Cloud telephony can help e-commerce startups improve customer acquisition and engagement

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Cloud telephony can improve engagement through personalised experience, responsive support, and better tracking and scalability

Customer acquisition and retention are two of the biggest challenges faced by any startup. This challenge gets magnified when you’re in the business of e-commerce and online retail. With margins often rather low, and competitors to make the going very tough, an e-commerce startup needs all the help it can get. That’s where tools like cloud telephony come in.

Cloud telephony offers features that were previously accessible only to well-established corporations. With the inherent advantages of agility, affordability and scalability, cloud telephony is perfectly matched to any startup which needs to ramp up a customer acquisition drive. Here’s why:

A great customer experience

New companies need to go the extra mile to draw in new customers. That means providing a great customer experience, one that lends itself not just to repeat business, but also additional customers through word of mouth. Do it right and you have a loyal customer who’ll come back, and will even recommend you to friends and family.

1. Providing a personalised experience

As customers, we all like it when a brand treats us like family. When you go to a restaurant where the maitre’d remembers your name and the way you like your dish served, you would want to keep visiting the place again. The same logic applies when you’re shopping. Cloud telephony lets you give your online customers a similar experience. Caller IDs hook into your CRM database which give your telesupport staff all the background info on a caller, easy ‘click here to get a call back’ website plugins, one-touch access to previous orders. It’s easy to add a personalised touch to any call you get from your customers.

Also read: CRMs are important to business growth, and you can ensure profits, loyalty, and productivity through better customer relationships

2. More responsive customer support

Apart from creating a personalised, welcoming experience, cloud telephony also makes your customer support department a lot more responsive. Making customers identify themselves and repeat their issue history at each point of contact is a surefire way to annoy them. You don’t want that, do you?

Instead, a cloud telephony call handling system which picks up data from your customer database can help make every call shorter and more likely to result in faster resolution. Make it easy for your execs to get the details of a customer, and they’ll be able to help them faster.

Cloud telephony also makes sending order and issue updates easier. Auto SMS responses, call back requests, auto delivery of order information — any good cloud telephony suite can enable this by connecting to your various databases.

3. Toll free numbers help resolve queries

Not all purchases are as simple as clicking on a website or app. Some products especially those of high-value or customisable items will sell a lot more units if you make it possible for a customer to get in touch over the phone and clarify their doubts. You can do this by assigning special toll-free numbers for high-value products. Then all you have to do is design a call flow system which directs these calls to a product specialist who can walk the customer through the purchase.

Last-mile sales conversion is also an area where cloud telephony helps. See an existing customer browse through a product listing on multiple occasions without actually making a purchase. Or perhaps there’s something in their cart for a few days. Why not call or message them through an automated outbound campaign?

At this point, it would also be pertinent to note that reputable cloud telephony services such as those offered by Knowlarity adhere to DND norms, ensuring you never go against your customers’ or visitors’ contact preferences.

4. Helps power the tools used for customer engagement

The field of online retail and e-commerce is highly competitive. Driving customer acquisition and retention often requires a greater effort than offline retail. Sales, special offers, affiliate deals, contests — these are all some of the tools many e-commerce brands use. Once again, cloud telephony can power your online sales drive by helping you utilise tools such as contests over IVR, loyalty discount codes, product feedback over SMS, etc.

5. Helps builds trust in your brand

Building trust and offering a public image of competence does not necessarily require a long-standing presence. ‘Small’ things like offering toll-free numbers, personalised call handling, and ensuring no call goes unanswered can do that as well.

Also read: Why trust is the biggest barrier to entrepreneurship and innovation

More efficient marketing

Startups need to work with smaller marketing budgets and drive the maximum ROI from those campaigns. They also need to respond very quickly to market opportunities. Both are vital for customer acquisition. Here are two ways in which cloud telephony can help.

1. More accurate tracking of campaigns

Any marketer needs to keep an eye on the ROI on the various campaigns that might be going on. How about assigning separate toll-free numbers to your various ad campaigns and social media channels?

This will permit you to make out exactly which channels and campaigns are acquiring the most customers. Accordingly, you can focus your resources on the better-performing channels and repeat the successful campaigns. Not only will this help you acquire more customers, it will also help you to avoid wasting money on campaigns that don’t deliver enough value.

2. The speed and scalability advantage

Startups rarely follow a traditional business lifecycle. Success might come fast, your brand might jump into the spotlight with one viral campaign, and you might even change focus. This is where old-school enterprise systems might fail to keep up. Usually designed keeping a long-term lifecycle in mind, with expensive infrastructure demands, these aren’t well suited to a startup. On the other hand, cloud tech solutions such as cloud telephony easily keep pace with any startup.

Whether it’s starting a new marketing campaign to commemorate a festival, or even increasing support lines, cloud telephony solutions offer the speed and scalability a startup needs to respond quickly to market opportunities.

Behind the scenes

What’s the one thing common to all fledgling e-commerce startups? If you said ‘budgetary constraints’, you’re right. When the funds are limited and you need to focus on a lot of things at once, every penny saved is a penny earned.

Cloud telephony also has a vital role behind the scenes. Whether it’s allowing your support staff to check the staus on an in-process order or refund, or connecting your installation staff to the logistics department, it can make your day-to-day operations a lot more efficient.

When you have to spend less on operations, you can have a far bigger marketing budget which you can use for driving more visitors to your product pages or optimizing your pages for boosting conversions.

1. Faster response

We’ve already spoken about how connecting your CRM database to your call handling system can pay dividends. But there’s many more ways cloud telephony can help. Here’s one example:
Are your customers expecting a technician to show up to help install their new purchase? Why not design a system which sends an alert SMS to the nearest tech representative as soon as your delivery associates confirm the product has been dropped off? This will speed up the installation time and keep your customer happy.

Also read: User generated content is king, and product reviews can bring your e-commerce business to the next level

Additionally, it will save your team a significant amount of time because you don’t have to take the trouble of manually coordinating with your team to arrange an appointment. As I mentioned before, any money that you save in operations can be reallocated for customer acquisition

2. Inexpensive deployment

Traditional call centres require a heavy investment in infrastructure and are usually out of bounds for startups. Cloud telephony, on the other hand is far more affordable and does not require you to purchase any hardware at all – an Internet connection is all you need. Cloud telephony, can therefore save you substantial amounts of money for reinvesting in acquisition channels.

Conclusion

It’s no exaggeration to claim cloud technologies such as cloud telephony have turned the world of business upside down. No longer are cutting-edge solutions restricted to businesses with deep pockets. On the other hand, the advantages inherent in cloud products – scalability, affordability, and versatility — perfectly complement the nature of startups. This holds especially true for e-commerce startups, which have a tough challenge ahead when it comes to customer acquisition. But by adopting a cloud-based communications platform, your startup can meet this challenge armed with a tool that drives customer delight.

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The views expressed here are of the author’s, and e27 may not necessarily subscribe to them. e27 invites members from Asia’s tech industry and startup community to share their honest opinions and expert knowledge with our readers. If you are interested in sharing your point of view, submit your post here.

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Source: e27