In-App Customer Service: Easier Than You Think

Do you make it easy for your customers to interact with you from your app when they have a question or an issue?

Building a great mobile app is tough.  The ever-present constraints of schedule and resources mean that it’s never possible to do everything you set out to do in the beginning. As a result, in-app customer service is often cut. Your initial design may have included a fancy API level integration with the same web chat you’re using on your website, but when the schedule went south, you had no choice but to opt for a static page with your customer support phone number and email address.

Don’t despair!  There is a much lower effort and much better way to engage your customers in your app in real-time – via Messaging (SMS, Facebook Messenger, Kik, etc).

Messaging for Customer Service in Mobile Apps

Instead of building chat or help into your app, you should take advantage of the messaging apps already on your customers’ phones. You know the apps. They’re the ones you use all day, every day – Facebook Messenger, Apple’s iMessage, Android Text/Google Messenger, etc. Messaging apps are by far the most frequently used apps on mobile. So instead of trying to build in-app customer service, you should create a jump off to the apps already preferred by your customers.

The above image shows a simple example of what this might look like in your app. By pressing Text Message or Facebook Messenger, your app users will be taken directly from your app to the selected messaging app. But, don’t worry that users are leaving your app. Mobile users know how to navigate multiple apps – they do it all the time. And the mobile operating systems are encouraging navigation between apps. For example, iOS 9 added universal links to navigate back forth between apps. Customers know your app and will be back, and in the meantime, you are making it easy for them to get help.

Customer Service: In-App or Not?

It isn’t often that the best solution also requires the least effort, but as compared to building your chat into your app, Messaging wins on both. Here are 4 reasons why:

1. Messaging has a Better User Experience

Facebook, Apple, and Google have invested heavily in their messaging apps, far more heavily than your development team could ever invest when adding chat into your app. The result is arguably the best user experience, honed through countless hours of user experience design and millions of hours of use. Given that the primary purpose of your app is not chat, it’s not reasonable to expect that an in-app implementation would rival the best-in-class messaging apps.

2. Messaging is Asynchronous, not Session-Based

Your customers have a lot going on. They want to connect with you on their schedule, while they’re doing other things. Chat is session-based, like a phone call. So, your customers can’t start a conversation now and finish up later. They can’t start a chat while they’re waiting for a meeting to start and finish it later after the meeting. If the customer goes missing, the customer service agent will terminate the chat and the customer will need to restart the whole process later. In contrast, a conversation on messaging occurs on the customer’s schedule. A conversation can be started now and finished later. This is one of the reasons that messaging has become so popular for personal communication and is now quickly moving to become more popular than phone calls into the contact center.

3. Your Customers Already Use Messaging

Because your customers constantly use text messaging apps (Facebook Messenger, Apple iMessage, Google Messenger, etc.) to communicate with the family, friends and colleagues, they are intimately comfortable using the apps. If you were to build chat into your app, it would be foreign and uncomfortable; an experience only ever seen when interacting with your company.

4. Messaging is Natively Multimedia

The messaging apps have done a clever job of integrating image and video into the app experience. As a result, everyone knows how to send pictures and video, whether it be pictures of the kids at the beach, that beautiful sunset or, perhaps, a picture of the issue your customer is experiencing with your products. Your developers don’t have time to build messaging into your app, let alone a seamless integration with the camera! Multimedia comes for free when you use a messaging app for customer service.

How does Messaging fit into my Customer Support Operations?

By now you should be convinced that it doesn’t make sense to build in-app chat or customer service into your company’s app. But if you choose to use messaging, how does it work in my contact center? That’s where we come in. Quiq has built a messaging platform that makes it easy to add messaging to your existing contact center. Quiq Messaging can stand-alone or seamlessly integrate with your current CRM and customer service systems to add SMS, Facebook Messenger, Kik and other messaging platforms alongside your existing contact channels.