BEIJING: WeChat is a fundamental channel through which to reach Chinese consumers around the world and in real time, but some of the most luxurious global brands are yet to figure out a firm strategy.

This is according to research from Jing Daily, which found that even brands ranked highly for digital fluency struggle to bring that aptitude to WeChat.

For many brands, they stumble at the first hurdle: the greeting. By offering a generic greeting, brands fail to understand that customers arrive with a purpose. Gucci, meanwhile, gives clear instructions to the user to help navigate their journey, and asks for more localised information like location so that the brand can offer more specific information.

“On WeChat, followers won’t talk to the account unless there is an issue,” said Jenny Chen, co-founder of WalktheChat, a WeChat agency. “Instead, the brand should give examples of what keywords followers could enter [in the greeting message] in order to receive answers.”

Elsewhere, such as with the Chinese jewellery brand Chow Tai Fook, the use of a named avatar can be useful. Not only is it helpful to the consumer to be guided by a different characters for complaints and repairs, it is also useful for the business to be able to categorise and analyse interactions for future training.

Chatbots are not, however, the be all and end all. “Some misconceptions are that you can automate everything, especially on the customer service end or clienteling,” Jeff Fish, co-founder of the WeChat agency TMG Worldwide told Jing Daily. In the best cases, automation should know when to hand off to a real human. In four out of the ten brands that Jing looked at, no personal chat service was available.

As other brands in financial services or even in drinks have shown, chat functions are about creating experiences for engagement. Doing this well means preparing a system for ongoing interactions of different hues, all of which enhance the experience of the brand.

While 70% of the brands explored have keyword search, big names including Bulgari and Chanel do not. These brands would struggle to group consumers based on the keywords used. For future ad and offer targeting efforts, such grouping is incredibly useful.

Sourced from Jing Daily, WARC