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The Rise of Messaging Apps and Their Effect on Customer Experience
July 12th, 2017

The Rise of Messaging Apps and Their Effect on Customer Experience

Ian Linton

These days, customers like to contact a business through the channel of their choice. This has caused a rise in messaging apps in businesses. Find out why.

These days, customers like to contact a business through the channel of their choice. That has fuelled the growth of multi-channel contact centers supported by technologies like Voice over IP (VoIP) and Unified Communications (UC). Contact centers routinely expect agents to deal with instant messages, texts, video conferences, and emails, as well as traditional voice calls. But, now another channel is entering the mix and it’s proving equally popular with customers and businesses.

Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are evolving from a convenient personal communication channel to an important tool for customer engagement. And, the integration of messaging apps with Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology is creating a new type of transaction known as conversational commerce. That is set to transform the convenience of customer service even further.

A popular, convenient channel

The Harvard Business Review commented that six of the top ten global apps are messaging apps, and adoption is growing by 12 percent annually.

The attraction for customers is that they can contact businesses and receive service through a convenient, familiar, easy-to-use app. That can simplify tasks like making bookings, placing orders or arranging service calls.

With automated response mechanisms in place, customers can get an initial answer quickly, even if no agent is currently available. Take it up a level and the two parties can start a conversation when both are online.

Streamline customer service

Businesses are recognizing the potential customer service benefits. They can streamline service processes by using intelligent chatbots to handle routine inquiries quickly and efficiently. Customers save time and agents are free to handle more complex inquiries or higher-value customers.

Messaging apps also retain the context of each customer message. This helps build a more detailed profile of customer needs and will enable businesses to deliver a highly personalized service.

Because messaging provides a permanent link to the customer, agents can initiate proactive communications at any stage in the future. That creates dialog and makes follow-up or messages to upsell or cross-sell more natural.

Contact centers powered by AI

It’s no longer science fiction, businesses can use AI technologies to offer conversational commerce and handle increasingly sophisticated customer interactions. These “virtual agents” can hold real-time conversations with customers and offer a personalized experience.

By using context gathered from earlier messaging conversations and fine-tuning requirements through intelligent questioning, the virtual agent can offer customers relevant answers or recommendations on products or services.

Although the technology is already available, commentators feel that technology alone will not make the solution acceptable. Customer experience is the critical factor. Customers will expect to interact with the app in a natural way, and they will expect precise, relevant answers to their queries.

Integrate all channels

Using messaging apps to deliver customer service is a relatively new development. However, it’s important to integrate it with other customer service channels, rather than operate it in isolation. Integration will help businesses build a 360-degree picture of customer interactions and communicate in a way that reflects customers’ preferences.


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