From social media to iMessage and SMS, messaging is now an indispensable part of everyday life, fundamentally shifting how we communicate with each another.
There are 2.5 billion people using Facebook every month, WhatsApp has 1.5 billion users, Instagram crossed the 1 billion user milestone in 2019 and even Twitter boasts 330 million active tweeters. Now add to that the fact that 5 billion of us still regularly send SMS text messages and the importance of conversational messaging for maintaining contact with friends, family and increasingly co-workers is impossible to ignore.
But what is also impossible to ignore is the fact that these conversational communication tools – if used correctly – offer a host of increased engagement and competitive differentiation opportunities for any consumer-facing business of potentially any size. Conversational messaging makes communication, not the channel, the priority. And, if you let your customers speak to you via their channel of choice, rather than prescribing tools or processes, those conversations will be more frequent, more insightful and more valuable to your bottom line.
Here are five reasons why you should consider using conversational messaging to engage with your customers:
1. Messaging supports rich, personal experiences throughout the customer journey
Each customer’s journey begins with discovering a new product or service that meets a specific need or desire. Answering product questions, clarifying features, or addressing concerns allows you to assure the customer they’re making the right choice.
Once they’ve purchased your product, they may need assistance navigating their way through add-ons, bundles, delivery, discounts, or warranty options. During onboarding, they may need help with set up or configuration, product usage, or diagnosing and fixing issues.
In each of these examples, messaging is a quick, easy, and seamless way for consumers to engage with you, regardless of the step on the customer journey. It allows businesses to transform the customer relationship from being unidirectional to being bidirectional. Enabling consumers to participate in a two-way conversation using the tool they’re most comfortable with makes communication more engaging and enriches the experience.
2. Messaging accelerates engagement irrespective of where your customers are
More than anything else, customers want you to recognize time is now their most valuable commodity. They don’t want to be placed in a queue and have to wait on the line to speak to an agent unless it’s vital. They don’t want to hear a message telling them to call back at another time when the office is open. Messaging eliminates all of these issues and lets the conversation begin.
Traditionally email and phone have been the go-to channels for customer service, but they’re increasingly perceived as slow, asynchronous or overly formal. Combining messaging with existing channels helps reduce both inbound and outbound interactions. And, as businesses get to grips with how messaging can accelerate and increase customer engagement while serving as either a personal connection or as part of an automated solution, they can start to take full advantage of rich communications services or even bots.
Messaging means consumers can engage from anywhere at any time. It doesn’t matter whether they’re on a train, in a restaurant, or half-way across the world, they can interact immediately, provide all the information required, and get the answers they’re looking for in real-time.
3. Messaging satisfies the customer need for positive interactions
Your channels may be automated, and your customer interactions may be rich, engaging, and convenient. But if they don’t result in customer satisfaction, they’re worthless.
To satisfy consumers, the conversation must be the master, not the channel. The consumer, not the process, must be center stage. That’s why messaging is so compelling when integrated within an omnichannel platform. It enables brands to build a lifelong conversation with their consumers regardless of the channel. And it gives them all the context required to respond to requests swiftly and efficiently.
By personalizing the customer journey, accelerating engagement, optimizing efficiency, and increasing satisfaction, businesses can cut costs while creating a comfortable environment for natural, engaging interactions, and upsell opportunities.
Whether the conversation is initiated by the business or by the user, messaging creates intimacy and enables brands to engage in a friendly, familiar way. Consumer feedback is immediate and ongoing, providing a platform upon which a lasting relationship can be built.
4. Messaging optimizes agent experience
In addition to increasing customer satisfaction, messaging can also increase agent experience. Businesses can offer messaging channels integrated into their website or mobile app. Conversational messaging channels can also be automated, with messages triggering automatic actions or offering self-service options based on customer response.
The result? The agent workflow is optimized and streamlined. It alleviates the pressure of answering customer queries or resolving issues within a specified timeframe, allowing the agent to focus on cultivating relationships and building the brand.
When your omnichannel platform combines messaging with artificial intelligence to manage the conversation across multiple channels, the result is an enhanced, interactive, and enjoyable experience for both agent and consumer. It offers the agent the capability to seamlessly switch from one channel to another, providing the ability to transition a customer—mid-call or during a chat—to a messaging app to continue the conversation in a unified fashion.
5. Messaging optimizes the omnichannel experience
As the supplier of an industry-leading, omnichannel platform, we tracked stats for a single line of business at a Sitel contact center. The 200,000 calls received each month comprise just one-third of the brand’s activity for that business, a massive volume when compared to the average company!
We used SMS messaging to reach out to just over half of the customers, achieving a very impressive response of over 25%. We reduced call-back rates by 18%, processing times by 33%, and increased measured productivity by 4%. What’s more, there was a 14% leap in customer satisfaction. Our SMS customer satisfaction survey gleaned a 47% response rate and gave us a net promoter score (NPS) of 74, indicating a significant increase in brand loyalty.
These results indicate that complementing phone support with messaging can significantly enhance brand value. Opening the right channel at the right time boosts customer value, contributing to increased satisfaction. We received a considerable number of messages from customers saying, “Thank you for opening this channel!” Our agents involved also commented on increased levels of engagement. They were able to resolve customer issues much faster, which contributed positively to their motivation and job satisfaction.
The bottom line
Businesses must focus on satisfying customer expectations. They need to invest, not just in one channel, but in every channel that can foster conversations. As the above stats show, an omnichannel platform that optimizes workflows, incorporates messaging, and allows consumers to switch channels at different stages of their customer journey can contribute significantly to building an intimate relationship between brand and customers.
To learn more about what’s happening in the marketplace and how messaging is driving profitable interactions across the entire customer journey, watch the webinar “Why Your Business Needs Conversational Messaging.” You’ll learn the latest industry insights from Kate Leggett, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester and hear how Innso is enabling leading brands to drive increased customer engagement and satisfaction.
The results of a survey by MobileXCo showed that SMS messages have a 209% higher response rate than phone, email, or Facebook.
According to the Daily Egg, SMS messages have a whopping 98% open rate.
Another report by MobileSquared states that 90% of SMS messages are read within 3 minutes.
* Source: statista.com