If you’re like me, trying to juggle a career and family priorities, sometimes life gets in the way. Before you know it, you’re late paying the bills. But thanks to some forward-thinking vendors, I’ve been paying a lot of my bills using SMS or other messaging channels. Here’s how it usually goes: I forget to pay the service provider – oops! I have a quick exchange with an automated messaging app and my payment is processed in seconds, all from my smartphone. There are numerous use cases like this—think bill pay or scheduling appointments—that are relatively simple for businesses to implement and for customers to use. Why waste everyone’s time in a phone conversation or going to a website to make a payment? Try mobile messaging.
The Dangers of Standing Still in a World Gone Mobile
In 2016, 1.58 billion mobile phone users accessed over-the-top messaging apps to communicate. This figure is projected to grow to 2.48 billion users in 2021. Customers increasingly expect vendors to provide seamless support for in-app messaging, SMS, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat—whichever channel they like best.
Genesys “State of Customer Experience” research found that when interacting with a business for customer service and support, 78% of consumers surveyed use a mobile device. And that number jumps to 90% when working with millennials.
Currently, we see big regional differences in the importance of third-party messaging apps, with Latin America and the Asia Pacific leading the way. But those regional differences will absolutely diminish as consumer adoption and expectations gain momentum around the world. The question is, which third-party app or messaging channel will come out the winner in each geography? That remains to be seen. But businesses need to be prepared to support mobile messaging in a variety of form factors—regardless of the winner. Mobile messaging as an engagement channel will give early adopters a significant competitive advantage.
Let customers communicate using “found time”
Found time is one of the big advantages of mobile messaging. Traditional engagement channels typically force customers to set aside time to “call customer service.” Usually, a 30-minute window is needed. Today, customers are less tolerant. For example, I may only have a few minutes to initiate a conversation, respond to a message, or provide some information. I’d rather communicate with businesses during moments of found time when it’s convenient for me. This reduces my effort and frustration as a customer.
In the Genesys research report, one respondent says it best: “It’s easier to explain the situation and I can message while doing other activities, without having to wait until someone becomes available.”
Persistent context streamlines the experience
Another key benefit of mobile messaging is that conversations are continuous. This provides benefit to both the business and the customer—it’s a win-win where you can’t go wrong. You can quickly review the conversation and begin right where you left off. With asynchronous messaging, a customer can pick right up and provide consent or additional information, for example, even if that conversation has been sitting quietly, without reestablishing context.
Where to start
Start small and learn from your experience. Whether you’re looking at live agent assistance or adding a chatbot to a messaging channel or both, start with a common, repetitive task that will solve an immediate problem (i.e., reduce call volume by automating a task via a chatbot). Don’t try to “boil the ocean.” as my Mom used to say. When your skill and comfort level grow, expand your use cases and deploy on multiple messaging channels. Even a small adjustment can have a big impact on your KPIs.
The bottom line: Customers expect this from a modern business. But the ship is getting ready to leave the dock. Jump on board with mobile messaging and get ready for long-term success.
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