Humans are always finding new ways to connect. First, there was the phone. Then came email, followed by text messaging and chat. And now there’s messaging, also known as messaging chat. Millions of people around the world rely on messaging apps every day to keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues. But when it comes to customer service and support, many still think of the phone first—which often means long hold times and having to start from scratch when you reach an agent.
In today’s always on-the-go world, picking up the phone every time you need to contact a company doesn’t fit our lifestyles, or our schedules. Even real-time chat sessions require customers to stay engaged until they can resolve an issue, which takes up time. That’s why more and more consumers are turning to messaging when they need to connect with the brands that they do business with. Or at least, that’s what they want to do—according to a recent survey, 75% of customers would prefer to use messaging channels for service, given the choice.1
75% of customers would prefer to use messaging channels for service
Messaging offers businesses an incredible opportunity to transform customer support, and even has the potential to replace voice as the channel of choice Tweet This But as a relative newcomer on the customer support scene, there’s some confusion amongst businesses about exactly what messaging is and how it differs from chat. We’re here to set the record straight.
Messaging is the exchange of information, in this case between a consumer and a business, in a conversational digital interface. It can take place in real time, just like chat, or asynchronously—meaning participants can “park” a message at their convenience and return to the conversational thread at a later time, without having to start over. Messaging can be enabled by a chat solution on any channel, or integrated with popular messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Google Business Messaging. With the right solution, you can build your messaging framework once and deploy it across any channel, including web chat, native app, and SMS. A messaging framework communicates the value of your brand and the services you provide to your audience. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide for building a messaging framework:
Your customers are already using messaging apps like WhatsApp Business and Google My Business, and they expect to be able to use them to connect with your business. It’s convenient, familiar, and less intrusive than going through traditional support channels. Giving your customers this opportunity is a smart business move on many levels. Make it easier for customers to get things done—on their time, the way they want. Deflect calls by automating more tasks. Increase efficiency by enabling agents to manage their time better. Plus, you can integrate messaging with your CRM to personalize interactions, driving satisfaction and loyalty.
One key feature that sets messaging apart from regular chat is the ability to carry on conversations or interactions asynchronously. This is a game changer for busy consumers. Think about a traditional customer support experience. First, the customer has to set aside time to call the company and work through their issue. This can take anywhere from minutes to hours depending on wait times, what they’re calling about, and what needs to be done on both ends of the call to reach resolution. And if it turns out the issue hasn’t actually been resolved the customer will have to start the process all over again with a repeat call. It’s time consuming and frustrating.
Now, consider the same interaction in an asynchronous messaging setting. The customer can open up the messaging app at their convenience—for example, on their morning commute. They interact with the chatbot, which recognizes them thanks to the CRM integration. It may even predict why the customer is contacting the company and proactively offer a direct path to support. The customer starts the conversation by sending a message explaining what they need, for example, “I want to change my data plan,” but then their train arrives and they put their phone away, forgetting about it. Whether they remember on their lunch break, on the way home, the next day, or even several days later, they can return to the messaging app at any time and pick up the conversation right where they left off. Depending on what they’re trying to do, they can either complete the transaction with the help of the chatbot or be handed off to an agent for assistance. In the case of escalation, the agent will be given the full context and conversational history so they can pick up right where the chatbot left off.
"Messaging is often the most convenient way to get things done with a business. As more businesses enable messaging, we expect consumer-to-business interaction to shift in a measurable way toward messaging, just as consumers have in their personal lives." – Rob Lawson, Global Partnerships, Google6
Most customer support contacts are made via phone, with a large percentage of those calls starting with a web search. By positioning chat on search engines like Google, enterprises can funnel those contacts through the messaging channel first. This has the potential to deliver millions of dollars in cost savings over the year. At the same time, you’re making things better for your customers—which is always better for business.
To learn more about implementing messaging for your business, contact us today.
1 Conversocial, 2019: The State of Digital Customer Experience 2019
2 Source: eMarketer
3 Source: Facebook
4 Source: Google
5 Source: Apple
6 Source: Smooch.io, "State of Messaging 2019"