Create better CX with messaging
Messaging, via SMS text or mobile app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, is becoming an essential and preferred communication method.
Something this pervasive should be a perfect fit for brands that say they want to meet customers where they are in the channels they prefer. Not to mention the fact that messaging is easily deployed for both brick-and-mortar and remote agents, costs less than voice over the long term, and improves take rates, productivity and boosts employee satisfaction, just to name a few other benefits. It is therefore surprising that many companies are falling behind and consider messaging to be new and unproven. Not anymore.
There is now a strong business case for messaging, supported by proof points and results. It is one of the only CX technologies that simultaneously lowers cost, increases employee productivity and efficiency, and improves customer satisfaction.
Research supports that customers want it, it improves contact centre operations, and there is financial and competitive upside to the business.
According to LivePerson research, 65% of consumers worldwide would like the ability to message with brands— growing to over 70% in 18 to 34-year-olds with 46% of mobile buyers saying they prefer to use their smartphones for the entire purchase process.
So how can you overcome uncertainty around messaging to create a successful messaging programme for customer care and sales that builds customer and employee satisfaction while reducing contact centre costs.
Part of the reason many companies are hesitant to make a move to messaging is that there is no clear understanding of the term. Messaging is a text-based, two-way personal conversation that occurs on a mobile device or platform like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, SMS text messaging or within a brand’s app. Unlike web-based chat that occurs in a pop-up screen where both parties must be logged in, messaging is asynchronous, meaning you don’t need to stay in a dedicated session to send or receive messages.
Messaging takes the idea of web chat, simplifies it and moves it to where consumers already spend their time – on their phones. Messaging is convenient, provides context and allows conversations to be more personal with emojis, GIFs and links to information. It is less rigid than chat sessions.
Messaging works best when it is quick, authentic and personal. Consumers respond well when they know there is another person on the other end of the message to quickly answer their question or provide information through links, videos or images. This means that in addition to reliable technology, customer facing agents hold the key to a successful messaging programme.
They must have brand knowledge and soft skills to successfully operate in this channel. Two-way messaging adds depth and value to customer interactions beyond one-way text alerts and notifications, which are often lumped into the definition of messaging. Text notifications for upcoming appointments, delivery confirmations, or flash sales are valuable…to a point.
They offer automated information and convenience, but can be abused by blasting customers with sales and promotions without context, relevance or personalisation. And one-way alerts don’t reflect the advantage of communicating with a real person to resolve issues or confidently make a purchase.
Messaging also overcomes “app fatigue” by eliminating the need for a consumer to download a dedicated brand app. A recent Google survey found that most consumers had not downloaded an app in over three months. With millions of potential apps to download, it gets overwhelming and consumers have become selective. With messaging, consumers can use existing text tools and messaging apps to interact with brands.
For technology like messaging, the IT department is often the final gatekeeper. Projects must be prioritised and budgets approved based on IT resources, time and enterprise benefit. For companies that have stretched IT budgets and resources focused on long-term contact centre system upgrades, CRM implementation, analytics and more, there is little time to add yet another solution to the mix quickly. Messaging, especially for those not familiar with it, is something for another day. The value in messaging, however, is the ease with which it can be deployed, often without a heavy IT lift.
Some of the many benefits are;
Maintain business continuity – messaging is asynchronous and can be deployed in a centre or remote.
Avert future risk – scalability and flexibility are cornerstones of messaging.
Build customer loyalty – messaging conversations are authentic and convey the best of human-to-human interactions.
Keep costs in check – messaging is cheaper than voice, with more than 3x the productivity.
Accelerate growth trajectory – messaging is a preferred digital tool for an increasingly digital market.
Wayne Kay, Head of Partners and Strategic Alliances EMEA at TTEC, is an experienced business leader with 20 years of global, sales, coaching and leadership experience in the contact centre and CX industry. Previous positions include Founder & MD of Fullbrook Consulting, MD of Contact Centres for Cable & Wireless, and International Sales...