Business messaging channels: Customers are ready but are brands?

How many unread text messages do you have? I’m willing to bet you don’t have one unread text, and if you do, you most likely received it less than five minutes ago.

Nearly everyone these days uses some form of messaging:  Text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Slack, Skype and even voice messaging made possible through Alexa or Siri. Sixty-two percent of the world’s population now owns a mobile phone.

The fact is, consumers are already using these messaging spaces daily. Just as the ease of email has streamlined communication in the last few decades, messaging stands to extend this ease for consumers, enhancing experience and brand access.

The problem? Though 90% of brands want to better personalize, only 40% of customers feel they receive personalized service.

Targeted personalization within messaging channels is a game changer. So why are many businesses and brands slow to include this in strategy?

On the one hand, businesses struggle to keep up with the best messaging channels for their consumers.  But too many businesses continue to provide the status quo phone and email support, and miss critical opportunities with messaging.

Consider these common customer service complaints that could be addressed with intuitive messaging:

“I have to press too many numbers to get an answer.”

“Why do I need to be transferred for a simple question?”

“I’m frustrated and will go elsewhere next time.”

“This feels like a vacuum”

“This is a simple query, but I need a faster answer and will look for it elsewhere.”

Google and the internet as a whole have created an important shift in customer expectation. Consumers have come to expect always-on access to simple queries, and 82% of customers will abandon a brand for poor customer service. So what can brands do to avoid this?

Establish mobile-first, always-open responsiveness

Living in a 9-to-5 business world doesn’t work anymore. We’ve been primed with 24/7 mobile internet access and have come to expect that simple queries should be simple to respond to, with as little friction as possible.

Consumers will remain loyal to legacy businesses if they are met where they already are on mobile -- messaging and social apps.

Customer support on social media, like Twitter, has risen by over 250% in the last three years. Vanity metrics, such as “likes” and “shares,” are not relevant compared to how, where and when your brand is responding.

Tap chatbots to create consistent responsiveness

Chatbots provide an always-on experience, that is the same every time, across messaging channels, social and even on-site.

Chatbots can deliver on consumers’ highest expectations of service. A branded chatbot allows customers to get from point A to point B where and when they message the most. A well-defined and executed chatbot experience can make this happen.

The ChiTransitBot has been a simple solution for solving frustrations around public transportation and offsetting the steep costs of infrastructure maintenance. Users can find their next CTA train in real-time on multiple channels with a few simple steps.

Likewise, ticketing company Fandango makes it easy for moviegoers to purchase tickets, find locations and view trailers all within its FB Messenger chatbot.

Move your business to align with the marketplace

You need to be active in the apps your customers are already using. Forrester has shown that 85% of time on smartphones is spent using apps, and the majority of that time is spent on five native apps – and one of those is always messaging.

Yes, changing the way you interact with customers is hard. But, not adapting to the way your customers want to communicate with you will be devastating.

Ready to catch up? Start here:

  • First, a chatbot should efficiently solve a problem and be the best way to do so: What customer problems are you solving?
  • Make it easier for your customers: Which channels are your customers most active in?
  • How and what will you measure to determine success?
  • What existing data do you have to assist in making your chatbot smart?

Your approach will be unique to your brand. However, when you make it simple for your customers to communicate and resolve whatever their issue is, you create a more satisfied, loyal customer base. That shift translates to savings in the long-term.

Michael Lamb is the president and co-founder of  nativeMsg which leverages AI, NLP and Machine Learning to create intelligent messaging strategies integrated across multiple messaging and voice platforms.

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