Business messaging is a conversational information exchange via a digital interface and includes: synchronous messaging and asynchronous messaging. So what is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous messaging? When the communication takes place sequentially in real time, as with traditional chat, it’s called synchronous: Once an agent appears, a customer says X, hits send, and waits for agent response Y. When the conversation ends, it’s gone. By contrast, asynchronous messaging enables customers to start a conversation at any time, park it, and later return to the full thread with its infinite history intact, whenever they wish.
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Only asynchronous messaging delivers anytime, contextual, personalized 1:1 interactions at scale. Here are just a few reasons it’s right for your business.
Asynchronous messaging enables customers to engage with your business on their time, over time. It’s convenient, familiar, and folds easily into their lifestyles. Customers don’t have to clear a slot in their day to settle an issue or pursue an inquiry or make a purchase. They don’t have to wait around for an agent to appear, worry about getting cut off or called away, or endure the pain of repeating themselves—again. If a customer leaves a messaging thread, then later picks up a phone and calls in, the agent can find the online discussion and pick up where the conversation left off, much to the customer’s relief. When customers return to a messaging thread, they don’t have to remember what was discussed; no matter how far back it goes, the complete history is available, visible, and searchable.
Customers start conversations without waiting, there’s no need to repeat information, and agents resolve issues in less time with fewer turns (back-and-forth exchanges), transfers, and escalations. With asynchronous messaging, customers compose all their intents (practical and emotional) in a single post at the outset. No agent is needed to start the conversation. And since the intent is already on display, the conversation moves quickly past introductions to its Resolve phase. Given the information up front, businesses are able to route the request to the most appropriate live or virtual agent. Agents have more time to take ownership, better understand the customer and situation (intent, history, journey), and offer a more fully researched, comprehensive, and personalized response. With fewer turns, transfers, and escalations, conversations take less time and are more satisfying.
Asynchronous messaging keeps the conversation open, giving you the chance to build stronger relationships and create new sales. Agents view past threads of returning customers and—especially when aided by artificial intelligence—identify additional service, support, or even upselling opportunities. Because customers reach out when it’s convenient, and they know it’s easy to stop and later restart a conversation, they’re more likely to seek help—that’s a good thing!—and are more open to discussing sign-ups, upgrades, etc.
As asynchronous messaging agents better satisfy customers, more efficiently manage their time, and focus on high-touch high-value customer issues, their morale improves—which in turn lowers attrition and boosts productivity.
Customers who make purchases using asynchronous chat platforms are more satisfied with their choices; less buyer's remorse means fewer returns. It results from agents having more time to research the customer’s history and thus make personalized suggestions, and from customers having more time to reach a firm, considered decision.
Compared to chat customers, asynchronous messaging gives agents up to three times longer to respond before marking down their CSAT scores. So your agents get to use some of the time saved elsewhere (fewer turns, etc.) to enhance the customer experience. Asynchronous messaging customers expect less urgent, more thoughtful, richer exchanges—and they don’t mind waiting for it. For example, 92 percent of chats are less than one minute first response time (FRT), but only 70 percent of asynchronous messages are that fast. Yet the customer experience is the same. (We actually recommend organizations on asynchronous messaging platforms shoot for under-a-minute FRTs only 50 percent of the time.)
7.ai clients who move from full chat to a blended chat and asynchronous messaging model reduce required staffing hours by 20 percent on average.
Compared to chat, asynchronous messaging agents manage more concurrent conversations, each of which, on average, completes faster. With fewer turns, transfers, and escalations, conversations take less time and are more satisfying.
Compared to chat, asynchronous messaging results in:
Asynchronous messaging conversations are very nearly one-and-done.
Asynchronous messaging resolves more issues that stay resolved.
In the first full quarter of the COVID-19 pandemic (Q2 2020), 7.ai clients reduced their agent workforce by about a third as they shifted to a work from home (WFH) footing. Meanwhile, despite the manpower loss, these businesses handily absorbed a 38 percent surge in messaging traffic. Learn more about our Work-from-Home Agents.
What people like about messaging is that it’s easy. What they don’t like about customer service is that it’s not. By incorporating messaging into your service model, you give customers exactly what they want. Learn more by reading the Era of Messaging eBook.
7.ai has the experience, expertise, technology, and tools to transform your approach to messaging. To learn more, download the tip sheet: How to Choose the Right Messaging Partner, or schedule a demo today.