A customer conversation platform is bound to increase social engagement and sales conversion. 5 customer messaging tips! | Layer


The Importance of Perceived Performance in Sending Message

Sending Messages Is All About Speed

Technology has made consumers impatient. We don’t just want instant gratification for every click or tap—we expect it.

Retailers and e-commerce companies have been dealing with this for years. That’s why so much time is spent trying to make small, incremental improvements to page load speeds.

Even though you aren’t loading pages in your messaging experience, the demand for instant gratification remains. Users want messages sent at the speed of light—can you deliver?

Perception Is More Important than Reality with Message Send Speeds

Whether you’re using a social media app, a messaging app, or your sending standard text messages, you’ve probably experienced the agony of waiting for message delivery at least once. We take instant messaging for granted, but there are multiple factors that contribute to delayed delivery, including:

  • Poor Internet Connection: If a user has weak cell or WiFi connection, it doesn’t matter how great your messaging experience is—messages won’t send instantly. This is a problem between ISPs and consumers, but users will often blame the actual app they’re using instead.
  • Server Overload on Server Side: Your backend infrastructure has to be prepared to handle all of the messaging traffic from users. This is a constant challenge for messaging apps like WhatsApp, but it can cause minor delays for your own experience, too. Anything less than instant gratification can result in a diminished user experience and hurt your business.

These two high-level problems make it almost impossible to guarantee messages will be sent instantly 100% of the time. But that doesn’t mean you can’t create the perception of instant gratification.

Improving time to send messages is important, but even more important is showing messages in a conversation the instant users tap “send.” This is a simple visual hint, but it makes all the difference in your messaging customer experience.

Instant Gratification in Asynchronous Communication

One of the best benefits of messaging as a central communication channel is the fact that it’s reliably asynchronous. You don’t have to disrupt customers with phone calls and you don’t have to worry about emails getting lost in the shuffle.

It’s great to get back to messages when it’s most convenient, but we still want them to send instantly. Think about what this looks like for a company like BOOK A TIGER that creates direct connections between customers and cleaners. Customers want to send a message and know that it’s been delivered. If they had to sit and wait for a message to deliver over a poor internet connection, BOOK A TIGER would risk losing customers to competitors.

Delivering messages at the speed of light—or at least looking like you are—is a more important piece of the messaging experience than you might think. However, it’s still just one of many best practices to think about as you design customer conversations.

If you want to learn more about building the best possible messaging experience, check out our full Messaging Best Practices guide today.

Increase Engagement with Typing Indicators

Best practices around bringing this consumer social staple into your customer conversations

It doesn’t matter if you’re a hotel chain, a retailer, an airline, a financial services firm, or any other type of company—your digital experiences have to be sticky.

The shift away from brick-and-mortar, face-to-face business has made engagement more difficult. There were always specific strategies for increasing foot traffic and keeping customers in a store. But what happens when all it takes is one click for a user to abandon your mobile app or website?

Messaging is a great way to foster 1:1 relationships with customers and make digital experiences more engaging. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to messaging.

If you dig a little deeper you can make subtle changes that positively impact engagement. This is where typing/activity indicators come in.

Making Asynchronous Communication More Engaging

By definition, asynchronous messaging doesn’t occur in real time. This is a great benefit for user experience because it doesn’t introduce the kind of friction that phone calls include. It’s also an engagement challenge because you give customers the freedom to disconnect from the experience as they please.

Just because you’re embracing asynchronous communication doesn’t mean you can’t engage users. With typing and activity indicators, you can add a real-time component to the asynchronous channel by making recipients aware that a message is coming soon.

The sense of anticipation that comes along with typing indicators increases engagement and makes your messaging stickier. And when you can keep customers engaged with the in-conversation experience, you can ensure faster message delivery times, faster replies, and close the communication loop more efficiently.

It may seem that the benefits of a typing indicator stop when customers leave the messaging experience. This might not be the case, though. Think about how Snapchat is changing the way people think about typing indicators in messaging.

With Snapchat’s messaging feature, users receive push notifications (more on these in a later post) when a friend is typing. Even when Snapchat users are outside of the conversation experience, they’re pulled back in and the messaging app becomes more engaging.

The Snapchat approach might not be the best idea for every situation, but it gives you something to think about as you implement typing indicators to improve engagement.

The Simple Do and Don’t of Typing Indicators in Messaging

If you want to break the typing-indicator conversation down into two simple rules, keep these ideas in mind:

  • Do display a dynamic, in-app indicator when one user is typing so recipients can expect a message. If users are expecting a message, they’ll spend more time within your experience.
  • Don’t surprise recipients with messages that pop up out of no where—it’s a missed opportunity for engagement.

You’d be surprised how much of a difference these typing indicators can make for your messaging experience. But still, they’re just one piece of the conversation experience.

If you want to learn more about how you can design the most engaging messaging experience, check out our full Messaging Best Practices guide today.

Introducing the New Layer Dashboard

A powerful way to manage messaging applications across your organization

We recently announced the general release of the new Layer Dashboard to help customers better manage their usage. The Layer Dashboard is essentially your hub for working with our services and managing individual applications, critical data, users, and settings.

As you build out an ecosystem of world-class messaging in your organization, access control and authorization will become increasingly important. To fill this need, the Layer Dashboard is built with a role-based system that gives admins the power to control access to organizational data and settings.

This introductory post will give you an overview of what you can do with the Layer Dashboard. The full documentation can be found here.

Organizations vs. Applications on the Layer Dashboard

At a high level, the role-based access control within the Layer Dashboard is broken into two groups—organizations and roles.

Your organization represents a set of applications, a set of members who have access to those applications, settings for application authentication, and your overarching billing information.

There are three separate access types you can assign at the organization level:

  • Administrator: These members will have control over the organization’s settings, user invitations, and member access to individual applications. These capabilities span throughout the entire organization, regardless of the number of applications.
  • Member: These users won’t be able to see the organization as a whole. Rather, they’ll be able to view the applications they have access to, view the other members in those applications, and view authentication settings.
  • Billing Manager: Because the person responsible for paying for Layer services isn’t always a member on applications, this is a separate organizational role. These users can see a specific billing section that provides control over payment methods, plan changes, mobile authentication numbers, past invoices, and more.

Within your organization, you’ll see all of the applications you’ve created with Layer services. These applications represent sets of IDs, keys, and settings that allow users to communicate.

By breaking the organization into separate applications, you can have conversations, messages, and identities that don’t interfere with each other. This way you won’t have to worry about your different product teams mixing the wrong data. The key to this separation is access control at the member level.

Administrators at the organizational level will automatically be administrators for all applications within your organization. However, there are two other access options for members of individual applications:

  • Developer: This is the default access level for application members. It enables members to view and change most application settings. However, they can’t affect other member controls or see who has access to the application throughout the organization.
  • Observer: These members won’t be able to change anything in the applications, but they can see most settings.

Access control is an important component of security as messaging becomes a larger piece of your business. However, it’s just one aspect of managing your Layer services.

Additional Layer Dashboard Features

Outside of role-based access control, the Layer Dashboard gives you the ability to manage many other aspects of specific applications, including:

  • Basic analytics
  • Logs for messages, sent, conversations, push notifications, etc.
  • Push notifications
  • Server API access
  • Webhooks access
  • And more

The complete Layer Dashboard documentation is filled with information about how you can centrally manage your Layer services and applications. If you want to find out more about the new product, keep up with all of the latest updates here.

Creating Cohesive Mobile Experiences that Drive Conversions Across Channels [Free Webinar with Branch and Layer]

The Opportunity for Higher-Converting Mobile Experiences

Mobile has been on the radar of businesses for over a decade. And yet, so many companies are struggling to deliver seamless digital experiences.

The problem is that as consumers, we spend so much time bouncing from device to device, channel to channel, and platform to platform. Businesses have adopted each of these devices, channels, and platforms—but they’ve fragmented digital footprints to the point that mobile experiences often leave much to be desired.

There’s a silver lining to the digital experience challenges facing today’s businesses—the opportunity to create a cohesive mobile experience that drives multi-channel conversions.

On Wednesday June, 21, Branch and Layer are partnering to host a webinar that will teach you how to capitalize on this opportunity. Sign up today and find out how to put the pieces of your fragmented mobile experience together.

What to Look Forward to in the Webinar

The upcoming webinar, Creating Cohesive Mobile Experiences that Drive Conversions Across Channels, will be hosted by Branch co-founder Mada Seghete and Layer CEO Ron Palmeri.

As experienced mobile customer experience pros, these two business leaders will lead you through an engaging conversation that covers topics such as:

  • The current state of platform fragmentation and the less-than-perfect digital customer journey
  • Common pitfalls for customer experiences and the keys to success—minimal friction and continuity of intention across platforms
  • How messaging and linking infrastructure create a foundation for your cross-platform digital experience
  • And more

After speaking together at Collision, Mada and Ron saw that they were both trying to solve the mobile experience challenge but from different angles. Their fireside chat will give you a good sneak preview of the topic.

However, if you want to dig deep into the best practices for unifying your many customer experience channels (and start converting more customers in the process), the upcoming webinar is an event you won’t want to miss.

Sign up for the webinar today!


About Mada Seghete

Mada is the co-founder at Branch and leads all Community and Developer marketing initiatives. With over 22,000 members in 53 cities globally, Branch has grown the largest Mobile Growth community in the world. Mada has worked extensively with app marketers and developers to help them grow a successful mobile business. She studied Computer Science at Cornell and has an MS and MBA from Stanford.

About Ron Palmeri

Ron Palmeri is a serial company founder. Before founding and acting as the Layer CEO, he started companies such as MkII Ventures and Prism Skylabs. He is consistently focused on using the internet to disrupt the status quo, evident in his involvement in starting companies like Grand Central (now Google Voice), OpenDNS (now part of Cisco), Scout Labs, Swivel and more.

Add Presence to Your Conversations

Presence Has Shipped

Presence is now generally available for Layer customers; and ready to tell you when your customers and contacts are:

Add Presence to Your Conversations

Presence can facilitate a number of tasks within the communications process:

  • Identifying users who are active within your application, and may need help from your staff
  • Identifying users who are available to chat
  • Providing tools for users to flag their availability to chat

Presence addresses three questions:

  1. Is a user online?
  2. Is the user available, busy or away?
  3. When was the user last online?

How does it work?

Presence takes two inputs:

  1. Connection: Is the app connected to Layer’s Services
  2. Status: A string sent by a client indicating the user’s status

Any change to these values should be quickly reflected in any application that is listening for changes to presence data.  This data is currently available only through the Client APIs (iOS, Android and Web clients). The status has the following values:

  • Available: The user is connected and their status is set to available.  This is the default status.
  • Busy: The user is connected and their status is set to busy
  • Away: The user is connected and their status is set to away
  • Invisible: The user is connected and have set their status to Invisible (Shows to this user as Invisible, and to all other users as being Offline)
  • Offline: The user is not connected

Who can see Presence

Layer provides a model and APIs for controlling which users follow which other users.  Any user that you follow is a user for whom you will receive updates that change their Identity object.  As status is a part of Identity, any changes to status can be seen by all users who follow that identity.  If the person you follow wants to see your status back, they can follow you back.  Layer currently assumes that any users in a conversation together are implicitly following one another, allowing them to each see one another’s status.

Understanding Status

Status values of “away” and “busy” at this time has no defined meaning to Layer.  There is no automated detection that sets your status to “away” or “busy”; each app can decide for itself what sort of patterns of activity/lack of activity justify setting these status values.  For example, your client might automatically set the user to “busy” before starting a phone call.

Any solution for automatically setting a user to “away” is typically only needed for web, and not for mobile clients. Why is that? Most mobile devices change apps or go to sleep after sufficient time has passed, and in so doing, will update the user to no longer being online.

Web browsers and mobile apps have fundamental differences in what it means to be put into the background.  Best practice for a typical mobile app developer whose app has been put into the background is to minimize the system resources used in the background.  Depending on the mobile client, a backgrounded app may flag you as offline within a few minutes of being moved to the background.  On the web however, a tab that is in the background may still visible, and even if hidden may still be generating desktop notifications to announce new messages.  What this means for presence is that a web user who leaves a tab open remains available, and can remain available for weeks to come.  

Presence is a tool; and how best to use that tool for your business will depend a great deal on what you want presence to mean for your application.  As such, Layer Clients do not have a hard coded concept of when to flag a user as Away.  Are you away if the app is in the background? If the app hasn’t seen any user interface events in a while?  If the app has desktop notifications perhaps the user never needs to be flagged as being away as they are always a popup and a click away from seeing new messages.

For your first iteration with presence, you may simplify things by limiting your application to using Available and Offline as the only statuses.  Evolution of how you use presence will need to start factoring in what you want to achieve; “busy”, “away” and “invisible” are status values that you can set within your client to help achieve those goals.

Learn More

Take a look at our documentation for more information on how to integrate Presence into your Layer application. We can’t wait to see what you build with it.

iOS | Android | Web

How dubizzle Drives Mobile Transactions with Messaging

What Is dubizzle?

Founded in 2005 by J.C. Butler and Sim Whatley, dubizzle is a classifieds platform focused on the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

As part of the OLX classifieds company, dubizzle has grown to include over 200 employees. These employees have been tasked with supporting the majority of users on mobile – 70% of the user base.

With the rise of mobile, dubizzle started looking for ways to boost engagement with digital classifieds. To improve the user experience and increase mobile transactions, dubizzle turned to messaging to connect its users.

The Problem: Not All Digital Experiences Are Created Equal

Unlike the United States, the emerging market dubizzle serves essentially skipped the PC era. Rather than moving from desktop browsing to laptops and slowly shifting toward mobile, emerging markets now dominate mobile browsing.  

Despite the differences between developed and emerging markets, OLX co-founder Alec Oxenford once said, “It’s rational to believe you know local markets, but people are always the same in each country. They think the same way. They have different priorities, but they all want to progress in life and that’s what drives internet behavior.”

dubizzle and other OLX classifieds platforms want to facilitate this progress, but they must remove friction from the user experience to do so. At first, this meant using phone calls, SMS messages, and emails to connect dubizzle users with each other. However, there were a few flaws in this approach:

  • Buyers sent emails to sellers but failed to continue the conversation, as the sellers won’t respond
  • Phone numbers proved hard for sellers to keep track of (especially when receiving multiple calls from many buyers).
  • Leaving the dubizzle platform to interact with buyers/sellers led to a limited usage of the platform

Moving to a chat-based platform was the answer to dubizzle’s need to keep interactions within the app.

However, after spending 2 years developing code to make a chat platform vendor’s APIs and SDKs work for their messaging needs, maintenance became overwhelming. After a referral from friends at Shedd, the dubizzle team moved their messaging infrastructure to Layer to simplify their implementation and free up their engineering team.

The Solution: Eliminating User Experience Friction with Layer Messaging

The challenges dubizzle faced with infrastructure maintenance started to hurt the user experience. Solving this problem with Layer meant rethinking the interactions between users.

While the majority of user conversations start with item availability, it’s equally important for dubizzle to move transactions through price negotiation and item pickup. Contrary from the e-commerce platforms, dubizzle transactions happen offline, therefore being able to share location was critical for the overall experience. This requirement added complexity with the original chat platform, but Layer made the backend infrastructure far easier to manage.

“Layer was quick to implement, is easy to maintain, and provides a great conversation experience for our users,” said Mireia Mujika, Senior Product Manager at dubizzle.

The dubizzle mobile app went live in January 2017 with mobile web and desktop support following in April. And within a month, all user- experience complaints stopped and mobile transactions on dubizzle witnessed an increase.

The key takeaway in dubizzle’s story is that creating a messaging-based user conversation can’t improve digital experiences if you spend all your time trying to maintain the backend infrastructure.

If you want to learn how you can implement messaging without backend headaches, contact us today for a free demo of the Layer user conversation platform.  

How Messaging Helps Move e-Commerce Beyond the Shopping Cart

 The Outdated e-Commerce Shopping Cart

Shopping cart experiences have always formed the bedrock of e-commerce. Customers spend time finding products on the merchant’s website or app, add those products to a digital shopping cart, and then follow the payment flow to check out.

As the newcomer in retail in the 1990s, e-commerce needed to use the shopping cart and checkout metaphors from traditional brick-and-mortar commerce to help consumers understand the transaction process. This skeuomorphism has defined e-Commerce ever since.

For more than 20 years, product teams have obsessed over nuances such as button placement, field behavior, and credit card entry in an effort to make the purchasing process as painless as possible.

But times have changed.

With the advent of mobile, the ever-rising expectations of customers, and the complete lack of patience for e-commerce friction, the shopping cart metaphor is losing its effectiveness. Just as retailers were starting to get the hang of traditional e-commerce checkout processes, the market seems ready to move beyond the shopping cart.

Mobile Giants Are Moving Beyond the Shopping Cart

Amazon has perfected the shopping cart. The design might not be flashy, but after years of testing, feedback and improvement, it’s an elegant and reliable workhorse. However, Amazon is doing more than just making iterative changes to the shopping cart.

In dutifully managing and leveraging all of the information at its fingertips, such as shipping addresses and cards on file, Amazon has not only perfected the cart, but moved beyond it.

To understand how Amazon is ending the shopping cart era, we have to go way back to 1999.  Right before the turn of the century, Amazon patented its “one click to buy” concept. In many ways, Amazon didn’t need to patent this technology—nobody has built a logistics infrastructure strong enough to match the e-commerce giant’s ability to deliver goods in a reasonable amount of time and at a reasonable (read: free) price the way Amazon Prime can.

So, for many household items or impulse purchases, Amazon lets you skip the shopping cart entirely and buy with the help of all the context it already has about you. Amazon has even taken the one-click concept a step further by turning the digital “buy” button into the physical Amazon Dash button.

The one-click patent was always meant to streamline the checkout experience. However, this frictionless experience becomes even more important on mobile as you have less screen real estate and ever-impatient customers has better things to do and better places to be than navigating a complex checkout process on their phones.

Now, the one-click patent is coming to an end and Amazon’s cart-less efforts are evolving yet again with Alexa. With Alexa, customers can have an ongoing conversation with a virtual assistant who never forgets and knows all of the relevant details for your shopping needs—not just your credit card and shipping info, but your past preferences and purchase history.

The voice-enabled shopping experience further shrinks the purchase funnel into an immediate fulfillment of customer intent. And as the shopping cart metaphor disappears from e-commerce, Amazon is even experimenting with this concept in its physical Amazon Go grocery stores. Once customers are authenticated at the door, they can just walk out with merchandise and be billed accordingly without standing in line or waiting for checkout.

It’s important to note that Amazon isn’t the only company moving away from the traditional shopping cart. Uber is another example of the magical cart-less experience. You don’t think about paying for your Uber. You order it, you take the ride, and you just get out of the car. The card on file removes all friction from the process.

There’s even been stories of people getting so accustomed to this experience that they’ll accidentally get out of standard cabs without paying. We can’t dismiss these instances as anomalies—they’re indicative of shifting consumer preferences and e-commerce companies have a chance to get ahead.

Trunk Club Redefines the e-Commerce Shopping Cart with Messaging

One of our customers, Trunk Club, has innovated away the shopping cart both in terms of its business model and in terms of the interface that forms the basis of its customer experience—rich messaging.

After signing up for Trunk Club, you’re matched with a stylist who proposes a personalized “trunk” of clothing that meets your stated tastes and needs. After you collaborate with the stylist—removing things that you don’t want, requesting recommendations for other things that didn’t show up the first time—you verbally OK the trunk to be sent out to you.

Once the trunk has been shipped to you, you’re able to try the clothes on, see how they feel, and send back anything you don’t want. Your card is only billed after you decide to keep items from the trunk.

After you enter your card and delivery info the first time, you never have to think about the shopping cart or checkout process again. You don’t even have to think about whether you’ll want to keep everything in a trunk—just say “yes,” “yup,” “good to go!” or whatever chat confirmation you prefer to say you’re ready for a trunk and the personal stylist will ship it to you. This is a frictionless experience that gets beyond your typical e-commerce shopping cart and creates higher-value customer interactions.

The key here is that rather than focusing on conversion rate optimization for an outdated shopping cart metaphor, Trunk Club is basing its business model and interface on conversation. And in a mobile-first world, that means messaging.

Your e-commerce business isn’t just a series of transactions hindered by cart abandonment. Today, e-commerce is a relationship—a personal service that you provide to customers by talking to them and understanding their needs. From this relationship, purchases will flow naturally.

If you’re ready to step away from the aging shopping cart metaphor and buy into a more conversational e-commerce experience, contact us today to find out how the Layer customer conversation platform can help.

The new unbundlers

The new unbundlers

I’ve always loved the Jim Barksdale quote from the Netscape IPO roadshow: “There’s only two ways I know of to make money: bundling and unbundling” — mainly for its simplicity and truth that has stood the test of time and markets.

Today, Amazon has emerged as the Apex Predator of bundlers.

Amazon & Apex Predator of bundlers

It’s been bundling pretty much everything since it started selling books online as Amazon.com in 1995. The scope of that bundling couldn’t be more clear than when Jeff Bezos told Walt Mossberg in 2016 “when we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes in a very direct way.” Or when the totally plausible rumor that Amazon was acquiring Capital One circulated earlier this year. For Amazon, which probably holds more credit cards on file than anyone, becoming a bank seems inevitable. The fact that the rumor didn’t take the market by surprise only further makes the point.

There are plenty of companies that have figured out how to compete with Amazon:  Bonobos, Warby Parker, Trunk Club, Apple, Tesla. These companies have built differentiated products, but importantly, they offer differentiated experiences to their customers which allow them to thrive in today’s climate.

So basically, everyone other than Amazon is an unbundler, whether they like it or not.

Read more on Mobile, Brands and Customer Experience on LinkedIn >>

Algorithms Are Not Enough in Financial Services

Algorithms Are Not Enough in Financial Services

For every article you see about the advantages of emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technology, it seems like there are 3 or 4 discussing how machines are going to take all our jobs.

Finance has been one industry where employees are already experiencing significant displacement. However, financial services firms shouldn’t get carried away with automation.

The most successful firms will be those that can master a hybrid approach to financial management. Computers give you algorithms—but humans facilitate the experiences customers need.

Using Computers for What They Do Best

At times, the outcry about computers displacing human workers goes too far. There’s nothing wrong with automation, but companies have to find the appropriate use cases.

The hallmark case study for computers overtaking humans in financial services is at Goldman Sachs. Back in 2000, Goldman employed about 600 cash equities traders who worked with the firm’s largest clients to buy and sell stocks. As of early 2017 automation has taken hold—only 2 of the 600 traders remain.

According to CFO (and former CIO) Martin Chavez, this is only the beginning of automation at Goldman Sachs. In a recent speech, he explained that “everything we do is underpinned by math and a lot of software.”

The business benefits of automation are clear. Rather than paying high six-figure salaries for 600 traders, the firm only has to pay the 200 computer engineers that have taken their place in that division. When the trades include pricing analysis for things that easily are determined on the market, complex trading algorithms remove the margin for human error.

And Goldman is even starting to implement algorithms for investment trading processes that have typically relied on salesmanship and relationship-building skills. It’s clear that these types of efficiency gains will only increase.

If you take Goldman Sachs as the example, you might think that they’re on a collision course with total human displacement. However, if you look at Goldman’s venture into online retail banking (GS Bank), you start to see the value of balancing computer algorithms with human experiences.

Hybrid Financial Management: Balancing Automation with Human Experience

Streamlining operations with automation has given Goldman Sachs more freedom to pursue other markets. And in early 2016, the firm set its sights on the millennial market by entering the growing online banking sector.

By avoiding the costs of brick-and-mortar retail banking locations, Goldman can keep its delivery costs down and compete with direct banks like Ally, Discover Bank, and Capital One 360 by offering attractive interest rates.

The only problem is that technology can be commoditized and other digital disruptors will always be able to rival Goldman’s product offerings. This is why financial services firms have to balance automation with human interaction—because the customer experience is your key differentiator today.

Despite its aggressive product offerings, GS Bank has seen complications in terms of customer experience. A reliance on IVR systems and the absence of branch offices have showcased the dangers of eliminating human interaction from banking.

While you embrace automation to drive your financial services business forward, you have to make sure you never lose sight of the fact that your human employees are the ones that create customer experiences. If you can create a hybrid financial management platform—one that can automate trading while giving access to humans for greater personalization and service.

Basing your hybrid financial management platform on a universal messaging experience can give you the best of these two worlds. Automation and intelligence can work harmoniously to scale personal human interaction, while delivering value to customers for whom high-touch service would previously have been too expensive.

If you want to learn more about designing a customer experience that lets computers and humans each do what they do best, contact us today for a free demo of the Layer customer conversation platform.

How BOOK A TIGER Uses Messaging to Build Trust Between Customers and Cleaners

How BOOK A TIGER Uses Layer Messaging

BOOK A TIGER is a Berlin-based company that provides on-demand cleaning services for both residential and business customers. Founded in 2014, BOOK A TIGER has grown quickly and raised $21.5 million in venture capital in February 2017.

On the consumer side, BOOK A TIGER’s ability to build trust between cleaners and the customers who are inviting them into their homes is critical. BOOK A TIGER’s digital booking platform must facilitate frictionless coordination and strike a balance between intimate and professional conversation.

However, BOOK A TIGER CTO, Matias Bonet, says that “even though we are considered a tech company, the real value for our customers is the quality of our cleaning, regardless of the fancy technology tools around it.”

Rather than getting bogged down building out a powerful communication infrastructure for its platform, BOOK A TIGER turned to Layer to power its customer conversations.

How Overnight Uses Messaging to Engage with Guests Quickly     How Overnight Uses Messaging to Engage with Guests Quickly

The Problem: No Time to Build World-Class Communication

“Especially in B2C, customers have to trust the people coming to clean their homes. They open their doors and they want to see the same person every week, 2 weeks, or month,” said Matias. “If the cleaning team has to change, they want to see that once a year—not on every visit. So that’s one of the basic promises to our customers. You build a relationship between the customer and cleaner that leads to trust and flexibility in scheduling.”

But fulfilling this promise is easier said than done—especially when you have to pitch a proof of concept to stakeholders on short notice.

BOOK A TIGER only had a couple of days to come up with a proof of concept for its digital booking platform and prove that it could facilitate trust and communication in the cleaner/customer relationship.

According to Matias, “We spent the first 2 hours searching for different providers and evaluating different approaches to integrate all of our existing systems with this new functionality. We decided on messaging functionality where cleaners and customers can communicate with each other without having BOOK A TIGER getting in the way—something integrated in mobile that also worked in a web app.”

After looking down a few other paths, Matias at the BOOK A TIGER team decided to contact Layer.

The Solution: Simple Integration and Fast Proof of Concept with Layer

BOOK A TIGER found out first-hand that it doesn’t have to take long to create a working proof of concept for world-class, branded messaging.

“Before working with Layer, we were doing these conversations over email and SMS,” said Matias. “But over the course of the 18-hour proof of concept project, we discovered our roadmap for implementing messaging from cleaner and customer perspectives. With our Layer proof of concept, we closed our deal with stakeholders, get approval to finish the project, and in the end, it was about 4 days of work.”

While the initial proof of concept was just a skeleton, the feature has seen robust adoption in production across their consumer segment. BOOK A TIGER users have even organically discovered a use for location sharing within their conversations (included with Layer UI) in the coordination of picking up cleaners from awkwardly designed neighborhoods and gated communities.

“We’ve found that sometimes cleaners are late because they can’t find the right customer address,” said Matias. “With the rich location-sharing feature through Layer, we now have customers offering to pick their cleaners up to get them to the right location.”

The BOOK A TIGER story shows that any company can foster mobile customer conversations that drive lasting business value, and that they can do so in a customer experience that they control end-to-end.

If you want to learn more about how BOOK A TIGER got to market so quickly with its messaging strategy, contact us today for a free demo of the Layer customer conversation platform.