Many consumers don’t bat an eye after receiving a cookie-cutter email from a company—and most of them don’t open them, either. But imagine if brands could get more personal. At Bonjoro, that’s the goal. The small company has a big vision to personalize the culture of business-to-customer communications.
Bonjoro allows businesses to email customers personal videos recorded just for them. Imagine expressing interest in a gym membership and receiving a video response addressing you personally, or emailing customer service with a complaint and getting an apology video tailored to your specific issue.
“It shows that you care a bit more than the standard email,” says Oliver Bridge, Head of Marketing and Growth for Bonjoro. “It’s about businesses connecting with their customers and creating relationships in a world where we’re all more remote and less [physically] connected.”
Bonjoro launched in January 2017, but the small business expects its vision to really coalesce in the future—one where 5G-enabled connectivity enables personalized video emails and makes a big difference for customers.
Building Real Relationships With Video
In Bridge’s view, business email communications have become disappointingly impersonal. When an email from a company hits customers’ inboxes, most people instinctively know it’s a mass, automated communication, he says. For many recipients, those messages are all too easy to ignore. According to digital marketing company Hubspot, the average marketing email open rate is 37%. But Bonjoro’s staff envisions a day when consumers react more positively to those interactions.
“Whenever a Bonjoro pops into someone’s inbox, they’ll know that this is a personal video recorded just for them,” Bridge says. “We see a future where we’re almost replacing email with video. That’s our grand vision. The question now is: ‘Is the infrastructure there for us to make good on that vision?'”
Thanks to forthcoming networks of the 5G era, it may soon be possible.
Bonjoro’s ambitious goal—making personal video communications a common medium for businesses to build strong relationships with individual customers—hinges on the reliability and speed of recording, uploading and streaming video where businesses and their recipients happen to be.
Next-Gen Experiences Need Next-Gen Networks
Bonjoro’s ability to fully optimize its product is dependent on next-gen connectivity for a number of “nitty-gritty reasons,” says Bridge. And until that happens, there will always be a risk that customers will fall back on traditional email.
“Bonjoro is mostly used by small businesses and small businesses are getting much more mobile and remote,” says Bridge. “A lot of customers send video through our app, and a big limiting factor in that is the upload speed there when they’re out and about sending their videos.”
A secondary effect of slow upload speed is its impact on battery life. Ideally, Bridge wants Bonjoro customers to be able to sit down on a park bench and record 20 quick video responses to customer emails—but a dying phone battery will send them back to their desks. “We want people to be flexible and agile and do these things when they want to do them,” says Bridge. “And 5G is going to open up that opportunity to more people.”
Current-generation connectivity can limit Bonjoro customers’ success with their own customers, too. For instance, if a Bonjoro customer sends a video to a prospective customer and the connection is slow, the likelihood of that prospect bouncing is high. “And then our customer has missed that opportunity,” Bridge says.
Another compounding factor is the image that recipients see in their inboxes to tease the Bonjoro video. Senders have the option of choosing either a static thumbnail image or a more dynamic GIF as a video preview.
“If that GIF loads slowly, that’s going to have a detrimental impact on the results customers get,” Bridge says. Small but memorable issues like this are all potentially resolvable once next-gen networks are the business standard.
Anticipating Consumer Demand in a 5G World
Bonjoro’s anticipation of next-gen networks may be specific to its product, but the company’s story—from its origins to its outlook—has broader implications for the variety of business opportunities unlocked with 5G.
Consumer demand first inspired the idea for personal video emails. Before launching, Bonjoro’s leaders ran Verbate, a market research tool that utilizes mobile video all over the world. “Because we were a video-based business, we’d respond to inquiries with video,” says Bridge. “And a lot of the brands that got those videos said ‘If you ever develop that, let us know.'”
From the beginning, Bridge says the team grasped the limitations of current connectivity, but had “confidence in the future that it would change.” Similar to the demand for personal video emails, consumers and businesses need and want a variety of other tech-enabled services that may not be optimal on existing mobile networks.
As 5G networks continue to develop and allow for exciting transformation, there’s no telling what other innovations will fill consumer demand and shape small businesses’ visions for the future. “We’ll go from a world where something’s not possible to one where more is possible,” says Bridge. “I don’t think we can quantify the impact.”
Whether it’s personalized video emails, ultra-efficient customer communications through the Internet of Things or even immersive experiences using virtual or augmented reality, the 5G era could transform the way businesses engage with customers—enabling more fulfilling interactions and building deeper relationships with customers.
To learn more about 5G mobile networks and how T-Mobile for Business is empowering businesses to innovate, check out t-mobile.com/business/trends-and-insights.