A Best Practices Guide for Implementing In-Browser Messaging Solutions
When was the last time you checked the email account given to you by your service provider? If your answer is, “I can’t remember” or, “more than a month ago”, you’re not alone. Research conducted by 451 Research shows that in today’s crowded messaging environment, email—whether your default service provider email or other personal account—is no longer an effective way for service providers to communicate with subscribers.
The report, Subscribers Demand New Communication Methods from Service Providers, surveyed 400 people to find out what communication methods today’s subscribers prefer when it comes to receiving important information from their communications service provider (CSP). In addition to most people saying that they ignore or rarely check their service provider email account, over half (53%) of respondents stated that important emails often end up in spam folders. As subscribers demand new communications methods that suit their current digital lifestyles, service providers are faced with the challenge of finding the right application.
A great communications tool should be mutually beneficial, providing an easy way for CSPs to get important notifications to subscribers—and an easy way for subscribers to take action, such as paying an upcoming bill or upgrading service to avoid overage charges. As the 451 Research report shows, in-browser messaging helps CSPs personalize and enhance the customer experience in a manner that aligns with a subscriber’s digital lifestyle. Today’s consumers are almost always online and expect self-directed, on-demand, two-way engagement – anywhere and on any device – and in-browser messaging achieves just that.
New channels of communications are destined to be used widely among service providers, especially as customers rapidly begin to accept and prefer different modes of communication. Service providers will find a mutual acceptance of these applications as an effective method of reducing incoming calls to live agents in the contact center and, therefore, a welcome way to reduce operational costs and enhance operating margins. In addition, new opportunities arise to promote added value in terms of sales and marketing notices, personalized customer care, and the improved efficiency and financial benefits of enhanced billing and revenue management. Below are the most popular in-browser messages subscribers demand that service providers can use as a best practice for developing a success in-browser messaging strategy.
In-browser messaging best practices ensure success for CSPs
It’s important to bear in mind that not all messages are created equal. Figure 8 below illustrates that survey respondents are largely willing to accept different types of in-browser messages from their CSPs, based on the top three selections made from a list. The types of messages subscribers are most willing to accept by are:
- proactive customer experience messages such as billing reminders (e.g., payment due, paperless billing)
- security alerts (e.g., device infection)
- service notices (e.g., scheduled outages, appointment reminders)
These use cases also have strong business results. For example, subscribers with infected devices are 3.8 times more likely to switch service providers, and 8 times more likely to contact the call center. With a simple in-browser message that contains remediation steps, those costs are alleviated and the subscriber relationship preserved.
Although not among the top three choices, customers are also willing to accept promotional messages (e.g., service upgrades, 3rd party offers); new service announcements (e.g., parental controls, pay-per-view); and privacy notices (e.g., terms and conditions update). These types of in-browser messages are proven to increase revenue. For example, one service provider created a value-added internet safety bundle and promoted it using in-browser messaging — the 12-month adoption target was achieved in just three months. The premium service bundle generated substantial new revenue and competitive differentiation. Another service provider launched a campaign targeted at subscribers who reached their data allowance and offered them the ability to upgrade service. Within the first 24 hours, 16% of subscribers accepted the offer and added more data.
Provide incentives for promotional messages
Since subscribers tend to be leery of marketing and promotional messages, the survey also explores ways to incentivize subscribers to opt in. As shown below in Figure 9, the two most popular incentives are to offer a price discount on existing service, or an internet speed upgrade. However, there are creative ways to offer other incentives based on demographics. For example, respondents ages 55-65 showed higher interest in a free internet security add-on, while 20-24 year-olds cited a speed upgrade as their first choice.
The communications trifecta: send the right message to the right person at the right time
The right messages delivered to the right person at the right time, when the subscriber is online and engaged, can result in 10x higher view rates and conversions than email. In-browser messaging can also be used to reach out to at-risk subscribers who have requested disconnection in an effort to reduce churn. Service providers can also lower costs by proactively reaching out to subscribers, which results in higher call-deflection rates. One of our customers retained 18% of at-risk subscribers and reduced call center traffic by 60% with in-browser messaging from Nominum N2 Reach.
CSPs can use in-browser messages to inform their subscribers about the great services they offer, along with educational and other helpful information about their subscriptions. The most important aspect of developing a strategy for in-browser messages is to make sure you are sending messages that provide useful information subscribers want to hear about, or actionable information subscribers can use to continue to personalize and improve their internet experience. Digital experiences represent a revolutionary shift in the brand to customer relationship, and service providers that make the critical adjustments necessary to improve the customer experience in a manner that accounts for and aligns with this digital shift are setting themselves up for prolonged success.
Want to learn more about in-browser messaging? Click here to read the full report.