it's super important.

Brett:

So, I want to talk about those three areas you mentioned. So, homepage chat, category page chat, and, then, cart or checkout process. Where do you recommend people start, and any specific tips in each of those three areas?

Phil:

Yeah, so, we already started going, pretty much, in the practical stuff.

Brett:

Yep.

Phil:

But, what you just said, again... And we did it rehearsed. What you just said is exactly the mindset that you need to have when you're creating your Chat and things on your site.

Phil:

And the competitive advantage, at the end of the day, you're a BTC brand versus Amazon. That's your mom-and-pop shop versus Walmart. They're all mainstream. So, it's exactly the same things. Why would people go to you instead of going to Amazon? Because of that service, that "where it is," that focus on a specific type of product.

Phil:

But, yeah. So, now, let's go into a little bit more tactical. So, a homepage... And just when you're walking into that owner-operated retail shop. Place yourself in the shoe of that guy. You're the best employee at the shop and somebody walks in through the front door of your store. What do you tell that person? It's as simple as that. So, that same thing that you would tell that person in your retail store, you want to bring this in your Chat Campaign.

Phil:

So, it's really easy and there are several tools. Gorgias does it, but there's other Chat widget that can do it, as well, and it's really okay. Homepage, you just put in your URL, either the sites put a search and timer on it, and then you have a specific message for that page, which would be the message that you would tell somebody that walks into your retail store and if you're the best employee that store has on his best day. So, put those two together, write this message once, and you're going to be sending it automatically to several thousand people over the next several days depending on your traffic, obviously.

Phil:

So, then, move on to the collection page or the product page. So, how many best seller do you have on your store? Three? Five? Take those three best sellers and take what are the main friction for buying this product from you?

Phil:

So, we started this episode with the woman's shoes, and what's the main friction for purchasing shoes online? It's, obviously, sizing. So, what do you want to do? You want to position yourself as the professional that knows everything about shoe sizes, and you want to have that objection-busting statement in your Chat Campaign.

Phil:

So, you're like, "Hey, I'm Phil, the shoe consultant for this store, and I see the model you're looking at. Usually women go half a size up or down on that model." And just reassure them that if they do this, they're going to get the right size. And, then, you're like, "Let me know if I can help you with anything else." Or if it's something else you're selling... Letter or full-letter or whatever. You're just like, "Hey, this one is made from cruelty-free letter-something."

Phil:

So, what are the main objections for people that purchasing this specific product? And, yes, it needs to be in the UI of your pay job. Just stick with the Chat Campaign as a great way to create a message that sounds like you and that will address that on your best sellers.

Phil:

So, it takes five seconds to implement and five minutes come up with the creative. Do that times three for your best sellers, go put that on your page, and see if you can get more engagement.

Brett:

Yeah.

Phil:

Because it's good to have that in the message, but, at the end of the day, the important thing is there is a reason why we're doing this. It's because we have the data that somebody that engages with your brand on Chat prior to purchasing is 30% more likely to purchase than someone that doesn't.

Brett:

Wow.

Phil:

So, you want to create those engagement opportunities, as much as possible, that are very specific and that will encourage people to talk to you.

Brett:

Yep.

Brett:

So, you start getting a higher and higher percentage of people that'll engage with you via Chat, and each person that does 30% more likely to convert than those that don't.

Phil:

Yeah.

Brett:

That's super powerful.

Brett:

And, so, then, I've got another specific question about Chat in a minute... But, then, on the checkout, the cart, that-

Phil:

Yeah.

Brett:

... process. What kind of Chat would you have available there?

Phil:

Yeah, so, on the cart checkout, it's a little bit more tricky. You want to make sure, first, before you implement that, especially on the checkout page, that you have your first-time response under control. So, you really need to be able to man your Chat in a way that's -

Brett:

Yeah.

Phil:

... has to work before you implement on that page because, then, it can backfire. If people start asking question on the checkout page and you're not there, adding this-

Brett:

Yeah.

Phil:

... they might not..

Brett:

Now there's nothing in there.

Phil:

... checkout.

Brett:

Yeah.

Phil:

But, there are services that you can check things like live recover and so on... These guys are in your checkout. They put the widget and it's a third-party service and they will put the Chat Widget on the checkout page and they guarantee you a less-than-ten-second reply time and an increase in conversion rate. So, there are even services that are specialized in this type of behavior.

Phil:

But, basically, on the cart page, you can have different things. If people are too long on the cart page and they're not moving on... Let's say you put the timer 15 seconds, they can be like, "Hey, did you find everything you were looking for today? By the way, use free ship or..." So, this guy is a little bit... He says the same thing right now like, "Let's give him an offer to -

Brett:

Nudge him along just a little bit.

Phil:

... move him along right?

Phil:

Yeah, nudge him on a little bit. Not too much. But, I think one of the best sentences really as simple as, "Did you find everything that you were looking for today?" People are so accustomed to hearing that.

Brett:

Yeah.

Phil:

And it's so reminding them of their retail experience.

Brett:

Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. And, so, it totally makes sense, in the cart, you don't want to turn that on unless you're able to create a really fast response time.

Phil:

Right.

Brett:

And, then, you had mentioned the service that's kind of sub-ten seconds. I'm curious, what do you recommend? Is that a good benchmark? Should you say, "If I can't respond or if there's not someone that can respond to Chat live within ten seconds, then I shouldn't have it on at all?" or can you just, kind of, automate what's on other pages? Speak about that just a little bit.

Phil:

Yeah. So, I think, then, that speaks to the overall structure of your Customer Service department, though, because... And conversational commerce is really the third step and Chat is the third step in the world map to make your customer service great.

Phil:

First of all, you need to optimize and automate as much as possible. So, there are tools... Gorgias, obviously, is a great one... There's a couple other that can do a decent job at using your CMS, or Shopify, Magento data points to reply automatically to clients in certain circumstances.

Phil:

So, somebody asking you, "Where is my order?" by email or by Chat or whatever the channel is, the center, you should be able to provide them, pretty much in an automated way, their tracking number, tracking URL, and when their date shipped out, and stuff like that. So, "Where is my order?" If it shipped, then you can have a specific reply. If it didn't ship, you can have a specific reply, and those you can determine what people are talking about now by. And that's the thing that takes ten seconds to set up.

Phil:

But, if you don't want to bloat your organization, it's kind of the first step is you want to make sure that those three type of request that you get all the time, "Where's my order," "Can I return or refund this," you want to make sure that this is optimized, that part of it is automated and, other than that, that you have only a canned responses that include all the data from your CMS ready for your team to fire in one clip.

Phil:

Somebody asking you something, two plays, your first response should be really easy to get. So, that will unclutter a little bit your email support channel and things like that. And, then, after that, you can open up the other channels. So, social, definitely first, and the next one after... Once you get control of your emails, you want to make sure that you're monitoring everything that's going on in Facebook, on Instagram, and then you want to open up, most likely, a SMS-marketing service. So, you want to implement some SMS-marketing tool... Attentive is a great one, SMS Bump, Postgrid, Emotive, all of these tools... You want to pick one and you want to implement it in your business and you want to be on the receiving end of those messages that they are a little bit less time-sensitive.

Phil:

But, you're going to implement in that in-cart Campaign by SMS. If people are replying and they're like, "Oh, I didn't purchase because of this reason," well, you want to make sure you get that message and that you have somebody to reply to that SMS. But, that's the second step of achieving great customer service, and the next step.

Phil:

Then, once you have automated and opened all your channels, then you go onto your Chat.

Brett:

Got it.

Phil:

That's kind of like that three-steps approach to it-

Brett:

Cool.

Phil:

... doing it. Yeah.

Brett:

It's really good. So, we kind of dug in. We dug deep into step three right out of the gate because I was so eager to ask questions about some of those things.

Brett:

So, let's kind of back it up a little bit. Let's talk about some of the social channels and working on that and, then, going from there.

Brett:

So, you mentioned Facebook ads, Instagram ads, YouTube ads. What's really cool about Facebook and Instagram ads is it is viewed as a conversation for a lot of people and a lot of people will chime in and leave comments. Some of them are not so pleasant comments, unfortunately-

Phil:

Yeah.

Brett:

... but, at least gives you an opportunity to engage with that customer, that prospect, and talk about it.

Brett:

I will mention, with YouTube ads, we mainly run the pre-roll YouTube ads called TrueView. There's not a lot of opportunities to comment on those while they're an ad, but, certainly, you can with organic videos and in other ways on YouTube.

Brett:

But, what are some specific recommendations you would give on how to engage in those conversations on social media, and, then, why and how tools make that easier?

Phil:

Yeah. Well, great question.

Phil:

There's so much money that is left on the table on social media comments because, I guess, most of the time it becomes overwhelming really quickly .. And this is where you can unlock, if you find the key, you can unlock the most potential.

Phil:

So, let's say you're spending over a thousand dollar a day on Facebook. You're definitely generating a fair amount of comment. And, then, if you go beyond that, well, it's exponentially more. But, then, it's like how do you stay on top of what is important versus the noise? So, somebody that is trashing your brand or giving you love, how do you stay on top of these ones versus having to filter out through people tagging their friends or having some new private conversations and that is not really necessary for the brand to get involved in, right?

Phil:

So, there's really three topics, or three things, that are important for the brand to monitor under social media. First, it's, yeah, people giving you love online. So, if they're saying, "I need this, I want this, I love this, this is amazing," and tagging their friend, these people, I would say, they are showing a pretty heavy purchase intent right there. So, you want to make sure that you segregate or that you can isolate this and we'll get back to how to do it in one second.

Phil:

The second block is the detractors. All like, "Yeah, this ad, it shouldn't be shown," or, "This product, this crap," or, "I never got my order and fuck this company." Sorry, I didn't say that.

Brett:

That's okay. But, yeah.

Phil:

Yeah, so, then, this you want to isolate that, as well.

Phil:

And the third one is people asking questions like, "Oh, but, do you ship there," How much is it," "Do you have x-y-z color available?" So, there's really three buckets. Positive comments, negative, and questions. And all the rest, you want to just leave aside and not even look at. So, again, what we're doing with the leading brands right now is that we're using machine learning to detect those three sentiments.

Phil:

So, we have intents and sentiments that work together and that's, again, a set thing that's pretty easy to turn on. It's just like, hey, if it's on social media, Facebook or Instagram, and the sentiment is positive, tag as a social lead for your team to look as a priority. And if it's negative, tag it as a negative. If it's a empty intent is asking a question, then want to tag as a social question. And, then, close automatically all the other comments on your thing.

Phil:

So, when your brands are scaling you deep, then they can really keep an eye on what's important without having to shuffle to their Facebook back-end. Because I don't know if you ever look into an account that's scaling and try to monitor ], there's no way you can do this on Facebook Ads Managers in the back-end. It's like -

Brett:

Yeah, I could totally see it, and I don't manage Facebook ads, but I could totally see it. You get lots of assets going and you got tens of thousands of spend per day... It just would become a nightmare.

Brett:

And what's interesting about those three categories... Someone who's a good sales lead, a detractor, someone just asking a question... is it's possible you may have three different team members or three different people to respond to those, right? Here's the Sales Team takes the lead, right?

Phil:

Yeah.

Brett:

The Technical Expert takes the question, and then whoever's a ninja at deflecting criticism or -

Phil:

Just click hide it. The ninja at criticism, hide.

Brett:

It never happened. Yeah, exactly.

Phil:

Yeah. That never existed.

Brett:

So, what, it could be three different people. It could be the same person. But, that's super cool. And, really, that's advanced, right? The machine-learning is super smart, but that's relatively easy for a machine-learning program to be good at that and to get comments segmented in those areas so you can just focus all your attention there. And, yeah, what a beautiful thing to not have to do that in the Facebook interface-

Phil:

It's a blessing to do all this.

Brett:

Yep.

Phil:

Anybody that needs to manage, right now, customer service through Facebook back-end and their scaling, they know they're having a more doing it.

Brett:

Yep.

Phil:

And they are stepping on one another, so it's disorganized.

Brett:

Yep.

Phil:

It's pretty messy out there if you don't use a proper tool for that.

Brett:

Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. Love that.

Brett:

So, that's kind of the first step. What was step number two? You kind of highlighted that a minute ago, but let's dig into that a little bit.

Phil:

Yeah. In the same way, in the same vein as a social media comment, SMS has been the hottest channel of the last 36 months... No, maybe 24 months. Almost two years now that it became really, really hot. It started picking up steam at the beginning of 2019.

Phil:

So, that's really a fantastic channel because the first thing that you open up is the Abandon Cart sequence. That's the easiest. It's plug-and-play, almost, for most tools. And, then, you're starting and you're just re-targeting your Abandon Cart SMS. And it's great. And because that channel is so personal... If you look at the replies that people send to an SMS, they're going to tell you unlike any post-purchase survey that you'll ever do why they didn't purchase the product.

Brett:

Yep.

Phil:

You're going to be like, "Oh, yeah. Thanks for the reminder." "So, I didn't buy because you didn't have the color I was looking for," or "That the product was out of stock," or "Something happened," or "I was looking, actually, for another product," or "I didn't get my paycheck this week," or whatever is the reason. They will tell you.

Phil:

So, you just go in and you modify a little bit the script that comes out of the box in those SMS tools and you make it a little bit more personal. You're like, "Hey, I'm Jay, the founder of this company. I saw you were on your website, you didn't complete your purchase. Is there anything I can do to help you?" You do that as your first message instead of your blanket "Here's 10% off-

Brett:

Yeah. Exactly.

Phil:

... on your purchase," and that will change completely. If you do it at scale, you're going to see a difference.

Brett:

Yeah, I love that because what's beautiful about SMS marketing... And you're so right. Texting has been around a long, long time, right? Pre-iPhone and stuff.

Phil:

Yep.

Brett:

But, it's just now become a really en vogue marketing channel and it's very, very powerful. It does cut through the clutter. If you get a text on your phone, you're going to look at that text, right?

Phil:

Yeah.

Brett:

I get a text, I'm going to look at it. So, it's going to cut through the clutter. It can be highly personal, but that's a double-edge sword, right? It's also one of those things where... If I get a spam email, whatever, I ignore it or I've got spam blockers. But, I get spam text? I'm kind of upset.

Phil:

Yep.

Brett:

This is very personal. It's like you showing up on my doorstep and dinner time.

Phil:

Yeah. Don't show up in my inbox with a -

Brett:

Yeah.

Phil:

... stupid message.

Brett:

Yeah. Exactly.

Brett:

So, a message like, "Oh, hey, here, save 10%." "Well, why are you doing that?" Maybe I don't even want to interact with you. But, if you say, "Hey, I saw you were checking out and you didn't. Is there anything I can help you with?" That's a little more personal, likely a better spot to lead with before just sending a coupon or a discount.

Phil:

Yeah. Exactly. Keep the coupon the for the second SMS Abandon Cart. That's your Hail Mary.

Brett:

I've already established that I want to be on full and stuff like that. Yeah. Yeah.

Brett:

Cool. So, Abandon Cart. What else would you recommend on the SMS front?

Phil:

Yeah, so, the biggest challenge in SMS is growing your list, right? That's the main thing-

Brett:

Yeah. Of course.

Phil:

... because once you grow your list, the Abandon Cart, that's the most obvious. Then, there are some tools now that are starting to do pretty accurate Browse Abandonment... A little bit like you can do with your.. But, through SMS, that being said, you need to have the personal already up to date on your SMS to be able to fire this campaign. So, it's pretty challenging to do that, whereas in the checkout process, they put their phone number and then you can have that optic, right?

Phil:

So, when you're choosing your vendor, find the one that will give you the best chance at growing your list because that will determine the success of your campaigns. So, and then if you can do other flows... But, basically those flows are the same if you can do an email. But, having the people up-to-date is a little bit more complex.

Phil:

So, whatever you do with your Klaviyo, you can, at some point, replicate in your SMS campaign and you do it in that order, right?

Phil:

So, first, you'll do your Campaign Abandonment, welcome flow as a second one just like, "Hey, you're in a welcome flow," and then, after that, Browse Abandonment like post-purchase, "thank you," or whatever. Those are the four main ones that usually people will be able to pull off.

Brett:

Right. Love that.

Brett:

So, let's talk a little bit about the post-purchase side of things. What do you recommend there? What are some of the best practices or thought-starters on post-purchase? How should you interact with customers post-purchase?

Phil:

Yeah.

Phil:

So, I'm a little bit too much of a proponent of automation. So, maybe, I would say, automate everything you can with contextual answers.

Brett:

Yes.

Phil:

If somebody is asking you with, "Hey, how can I return this item?" Is a person within their return window? Did they purchase within the last 40 days and, let's say, that's your return window or are they outside? If they're outside, maybe you want to reply automatically, "Hey, I see you purchased on this date and that's outside of our return policy. I fear that won't be possible for that item. Is there something else I can help you with?" That's all. I'm a really huge proponent of having those messages. Also, "Where's my order?" Is the order in transit? Is it delivered or is it not shipped yet?

Phil:

So, those three scenarios will have different emails. If it's not shipped, it's like, "Hey, I see it's not shipped yet. It's in our warehouse," and then you can even put a time. Let's say, less than three days and not shipped. "Sorry, there's just a little bit of backlog now and it's going to be taken care of. You're going to get a notice really quickly." But, if it's not shipped and it's over three days, send them to Customer Service because there may be something to investigate there. Right?

Phil:

Same thing. "Where's my order?" Is it less than seven days and this is your maximum delivery window? Then, if it's less than seven days and it's shipped, give the tracking number, tracking URL, where it's going automatically like, "Hey, I see your order shipped out on this day. Here's your tracking number, tracking URL." If it's outside of your policy, send them to Customer Service.

Brett:

Yep.

Phil:

And so to investigate a little bit.

Phil:

And right now we're going into Black Friday, so it's, again, get your offers out and Customer Service is a great place to put your offers. We'll find a way to modify your canned response, add signatures at scale or something, with your Black Friday offers because what's going to happen during that period is your Customer Service inquiries are going to go, in general in the industry, they go up by 80%.

Phil:

So, our baseline last Black Friday was at a million message sent, Gorgias, per day-

Brett:

Wow.

Phil:

... and that was before Black Friday and during Black Friday was 1.8 million. And, then, we checked the data from the previous year and it's also an 80% difference pre-Black Friday to during Black Friday.

Phil:

So, during Black Friday means people probably didn't purchase yet. So, it's a lot of still pre-sale type of inquiries so get your offers in your canned responses and stuff at scale. And, then, what do you can do...

Phil:

That's really when you're at achieving the last level of the customer service ladder is you can track how much sales your Customer Service agents are generating. Are they reminded to put those offers in and to help really the customers complete their purchase? And, then, we can actually build... Well, actually, all build. So, if you're on top part of Magento, we can tell you how much sales are generated from your Customer Service agents in Gorgias. So, then, you can incentivize them like, "Hey, if you're closing more during Black Friday, you know how I'll give you a bonus."

Brett:

Right.

Brett:

And, often, just tracking it and being able to see it, that by itself will usually increase performance, right? So, your Customer Service agents being able to see the numbers themselves, see, maybe, their colleagues' numbers knowing-

Phil:

Yep.

Brett:

... that you see the numbers... That all by itself should cause a lift, at least from the right people, or maybe cause you to say, "Yeah, maybe we could do without this Customer Service representative," and, so, we'll promote them to their next career outside of our company. But, then, you can also incentivize and great contest and other things to really make that go to the next level.

Brett:

And the benefit of all of that is at least a better customer experience and then leads to better brand loyalty and growth and, yes, increase sales right now but also for the long-haul, which is really exciting.

Brett:

And, so-

Phil:

Yeah.

Brett:

... And one thing I'd want to do... And this, we could've led with this, but I think this is kind of better to step back and, now, kind of frame it all with this... I want to talk about one more concept and I want to dig into Gorgias because I want to nerd out a little bit on what you guys do.

Brett:

Let's talk about brand voice just for a minute. So, really your brand voice should infiltrate everything that we do here, right? Because, just like we talked about, there's a right way to do text message marketing, right? You get a text message from one company and you're super grateful and thankful for those relationship. You get, what feels like, a spammy, cold impersonal text from another company and now you're mad. Now, it was worse than before you received the message, right? So, how do you talk about brand voice and how do you recommend people use brand voice to influence all of these conversations?

Phil:

All right. That's a great question.

Phil:

And you're right. That's kind of the umbrella that covers a little bit of everything. Brand voice is... When you're creating your company, you should be thinking about that from day one. It's a part of your brand guidelines. You know your brand guideline has your logo, the type of font that you should use-

Brett:

Your colors -

Phil:

... your colors scheme, the pantones and everything. And in there, you should have a brand voice and tone statement, which is how do we want to sound to our customers and how would we want to behave to support our customers? Because just like you will send your brand guidelines to the agency that you're working with, your marketing agencies, and so on... You also want to send it... How do I need to sound as a brand? That's something that needs to become standardized. It needs to be authentic, but it needs to be standardized across your organization. And, usually, it's really about how and who you want to sound like and then what you are and what you're not, and, then, from there, all your messages are going to be unified in that voice and tone, right?

Phil:

So, for example, remember Shopify is brand voice and tone and that's available on their website. You can just Google "Shopify" and "brand voice" and you will see a document that they share, obviously internally to their staff, about how they need to talk to merchants but also that they, most likely, share to all the agency that their working with and so on. And it reads as, "Shopify's voice is a reflection of who we are" and "We should always elect Shopify." That's very. At the same time, some of our aspects of our personality might be at more or less depending on the audience and the context. That's the tone. We want our voice to sound like a business mentor with zero ego.

Phil:

So, they're there to help with the business mentor that's there to help you and they have no-

Brett:

Helpful, knowledgeable, but not arrogant or boastful. It's making it about the user and not about Shopify.

Phil:

Exactly. It's especially not about the mentor on the other side. It's like he's there to help and he knows how he's going to help you, but it's about you as a business owner that's making all the sacrifices and all the bets on operating that store. This is what it's about. It's about helping you succeed.

Phil:

And, then, that's the next step, and you just mentioned it. Then, there's three things that they are and they aren't. They're confident, not arrogant. So, that's one thing that they want to be. They're empathetic, not over-protective. And, finally, they're transparent, not black. So, they have those three things. It's probably every Customer Support agent at the, the gurus that are on the Chat, they all have that because they built their with, "You need to be a business mentor with zero ego."

Brett:

Yep. I love that.

Brett:

And what's so powerful is we work a lot on the traffic side of e-commerce, right? So, we're helping craft effective, compelling, on-brand, YouTube ads, right?

Phil:

Yep.

Brett:

And we're crafting search ads and shopping ads and all of these things and, so, what happens if someone sees a really well-done ad and they think, "Man, that's speaking to me and, so, I'm interested. I want to check out more about this company," and, so, they go to a landing page and the landing page speaks to them. Again, it's in the right brand voice and it's convincing and it's got all the sales points there and then they interact with one of your agents and it's not on-brand, right?

Phil:

Yeah. Exactly.

Brett:

Now, it's like, "Ugh. So, that's what it's really like, then, at this company?" Kills the whole thing. So, it all needs to work together.

Brett:

I love those brand statements that Shopify has. I'm a huge Shopify fan, in general.

Brett:

But, super powerful. You need to craft those for your business, as well. Share those with your internal team, your outsource team... They need to uphold that brand voice in all of the conversations, and it makes a big difference. And it's one of those things that, I think, if you have properly spelled out brand voice components, then it can take someone who would be average, or maybe even below-average, as a Customer Support person and it can make them really good, really effective. And without it, you could take someone who would be really good and, maybe, lower them down to mediocre -

Phil:

Yeah. And same thing for agencies. If you didn't figure this out before you were going to reach out for your agencies and, then, you're keeping one and you're like, "Well, they didn't get it," right? Do you spell it out for them? Is it even clear in your head what your brand is supposed to be?

Brett:

Likely your fault that they didn't-

Phil:

... and how do you expect them to figure it out?

Phil:

So, yeah, that's really step number one when you're launching your brand, and, usually, it's the owner or the interpreter personality that is a lot of it. Bring it on paper and then share it to people you're working with. That's definitely a great place to start.

Brett:

I love it. I love it.

Brett:

Well, Phil, let's talk about Gorgias because executing, pulling off a lot of the things we talked about would either require piecing together multiple systems or potentially staffing up, which you may be able to staff up anyway, but talk about what Gorgias does and how you tie all of this together and how you make reporting and dashboards and KPIs clear and just talk about what you guys do.

Phil:

For sure.

Phil:

So, yeah, Gorgias, I could say, is the number one Help Desk for e-commerce. So, all we specialize in is helping brands manage their customer support and across all channels. So, we just give them all e-mail, SMS, Facebook, Instagram, Chat... So, all of this in one place. And, then, we match all of those communication to the buyer's profile. We match an SMS or a Chat automatically without having to identify it to a Shopify profile or a Magento profile. But, then, that's data is available in one second to the Customer Service rep that is interacting with your client. And our role is for each agent to become super-agent, as efficient as possible, so that you don't need to staff up infinitely with more agents so that each one is really empowered with the best technology in order to increase their performance by at least 30% compared to where they are originally.

Phil:

So, yeah, we're making okay-agents very good in no time. And just, how do you do that? Little things, right? We talk about machine learning already, quite a bit, on this episode. But, little things like proposing automatically to the agent which response they should give to a client. So, if a message comes in and it's like, "Hey, where is my order," and someone replied automatically, "It's in the queue for the agent to look at," "The agent is looking at it." We're proposing, automatically, the canned response that is the most relevant to "Where is my order" to that agent right away when you open the ticket. So, he sees all the data of the client on the right side and, then, he has this... It's really hard to describe on a podcast-

Brett:

Sure. Sure.

Phil:

... but, then, he sees this response that is already made for him and it's there and you just have one click to click and it's inputted in that conversation.

Phil:

So, it's really about giving agents superpower to help customers on all channels.

Phil:

And, then, what happens, usually, is you'll be able to work with less agent, but one of them, at least, of your team will become a little bit more like an engineer, if you want, or like a technician and they will start working the system rather than just answering tickets all day. And if you invest just a little bit more time in working in the system rather than trying to power through tickets, the exponential gains over time is really rewarding and I think that's what a lot of our clients understood now is it doesn't have to be just like a redundant, past that is in the back-end of business scaled well. It can be just like what they do in the marketing at the front-end where they use the best email tools or the things that scales really well on the advertisement side and that can do one-to-many and they can replicate those mechanics on the customer service side and that's what we're helping with.

Brett:

So, giving tools to create super-agents out of all of your agents, all your Customer Service reps, tying this all together. You got some automation in place that you're utilizing, and, then, like we talked about with social, where someone can interact and reply to comments inside your platform rather than the unmanageable Facebook ads interface and Ads Manager.

Brett:

And, so, then, how do you also tie together data in dashboards and revealing KPIs? Because all this stuff does have a return, right? One, you should it just because the right thing to do to provide good customer service. But, this is creating a business return, as well. Talk a little bit about measurement in dashboards.

Phil:

Yeah. For sure.

Phil:

So, there's the normal, traditional KPIs that are a track what customer support is like. How fast can you reply, how long does it take you to handle an inquiry from the beginning to the end, and what's the average production, let's say, of a certain agent. So, being able to drill down those quick, first-time reply and a time to solve a ticket, that's really where it starts. The basic of it.

Phil:

But, then, where will you compare your benchmarks? So, a lot of our clients are coming in from other platforms, especially the Zendesk, which is a large player in the space... They see that first-time reply go from 20 hours, two hours, in a couple of weeks working together. So, that's really the first benchmark of success is how fast you can reply to your clients. That also determines when your counter-web for Live Chat will go get those rewards.

Phil:

So, really, giving the tools to hit on that KPI is that first mission. And, then, beyond that, we want to transform Customer Support into a profit center and a profit generator. And the main way that we've found to track that today was to tie in the agents on the tickets to the sales that are driven after that ticket was answered for that customer. So, measuring sales by the agents in the main way that you find to measure how well a team is driving the revenue.

Phil:

Because, imagine, how that changed the conversation from your Customer Service team. That, usually, is just like, "Oh, man, we're so behind. We have ten thousand tickets to track and we're responding in 24 hours," to coming out, it's like, "Oh, yeah. Now, our team generated ten thousand dollar last week."

Brett:

Yep.

Phil:

Right? So, the guy goes to the CEO and is like, "Oh, yeah. That's cool. Now, we're talking a different type of language." It's like how do you generate sales for support and transform support into a profit center, which is one of our core mission, and we found ways to track that which are pretty innovative.

Brett:

I love that, turning Customer Support into a profit center. And I believe you get that right and take what could be a so-so or an average experience to a great experience with your customers, then that really makes everything else better. You're going to get more referrals, more word-of-mouth, your ads are going to work better, there's going to be better comments on your ads and things like that. It's all going to compound and really help improve, so...

Brett:

Phil, this has been fantastic. We're up against time a little bit. Really insightful. Really appreciate you taking the time. I'm even more excited now than I was before about conversational commerce and really just encouraging people to do this the right way. And it's worth the investment, it's worth doing, but I would argue that you probably do need a tool like Gorgias.

Brett:

And, so, if someone's listening and they want to check out more about Gorgias, how can they go about doing that and do you guys have demos, trials, resources?

Phil:

Yeah. Absolutely. Yep.

Phil:

If ever they want to trial us, they can just mention the podcast and we will provide them with a second month free for their account.

Brett:

Awesome.

Phil:

And, so, really special offer. Also, we'll put a link in the description here that will provide you with that offer right up the bat if you click on it.

Brett:

Awesome.

Phil:

And, yeah, check out gorgias.com. Yeah, and then hit me up, phil@gorgias.com if you have any question. I'm happy to help you enable your DTC brand with conversational commerce.

Brett:

Awesome.

Brett:

Phil, thank you so much, man. Appreciate the time. Thanks for bringing your wisdom and your passion. Much appreciated.

Phil:

Thank you for having me.

Brett:

Yeah. Absolutely.

Brett:

And, as always, thank you. Thank you for sticking with us. Thank you for tuning it. We'd love to hear more from you. What would you like to hear more of, less of on the podcast? We would love to shape the show and mold it to make you happy and to make sure that this is useful.

Brett:

I do recommend you check out Gorgias. You can check all the show notes at omgcommerce.com. Look at the podcast there. We'll have all the links here.

Brett:

And, with that, until next time, thank you for listening.

Brett:

All right, Phil, that's a wrap. Man, that was so fascinating.

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