In the previous section where to surface upsells we determined that it’s important to engage and excite your customers with your free content to build trust so you can ask for the sale at the right time. Now we need to think about how we are going to write an affective upsell message. Remember, Alexa skills are voice forward experiences. While there are multi-modal experiences that include a screen; there are no popup windows, buy buttons or any other way for our customer to passively view your items for purchase. Instead, your skill will have to verbally communicate with your customer about your product offerings. You’ll need make sure your upsell message clearly and concisely states your value proposition.
The value proposition should be relevant to the customer with specific and transparent language spoken in a friendly, conversational tone. Don’t go overboard with verbose language! You might be interrupting your customer’s experience briefly, but you shouldn’t be disruptive.
We’ve been focused a lot on trust throughout this course to make sure we give the best experience to our customers. We’ve learned how to determine when to surface our upsells and to not break trust. Now, we need to think about how to tell customers about the products we have for sale. A skilled salesperson has a way with words and is able to relate to their customers. This means that they communicate clearly and concisely while avoiding jargon.
We also want to make sure that we’re not too formal and non-conversational. To ensure that your upsell messages are trustworthy, relatable and clear, avoid using the following words:
Now that we know to avoid jargon, we need to think about communicating clearly and concisely the value proposition that our premium content will provide to our customer. Before writing your upsell message, you should consider these three questions:
Take a moment to watch Alison and Justin act out one of the upsell messages we wrote for Seattle Super Trivia. While watching try to answer some of the questions above.
Effective upsells: Provide a clear value proposition
Let’s take a moment to dissect this. Right from the start you can tell that Alison has just finished the Free Five (our daily free content) and scored quite well. This is a great place to offer a pack of new questions since she probably wants more. Justin chose to offer a pack that matches the theme of the day since Alison seems knowledgeable about it. We’ve also included the number of questions in the pack.
Check your work:
We were able to create a great upsell just by answering these three basic questions.
When we designed Seattle Super Trivia, we decided to provide free content. Although we’ve outlined several reasons why for most cases it’s best to engage your customer with free content, there are cases where it does make sense to offer a free trial, for example providing all-access to a library of podcasts.
Let’s think for a moment how we would write an upsell if we required a subscription to play Seattle Super Trivia and offered a 1-month free trial. We’ll start with a bad example:
This isn’t a great upsell. We didn’t really explain our value proposition.
Now let’s take a look at a better upsell for a free trial. While reading try to answer the three questions (interest, quantity, improvement) about the content we provide.
— Seattle Super Trivia
Much better! Our customer is not only well informed of the value proposition, they know that they can try the content for free for a month.
Since we are selling a product that our customers can’t see or touch, we are reliant upon their cognitive load, therefore, our descriptions must be succinct. We shouldn’t offer paid options in the same list as other free content. Repeat! We shouldn’t offer paid options in the same list as other free content. Don’t do this and hoping that your customer will select the premium option so you can deliver your upsell. This again is a bait and switch! You’ll lose their trust if they never know when they’ll get an upsell message instead of the content they thought they had selected.
How long would you continue to use Seattle Super Trivia if this happened?
Don’t bait and switch your customer
Alison was very disappointed when Justin asked her to buy the pack after he offered it to her as if she already owned it. This is an underhanded move to try to sell premium content. We need to be more proactive! Let’s not be afraid to ask for a sale when it makes sense. Let’s take a look at a better upsell:
— Seattle Super Trivia
Much better! Here we are making our upsell after the customer has opened the skill again after finishing and scoring well on the baseball-themed Free Five. We’re also being strategic with our content offering, so we are upselling the Seattle Sports Heroes pack.
Since we can’t rely upon a screen it’s imperative that your upsells are simple without too many options. You’re most likely going to make a sale when your upsell presents one option as a simple yes or no answer. We don’t have much time to explain one product, much less two, to our customer. Either-or prompts can be confusing and relies heavily on cognitive load. If the skill offers multiple ISP options, surface only the one most relevant to the customer.
A great salesperson doesn’t beat around the bush; neither should you! Start from an active, not passive voice. Be upfront about what you’re selling and ask for the sale directly. When you passively mention a product, it’s forgettable. You’re relying on the customer’s cognitive load to remember that product in passing, and you’re asking them to remember an utterance for later without being prompted!
Here’s an example of how the passive approach is not great for making a sale.
In this case, our customer must remember that they need to ask to buy hints. We need to fix this up a little bit. Instead of offering hints before we start the game, we’ll do it after the game and asking if they want to buy hints.
— Seattle Super Trivia
You also need to put some thought into how your skill will interact with your customers after they’ve made a purchase! A skilled salesperson not only enjoys making a sale, but they genuinely appreciate their customer and their business. Show your appreciation! Celebrate the benefit after the purchase, offering an immediate opportunity to use it where possible.
The following example shows a missed opportunity to thank our customer and let them enjoy their newly purchased content.
Well, that was awkward! Our customer is probably feeling a little cheated here. We took their money and walked away. What gives? Let’s take a look at a better message!
You can see here we’ve shown appreciation for their purchase and immediately ask if they want to play. We could have also just started playing the game with the new trivia pack. The choice is up to the designer - you. General rule of thumb, you should make immediate use of something that they just refilled. For example, if our customer has no more hints and they said, "give me a hint" and then said "yes" to buy more hints, we shouldn’t ask them if they want to use a hint, since we already know that they want to.
We should still give our customer a chance to cancel using the hint, but in a subtle way. Let’s take a look at how we would do that:
Instead of asking explicitly, we asked if they’re ready to use their hint. If they were to say "no" we should repeat the quiz question, since some time has passed from when they first heard it, asked for a hint, heard the upsell and made the purchase.
A great salesperson doesn’t nag or threaten their customers implicitly or explicitly. The reasons for avoiding such a tone should be obvious. Everybody now! It violates trust! Friendly hints are a far more trustworthy means of communication.
Don’t threaten your customers with possible bad outcomes if they don’t make a purchase. Customers are less likely to make a purchase if they feel threatened.
Let’s take a look at how that would appear in our skill. Ask yourself, "Would I make a purchase after being threatened?"
Don’t try to scare your customer into a purchase; they won’t appreciate it
Pretty awful isn’t it. This sets a negative tone on the experience. This type of messaging violates our principle of harnessing the energy of the game to provide maximum efficiency with minimum effort. We’re most likely not going to inspire anyone to buy anything let alone want to continue playing our sad depressing game.
Strike the right tone
No matter your skill’s use case, voice, or personality, customers will lose trust in skills that badger, threaten, or nag them about purchases. Don’t violate trust!
Let’s take a look at how we could re-write this to have a more happy tone. While reading ask yourself what makes this messaging better?
In this case, we’re letting them know that if they buy some hints they can still make a mistake and make it to the next round! This is a more positive spin about your chances of winning rather than focusing on the penalty of losing.
So far, we’ve learned how to:
The time has come for us to learn how the Amazon purchase flow works. We need to be able to handle the transition to and from your skill to the Amazon purchase flow.