According to Stephan Schirrecker, VP of Marketing at Nexmo, the cloud communications platform provider, notifications are the driver of a new platform and can be used to successfully engage with customers.
Google Chrome and Facebook have recently introduced notifications as an innovative way of connecting with their customer base. This can be used as a key marketing tool as it introduces the idea of notifications as a platform.
Moving from a push to pull method
Ever since the World Wide Web launched, the search engine has been the primary port for seeking online information thanks to the ease of entering generic terms and automatically being delivered an extensive list of possible websites. But, how can a website make sure that it captures the user’s attention? It becomes difficult for a brand to stand out from competitors without valuable SEO work raising their site to the first page of the user’s search results.
For wealthier brands, they can always pay for a sponsored result to sit at the top of the list. However, is this enough in a saturated market? Also, what options do smaller brands have who cannot afford it? Now, with the rise of the Smartphone as the favoured way of accessing the web and the extensive basis of application markets, notifications have come to the fore. Today, notifications present a key opportunity for brands to directly engage with their target customers.
The delivery of information is drifting away from the user extracting it from a search, or using a ‘pull’ method, to an approach where push notifications are now more prominent. The role of push notifications has developed to the point that allow for different pushes for different situations. For example, users don’t want a stream of texts informing them every time someone favourites a tweet considering an in-app notification will suffice. If a smart dishwasher overflows, a text is more suitable than an email notification as this would probably get your attention when it is too late. If a bank notices suspicious credit card activity, the customer will want a phone call rather than a message to the banking app which is hardly checked.
It is vital to base a notification on the situation it is for. This gives customers the confidence that they will receive communications when and where they need it. As such, this is an essential basis for successful customer engagement for brands.
Chat apps and push notifications: a powerful communication technique
Even though the possibilities for notifications is extensive, in reality users don’t want to receive notifications for everything. Although users can be sent notifications at the right place and at the right time, they also don’t want to be inundated with irrelevant content. The user should be able to manage and personalise what content they receive and how they receive it.
As hardware has evolved over time, there has been a change in preferred communication methods. The letter became the email, which became the text message which is now beginning to be taken over by chat apps. With this in mind, as chat apps grow in popularity amongst consumers, they can naturally be used as the infrastructure by which notifications are delivered.
However, because there isn’t one single chat app which dominates the global population, this all becomes meaningless if the customer uses WhatsApp and a brand sends notifications via LINE. As such, notifications should be sent via the user’s preferred app otherwise the notification doesn’t fulfil its purpose.
Moreover, brands shouldn’t also be restricted to using one specific app service. The chat app space is complex as different countries use different applications. For instance, people in the UK tend to use Skype and WhatsApp, and in Korea they use LINE and KakaoTalk. When brands are able to deliver across all chat platforms regardless of device or platform, this will become essential to maximising customer service.
Chat apps represent a modern method for brands to engage with their target audience through push notifications, with the right content, in real time. Being able to reach out to all of your customers via a service that they carry around is a powerful communication technique. This power is then intensified if the communication is delivered to the customer via a notification which by its very nature, aims to notify the audience. As consumers are increasingly inundated with advertisement and information sending a personalised, wanted notification straight to the customer that they can view in their own time is the ideal platform for engaging with customers.