More than 1.5 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp today to stay in touch with friends and family, anytime and anywhere. With WhatsApp Business, companies will be connected in real-time with consumers across the globe.
Customers want to connect with businesses in the same way they chat with their friends and family - with fast, simple, and convenient messaging. In fact, 63 percent of consumers who have used messaging to contact a brand report satisfaction with their experience. And with over two billion messages being exchanged between consumers and companies monthly, the growing global preference for conducting customer support through messaging is not slowing down anytime soon.
"Great companies are committed to serving their customers whenever and wherever customers want to get answers," said Lithium CEO Pete Hess. "Messaging channels like WhatsApp Business give companies a fast and simple way to address customer questions in a direct and highly personalized way."
The Lithium platform centralizes private messages like WhatsApp Business, public social, and branded communities for companies to engage at scale. Lithium’s participation in the WhatsApp Business early access program will help our customers reach their audience at a global scale, while increasing value of engagement.
Check out the full announcement about WhatsApp Business here.
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The evolution of digital and social media has dramatically changed the entire customer service dynamic. Online communities and social media channels have now become increasingly important methods for getting support or answers to simple questions. In fact, according to Sapio Research, 73 percent of consumers are more comfortable now than they were two years ago reaching out via digital channels for customer service.
This tells us that consumers want to be able to connect with brands in whatever way they want – preferably in a quick, one-to-one fashion – and on the channel of their choice. This could be via Facebook Messenger, tweets rerouted to Twitter Direct Messages, web chats, community forums, or even messaging through a brand’s mobile app. Gartner has even suggested that, by 2019, over 80 percent of people around the world will have used a social channel as an initial point of contact for brand-related support from peers, a community, or a brand itself
You’re likely seeing a trend here. Think about your own experience. When given a choice to sort out dinner plans with a friend, for example, do you pick up the phone and call or do you shoot off a quick text message with the hope (or, rather, the expectation) of getting an immediate response? Likely, if you’re like a growing majority of consumers, you probably went the text route. Why? Because it’s quick and easy – and typically gets you an instant response.
So, it should come as no surprise that consumers now expect brands to manage their customer service needs in the same way they go about their day-to-day interactions. For one, messaging is asynchronous, which is a fancy way of saying that it can happen anywhere, at anytime, on any device, and across virtually any platform or media channel. It’s in-the-moment. For example, you step out quickly for a coffee. You’re not happy with the service you got, so you send a tweet from your phone to the company to air your concern. Now, you’re back at the office and in front of your computer. You see a response from the company asking to move the conversation to DM. In a matter of minutes, you’ve managed to have a cross-channel customer service experience – probably without even realizing it.
That’s why we’re so excited to announce the launch of Lithium Messaging , an asynchronous messaging solution for brands to seamlessly and securely communicate to customers in a more personalized way across social, web, and mobile – all at an efficient, manageable scale. This adds more digital touchpoints for brands to reach customers, including:
Private messaging in a brand’s mobile app
Click-to-chat on a brand’s website
Secure messaging transfer from social channels
Messaging in a brand’s community
With Lithium Messaging, you can centrally manage conversations across these touchpoints and create stellar customer experiences wherever and whenever your customers reach out to you.
Sprint, a U.S.-based telecommunications company, has recently tapped into Lithium Messaging with Secure Verification to authenticate customers from social in a secure, Sprint-owned environment. This has allowed the company to resolve customer service issues without asking them to call an agent, reducing Sprint’s customer call backs by 77 percent.
Check out our press release to learn more .
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Think of your last interaction with a company. Did you call them? Email them? Tweet them? Visit a store? Research products on their website or read their reviews? If you’re like more and more customers, then your interaction involved typing on a mobile device. And let’s be honest, most of our communication with each other is increasingly digital, too.
According to a recent Harris Poll, 65% of customers will stop using a brand’s product (even if they love it) if they have a bad experience with the brand. Since these experiences are likely to be digital, the stakes are incredibly high. Brands are listening to customers across more digital channels, responding to more conversations, publishing more content, finding new ways to reach customers…all with higher expectations for authenticity and brand stewardship. It’s exhausting!
What makes this overwhelming job for digital marketers and care even harder is treating each initiative separately. A thousand ad-hoc cuts vs a cohesive plan smartly executed.
Paid, earned and owned Social play roles at each stage of the consumer journey— from the way brands acquire new customers, to how they serve and grow existing ones. And the management of PEO is optimized when approached holistically. A unified approach to PEO simplifies and advances a brand’s digital CX strategy. For example, consider analytics and the ROI story a unified dashboard tells vs separate, siloed views.
Lithium announced integrations today with best-in-class partners across the digital spectrum, bringing PEO together and earning a position as a leader in the SMMS market by Forrester. We're thrilled to roll out :
Ads integrations: with paid ad automation tools Brand Networks, Nanigans, and Smartly.io, Lithium now supports the most ads integrations in the market enabling marketers to schedule and analyze paid ads alongside organic content.
Listening integrations: social intelligence platforms Netbase and Synthesio allow marketers to sharpen their campaign strategies, act upon trends and intelligence, and better manage brand health.
Social Impact Ranking: new competitive benchmarking capabilities allow marketers to measure how they stack up against competitors in areas like influence, sentiment, audience, and more.
Comprehensive mobile publishing: available on Android and iOS, Lithium’s mobile app offers sophisticated capabilities, such as easy live-tweeting and the industry’s only way to auto-schedule posts for the optimal time of day.
Learn more in our press release.
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It seems all too common for big brands to find themselves in a very public crisis these days—a company spokesperson who keeps saying all the wrong things, a bystander video that goes viral, a product recall, or an ad that completely misses the mark. And with social media, these crises can bloom and spread across the web in minutes. The impact to the brand? Measured in millions of dollars, or more.
But while a crisis may be occurring, ordinary customers still have normal questions and concerns, like “why does my account still have fraudulent charges?” “Help, my flight is delayed!” “This product is defective and I’ve waited an hour on the phone.” These customers still have high expectations and will leave if you don’t support them. The last thing a brand in crisis needs is to lose more customers.
The magnitude of crisis-related posts on social alone can be staggering. For example, a Fortune 500 company recently hit 250x their daily average. In cases like these, Lithium Social Media Management handles millions of posts, and enables the core Social Care team to maintain stated response SLAs for all customers. This means the PR, Marketing, and Social teams can manage the crisis event (and its aftermath) while the Social Care team maintains day-to-day service levels. How can technology help?
Scalability: Lithium SMM handles orders-of-magnitude traffic increases without impacting how quickly posts get to agents. So posts keep flowing, and agents keep responding within their expected SLAs.
Filtering and Routing: Using advanced filtering and look-back technology, Lithium SMM can identify the crisis and automatically segregate these posts from normal traffic. So agents stay focused.
Advanced Analytics: Based on crisis signatures, Lithium SMM automatically spins up a dashboard providing real-time and historical baseline reporting. So you stay in control.
Technology—and specific to this post, social technology—won’t fix a crisis. But, the right social technology can mitigate the effects: brand damage, customer churn, and needless expense.
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Whether you’re a SXSW veteran or a newbie, there’s a lot going on near downtown Austin. It can be really overwhelming to navigate in a desperate search for your caffeine fix or hangry lunch craving. And if you’re looking for that great place you visited last year, it may not be around. Over 60 Austin restaurants closed last year, including the Patika’s Coffee Cart, Cantina Laredo, and Snack Bar on South Congress.
But many new places have opened, including half of our list below.
The good news? We know Downtown Austin and have compiled our TOP 10 go-to places for the…
Best ridesharing: Ride Austin , Fare , or Fasten (Uber and Lyft do not currently operate in Austin)
Best coffee: Caffe Medici (the espresso is delish) or Houndstooth Coffee
Best burger: Burger Bar
Best BBQ: Cooper’s (or Perry’s for a good steak)
Best Tex-mex: La Condesa
Best healthy snack: Blenders and Bowls
Best cocktails: Swift’s Attic or The Townsend
Best food truck: Chi’lantro or Big Fat Greek Gyros (on Rainey St)
Best outdoor lounging: Easy Tiger (bake shop and beer garden)
Best quick escape from downtown madness: The Historic Scoot Inn on the east side is just a 5 minute cab drive away. We’re also co-hosting the Geek-a-Cue here on Saturday night, so it’s a great excuse to hear some music, relax outside, and grab some BBQ.
For other ideas outside of downtown, check out Austin Eater’s guide of Where to Eat in Austin for SXSW 2017.
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