« March 2016 | Main | May 2016 »

4 posts from April 2016


Starbucks Launches Emoji Keyboard



If you’ve ever dreamed sending emoji of a unicorn drinking coffee to a friend or family member, that dream is now reality. Starbucks recently launched a keyboard app that’s all about entertainment as opposed to the coffee company’s main objective: selling food and beverages. The app allows you to send pictures of coffee, Frappuccinos, teas, and purple unicorns drinking caffeinated beverages to friends and family. 


Snaps Media Partnership

This keyboard app was not released under Starbucks on Apple or Google Play, rather it was created with the help of Snaps Media, a company that works with a variety of brands interested in launching keyboard apps and emojis. Brands working with Snaps Media don’t have the time or desire to craft related apps, which is why the company boasts a client list that includes Nickelodeon, VH1, TCM, MTV, BET, sports teams, and television shows such as Broad City, Deadpool, Portlandia, and Workaholics. Snaps Media also works with brands such as Dove, Sour Patch Kids, Coco-Cola, Pepsi, and Victoria’s Secret. 


App Developer Inspiration

Starbucks is undoubtedly a very popular brand, and one that has inspired more than a few app developers to use the famous name to promote their own App Store options. For example, searching for ‘Starbucks’ results in the pop-up of numerous “secret menu” apps, as well as coupon finders and “nearest store” locators. An emoji keyboard is subsequently not exactly a shocking new possibility related to the coffee juggernaut. 


First Time

The app is the first time Starbucks has introduced an emoji keyboard dedicated to mobile users. 

“Starbucks’ first emoji app features favorite Frappuccino blended beverages, iced tea, coffee, and even a purple unicorn sipface,” the company announced on its newsroom page, and promised new content is coming soon. 


Keyboard Quality

So what about the keyboard’s quality? According to initial reviews, it’s not great. Complaints about icon quality and the fact that emojis must be copied and pasted into messages are putting consumers off, however these problems are generally synonymous with emoji keyboards. This includes Kimoji, the most popular emoji app of the moment. 


Where It Works

The Starbucks emoji keyboard is the same as other popular third-party apps in that it’s available through SMS/iMessage, messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Messenger, and in email among other options. The release comes on the heels of Starbucks’ revitalized Rewards program and their “more personalized” mobile app. The new version of the company’s flagship app includes the new Rewards program as well as entertainment program options and mobile ordering improvements. 

The emoji keyboard app is free to download on both Google Play and the iTunes App Store. Starbucks has already led the way in terms of mobile app payments, so whether their keyboard app will become the most popular option of its kind should be interesting. Whatever the results, Starbucks’ foray into the mobile world demonstrates the company’s ambition in terms of mobile loyalty and related commerce. 

Besides, who doesn’t want to send an emoji of a purple unicorn drinking a cup ‘o joe? 


Exceeding Consumer Expectations in the Social Media Age



In the age of user reviews, accessed with a few keystrokes and even fewer minutes, good customer service is more important to business success than ever. There’s a valid argument that social media gives consumers an unfair upper hand, that it’s too easy for one difficult, disgruntled customer to trash a reputation online. But it cuts both ways: if you can create a positive experience for enough customers, some of them will go as far as singing your praises on Yelp, TripAdvisor - or whatever the relevant review sites in your industry are.


So instead of trying to suppress bad reviews - a big ask that could easily backfire - concentrate on exceeding expectations with a view to overwhelming those negative nancies by dint of a lovebomb campaign from happy customers. If you streamline your customer experience and make it a satisfying one, a positive online presence will start to create itself…


Stay in Touch

Following up with customers immediately after a sale will help you respond quickly and proactively to any problem areas. Email or text them (with consent, of course) to ask them to rate the experience. A simple five star rating method will take a second for them to click, and make additional comments and suggestions an optional extra. Another proactive way of collecting feedback for retailers is to simply communicate with customers at the register. Put together a focus group, issue SMS surveys - anything to harvest more information on how your business is perceived. When it comes to the customer experience, no amount of data is too much.


Provide an Easy Complaints Process

Most complaints can be dealt with to the satisfaction of the customer if the process for submitting and handling complaints is simple. The last thing you want to do when someone has an issue is further frustrate them with a hard-to-find, slow-to-respond complaints process. Create an official complaint form and link to it clearly from your homepage. The more quickly you can resolve a complaint, the less likely the complainant is to criticize you on social media.


Respond to Negative Feedback

If you have been treated unfairly on a review site, join the conversation. Gently offer to resolve the issue, and avoid becoming emotional about it, even if the person in question is a tricky customer. Even the most committed armchair critic can be lovebombed into submission, so budget for the provision of freebies and other incentives - or rather, disincentives to complain.


Tracking Tools

Tracking tools like Hootsuite and Google Alerts are a great way of monitoring what’s being said about your company.



Almost Two Thirds of Consumers Would Prefer Customer Service Via SMS Messaging



Is SMS messaging the future of customer service? Numerous indications point to ‘yes.’ A new Harris Poll commissioned by OneReach found that more than 60 percent of consumers would prefer texting a business with a question or concern than taking the time to call. SMS messaging provides a wealth of benefits should companies decide to make the switch, in addition to happier customers.


The Findings

The nationwide OneReach study that surveyed more than 2,000 adults found that 64 percent of consumers preferred text messaging to calling with customer service questions, and 44 percent of consumers who text regularly prefer to press a button to start a text conversation rather than waiting to speak to an agent. Other findings include 77 percent of text-savvy consumers ages 18 to 34 generally having a positive view of companies who utilize SMS messaging, and 81 percent of consumers agreeing how frustrating it is to wait on the phone for a customer service agent to respond. 


The Benefits

Benefits stemming from SMS messaging use by various companies are many and include: 


  • Decrease in Phone Costs: Texting reduces call volume by as much as 40 percent. Phone calls cost between $6 and $20 per call, while SMS messaging costs between $2 and $5 per chat. 
  • Improved Customer Service: Since it’s clear consumers are all about text messaging over phone calls, companies that opt for the former are improving their customer service images and creating more satisfied customer bases.
  • Fewer Agents Required: Switching from phone calls to text messaging allows agents to respond to numerous chats at one time. This reduces the number of agents required for customer service purposes, which again lowers costs. It also improves service quality, as managers can give each agent more attention. 
  • Transcript Reviews: Text conversations are similar to web chats, in that they provide easy transcript access for review purposes. Calls are more challenging to monitor and manage, and therefore make it more difficult to extract and learn from resulting data.
  • Automated Surveys: Text surveys enjoy a higher response rate than email and phone surveys at 20, 15, and 9 percent, respectively. Companies simply set up automation for outbound text surveys, which they can send out as soon as the conversation is complete. Surveys sent out immediately also result in more accurate responses, as the conversation is still fresh in consumers’ minds. Companies can subsequently review these responses and make adjustments as needed.
  • Internal Uses: Yet another text messaging positive is with regard to internal company use. Managers can use texts to remind employees about project updates, entering how many hours they spent on a project, which again results in more streamlined business processes.


SMS Messaging Works for the Company As Well As the Consumer

It’s clear that SMS marketing wins over email and phone calls in regard to both the consumer and the company. It allows companies to get the very most out of communication technologies, while saving money and improving relations with clients and employees. 



Mobile Marketing Succumbs to the Emoji



Mobile marketers are using a new tool to entice consumers: emojis. The little icons that indicate happiness, sadness, and anger are popping up on assorted brands’ social media posts and ads—arguably with good reason. 


The Appboy Report

Marketing automation company Appboy recently analyzed nearly 9,400 iOS and Android marketing campaigns and found that more mobile marketers are utilizing emojis in email, business text messaging, and push campaigns. Usage within such messages has risen “775% year-over-year in the period ending March 2016.” The report also indicated annual emoji use was higher on Android than iOS, at 1,070 percent and 662 percent, respectively. 

E-commerce marketers and retailers are most likely to place emojis in their campaigns, according to the Appboy report. The company did not find that messages containing emojis featured higher open rates than those without, but more testing is required to determine if emojis actually help marketing campaigns. What is known is that emojis add a certain amount of character and flare to messages, and can possibly pique consumer attention. 


A Variety of Tactics

It’s no secret that today’s consumers are very attached to their mobile devices and increasingly use them to shop anywhere, any time. Marketers have scrambled to keep up with this still-recent development, and are constantly trying to reach target audiences in new, attention-grabbing ways. So, what other strategies are being implemented?

BI Intelligence (Business Insider’s premium research service) research analyst Jessica Smith authored an extensive mobile marketing report that highlighted various tactics used to grab and hold consumer attention. The report also discussed helpful mobile marketing technologies that have positive impacts regarding larger marketing strategies. 

The report’s key findings include the following: 


  • Mobile ad spending has yet to catch up with the amount of time consumers spend on mobile devices, resulting in opportunities for creative marketers. 
  • SMS, email, and similar mobile messaging options offer the broadest reach and the highest adoption rate among mobile users. Messaging apps in particular provide engaging, innovative ways to reach consumers. 
  • Marketers should utilize numerous mobile marketing tactics depending on the types of messages they want to send, the size of audiences they hope to reach, and the demographics within said audiences. It’s also necessary that marketers remember mobile devices are personal ones, and that communication “overload” is never welcome. 
  • High engagement rates frequently result from in-app advertising, particularly if videos are included. Beacons and location-based apps provide additional data that might be leveraged for target demographic enhancement. 
  • Dynamic creative optimization and other emerging technologies are refreshing mobile browser-based ad campaigns. However, marketers must remain aware of mobile ad blocker usage. 


Are Emojis the Future?

Will emojis play a substantial role in future mobile marketing campaigns, or will they fall away as another gimmick that offers little to no real value? Only time can answer that question, though it’s possible emojis will be increasingly used in conjunction with other marketing strategies to win over consumers and increase brand loyalty. 

In today’s world of shopping anywhere from any location, marketers must experiment with many business text messaging and email tactics to provide consumers with that personal touch.