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Conversational Guidance: The What, Why, How and When

Conversational Guidance was born out of a desire to give people, teams, and organizations an authentic voice in an otherwise sterile ecosystem — the digital world. Individually, conversation and guidance used to be commonplace. But in today’s complex world, the two terms have merged to become a powerful new way to humanize the customer’s journey. Let’s take a closer look.

At its foundation, conversation is the art of informally exchanging ideas between two or more people. Not too long ago, this exchange typically happened face-to-face to debate DC vs. Marvel characters, dialogue about what to eat for lunch, or diatribe about a fresh new career choice. In the past, conversations between an organization and a consumer would happen face-to-face or on the phone. That’s no longer the case.

Today, conversations between organizations and consumers have moved to online platforms, such as forums, chats, and even web audio. These new platforms have given organizations a new opportunity to chime in and add their voice. The problem? Many organizations haven’t found a way to kickstart those conversations using an authentic voice. Instead, messages end up feeling more intrusive than inviting.

via GIPHY

The introduction of web audio, which amplifies the human voice, coupled with voice triggered visuals is where conversational marketing ratchets up a notch and turns into Conversational Guidance. Guidance is the act of shepherding a person from one point to another using advice or information to solve a specific problem or need.

The helping hand extended in online guidance has lost its connection to the heart. Many websites today operate more like templates than human-to-human interaction. The idea of coming alongside someone in a distant space like the Internet to offer a personal nudge in the right direction is a unique experience. That’s Conversational Guidance. It’s a welcome and wanted (maybe even craved) experience — especially as we move into a more dynamic and digitally charged environment.

Tomorrow’s Buyer is Different Than Yesterday’s

Consumer trends are rapidly shifting. Buyers are no longer looking online to escape reality and find respite in new communities. Instead, today’s and tomorrow’s consumers are eagerly seeking out balance, which is a claim that’s been confirmed by Canvas8 in their recent “Expert Outlook 2019: Find Balance report on consumer trends in 2019.

This report predicts:

  • AI and big data will build an increasingly high demand for personalization.
  • Digital platforms will drive awareness on social responsibility and help people make better choices.
  • Personalized, direct communications from organizations will become even more important.

With these consumer demands and behaviors, it’s clear there’s a need for companies to adapt at the same pace that consumers are evolving. The world is moving fast and for organizations to move alongside it, leadership must embrace these changes and adapt to meet consumers where they want to be. In this case, it’s right where human interaction meets simplicity and convenience. That’s where Conversational Guidance comes in.

The Nuts and Bolts of Conversational Guidance

Although conversation is typically thought of as a two-way dialogue, connective conversation that moves the needle starts when your customer hears the sound of your authentic voice. It’s the human sound that washes your website visitor in an instant feeling of familiarity.

Creating a conversation-like atmosphere using your voice isn’t as hard as it might seem on the surface. It doesn’t require the expertise of a developer or the technical acumen of a sound engineer. But to deliver true Conversational Guidance, you need to do more than drop a chatbot on your website.

To get a better understanding of what this looks like in action we’ve developed a method that delivers that perfect one-two-three punch while building human connection.

1. Give Your Brand a Voice

In a world where pop-ups spoil our digital experience, news feeds fill with unwanted sponsored posts, and websites get littered with confusing sidebars, a play button is a welcome oasis. It’s here that a single click can facilitate an instant connection to a human on the other side of the screen and push back the curtain to hear from the real the people within a business.

Warm up your audience with authentic voice.

Study after study has proven that the human voice is able to stir emotion and build trust — two critical elements in any business relationship. As evidence, take a look at the effects voice has when listening to certain songs.

voice in conversational guidance

In these songs, it’s the vocals that arouse the emotional senses more than the instruments demonstrating the impact the human voice can have on the listener who is receiving a specific message. Still, it’s just not feasible or realistic to assume your salesforce can talk to everyone on the phone or face-to-face. That’s why we created a way to bring your human voice to your website.

Cut through the digital clutter to finally be heard.

Adding voice to your website enables you to warm up an otherwise chaotic digital environment and hold a person’s attention for longer. By infusing a human element into your content, you’re able to ease the overwhelm your prospects are feeling and form a deeper connection with your buyers in real time — even before they can get on the phone with a member of your team.

2. Set the Stage for Your User’s Experience

As a person is listening to you, feeling as though you’re speaking with them directly, they are looking to be guided. At this stage customers are aware of their need for a solution, which is why they ended up on your page, but they may not know how to proceed. They are looking to you for information and direction. It’s at this moment that they want you to describe what’s in it for them on the page they’re visiting and what they should do next to get value from your brand. Employing voice driven Conversational Guidance gives you the power to meet those needs better and more efficiently while improving the overall customer experience.

As you speak to your customer keep these questions in mind:

questions to ask in conversational guidance

This simple formula assists you in harnessing the trust and emotion generated from the sound of your voice to drive customers to action. By using this approach you can improve your message to better convey what your customers need to learn about your brand and the steps they should take to proceed from here.

3. Show Them What to Do Next

Buttons and pop-ups are capable of providing guidance about what to do, or where to go next, but they’re not so great at improving experience, let alone addressing the fear and confusion along the buying journey. Traditional design elements are effective in their own right, but they fail to deliver Conversational Guidance. Despite the use of these visual cues we’re familiar with on most sites today, your visitors still have doubt and uncertainty about where they’re going and whether your page or brand is the right place for them.

To help your visitors feel more comfortable engaging with your brand, we’ve developed a slide out feature that appears at just the right time in your buyer’s experience. As they’re listening to your audio, you can use your voice to cue visuals that will guide them to the best next steps with your company.

Shorten your buyer’s journey…

Whether you’re trying to funnel leads to your sales team, or aiming to reduce churn by humanizing the onboarding journey, you can deploy triggered slide outs at critical moments to keep your buyers on course. Route your customers through your sales cycle and well beyond by showing them the optimal path to discover your product or services.

…While keeping your visitors on your pages for longer.

Although you’ll be shortening the journey for your buyer, you’ll simultaneously be actively engaging website visitors, which will help increase the likelihood that more users will stay on your website for longer. In this way, integrated audio can make the buyer journey more efficient and enjoyable, by eliminating the common friction points, simultaneously keeping more users from getting lost and churning, and increasing your time on site.

5 Reasons Why This is Worth Your Attention

Today’s buyers are looking for the path of least resistance. They don’t want another form to fill out or demo to book. They want authenticity from the companies they’re buying from. Conversational Guidance empowers you to give that human touch, and differentiate yourself while building a better experience.

But there’s more than meets the eye here. That better experience has the potential to translate to some pretty outstanding benefits for your business. With Conversational Guidance, you could:

1. Boost your search engine optimization efforts.

seo with conversational guidance

Although search engine algorithms are difficult to understand and nearly impossible to crack with a single strategic blow, there are certain things we know with certainty matter. Search engines want to deliver the best pages to their end customer and to do that they analyze visitor behavior on a website. The longer someone sticks around, the better the chances that page delivered some sort of value. The more pages a person looked at beyond the first page, the higher the likelihood that the website delivers something valuable.

With Conversational Guidance, you have the potential to rank higher on Google. When you keep visitors on your pages and navigating through your website for longer, it gives the search bots notice incentive to push your page to the top of the SERPs.

2. Increase your customer satisfaction scores.

customer satisfaction score with conversational guidance

Few people like to feel worried and uncertain — especially when buying something new. The faster you can put those emotions to rest, the better the chances that your customer will feel wonderfully surprised by the experience you deliver.

With Conversational Guidance, you’re able to talk to your customers and employees through the experience, eliminating doubt and increasing delight, which ultimately can lead to higher customer satisfaction scores.

3. Lower your customer effort scores.

customer effort score with conversational guidance

Friction points and stumbling blocks when buying something new can make the difference between a new loyal customer and another churned opportunity. The more effort a process requires, the more likely a person is to leave.

With Conversational Guidance, you can smooth friction points by using the sweet sound of your voice to talk the person through what’s about to happen and then stimulate their visual senses by showing them the next steps. This way, they are never sent hunting for an illusive ending. In doing so, you simultaneously lower your customer effort scores, and improve the experience as a whole.

4. Increase the rate of digital adoption.

digital adoption of conversational guidance

Forbes contributor Lilach Bullock defines digital adoption as:

Achieving a state within your company where all of your digital tools and assets are leveraged to the fullest extent.

We’re living in a world where digital tools and assets are readily available. But having multiple choices isn’t always as desirable as it might seem. Many companies and customers alike fail to take advantage of what’s available simply because they’re overloaded and overwhelmed by options.

You can ease this feeling of overwhelm by being the breath of fresh air your audience needs in a world filled with choices. By guiding your team and your buyers to the end goal via a better experience, you can increase digital adoption and empower your people to get the maximum benefits possible out of your solution.

5. Increase your net promoter scores.

net promoter score with conversational guidance

Ultimately, you want your company’s name to become the talk of the town and the top of the mind of everyone in your cohort. To do this, you need customers and employees who are so in love with your brand experience that they can’t help sharing it with others.

By focusing on the end-to-end customer journey, and using authentic voice to talk people through that process, you’re able to stand apart from the competition and improve a uniquely better experience. In turn, you could see data-centric benefits, such as a higher net promoter score, or likelihood that you’ll develop a tribe of advocates for your company.

Your Questions About Conversational Guidance Answered

  • Human voice matters, but does it matter which human voice you use? Yes. That’s because authentic human voice is at the core of Conversational Guidance. Matching the voice with the person’s expectations is important to the overarching concept of Conversational Guidance. For example, if you’re guiding a visitor from a page that’s written about or representing a specific person, your audience will want to hear that person’s voice or the author’s voice on that page. If the page is written by your brand, consider the vocal sonic branding you want to deploy for your company and then use a voice that aligns with that strategy.
  • Will this look weird on my site? We’re huge advocates of gorgeous design. We know the importance of the user experience and user interface on your website, which is why we’ve taken extra measures to ensure that when you use Pulsemotiv as a tool for Conversational Guidance, it contributes to the experience rather than distracts from it. Brand it to your colors. Embed it wherever you’d like (although we recommend embedding it up top most of the time in a clear and noticeable space). Make it yours.
  • Won’t a chatbot do the same thing? Chatbots are great as supplements to Conversational Guidance across the journey, but they’re not what kickstart the relationship. That can only happen through the power of the human voice. By telling authentic stories using web audio, and then driving the experience using triggered slideouts, you’re able to drive stronger connections and improve digital adoption, driving a host of benefits.

It’s Time to Make a Lasting Impression

Voice is the catalyst to deeper conversation. But perhaps more important is that it’s the catalyst for building trust. That trust is critical as you guide your visitors and users through an incredible experience with your company. By being intentional about what you say and the direction in which you steer your visitors, you’ll be able to forge deeper, more impactful relationships with people who matter to your business — and isn’t that what being in business is all about?

Written by Kimberly Crossland & Tanner Johnson

Kimberly Crossland

Kimberly Crossland works tirelessly to uncover innovative ways to improve the digital experience. Though her work is mostly geared toward content, she works closely with everyone on the RocketSource team to engineer growth and ignite results — and she does this daily with a strong cup of coffee in hand.

Tanner Johnson

Energetic and efficient sales professional with extensive skills for maintaining a high rate of customer satisfaction throughout the entire sales cycle. He represents Pulsemotiv, driving growth strategies, developing long-term relationships with key stakeholders, and more.

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