Without a doubt, 2016 was the year consumer messaging apps exploded onto the customer service stage. So far we’ve seen a swath of announcements from Facebook Messenger and Twitter about how messaging apps are revolutionizing customer service and how this form-factor can deepen a brand’s relationship with a customer, on their own terms.

While consumer messaging apps certainly aren’t new, their widespread application in customer service is.  Here are some killer stats which highlight why messaging is the next best customer service channel you can’t afford to ignore.

1. It’s cheaper. A LOT cheaper

The average American interacts with some form of customer service 65 times per year. That’s like reaching out to customer service five or six times every single month. The cost savings of servicing these customers on social is huge: $1 per interaction on messaging apps compared to $6-$15 per phone interaction (Aspect Software).

2. It’s the preferred communication channel of the largest consumer group on the planet

41% of Millennials say that they would be “truly satisfied” if they could use messaging or SMS to connect with companies and organizations where they do business (The Center for Generational Kinetics).

3. Messaging apps have now surpassed social networks in terms of monthly actives user numbers (BI Intelligence)

4. The numbers of users on each messaging platform are mind-boggling (Gartner Research)

  • Facebook Messenger: 900 million people and 50 million businesses
  • Kik: 300 million people
  • Line: 218.4 million people
  • Snapchat: 100 million people
  • Twitter Direct Message: 300 million people
  • WeChat: 697 million people

5. Adoption of messaging apps is still growing fast

eMarketer projects that 2.19 billion consumers will use consumer messaging apps by 2019.

6. Messaging apps are starting to overtake “traditional” social media for customer service

Gartner Research predicts by 2019, requests for customer support through consumer mobile messaging apps will exceed requests for customer support through traditional social media.

7. Call centers are shrinking as messaging apps grow

Frost & Sullivan forecasts the total number of contact center seats will shrink from 4.1 million in 2012 to 4 million by 2017.

8. We never call anymore!

For the second year running, Forrester survey respondents reported using web or mobile self-service more than speaking with an agent over the phone.

9. SMS use pales in comparison to messaging app use

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp now process 60 billion messages per day which is more that three times the volume on SMS (Facebook).

10. Messaging is cheaper for the customer every time

Sending an SMS is up to 63 times more expensive outside the US while messaging apps are flat-fee or free. This continues to drive global adoption of messaging apps and makes messaging a more affordable way to contact a company (Michael Wolf).

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