On HubSpot’s Partner Day Sneak Peek Live Webinar series, HubSpot discussed upcoming new features called Success and Conversations. There’s no release date as of yet since these tools are still in development, but they anticipate that they’ll be ready later this year. Both products are currently being announced at Inbound in Boston. (I’m in our very lovely office, but Rikki, Andrew, Paul, Mark, and James can give us more details when they’re back from Boston). So, here’s what we know so far about the new Conversations and Success features.
Success will be the overarching umbrella under which conversations will nestle. Success’s goal is to focus on the customer to help measure happiness, leverage their goodwill, and help companies grow by keeping their target personas happy. Success will create a better overall experience for the customer by creating a platform to better understand them, and keep them happy.
Any marketer will understand that there’s a current shift in the customer relationship - and it’s only going to continue. Customers are smarter than ever. When they go to buy, they read blogs and reviews, and they weigh their options. They do more research than ever before. Old sales relationships relied on the shady salesman imparting his or her (often skewed) knowledge to the customer to get them to buy. That cannot happen now (or less so) because customers are an informed audience, which means even if they have bought from you before, they can always research your competitors, they can always switch companies, and that means they have more leverage - the upper hand. Okay, so I’m making it sound like a shark tank, but customers do have more power and, thus, understandably higher expectations.
I bet you yourself have higher expectations of your customer service and customer experience. So, many companies have the goal (or should have) of offering a great customer experience. Everyone has had that bad service before, but customers should be seen as more than a case, a queue of people, or a ticket number. They want to be treated as human and helped whenever and however they want it.
Happy customers, HubSpot representatives note, grow businesses faster than both sales and marketing. If they’re happy, they spend more, pay more, forgive your foibles or mistakes, and they refer their friends. Happy customers are loyal customers, which increases their lifetime value. HubSpot acknowledges that they spent years focusing on sales and marketing tools without focusing on the all-important customer asset angle.
There was no current demo of the Success tool because it’s still in progress, but the Success tool will be designed to understand and retain customers. It’ll be in beta later this year.
Success will be built into the existing HubSpot tools as a default in the drop-down menu. There will be a free version of Success available to all accounts. There will be a Sales, Marketing, and Success portal. There will be basic free features, and there will be more advanced paid features, but HubSpot is still working on it. They want to make a great free product first, and then find ways to go deeper into the product, creating additional paid options.
Alright, so Conversations is the tool I’m really excited about and can see a direct application that will be helpful for your Social Media gurus in the office. Currently, there’s a social tool that allows you to post social messages across all major accounts - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Google+. Well, Conversations is kind of the same thing, but for chat.
Conversation will be a shared, collaborate inbox to leverage one to one messaging. It’ll manage live chat, email, and social (private social messaging and not public) for all people who interact with customers.
HubSpot realises that email is kind of dead. Customers like the personal approach of chat. Conversations is going to be a platform-level product and framework where different product teams can use and borrow the tools to help them with their tools (they can borrow the code) and allow a standardisation for reports.
Email is out and chat is back! Why do people like chat? Why do you like chat? It’s faster, it’s always on, it’s mobile (i.e. we use the internet mostly on our smartphones), it’s conversational, chat has emojis, and it’s fun. Chat will make the business process more personal. According to the HubSpot webinar, over 2 BILLION business messages were sent via Facebook messenger last month. Twitter is declining in popularity, but people are still active. Slack has over 5 MILLION daily users. People aren’t abandoning email, but they are treating it more like a conversational thread instead of writing long messages, so creating this chat tool is giving everyone what they want.
Here’s where the good stuff comes in. Your chats come in and you can record all the conversations you have. You can assign conversations to your sales team, your marketing team, you can assign responses to individuals so the right customer query goes to the right person. It’ll create a transparent and collaborative environment for managing customer engagement. You can leave notes for the next person on how to approach this customer. You can attach files, assign the conversation to a co-worker, you can jump in and respond or look at an internal note, and when the conversation is resolved, it can be closed and you can move onto the next one. There will be multiple folders and each team will have their own space as well.
Basically, if it’s a private message, it’ll now go to Conversations; if the message is public, it’ll still be in Social. Conversations will be direct messaging, one to one on all accounts. Your sales reps and marketing teams could use this tool for selling in the inbox - and there will be customisable permissions set up if needed. Conversations will have some built-in automation eventually, but at first, there will be manual rules set up. You want to be careful not to lose customers with automated inbox selling. Inbound isn’t a billboard!
Partners will get this feature first in the beta phase and just as the contact database is through all of HubSpot, Conversations will work the same way. Currently, HubSpot are working on the infrastructure, so that this tool can grow and adapt in the future, so it’s not there yet. There’s no word yet on if Conversations will be customisable for your developers, but we are hopeful. The projected availability will be later this year.
With Conversations, all of your inboxes will be in one place. Your Social Media managers will not have to log into five different social accounts to get the private messages in each account, they’ll have it all in one dashboard. Conversations is the tool that will be under the Success hat. Success is the analytics of it, but Conversations will be at the heart of the product and features will be built on top of the Success platform. Success will analyse it all and give useable reports.
Well, we haven’t seen it yet, but improvements are the way of the future, and we cannot deny that these tools sound exciting. Having the ability to manage all private chats via the Conversations Tool across all accounts the way social is managed opens up new windows of opportunity for marketers. Conversely, these tools have to be used carefully because customers aren’t going to want to have inbox spam (the way they previously had email spam) from fifty different businesses.
But that’s where the Success tool will come in. You’ll have a metric to measure customer happiness in a way previously unknown. Since our customers are smarter, we must have smarter tools and better tactics to manage overall experience.
Watch this space, these tools will be a welcomed addition to the already superior HubSpot platform for marketers.
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