Chat commerce can assist companies, especially banks, to connect with customers who are increasingly demanding a new way of engagement and shifting their trust from traditional organizations to start-ups.
This was the message at the recently held Clickatell’s Connect Interact and Transact (CIT) annual event.
The event, which is normally held in Lagos, was hosted virtually this year and chaired by Hannes van Rensburg, Clickatell’s Chief Commercial Officer.
While introducing the speakers, he illustrated the importance of digital engagement in a pandemic challenged world.
He stated that:
- “Covid-19 has changed customers’ buying behaviour and how they interact with brands. For this reason, it has accelerated digital investments for many organizations. Companies are now urgently turning to chat channels to help them meet these new expectations. Clickatell is investing and innovating in this space, so we can enable commerce where your customers are.”
Featured speaker, Alyson Clarke, Principal Analyst at Forrester, kicked off her keynote titled: “The Future of Banking” by sharing some of the company’s research findings that showed how banking business priorities have changed during the pandemic:
- Of note was banks accelerating their shift to become digital businesses, ranked as the third top priority post-pandemic, closely following growing revenue and reducing costs.
- The next decade in banking will be all about insights and who consumers trust to use them.
- Consumers want personalized experiences and products, with a level of guidance and assistance set by customer preference.
- Customers expect return on consent and that trust and permission must not be taken for granted.
- A focus on financial well-being, through advice and in refining products for consumer needs, will define leaders.
An engaging panel discussion following the keynote focused on the importance of chat when it comes to empowering consumers in a digital world.
What they are saying
Gareth Bray, Business Development and Partnerships at WhatsApp, opened the discussion by sharing how Covid-19 has accelerated existing trends.
- “We’ve been working with our partners to onboard new businesses, whether it’s their first foray into conversational commerce or to vastly increase the efficiency of their customer service by using asynchronous chat apps. We have multiple use cases in the fintech space in Africa. One company began onboarding new customers through their chat channel, which meant they could still grow their business even in the throes of a pandemic.”
Pieter de Villiers, co-founder and CEO at Clickatell, confirmed this trend, saying chat was faster, simpler and smarter for both the customer and for the bank. He believes banks, particularly in the emerging markets, can increase their reach by a factor of three if they implement chat.
- “The goal should be no pain for your customer and ultimately zero hold time,” he added
With over 2 billion users on its platform, WhatsApp understands user behaviour when it comes to chat. In this regard, Bray noted that:
- “Meeting your customer where they are is key in all of this. Our findings show that sixty percent of users choose to message a business rather than pick up the phone. They want to interact with a bank on a device of their choosing, on the platform of their choosing, at a time of their choosing. They want this frictionless, convenient service from any company they may be interacting with.”
Samson Isa, Clickatell’s West Africa Director, underpinned these findings when he shared the results of an online poll, event attendees had taken earlier. Asked how comfortable their customers were transacting digitally,
- 60% of attendees responded, ‘very comfortable’
- 34% responded ‘somewhat comfortable’
- and only 6% said their customers were ‘not very comfortable’ transacting digitally.
de Villers chipped in that:
- “We can see that African customers want to engage with brands via digital channels. Enabling chat commerce provides a huge opportunity, particularly for banks in the region.”
What you should know
- As it became clear that customer expectations require real-time assistant with highly relevant and customized offerings, AI-powered chatbots appeared to be a tool that could deliver the results in a seamless manner.
- Chat commerce is developed with the intention of remaining relevant as traditional ways of engagement become obsolete and ineffective.
- Chat commerce provides the ability to engage with customers in real-time, with highly relevant content that mimics a human assistant and the capability of performing multi-step actions within a single chat.