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.
Arm & Hammer enlists TikTok influencers to help millennials, Gen Z with holiday laundry
Arm & Hammer is looking to stand out on TikTok during the holidays by creating content in collaboration with actor, cook and dad David Burtka and other influencers.
Why Shutterstock is betting on generative AI for the future of stock images
Shutterstock has begun experimenting with using generative AI, an emerging innovation that lets people enter text-based “prompts” to generate unique computer-made digital images.
Foot Locker is showcasing staffers, popular musicians through social media and digital out-of-home to appeal to Gen Z
The shoe store chain is doing so in order to strengthen the relationship between the company, its employees and its consumers, all while celebrating and driving sneaker culture globally.
SponsoredWhy cookie deprecation is deflating performance and inflating costs for advertisers
With the full deprecation of third-party cookies on the horizon, advertisers and publishers are navigating a challenging and quickly evolving landscape. The sunset of the third-party cookie continues as usage and lifetimes fall. Their deprecation is preventing brands from effectively measuring the effectiveness of media campaigns in real-time at highly granular levels. As the industry […]
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research check-in: Brands know recession is ahead, but are hopeful it will be shallow
Brands are showing a mix of pessimism and optimism when it comes to a recession -- most believe a recession is coming, but they also think it will be shallow, according to a Digiday+ Research survey.
Why the World Cup adds to, rather than eases, all that ails Twitter
User conversations might be on the up, but the platform is still an advertising ghost town, despite the fact that the biggest sporting event in the world is happening now.