Sep 03, 2021

Asynchronous Business Text Messaging: Tips for Getting Started

Nidhin Varghese
By Nidhin Varghese (NV)

Director, Digital Practice Lead

Well begun is half done, so goes the proverb, and I’m not here to argue with it. Properly begin your adoption of asynchronous business messaging and, just like that, your odds of eventual success have skyrocketed.

In this blog series I’ve shared a treasure trove of expert insights gleaned from a panel I hosted entitled “Why Customers and Companies are Embracing Asynchronous Business Messaging.” 

Watch the full presentation as an on-demand webcast here.

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For the fourth and final blog, I’d like to offer up our panelists’ advice for effectively starting your asynchronous business messaging project. 

Want to check out the entire series? Here you go:

  1. Asynchronous Business Text Messaging: Engaging Customers When & How They Want 
  2. Asynchronous Business Text Messaging: Why and How—and How Well—It Works
  3. Asynchronous Business Text Messaging: Measuring Success

Asynchronous Messaging: Right Partner, Right Metrics, Right Perspective

Gerry Woodbury, Director of Customer Care, Columbia Sportswear North America

“The first thing you want to do is make sure you’re partnering with people who have expertise in the actual customer journey,” said Woodbury. “You shouldn’t be just thinking of using business messaging in the call center or to resolve contacts.”

Woodbury added that key performance indicators (KPIs) are likely going to change. “We still want to know customer satisfaction, but we’ve seen improvements in customer effort score that we weren’t expecting,” Woodbury said. “Get your leadership team and contact center management ready for change.”

Woodbury also stressed the importance of retraining staff for an intent-based approach to handling customers. Initially, Columbia Sportswear aimed to offload simple FAQ-type queries, but the company soon discovered customer intent was deeper than questions about store hours.

“Be prepared to use machine learning and automation to understand real intent,” Woodbury said. “And train employees to look past surface content.”

Asynchronous Messaging: High Impact, High Visibility Use Case

Dan Miller, Lead Analyst and Founder, Opus Research

“Pick an entry point and get started,” urged Miller. “Technologies constantly improve and there are shifting sands. Every company has somewhere to start—an IVR system, a live chat platform, back-end transaction support.”

Miller suggested starting with a use case that touches numerous individuals and business units within the company. 

“For high impact, it could be something that’s going to improve the customer experience, the agent experience, or operating efficiencies,” Miller said. “Have some confidence that there are tools and platforms now that can knit together these disparate systems in a way that applies elements of conversational AI.”

Start slow and expect to grow as technology improves, Miller suggested. “Don’t over-engineer it. The tools will just get better, and there are fairly low entry points at this time,” Miller said. “Discover what users are looking for—their intents—and then build those into it and try to do it quickly.”

Miller noted that at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers warmed to systems that helped them understand basic information like opening hours, special times for seniors, and mask requirements. 

“Over time, build in answers to the more complex challenges customers are trying to solve,” said Miller. “That’s sophisticated and takes months, but be nimble and build around user behavior rather than your own preconceived notions.”

Asynchronous Messaging: Start Small, Follow User Behavior

Rob Lawson, Global Partnerships, Google

“Just try it,” Lawson said, echoing Miller’s stance. “I haven’t seen anyone launch into Google Business Messages and then say, ‘This isn’t for us.’ But we make it easy to start small.”

Whether you’re incorporating a limited number of stores, or automating a smaller percentage of search traffic, there’s an advantage to starting simple and building on what you’ve learned. “Otherwise,” Lawson said, “you might design these great user journeys and spend four months building something only to launch it and find out users want something else.”

Take the Next Step

[24]7.ai™ has the experience, expertise, technology, tools, and talent to establish, manage, and optimize your asynchronous business messaging project.

To get started, email us or visit our Contact Us page.

Need more convincing? Check out this blog: Proven! Asynchronous Messaging Supercharges Your CX Operations.

For more information, take a look at our Benefits of Asynchronous Messaging web page.

For A LOT more information, stop by our Blogs resources page and select “Messaging” from the Topics dropdown. 

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