Overstock’s customer service texts have a 98 percent open rate
Overstock.com knows the days are long gone when people would call or email about problems with its products or service. That’s why the online retailer now converses with its customers most frequently through text messages.
Since rolling out a new customer service channel based on text messaging in December, Overstock.com has seen a 98 percent open rate when communicating with people through texts, according to the company. That’s a significant improvement in Overstock.com’s ability to reach and help customers, since the company’s email open rates average between percentages in the single digits and low teens, said Tyler Cook, product management and development executive at Overstock.com.
“SMS is a form of communication we use naturally in our day-to-day lives,” he said. “People get a ton of email, so it tends to get lost in people’s inbox, and they won’t respond to it. We are finding texting has more success.”
Overstock.com, which sees 30 million unique visitors a month, uses Quiq text messaging software to inform its customers that their order has shipped and arrived, or that a package is late, will be returned or replaced. From Overstock.com’s mobile site, app or customer service line provided online, people can text the company’s roughly 500 customer service associates 24/7 about concerns — or anything they want.
“They can say, ‘Hey, I found this really cool couch on your website, but I don’t know which lamp I want it to go with,’ and we’ll give them suggestions,” said Cook. “Or, if someone wants to do a return, we’ll help them there. We’ll service them just like with a normal phone call.”
Since the feature rolled out, Overstock.com has received 14 percent fewer phone calls, according to Cook. Cook believes this is because texting puts the timing of service in the customer’s hands. “With text messaging, someone can start a conversation at 9 in the morning and come back to it whenever they want, and we can pick it up from there,” he said. “We don’t have to start the entire conversation over again.”
The company also saves money with the feature because it reduces the number of hours needed to help customers, Cook said. With texting, one customer service rep can help seven people in the same amount of time that it might take to help one person over the phone, he said.
Overstock.com isn’t cutting the number of its customer service reps, though. Instead, the company is allocating the time saved to other operational tasks such as ensuring packages are shipped correctly, which will help the overall customer experience, said Cook.
Eventually, Overstock.com plans to use texting for more than customer service. In the “near future,” the company said it will use texts to send promotions and offers for products it sells online.
‘Clever about how we rest’: As uncertainties drag into fall, agencies are facing a burnt out and fearful workforce
Agency employees and executives say that a feeling of fatigue due to the on-going uncertainty and the need to be always on has set in.
‘A credible voice’: Why Honda is doubling down on esports
Honda has struck deals with Riot Games, pro esports team Team Liquid and Twitch as it looks to maintain its appeal among first-time car buyers.
Member Exclusive‘2020 has been the year of contingency plans’: The new norms of marketing
Six months into a paradigm shift in marketing due to on-going crises, marketing leaders say that many of the coping changes put in place are here to stay.
SponsoredThe race to frictionless consumer journeys is expanding beyond marketplaces
Compressing consumers’ path-to-purchase is the holy grail of advertising and marketing. When Jeff Bezos authored 1-Click in 2011, advertisers began to realize that in some cases — especially for consumables — awareness, consideration and purchase can all happen in seconds. Since then the rise of e-commerce marketplaces has forced a major shift in the design […]
Snap is exploring bringing ads to Minis
Snap launched Minis, lightweight third-party applications that sit within the Snapchat app, in July. Now it's looking to monetize them.
Deep Dive: How the Summer of 2020 forced brand marketing to change for the better
The coronavirus crisis upended the world for brands and marketers, but as it turned out, the pandemic only marked the beginning of a wave of technological and social changes that would sweep the nation. A summer of protests ignited calls for change from the street to the boardroom, prompting brands to examine their values and […]