May 25, 2023
Reading Time: 7 minutes
When something is the first of its kind, it can come with a ton of questions about how it works. At its most basic, Postscript Sales allows you to bring in a proactive salesperson over text to jump in and convert someone into making a purchase. It’s not support. And it’s a real person, not a bot. It’s the closest thing ecommerce has ever had to a real in-store sales associate.
But how does it work? And how is it truly different from support? And does it actually make a difference?
Here’s the answers to the questions we’ve been hearing the most!
How do you choose SMS Sales Associates to sell on my behalf? Can a merchant have input?
In general we look for people who have a few key qualities: being coachable and being curious at the top of that list. Our SMS Sales Associates need to be very excited and very malleable to figure out how to best sell different types of products.
We match this with really strong training specific to each merchant and the particular products they’ll be selling. We hire the best sales associates, but we also make sure that they sell things that they are most excited about as we match them with brands.
While there isn’t direct input into the exact sales person, we do work closely to make sure they are as trained as possible. We have a long, intense onboarding process to make sure they deeply understand your products and your brand voice.
How is this different from using one of my support reps?
We work alongside support reps, but an SMS Sales Associate’s job is to spot an opportunity to create a conversation, not just respond to a question.
Using our purpose-built SMS Sales software, associates proactively engage in conversations with your subscribers at the most critical points of their customer journey. That way, you never miss an opportunity to close a sale.
Here’s a great example of how this might happen. If a subscriber hops into a conversation over text inquiring about their order status, this would be triaged to your usual support team. However, if that same subscriber keeps visiting a pants collection on your site, the normal option here would be to simply trigger a browse abandon automation. But with an SMS Sales associate at the helm, they could text the subscribers and ask them if they had any questions about the pants. They could help guide them towards the right purchase with 1:1 conversations over text. This is a powerful and memorable experience for customers.
With access to subscriber profiles and shopping history, our SMS Sales Associates have everything they need to start conversations that feel authentic and human—because they are.
Brand voice is important to us. How do you train someone to be able to carry that over for us through text?
We train our sales associates alongside your team during the onboarding process. We ask an extensive line of questions to make sure the sales associate understands your brand’s voice. Are you empathetic? Casual? Silly? We train them on your current SMS voice and read through your website and product offerings to ensure the conversations align.
The onboarding experience is robust—a 4 to 6 week experience. We dive in to understand your brand guidelines, main shopping categories, core considerations and objections so we map out the playbook as a whole. We’re also digging into your brand guidelines, even as simply as ‘does your brand like to use emojis’ to understanding all the do’s and dont’s of what phrases that you as the brand use..
The other key piece is that we want to learn beyond the initial onboarding process. Our agents have that open communication to make sure we improve and iterate once we are live with your brand.
We own a store that involves a product where customers have a ton of questions. Our team has deep education around it. How can we ensure an SMS Sales associate gets that same level of familiarity?
The short answer here is that we work closely with your team to ask all the right questions. We want to know how you train your own team and customer support internally. We feel confident that we can handle any specialty products for merchants. We make sure we’re deeply trained using the same practices you use to train your own products internally.
Sales associates are given templates in the SMS Sales software that are written alongside the brand to ensure they can accurately answer common product questions. And as associates become more familiar with the products, they’ll usually take the template and just edit it to fit the conversation better.
Any gaps that come up in those initial customer interactions come up quickly since we have so many conversations, so we’re able to train and make sure associates can course correct and get that information.
How do you prove that this revenue is incrementally driven?
What we know is that SMS Sales really works and works consistently for every merchant we’ve brought on. We’ve seen 20-40% increases in conversions in that first purchase and increases in average Subscriber LTV.
We need to make sure that we build credibility with each merchant that comes on and with the market in general. We do a gold standard A/B holdout test for everyone who onboards onto SMS Sales. Typically we take a percentage of your new subscribers and put them in the SMS Sales flow motions. And that other amount goes through your existing SMS marketing flows.
We have a process where we test over 60 days, look at all the data, to show you how much actual incremental revenue in a way that you can totally trust. We look at attribution, how we calculate revenue share and then make sure you agree that this revenue is fully incremental.
How do SMS Sales Associates work in tandem with our existing CS team?
A big part of the onboarding process is working closely with your existing support team to make sure we’re working together.
Depending on what tool you’re using, we’re able to route directly to tools like Gorgias and Zendesk, where we can triage subscriber interactions and either hop in to help or assign them accordingly.
Alignment of ownership is key here and so far in our beta groups, this process has been smooth! In fact, many of our SMS Sales Associates will step in to answer basic support questions that might come up in a conversation—at no cost to the merchant.
Nothing changes in how your support team steps in to handle questions, but we do hope we can take some of the pressure off them occasionally!
How is this different from other human-in-the-loop offerings?
This is extremely different in three main ways: team, strategy and software. Those three things together lead to a different outcome and result.
The existing human-in-the-loop offerings primarily serve as outsourced SMS support. They’re based overseas, they’re highly reactive, their pricing model is based on a system of closing tickets. They’re also not very tailored to brand voice or deeply educated on your products. It’s a pretty generic onboarding, often just a form that you fill out with what words to use or not use.
SMS Sales is the exact opposite of this. If you think about the type of person who would be successful as a sales associate at Nordstrom, that’s very different then who you would hire to do outsourced sms support. And that’s the level of talent we’re bringing into Postscript. It’s a US-based team, with expertise in sales, retail, ecommerce. We extensively onboard and train for each brand, figure out the unique sales playbooks that work for them, and learn the products inside and out.
And our SMS Sales Software is built around driving incremental revenue, not just closing tickets. It is built to create proactive conversations at the right moment in the customer journey.
What can SMS Sales do that my support team can’t?
Think about the retail experience. If you walk into a Nordstrom and someone helps you buy and shop, they are a commissioned person who is trained and has a specific set of knowledge. That is very different from someone who answers your email from Nordstrom if you want to initiate a return. They are focused on driving different results: revenue versus support.
We will integrate with your support team, but the actual function is very different.
Senior Manager of Content and Community
Laura is the Senior Content Marketing Manager at Postscript. She has spent the past decade working in ecommerce. When she isn't writing about her favorite topic (marketing) or listening to podcasts about her other favorite topic (ecommerce), she's hanging out with her two sons on an island off the coast of Maine.