Top 6 Digital Customer Service Messaging Channels in 2020

The number of unique business communication channels has grown significantly and continues to expand (what seems like every day). We’ve listed the 6 most common ways customers prefer to message with businesses. 

It may seem overwhelming to decide which customer interaction channels to use but it should be known that getting started is easy. Whether your business is interested in opening up several messaging channels, or just one, communicating with customers over messaging can be a breeze. Here are our top picks for digital customer service communication channels in 2020.

1. SMS/Text Messaging

The number one channel today, by far, is SMS/text messaging. The difference between how consumers view and respond to email vs text is night and day. Consumers are conditioned to ignore an email with an irrelevant, salesy headline, but they are accustomed to reading every text message that is sent to their mobile phone. This makes conducting customer service and sales over text a reliable method for businesses. Business text messaging benefits from high open rates and fast average response times, which is a significant advantage over traditional emails.

2. Web Chat

Web chat allows users to connect with agents or custom chatbots directly from your website. It is critical for many businesses to deliver round-the-clock support and address specific questions users are having with online purchases, before they go somewhere else. Web chat should be a critical component to ensuring your business is available to accommodate whichever customer communication channels are preferred when conducting research or making a purchase.

3. Apple Business Chat

Apple devices allow customers to contact businesses through the Messages app native to Apple iPhones, iPads, or Macbooks. These conversations offer richer messaging experiences customers have come to expect. Consumers can initiate the conversation in all the places they are familiar with on their devices from listings in Safari, on Maps, or by asking Siri. An added benefit to richer customer conversations is customers are able to use integrated functions like Apple Pay, where businesses can provide secure purchasing options directly from within the messaging window.

4. Google’s Business Messages

Google’s Business Messages allows businesses to send visually compelling messages, making conversations come alive with a more interactive and dynamic messaging experience. Business Messages can help consumers schedule appointment times, complete transactions, receive real-time updates and notifications, and complete product reviews. Plus, it’s compatible across all Android-enabled devices so your business doesn’t have to worry about creating different integrated experiences.

5. Facebook Messenger

According to Facebook, over 20 billion messages are exchanged over Messenger between consumers and businesses each month, signaling high engagement. Facebook Messenger provides a private channel for customers to contact businesses directly (as opposed to public comments). Displaying the coveted “Very Responsive Badge” on your business page will reassure customers they can get the support they need at a moments notice. Messenger is a rich media platform that supports image and video exchange, chatbot implementation, and lead generation templates, offering plenty of flexibility and personalization to service customers.

6. Twitter Direct Messages

Twitter’s popularity makes it another valuable customer interaction channel for wide-ranging demographics. In addition to a private conversation channel, Twitter can link from tweets to Direct Messages, establish custom welcome messages, and collect feedback on the customer experience.

Connect With Your Customers Effectively

In this list of channels for customer care and conversations, it may seem there is no shortage of ways for customers to be able to message you.  As we stated from the beginning, while enabling every available messaging channel shouldn’t be the goal, it is easy for businesses to explore new customer communication channels with the help of a business messaging platform. These platforms allow customer service agents to manage customer conversations all in one place. By enabling agents and customers to connect across multiple messaging channels, your business is encouraging convenience, engagement, and efficiency – for both the customer and your customer service team.

To manage this process smoothly, Quiq provides a multi-channel approach to unify your messaging channels and monitor success. Our platform integrates seamlessly with today’s digital customer service channels, and its many features provide valuable, personalized connections with your customers. Schedule a live demo to see the platform in action today.

Rich Messaging: Make Online Shopping A Conversation

The term doesn’t refer to communication reserved solely for the elite, but rich messaging does rank highly among the most effective ways to engage customers today. Rich messaging (or Rich Communication Services or RCS) adds personalization, branding, and interactivity to 2-way messaging conversations , which even in its current SMS form, has very high open rates. Let’s cover the uses and benefits of rich messaging and how this service can enhance the customer experience as a whole.

What Is RCS Messaging?

Rich Communication Services messaging is a new way to exchange a text with added functionality. Consider RCS an upgrade to the simple plain-text format that SMS consisted of during the early years of mobile messaging when 160 characters was the limit.

With RCS, it’s possible to:

  • Attach large files and interactive media such as images, videos, digital promotions, and sign-ups
  • Shop and place orders 
  • Schedule appointments
  • Complete secure transactions 
  • Include option menus, response suggestions, or next steps
  • Leverage device components like a mobile camera to capture augmented reality, or GPS to display store location on a map

It’s expected that RCS will likely surpass SMS in time as the main protocol for messaging services. Right now, the use of rich messaging has risen dramatically in the digital marketplace, particularly in retail, consumer goods, and consumer services. 

The two primary providers of these rich communication services are Apple and Google with Apple Business Chat and Google Messages. Businesses getting started will need to work with a Customer Service Platform like Quiq to enable using these communication services with their customers.

How Rich Messaging Drives Conversions

The biggest benefit of RCS for businesses is the ability to send more sophisticated texts for better branding and customer service. The numerous features of RCS give the digital customer experience a personal touch. The organization or the platform itself provides the methods to fine-tune the message for each recipient, and even account for customer data like the customers location or 

Additional benefits of rich messaging services include:

  • Convenient product displays: Send carousel galleries or expandable pages for customers to scroll through
  • Direct assistance: Convert questions or complaints into actionable solutions in one conversation
  • Fast, personalized answers: Whether through a chatbot or live agent, customer requests are fulfilled without navigating out of the messaging window
  • Skip directly to the bottom of the buyer funnel: Provide sufficient information to make a sale without customers dialing a number or visiting a store

Improved Satisfaction With Faster Service and Richer Communication

Today, customer satisfaction hinges on timely, accurate, and useful information. RCS is beneficial for times when the full picture matters in the final purchasing decision — like the appearance of home decor — or when busy customer schedules make speedy applications or appointments a necessity.

Altogether, implementing rich messaging makes it more convenient for both businesses and consumers to exchange information. With the ability for businesses to respond in these more modern ways, they are then able to be faster and more tailored in their communications, and these richer experiences make it easy for customers to complete transactions and want to come back for more.

Deploy Rich Messaging in Your B2C Engagement With Quiq

Quiq makes enabling rich messaging as easy as sending a text message as it recognizes and sends the richest form of message possible, whether RCS or SMS, based upon device capabilities. To see the potential for yourself, schedule a live demo today.

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5 Tips to Transform Your Customer Service in 2020

As consumers continue to spend more time at home, maintaining an effective online customer service presence is becoming more necessary than ever for businesses. Today’s customers have a lot of questions and expect a fast, first-class experience and personalized answers. Agents who aren’t using modern digital channels like SMS/text, web chat, and social direct messaging or leveraging the power of chatbots will struggle to keep up with multiple requests.

It’s not by chance that smart communication technology exists that can improve your customer service and provide greater convenience for your company and your customers. This list highlights the top customer experience trends for 2020 and how businesses are modernizing and improving customer service.

1. Offload Expensive Phone Calls to Messaging

It takes significant time and resources for a human agent to answer calls. As talented as humans are at multitasking, it’s impossible to juggle multiple, simultaneous phone calls. By offering options for text and live chat on your website, your business gives a caller the option to switch to a digital channel and engage with an agent immediately instead of waiting on hold.

Both messaging channels allow customers to respond to the message at their convenience. The end result is a more seamless experience for the customer when their needs aren’t put on hold.

2. Utilize Chatbots

Chatbots are automated programs that deliver information in a conversational way, like a human agent. Unlike a human agent, chatbots can handle countless requests simultaneously with almost instantaneous response times.

Chatbots can step in for agents experiencing over-crowded queues and quickly resolve basic requests — like scheduling appointments, collecting feedback, troubleshooting an issue, or answering the age-old question: “What is my order status?” But don’t think chatbots are simply used in place of human agents. Think of it as chatbots alongside human agents.  

It’s true, chatbots, in many cases, can resolve customer inquiries without the intervention of a human agent but chatbots can be introduced at any point in the conversation to augment the work done by humans. For example, a chatbot could greet customers and collect important information prior to handing the conversation over to a human agent. 

In another scenario, the human agent could transfer a conversation to a bot to collect information in the middle or end of a conversation. Once the bot has completed collecting information, the conversation is transferred back to the human agent. Bots can quickly handle the routine and repetitive tasks, like collecting order information, freeing up human sales, and service resources to focus on the more high-value tasks.

3. Transform Messages to the Richest Format

The easiest way to modernize your customer service to keep up with customer expectations is to send messages that match the sophisticated digital experiences they’re familiar with (think emojis, videos, photos, and memes). With rich communication services, businesses are able to send rich messages (cards, carousels, suggested replies) that exemplify the brand across all of the supported channels in the more modern ways customers are already using today, with their family and friends.

4. Adopt Mobile Messaging & On-Demand Service

The majority of Americans own a smartphone and carry around the capabilities to research, shop, and purchase products wherever they go. Optimize your website for mobile viewing so the answers customers want are just a tap away. With mobile messaging and on-demand, real-time service, contact with a representative from your company is immediate through text rather than dialing a number.

5. Implement Live Web Chat

Live chat is already a popular alternative to traditional calls, evidenced by expanding presence in business plans and rising satisfaction rates among customers who use it. In the same way your website is live 24/7, your customers expect agents to always be available. On-demand agents solve the challenge of your business’s schedule having to align with your customer’s. For organizations that do not have agents around the world in different time zones, a reliable chatbot offers around-the-clock messaging.

Use Quiq to Improve Customer Experience

Creating informative and adaptive communication is simple with Quiq messaging services. To learn more, contact us or schedule a live demo today.

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The Evolution of Texts and Instant Messaging in Business

Instant messaging has changed the landscape of business-to-consumer interaction. The average American now receives a variety of texts from corporations and acquaintances. Digital-based customer service also opens more avenues to conduct business worldwide. How has digital transformation changed this multichannel approach and disrupted eCommerce and the sales cycle as we know it?

Brief History of Technology in Customer Service

Instant messaging has come a long way since the days of Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and web messaging platforms used throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Now there are multiple messaging apps on a consumer’s smartphone at a time, such as WhatsApp, Kik, and Snapchat, supplementing the already versatile channel of text.

Call tracking has also grown in sophistication to be more than logging what phone number will reach the customer. This technology includes more insights and integration to create personal profiles and track the entire customer journey, not just record a conversation.

The Impact of New Technology on Customer Experience

A deeper customer experience arrived with 21st-century technology. The wave of instant messaging began as more Americans purchased smart phones and computers. They’ve become acquainted with the ease and quickness of communication, and the text message now dominates exchanges between friends and family.

As customers spend more time connecting through mobile and online, businesses are next to adapt these new technologies into their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. For representatives, the use of the traditional call center declines in favor of the direct, instantaneous nature of text and web chats. As customers know, when they can reach out to companies faster and avoid waiting on the phone, they’re increasingly willing to initiate these conversations.

How Customer Behavior Drives Business Messaging

Today’s market is full of tech-savvy digital natives who often rely on their smart phones to gather information and shop online. Customers prefer the convenience and familiarity of text, especially because they can start and stop the conversation as they please.

In today’s stores, the phones might ring less often but an organization’s social media and web chat bustle with activity and potential new customers to connect with. Instant messaging ultimately drives a more personalized experience when learning about your products or services.

Also, businesses are able to continue to build trust and loyalty by sending relevant outbound messages to customers with up-to-date information about products and promotions that will keep them coming back for more.  It is extremely important that businesses consider this is not just an opportunity to reach customers, but that if the customer has a question, they should be able to easily respond to the message ensuring it is a two-way conversation.

The Future of Instant Messaging for Business

Mobile messaging volume is rising by the year and signaling no intentions of slowing down. Another noteworthy trend is the way in which third-party platforms continue to develop their messaging apps, injecting rich media into the presentation along with more features and service integrations.

You can expect to see more businesses harnessing instant messaging on their platforms. Chatbots are already in-demand for supplying even faster solutions. What’s more, sales and service reps need training for this channel to act authentically with customers — professional, conversational, and engaging — as if two friends were texting.

Does digital transformation within the customer experience mean the phone call is obsolete? Perhaps these technologies shouldn’t be competing but complementing each other to give the customer more say, whether it’s using their voice or their fingertips.

Embrace the Future of Instant Messaging With Quiq

The Quiq Digital Customer Engagement Platform utilizes SMS/Text and instant messaging as part of an multi-channel approach to business and customer communications. The streamlined integration with your existing CRM solution and in-depth performance analysis allows you to use messaging as your most versatile communication channel and make improvements to customer service operations. To learn more, request a live demo today.

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