Reorganizing Business Around Lifetime Customer Conversations

We talk a lot about messaging on the Layer blog. And while messaging has become the primary interface for consumer communication, a larger mindset shift is necessary to keep pace with the needs and expectations of modern consumers.

Brands are doing what they can to augment their business models and deliver mobile experiences and omnichannel interactions. However, customers aren’t actually demanding omnichannel interactions—they want to interact with your brand wherever and whenever they please.

On the surface, omnichannel appears to be the perfect response to the mobile-first consumer. But look closer and you’ll see that omnichannel doesn’t overcome the fundamental roadblock to more conversational business—traditional organizational siloes.

Rather than viewing mobile messaging or other omnichannel tools as an endgame, it’s time to look at the bigger picture and organize your business around the lifetime customer conversation.

The Problem with Traditional Business Siloes

As the world’s biggest brands have grown over the years, natural siloes have formed and become the norm. Accounting, finance, sales, marketing, IT—each silo is meant to carry out its specific function to contribute to larger business goals.

However, adapting to a mobile-first world means moving much faster than traditional businesses are used to. Now, business leaders are searching for new ways to effectively break down long-standing siloes so different departments across the organization can work together and meet consumer demands.

There’s just one problem—your customers don’t think about siloes. In the eyes of consumers, the conversation is simply between your brand and themselves.

While you’re worrying about how sales and marketing can work more closely, optimize MQLs and SQLs, and streamline support processes, customers just want direct communication at all stages of their relationships.

With a siloed mindset, it’s easy to think that simple changes to support processes or new approaches to conversion funnel optimization will set you apart from competitors. However, truly listening to mobile-first consumers and building a conversational business is about much more.

Understanding the Lifetime Customer Conversation

Some brands believe that just because they’ve gotten out ahead of the latest chatbot trends, they’ve set themselves up to support lifetime customer conversations.

And while chatbots and messaging are vital pieces of conversational business, they’re far from the entire story.

In addition to mobile messaging, the lifetime customer conversation includes store visits, desktop website activity, support interactions, product reviews, and more. Even if you don’t realize it, you already have each of these touchpoints with customers. Now, you just have to bring it all together in a way that lets you model the lifetime customer conversation continuously.

This is the real value of messaging as a framework—the ability to create a single event stream that houses the lifetime customer journey. We call it the Lifetime Customer Conversation.

A good portion of the activity could be traditional messages back and forth between your brand and a customer. Some of the lifetime customer conversation may be rich interactive experiences like order tracking flows or commerce objects. Other portions will just be inferred behavior from all of the different products a customer viewed on your website.

Thinking about the lifetime customer conversation in this way is how you’ll ultimately break down the siloes within your organization. Having this unified view of individual customer relationships will get your brand back to focusing on one-to-one interactions.

For some business leaders, this shift toward lifetime customer conversations may seem overwhelming. But in reality, the conversational era is coming full circle. You can see it in the last century of business evolution:

  • The Pre-Industrial Era: Think about shopkeepers, blacksmiths, and traveling salesman in the early 1900s. At that point, the only way to do business was to forge one-to-one relationships with customers.
  • The Rise of Mass Marketing: One-to-one business really got lost when mass media and big box retail became the norm. From the 1950s to recent years, we’ve “optimized” our way to a disconnect between brands and customers that won’t work for mobile-first consumers.
  • The Return of Conversational Business: Thanks to smartphones and messaging interfaces, brands can reintroduce the conversational era in a way that fits the modern consumer’s needs and expectations.

Embracing lifetime customer conversations isn’t just a tactic to set yourself apart from competition. It’s a way to rethink how you do business for the long term.

Companies like Trunk Club are already seeing success from the organizational shift to lifetime customer conversations. It’s not just about improving shopper connection rates 200% with the help of messaging (though that’s certainly a benefit). It’s about the 14x transactional lifecycle improvement and the ability to maintain customer relationships even after a single purchase.

The Layer Customer Conversation Platform gives you the tools necessary to model the entirety of a customer’s interactions with your brand. If you want to learn more about how this can help your business build lifetime customer conversations, contact us today for a free demo.