1.4 billion people around the world send over 50 billion messages each day to communicate with one another. Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger have around 1 billion monthly active users each and WeChat around 900 million. Messaging as a conversation and interaction interface has fundamentally shifted how we communicate with one another (when was the last time you called someone?) and it is about to shift how people communicate with your company. The format has taken off because it is inherently easy to use, convenient, contextual, and expressive. Most importantly, it supports effortless customer service interactions – all one has to do is look for a phone number or name on a social network and start communicating.

There are many conflicting definitions of messaging, but at Sparkcentral, we define messaging as text-based messages sent from social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or via messaging apps such as Messenger, WeChat, and WhatsApp, as well as those from mobile devices such as SMS and in-app.

social customer service   social customer service
Uber makes engaging on Messenger effortless for customers by fully resolving issues in channel and making it easy to pick up conversations where they last left off.

Messaging is primed to become the new customer service standard because:

Messaging does not require both sides to be available at the same time.

Think about how you message your friends and family – you send an SMS, Facebook, or WhatsApp message, and go about your other business. The same applies to communicating with brands. 9 out of 10 people would prefer to message a business because doing so is convenient and does not interrupt their day. Traditional support channels like phone and email usually put the burden of work on the customer to call or email and often force them to wait to get help. With messaging, customers get notified of your response and can respond accordingly.

Messaging provides a continuous thread between the customer and the brand.

Unlike live chat, which is based on sessions, conversations can continue where they last left off. This means that customers don’t have to repeat themselves every time they reach out to a company. Both the consumer and the brand have a history of past interactions, which makes follow-ups easier and more convenient, reducing the effort required to resolve the issue on both sides.

Messaging is a quick and convenient form of communication

People lead increasingly busy lives and being held hostage on the phone or live chat doesn’t help in the matter. Some issues take time to solve and instead of having to sit and wait while the rep troubleshoots, the customer can just go about their business. Companies can message the customer when there is news or they need additional information, which saves time and money on both sides. With email you have no way of knowing if your problem is being dealt with and most live chat sessions expire if your attention is diverted to other issues, forcing you to start all over again.

Messaging is contextual

Messaging as an interaction interface is built to support operational and transactional messages. Brands can send customers boarding passes, receipts, shipping notifications and more via messaging apps and even more within their own apps. Customers can respond directly to those messages and get help without having to look up phone numbers and repeat themselves to another agent.

Messaging is emotional and expressive

Gifs, emoji, images, and video can all be leveraged in messages making it an entirely more expressive medium than phone, email, or chat. Many critics of digital servicing argue that text based formats remove the human element from exchanges, yet messaging has been built to enable people to share emotions and express themselves in fundamentally new ways. Emoji, in particular, has entered the mainstream with brands and people utilizing them to express humor, happiness and even anger. Similarly, gifs can be shared to express sarcasm and humor in a way that is often lacking on phone-based customer support. Customer service on messaging apps and interfaces works because it is a fundamentally familiar form of communication for most of the world’s population.

Want to learn about how you can start delivering messaging-based customer service? Join us and guest speaker Ian Jacobs from Forrester Research on Wed, March 1st to learn more.

JOIN WEBINAR

Get blog articles delivered to your inbox