5 Strategies to Integrate Persuasion Science into a Customer Support Plan
As a customer, the word ‘Persuasion’ is often associated with feelings of negativity and force – nod if you agree. However, if done ethically, the art – and science – of persuasion can have a powerful impact on your customers and, by extension, your business.
Think of visionaries like Steve Jobs, or more recently, Elon Musk, who succeeded not only because they thought differently but also because they knew how to persuade customers to believe in their vision. In this blog, we will look at how brands – big and small – can use persuasion tactics to woo and wow their customers throughout their journey and across diverse touchpoints. Let’s dive right in.
1. Conceptualize a Persuasive Onboarding Strategy to Attract Users
For practical purposes, you can consider this as the first step in your customer support. If we were to draw parallels, you could think of this as the equivalent of going on a ‘blind date’ or at least creating an everlasting impression. Luckily, in the customer support domain, there are multiple ways to onboard customers in a sustainable manner. These include:
Onboarding Emails: Here’s an example of a detailed onboarding email that tells the user exactly where they stand in the onboarding process:
Tutorials: Most customers who churn cite an inability to navigate through the offering as one of the primary reasons for disengaging with a brand. So why not make their lives easier by offering guidance in the form of short yet significant tutorials? Let’s look at Groove’s example, which offers a “Getting Started” video to set the expectations and simplify the onboarding process:
Handy tip: When offering tutorials, make sure to break things down into simple compartments so as not to overwhelm your users and drive them away.
Key takeaway: Making your user’s first experience count is critical. After all, onboarding is not just about getting your customers to hit the “Sign Up” button. It’s about getting users to achieve their “first win” with your product and understand the true value-add your offering brings to them. This is where assets and resources such as tutorials, onboarding emails, etc. can turn out to be a game-changer. The cherry on the top can be an email marketing plan that can amplify onboarding reach.
2. Leverage Live Chat for a Confident, Coherent, & Consistent Customer Experience
Communicating clearly, being available 24/7, and driving conversations with greater control can persuade users to take onsite action of purchase. This is where live chat software comes in handy.
Wondering how a piece of software can assist your brand in fostering a deep sense of connection and relatability with your users? Here are some real-life examples to get your creative juices flowing:
The Domino’s bot persuades users by offering unparalleled convenience:
The Seattle Ballooning Company
The Seattle Ballooning Company’s live chat service is immersive and educative – all at the same time:
Notice how the live chat feature allows users to self-serve by choosing options from a pre-selected list. This ensures that the experience is quick, seamless, and effective leading to happier customers.
American Eagle Outfitters
The American Eagle Outfitters chatbot imitates a human agent and attempts to connect with users in a conversational, warm manner:
Key takeaway: Live chat services allow brands to connect with customers 24/7/365. The bots don’t take any coffee breaks, they don’t tire from repeating the same answer time and again, and they’re available at the customer’s beck-and-call – even outside of business hours.
3. Maintaining Eye Contact & Projecting Confidence are Key
Offering an optimal experience to users is not just restricted to tugging at their heartstrings with emotional content, physical posture and etiquette play a key role as well. Customer service agents who maintain meaningful eye contact, talk with confidence, dress in accordance with their customer’s expectations, and are willing to go the extra mile can persuade users to see the true potential of engaging with the brand in question.
Customers are wired to respond to agents who they grow to like in terms of behavior and demeanor. In fact, the more your customers like the customer service, the more ‘influenced‘ they’ll be with your product/service. In addition to this, maintaining a subtle and soft tone while talking in a conversational manner can enhance the probability of your customers liking the team and company at large.
4. “Giveaways” Pave the Way for Happier Customers
If you wish to rally customers to your side, giveaways is the way to go. The fundamental logic lies in the ‘Principle of Reciprocity.’ Customers are more likely to purchase from you and actively engage with your brand if they’re given something in exchange first. The operating word being ‘First.’ It could be free e-books, How-to videos, demos, webinars, “Try before you buy” schemes, the like. These giveaways tend to push them more inside the sales funnel and drive them towards the purchase. Let’s look at how brands are acing reciprocity marketing:
Goop offers a free complimentary product whenever a buyer makes a purchase:
Blue Bottle Coffee takes an educative approach to reel users in by offering informative ‘Brewing Guides’ for coffee-lovers:
In the last example, the brand promotes its products in a seamless manner while educating customers on how to brew the perfect coffee.
ModCloth’s referral program offers discounts to the referrer as well as the referee:
Key Takeaway: Initiating your customer’s journey by offering giveaways first via marketing channels can persuade them to return the favor.
5. Social Persuasion, Social Proof
In the world of social media, being ubiquitous, relentless, and familiar pays off huge dividends in customer loyalty. Confused?
Let’s look at Sephora’s example whose tagline — “We Belong to Something Beautiful” — permeates across its social media channels and celebrates customers by allowing the latter to define beauty in their own way – giving rise to a steady flow of social proof that feels authentic and honest.
Sephora’s Instagram posts use features such as Instagram live, stories, and posts to highlight user-generated content (one of the best ways to attain social proof) and celebrate the “Sephora fam” gathering goodwill and love from the customers along the way:
That’s not all. Recently, the brand posted a series of posts to answer questions relating to their ‘customer’s experiences of biased treatment in the stores:
Its Youtube channel comes in handy when posting long-form educational content such as:
Sephora’s Facebook and Snapchat are used for event coverage.
Wishbone is primarily used for polls and quizzes where customers vote on things like their preferred beauty looks:
Sephora uses an AI-powered bot for its Facebook Messenger for booking reservations, which resulted in an 11% increase in bookings:
Sephora’s Kik bot offers tips to millennials:
The brand also ran a campaign around ‘Prom’ to answer questions for Gen Z:
The brand also uses geo-filters to encourage users to snap their in-store experiences. By sharing customer experiences and testimonials — accumulated from various social media channels — with new users, the brand can extract maximum social proof and drive greater loyalty.
Key takeaway: Investing your brand’s efforts towards building social proof on various platforms can work as social persuasion for buying a product or rendering a service.
You can think of persuasive communication as the means and momentum to establish a loyal and happy customer base using emotional, psychological, physical, and marketing strategies in conjunction. While there is no linear approach to persuade users, a mix-and-match multi-pronged approach (among the five strategies outlined) usually does the trick. Give it a try and see for yourself.