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SMS + Live Agents: How Leading Brands Recover Thousands in Revenue
SMS Marketing Best Practices

SMS + Live Agents: How Leading Brands Recover Thousands in Revenue

Creating human connections is a powerful tool that will not only help companies gain revenue in the short term but drive connections and loyalty in the long run.

July 20, 2022

Why Live Agents Are Needed Now More Than Ever 

Human connection is more valuable than ever before. People have experienced a pandemic, social distancing, and remote lifestyles for years. Brands have been focusing on automation, bots, and computers because they are scalable and can cut costs in some instances. What it comes down to is computers lack that human element, and customers can feel that. What brands gained in efficiency, they lost in personality, connectivity, and humanity.

Creating human connections is a powerful tool that will not only help companies gain revenue in the short term but drive connections and loyalty in the long run. Brands such as Thinx, Disco, and Tenzo Tea have seen incredible results from bringing a human in the loop. 

“What we’ve seen with the dramatic shift in customer behavior is consumers spending time on their mobile devices. This includes browsing and shopping. What we’ve seen success with is a lot of these automations and the scalable technology that allows a brand to reach out to these customers through SMS. What’s been lacking though is this human element,” said Rev Reddy, Voyage CEO

Why SMS and Live Agents Combination Works so Well 

SMS is an incredibly powerful marketing and communication tool. With 98% open rates and your brand’s text messages being alongside conversations with friends and family, it’s no wonder that brands see incredible success with SMS. 

Then add live agents that can have a nuanced conversation with customers, and you have the formula for success. 74% of customers say they would rather interact with a person than a chatbot or automated text. From a customer's perspective, it is a much better experience to reach a live agent, especially if they are trying to resolve an issue or have a question. In fact, the majority of customers want to actively write back to businesses for customer support issues. 

SMS is More Impactful Than Email

Brendan Hastings, VP of Digital Product and Engineering at Thinx, a specialized online underwear brand, found that live agents communicating through SMS is much more effective than email. 

“We’d developed a workflow where our CX team received an emailed list of all the abandoned carts each morning, along with customers’ names and emails and a link back to their cart,” said Brendan. “The team would literally go through customers one by one and email them. Our thinking was that if there was a human element and customers could get immediate answers, we’d see an increase in conversions versus automated emails.”

Unfortunately, things didn’t work out that way. The process became a huge workload for the CX team, without bringing a sufficient increase in conversions to be worth all the time, cost, and effort.

Despite that early stumble, Brendan was convinced humans beat bots when it came to recovering lost purchases. And he quickly had another brainwave.

While exploring SMS as a way of engaging with customers during the store’s annual sales period, it struck Brendan that human-powered text messaging could also hold the key to improving his cart recovery rates.

“Using SMS for cart recovery, alongside the emails we were already sending, felt like a good fit,” said Brendan. “But we needed a platform where real people were on the other end of those messages. So if a customer texted back, rather than some sort of bot trying to parse what the customer had said, a real-life, friendly agent would be there to answer their question to the best of their ability and help them to buy.” 

After using live agents to follow up after abandoned checkouts, Brendan recovered more than $450k of revenue in just eight months. 

Person-to-Person (P2P) vs Application-to-Person (A2P)

Person-to-person and application-to-person SMS messaging have different regulation standards. 

  • Application-to-Person (A2P): Any form of message traffic in which a person is receiving messages from an application rather than another individual. Single send and automated drip workflow text messages are A2P.
  • Person-to-Person messaging (P2P): When two or more people communicate over text messaging. P2P messages must be sent by humans. 

While the majority of SMS compliance regulations are similar across A2P and P2P messaging, the TCPA does not expressly require written consent for person-to-person SMS. This means merchants can follow up with customers that have given their phone numbers at checkout, finalize the sale, and save customer relationships. 

How Are Brands Recovering Thousands with Live Agents and SMS

While there are other places that brands should implement human connection, such as customer service, where brands are seeing incredible revenue impact is using humans to follow up on abandoned checkouts. 

For example, LiveRecover by Voyage is an SMS platform that gives brands access to a team of highly-trained live agents (aka brand ambassadors) that will message every customer who provides their mobile phone number in the phone field at checkout. 

LiveRecover’s agents will:

  • Send tailored, personalized texts to customers 30 minutes after every cart is abandoned to understand why they didn’t buy.
  • Answer all the common questions that make customers hesitate—such as shipping, fit or measurement, and other product-specific queries. 
  • Offer a small discount, typically in the form of free shipping, to seal the deal.

Brands that have implemented cart abandonment live agent recovery have seen: 

So we know that SMS has incredible open rates and that people want to talk to humans, but why is this method of abandoned checkout recovery so effective? 

Personalized Experience Gives Brands Actionable Insights 

Once you have started reaching out to customers that made it all the way to check out but then abandoned their cart, you’ll be able to update the customer experience to improve conversion rates. 

For example, if your customers have questions about the fit of a garment, it may be time to beef up your product page or size guide with more information. 

Improving Customer Lifetime Value 

Customer lifetime value (CLTV) is a key marketing metric to track your customer experience and how your customers contribute to your company as a whole. This is the total amount spent by customers throughout the period of their relationship with your brand. It is more cost-efficient to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones, so increasing the value of your current customers is important to the growth of your brand.

As our wonderful CPO, Zach Holmquist, said: 

“Show your customers you give a sh*t about them… There’s always going to be a place for automation and bots, but your brand can’t prioritize those things over a human-led customer experience.” 

Adding a human-in-the-loop shows your customers you are willing to spend time, energy, and resources to make their experience great. Not every brand is willing to do this, and it's the thing that can set you apart from competitors.

Ready to see meaningful impact through human-in-the-loop? Join more than 2,000+ eCommerce brands using LiveRecover by Voyage to increase sales. Start your free trial today! 
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