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Episode 48: Conversational Marketing Tips for Connecting With Customers

Jeffrey Lambert
Mar 25, 2020 7:34:11 PM

Today’s customer wants to be heard. And surveys or social media likes aren’t enough! A conversational marketing approach can help. Learn about what this strategy is all about and hear our tips on how you can start today!

Episode Transcript:


Jeff Lambert: (00:00)
Today's customer wants to be heard and surveys or social media likes just aren't enough. A conversational marketing approach can help. Learn about what this strategy is all about, and here are tips on how you can start today.

Jeff Lambert: (00:28)
Hello everybody and welcome to Inbound Academy, brought to you by Rizen. I'm your host, Jeff Lambert. The rise of social media, instant chat tools and on-demand support has opened up new communication possibilities with customers. The opportunity to deepen relationships is there, but it has to be genuine and thought out. There's a strategy towards accomplishing this and it's called conversational marketing. More and more companies are leveraging these approaches to improve their brands.

Jeff Lambert: (00:56)
So to talk about conversational marketing, what it is and how it works, I've invited Rod back into the studio. Rogelio Rodriguez, the CEO at Rizen. Rod, how you doing?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (01:06)
Doing well, thanks.

Jeff Lambert: (01:07)
So let's jump right into it. Conversational marketing. I'd like to know a little bit more about what that is so we can, as we always do, define our terms. That way if someone's never heard of this, they're not completely lost throughout the entire episode. We hear a lot about all these different marketing strategies. So is this like part of the alphabet soup? Is it something that sets it apart? Is something specific or different? Can you give us an overview of what conversational marketing is?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (01:34)
Absolutely. So, conversational marketing is a common sense idea that you should make listening to your customer and their needs a priority. So, it means being vulnerable and incorporating opportunities for feedback with every marketing step you take. So you have to be willing to create opportunities for actual one-to-one feedback and also be willing to adjust your brand on an ongoing basis based on that feedback.

Jeff Lambert: (02:01)
Huh. So yeah, it doesn't sound like necessarily reinventing the wheel in terms of marketing strategies. But yeah, you used that word vulnerability and I think that's a big one. You have to be willing to open yourself up to some criticism and constructive growth.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (02:17)
Absolutely, absolutely.

Jeff Lambert: (02:18)
So this is Inbound Academy, we talk about an inbound marketing approach to growing your business. Is conversational marketing contrary to the inbound marketing philosophy?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (02:29)
No, absolutely not. It's actually complimentary. Inbound embraces the idea of helping the customer along a journey and being a less pressure approach. It's really about listening to the customer and really making the customer the core of your entire business. So they're very much in the same.

Jeff Lambert: (02:58)
That sounds great. I think we all want to reach that point where we have really good relationships with our customer base, that we can take that feedback and use it to improve our own products or services. Can you give us some examples of real world implementations of conversational marketing? What does that look like now in everyday life?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (03:17)
Yes. So live on demand customer support is a perfect example. We have major companies like Dell, Microsoft, they're offering immediate support via Twitter. Apple support chat launches in under five minutes right from your browser window. So, it's really about offering high level customer support, and is one of the most fundamental aspects of the conversation with marketing strategies.

Jeff Lambert: (03:42)
Yeah, and as you mentioned-

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (03:43)
[inaudible 00:03:43]. Go ahead.

Jeff Lambert: (03:45)
I was going to say as you mentioned too, just going back to all of those examples you gave, those are all about being open and vulnerable. Where there may be an angry customer or there may be someone who's dissatisfied with what's going on, they have immediate access to people in your company and you have to be willing to deal with that situation instead of ignoring it.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (04:04)
Absolutely, and it's public. It's very transparent, right? Everybody can see it in those channels that I mentioned earlier.

Jeff Lambert: (04:10)
That's true. Do you have any other examples? So you mentioned on demand customer support, real time.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (04:16)
Sure. Another way that a conversation with marketing is done right is with customer loyalty programs, right? Introducing programs that reward loyalty to customers or customers who renew subscriptions with your company. You can help build your relationships with those customers, because they'll show up more and leave more feedback and then provide more data on their experience, because you're providing the incentives to give them the feedback as well.

Jeff Lambert: (04:42)
It feels like those are everywhere nowadays, those loyalty programs, right? You go to CVS, they have them, you go to every gas station, there's a loyalty program. It's easy to set up a loyalty program. Can you think of a company that maybe is doing it really well?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (04:56)
Yes, Einstein. They have an amazing program where they have their own app, their own email newsletter just for members. Where in the app, they receive free coupons, points with every purchase and a chance to try their beta recipes, and then also be able to provide feedback on those recipes. They have a new Bagelrito recipe that they just launched.

Jeff Lambert: (05:22)
Oh, I love me some Einstein Bagels, so I'm going to have to go check that out.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (05:26)

Jeff Lambert: (05:27)
Okay, so whether I'm responding to a customer message on Facebook or I'm opening a chat bot or just asking for feedback in a newsletter, like an email newsletter, like you said, what are some best practices for approaching that? We can implement conversational marketing a lot of different ways, but how do you make it feel genuine for the customer?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (05:48)
Sure. I think just as a brand or a company or an individual, you've got to be yourself, right? A conversation needs to be timely, the customers and the prospects today really expect everything in real time, so you need to keep your response time reasonable to get to the bottom of the customer issues as quickly as possible. Then also consider using an initial canned response for initial response. Something like, "Thanks for sharing your concern with us. We're formulating a plan to help you and we'll be in touch soon," right? Maybe like a bot on your website can respond quickly. But then make sure that your team gets notified as soon as possible, so that you can reach out to that customer.

Jeff Lambert: (06:30)
Yeah, there's nothing more frustrating than having an issue with a product or a service not working the way you want it to. You want to be able to, if you're going to offer that real time customer support, it needs to be real time. It can't be like, "Well, we'll get back to you" and 48 hours go by before you get a response, because there's nothing real time about that.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (06:47)

Jeff Lambert: (06:48)
All right, so let's talk about maybe do you have any other best practices we can keep in mind? So you're talking about being timely in your responses. What else?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (06:56)
Yes, make sure you personalize your conversation based on who you're speaking with. The only way customers want to know about your product is in relation to their own needs. So you need to leverage all the internal information and external data sources that you have available, so that you can generate relevant insights about your customer, so that you can be equipped with the best and most accurate information to be able to have a good conversation, a productive conversation with that customer.

Jeff Lambert: (07:27)
So you're talking about just examples, being able to, before you even enter a chat with someone, knowing information about maybe the product that they purchased, how long ago it was purchased, how loyal of a customer they are, in terms of repeat business. Are those the types of things you're referring to?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (07:44)
Absolutely. I'll give you an example. This morning we realized we were running out of food for our dog, right? Dog food. So we typically order from Chewy and something happened in the app when we ordered this morning, and it happened to have ordered three times the same food, right? Three deliveries. Immediately upon making or completing those orders, their system actually sent us an email asking us if this is true, if this actually work. Please call us immediately if it's not, so that we can fix it.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (08:27)
Upon calling them, my wife had a conversation with the Chewy agent and the Chewy agent saw the issue right away, recognizing the number that she called from, right? Knowing who it was, she just asked some questions to verify her name and then proceeded to remove the two extra orders. It took less than, I would say 45 seconds to resolve the whole problem.

Jeff Lambert: (08:49)
That's the key too, right? I mean, they were able to look at it, you didn't have to spend five hours on the phone waiting to connect with someone and then the pull up the information. That's great.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (08:57)
Yep, absolutely. In addition to that, I mean, there's also ... Obviously Chewy has a great customer service response, and they're great at what I mentioned there, was it was really a multichannel approach, right? They had it on their app, then they sent an email out and they were able to actually deliver a result via phone.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (09:22)
So don't just offer feedback opportunities via one medium, right? Is the lesson there. You've got to create opportunities from multiple platforms, you have to be able to support via Facebook Messenger, Twitter. Put out surveys and link on social media, right? Provide a way for individuals to provide feedback in the world that we live in today, which is multichannel.

Jeff Lambert: (09:45)
That's true. We've talked a lot on this show about reaching different customers, different customer bases. So if you're trying to reach a younger crowd, if you only have availability for feedback on Facebook, you're missing out on a huge chunk, because those people are not using Facebook.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (09:59)

Jeff Lambert: (10:00)
And so on and so forth. So, all right, Rod. So just to recap, you mentioned that it's important for you to think about conversational marketing and implementing it, and just best tips about keeping it timely and personalizing the conversation and creating different ways for people to interact with you. Have you used conversational marketing with your own brand?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (10:21)
Yes, we use it currently on We use a bot to book appointments for myself and the sales staff. So if someone goes in and is consuming information about our sales, they're given the opportunity to interact with our bot, which will help them and guide them through to answer some simple questions that will allow us to be better prepared to have a sales conversation with them. The same thing, we use a chat bot for our Facebook Messenger system as well.

Jeff Lambert: (10:57)
In your experience, do customers respond well to just getting that kind of instant message, "Hey, we'll be right back to help you," and then the conversation continues from there?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (11:06)
They do. They like that it's quick, right? Because if you use a bot, you can program the bot to respond fairly quickly to everyday questions. Your frequently asked questions can be programmed into a bot, and that increases the chances of having a good experience, right? Then also, use it as a system to route to the right personnel to talk to that person as well, if you need to.

Jeff Lambert: (11:37)
So I'm going to put you on the spot here and ask you one final question. What's a good place to start for a business that's maybe just starting to grow? So say I just opened a pizza parlor and I want to be able to engage with my customers more. Using conversational marketing, what platforms would you recommend I start with? Is there kind of a baseline that you think you should develop a presence on?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (11:58)
You said a pizza place, I would start with Google My Business. Inside Google My Business, you have a capability to receive feedback, you have the capability to respond to that feedback, message your actual individual customers. Then on your website, I would say to augment using some kind of chat feature. There's so many out there. We use HubSpot. There's a free version of HubSpot that allows you to do chat as well.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (12:34)
But those are probably the two places that I would start, right? One on Google My Business, because you're a location-based business, so you'll come up in Maps results. It gives you all the tools that you need to get started. Then secondly, I would probably implement something, a chat system on your website, once they get to the website themselves.

Jeff Lambert: (12:56)
Got it. Well, I appreciate the feedback, Rod. I think that's a good place to start. We talk about this in the conclusion, but hey, we're on the subject now. If you're a business and you're interested in partnering with the marketing firm that can help you be able to implement conversational marketing and make these tools actually work on your site and to build those relationships, Rizen's an excellent choice. Can you share with our users how they can connect with you on social media?

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (13:20)
Yes, absolutely. I mean, they can go to any of the social medias, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn under Rizen Inbound, or go to our website at and reach out through our chat system or fill out a contact us form as well. We're happy to chat.

Jeff Lambert: (13:43)
Great. Well, there you have it, folks. You have your first steps on how you can get going as a business and you have a company that you can connect with if you get stuck or need a little extra help. Rod, thanks so much for coming by today, I appreciate it.

Rogelio "Rod" Rodriguez: (13:53)
All right, thank you, Jeff.

Jeff Lambert: (13:56)
To our listeners, thank you for joining us again today for another episode. Remember, you can expect a new episode every week and it's always going to be filled and focused on advice that's going to help you grow your business.

Jeff Lambert: (14:07)
If you'd like to help us out in growing this podcast, please, please just take a moment to leave a review on the podcast app that you're using. You can usually leave either a star rating or just a quick one or two sentence feedback piece, it really helps us get in front of new customers. But either way, thank you for your continued support and we'll see you on the next episode.

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