Is Customer Service Moving To Texting?

Texting Image
Is Customer Service moving to text messaging?  Self service is on the rise and there is a predicted  decline in live voice conversations, according to a Dimension Data report last year, customer support organizations anticipate a 35 percent drop in voice interactions over the next two years. But customer service inquiries across mobile apps, mobile chat, and social networks will increase more than 20% over the next year, according to Salesforce.com’s State of Service report. This seems to be the trending direction for supporting your customers.  The good news is that these channels of communication are far more cost effective for your company than one-to-one voice conversations  and customers actually prefer this method for it’s speed and simplicity.
Google is apparently working on an interactive and automated chat app and Facebook announced its Messenger-based customer service initiative last year. Then, just this week, Facebook-owned WhatsApp announced that it was dropping its subscription fee and would instead monetize by letting companies use the messaging service to interact with customers. So while messaging platforms are primarily used today for friend-to-friend communications, we can expect to see that change quickly.
Thanks to the Center for Media Research for sharing a new report from Vibes,  showing that consumers today expect, and welcome, service-based communications from the companies they transact with. Whether it’s an alert that their payment has been processed or their order has shipped, these functional notifications deliver tremendous value to consumers by keeping them updated on their various interactions with a business.

Email has emerged as a standard delivery mechanism for these messages, but the rapid adoption of smartphones has prompted companies to move faster in their shift to mobile-first. According to Forrester Research, there are now more than 200 million smartphones in the U.S., and the average consumer picks up or glances at their phone 150 to 200 times each day. With nearly two in three Americans owning and constantly checking this device, it’s more important than ever for companies to evolve their service-based communication offerings to compliment both email and mobile solutions to best serve their customers preferences and expectations, says the report.

Transactional messages add value for consumers because they are personalized and include relevant and time-sensitive information. This immediate utility results in strong engagement: Transactional emails are opened at eight times the rate of promotional emails, according to Experian.

Email solutions, however, were designed in the era where desktops and PCs were our primary computing devices. With the ubiquity of the smartphone, companies across a wide range of industries are now shifting their communications to mobile. Smartphones are consumers’ constant companion, making them the optimal platform for delivering time-sensitive transactional messages.

Companies need automated solutions to deliver transactional messages across mobile channels in real time, at scale and with speed, notes the report. Mobile channels are more immediate and impactful than eMail

Mobile Impact
Situation

Email

SMS

Push

First reach

Slow

Instant

Instant

Average open rate

23%

>90%

>90%

Potential coverage

Medium

High

Medium

Reach probabity

Medium

High

High

Source: Vibes, April 2016

By making the move to mobile, companies can significantly improve the effectiveness of their transactional messaging strategy, and effectively ‘mobilize’ service-based It’s clear that by making the move to mobile, companies can significantly improve the effectiveness of their transactional messaging strategy, and effectively ‘mobilize’ service-based touch points such as:

  • Order confirmations
  • Shipping alerts
  • Delivery notifications
  • Product updates
  • Congratulatory prompts
  • Time-triggered reminders
  • Claim processing alerts
  • Serviceperson en-route
  • Real-time ticket alerts
  • Account balance updates
Most Respondents Prefer To Receive Service-Based Messages On Their Mobile Phone
Device

% of Respondents’ Preference

Mobile phone

70%

Laptop

12

Desktop

9

No preference

6

Tablet

2

Source: Vibes, April 2016

Consumers do not only want to receive these time-sensitive messages on the device they have with them at all times – they expect organizations to offer mobile service messaging as well. Integrating mobile service messaging into existing transactional communication strategies means organizations are well preparing themselves to meet evolving consumer preferences.

Offering a suite of complimenting triggered messaging solutions (including email and others) allows consumers to pick and tailor their personal preferences to create a truly unique two-way mobile relationship with a company that exists outside the realm of traditional mobile marketing.

For marketers and business users looking to identify the transactional messaging types most likely to drive ROI for their organizations the key opportunity area  is unmet customer needs. These messaging types offer high value because of the powerful impact they make on consumer purchase decisions – while flying under the radar as relatively under-utilized strategies by retailers, brands and enterprises.

This means that the organizations that capitalize on the messaging types that fall into this quadrant will not only greatly affect the purchase decisions of their consumers, they will be staying a step ahead of the competition as well.

Unmet Needs (High Customer Impact:)

  • Wait list notifications
  • Reserve online, pick up in store

Most Important Customer Expected Messaging (High Value, High Impact)

  • Shipping alerts for online orders
  • Delivery alerts
  • Payment conformations
  • Account confirmations

84% of consumers state that service-based messaging has an impact on their decision to choose one company over another. This illustrates the critical role that service-based, transactional messaging plays.

Service-Based Messaging Impact On Company Selection
Impact

% of Respondents

Significant impact, I would definitely switch to

29%

Some impact but not much

55%

Absolutely no impact

16%

Source: Vibes, April 2016

Understanding the details and characteristics which consumers value in transactional messaging is key to launching service messaging programs that those same consumers will actually use.

Specific elements like time, date and specific tracking information all rose to the top in terms of what consumers value most in service messaging, and in our experience, all of these messaging characteristics translate naturally well to text messaging. This is due to SMS’ standing as the ideal channel for relaying concise, time sensitive information.

Providing basic information (80%) is the most important feature of service-based messaging in terms of positively impacting satisfaction. Speed and the ability to choose the message channel also factor high in importance.

Import Features of Service-Based Messaging
Type of Information

Extremely Important

Neutral

Not That Important

Basic information (time, date, tracking etc.)

80%

14%

3

Speed, immediacy

76

17

4

Message channel (text, push, email, etc)

73

18

4

Ability to take action (reschedule, etc.)

67

23

7

Personalization (tailored specifically)

64

24

9

Rich media information (service rep, etc)

47

32

16

Source: Vibes, April 2016

The majority of respondents say a text message (78%) is the fastest way to be reached for important service updates on purchases.

Fastest Communication Channels for Purchases
Communication

Fast

Medium

Slow

Text on phone

78%

12%

9%

Email on phone

48

31

20

Push on phone

32

41

27

Email on computer/tablet

27

26

47

Home

14

9

77

Source: Vibes, April 2016

Every interaction between a company and a customer impacts the customer experience. Customers highly value receiving personalized notifications containing important information in real time, and having the option to choose their preferred communication channel (e.g., SMS or mobile wallet).

Key Takeaways This 2016 Transactional Consumer Report offers a variety of important insights and use cases to help marketers and business users capitalize on the service messaging opportunity. Below are five takeaways that encompass the report’s key themes.

  • Put mobile at the center of your transactional messaging strategy
  • Service-based messages can impact revenue
  • Transactional mobile messages influence positive brand opinions
  • Go cross-channel
  • Select partner with mobile automation capabilities and deep industry expertise

For Additional information and access to the study, please visit here.

 

 

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