What is Rich Messaging? Everything You Need to Know

If you’ve never heard of this technology, then your first question is most likely, “What is Rich Messaging?”  That’s exactly why we wrote this piece. In this article, we will dive into the topic of rich messaging and all of its capabilities and implications. After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of what rich messaging is, why it is an exciting technology, and the capabilities it brings to both businesses and consumers.

What Is Rich Messaging?

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is a method of communication between a smartphone and a cellular service carrier. This messaging protocol aims to replace standard SMS messages with upgraded, interactive messages and supports person-to-person or business-to-person transmission. Senders can attach high-resolution photos and other multimedia to enhance the recipient’s experience.

RCS is likely to be the SMS successor in personal communications and business outreach. SMS messages do not respond as well to encrypted media, handle group chats, or enable other features like read receipts. They also require a cellular connection, which can be limiting. Though SMS is still around, RCS is becoming increasingly popular for personal use and business operations as companies utilize external RCS apps like WhatsApp and Facebook messenger.

There are many ways that RCS impacts businesses directly. Rich messaging means that businesses now have the ability to:

  • Capture new customers
  • Service customers directly via text, chat, or social media messaging
  • Interact with customers in real-time

All of this happens within the messaging conversation with the support of rich media and features that elevate the messaging experience. RCS helps create a solidified and branded experience across all devices since it does not depend upon the recipient’s network.

In this article, we will dive into the topic of rich rcs messaging and all of its capabilities and implications. After reading this article, you will have a better understanding of what rich RCS messaging is, why it is an exciting technology, and the capabilities it brings to both businesses and consumers.

Why Expanding Communication Channels Is Important for Businesses

In today’s fast-paced, dynamic marketplace, it is crucial to develop communication channels with your customers in a way that is convenient for them and facilitates lightening fast conversations. Consumers in the modern era are incredibly busy, tech-savvy, and have a massive amount of information at their fingertips. They are not interested in spending any amount of time, unless absolutely necessary, calling a company for help.

Businesses are constantly looking for the next technology that is going to improve and expand conversation, facilitate high-quality customer interactions, and give them an edge over their competitors. That is why more and more businesses are increasingly turning to messaging and rich messaging.

Rich messaging is the next evolution of text messaging, otherwise known as short messaging service (SMS). It is startling to think that the first text message was sent nearly 30 years ago, and yet the experience has not changed much — until the introduction of RCS rich communications, that is.

Text messaging has grown in popularity in recent years, specifically as the most common technology used on a daily basis to communicate with family and friends. SMS/text messaging has just as rapidly gained popularity in consumer-to-business communications. Business messaging has quickly gained a foothold as the preferred way to contact companies versus placing phone calls. The next evolution of SMS/text messaging is rich messaging. Let’s dig in.

How Google and Apple Approach Rich Messaging

When we talk about rich messaging, there are two providers, one for iPhone and one for Android devices. Apple and Google are the two giants in the communication space. These two providers are both offering great features via rich messaging; they are just going about it a little differently.

Google and Apple are investing massive resources to convince carriers to adopt the rich messaging protocol.  In order to strengthen the relationship with consumers, consumer-oriented businesses are now utilizing technology that both increases meaningful conversation and decreases the inefficiencies of traditional communication methods, like email and phone calls.

Rich messaging is not one of the messaging chat apps like WhatsApp or WeChat. Rich messaging or RCS rich communications is the next stage in text messaging technology that comes with features like read-receipts, group chat, image sharing, video calls, and a never-ending supply of GIFs, emoticons, and animated features.

Apple’s Approach to Rich Messaging

The Apple approach enables businesses to offer a direct line of communication for customers to engage via Apple Business Chat. While Apple uses the word “chat” in their feature, it is really messaging.  To digress a moment, web chat or live chat is when consumers engage with a company on desktop devices versus using messaging or Apple Business Chat on their mobile device. 

Getting back to Apple Business Chat, a few of the rich messaging capabilities available are the ability to present product choices to customers in a tap-to-pick list, offer calendar availability to allow for appointment scheduling, as well as the ability to complete secure financial transactions using Apple Pay.

Google’s Approach to RCS Messaging

Google has come to market with Google Rich Business Messaging (RBM). The Google approach is to work directly with the carriers to encourage them to adopt the rich communication protocols versus Apple opening up the gates directly to businesses on their platform. The native messaging experience Google offers Android devices also offers exciting rich messaging capabilities such as the ability to share real-time updates, book appointments, and complete transactions within the messaging conversation.

A growing number of organizations are taking advantage of these features. Chicago’s transit system uses the Android approach to allow customers to get directions and arrival times. Redbox is letting their customers browse their product availability, reserve their choices, and locate a station, all within the Android platform. Overstock is using rich messaging to allow customers to receive order information like purchase, shipping, and delivery confirmation, as well as presenting a product review survey.

The Benefits of RCS Messaging Services for Businesses

Messaging and chat applications have provided businesses proof that engaging with consumers in more meaningful ways is one of the keys to driving sales and repeat purchases. RCS business messaging is a great way to interact with customers in a convenient way that is above the noise of all the other chat apps now populating the conversation infrastructure.

Businesses of all sizes can utilize rich messaging to create a more holistic conversation with their customers across multiple networks, from any device. This opens up a lot of opportunities for businesses to improve their brand image, optimize their customer service, increase customer satisfaction, and gain deeper insights into the pain points of their consumers. Below are some of the specific advantages you will gain from using RCS messaging.

1. Cost-Effectiveness

When you use rich messaging, you know you will gain competitive business advantages through a solution that is easy on your budget. The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) has implemented a universal profile that pulls APIs, display formats, and brings other technological complexities together into one economical and easy-to-use format.

Rich messaging also helps your organization save money by reducing customer support costs. When consumers need to talk to someone at your business, they can speak to knowledgeable agents through your rich messaging platform. You will reduce the need to provide the hardware and staffing required to run a full customer service call center, and you will be able to use those savings to invest in other areas of your business.

2. Real-Time Insights

Using rich messaging, companies gain access to conversation analytics that provide the real-time insights they need for improvement and success. Rich messaging also provides reports on click rates and other helpful interaction metrics.

Businesses can use rich messaging’s real-time capabilities to keep consumers informed and satisfied. You might provide them with real-time order confirmation, delivery updates, and product announcements, for instance.

3. Increased Engagement

credit union member messagingText message marketing through rich messaging enables businesses to boost consumer engagement through rewarding communications. Using rich messaging, your company will engage in meaningful conversations through SMS marketing and business texts that keep consumers informed about and interested in your brand. Your business might also use rich messaging to drive loyalty programs that engage and retain customers.

4. Streamlined Shopping, Scheduling, and Paying

One integral benefit of rich messaging is its enhancement of various consumer activities, from online shopping to appointment scheduling to making payments.

Rich messaging platforms transform the way customers shop by making online purchases more fun and convenient than ever before. They give consumers options for browsing, selecting, and purchasing items, all within the convenient messaging window. When shoppers have questions, support agents are readily available and have a full suite of tools, such as video options, at their disposal to enhance consumer shopping conversations.

Consumers can also schedule appointments with just a few clicks of their mouse and pay for products and services with platforms like Apple Pay, Google Pay, or PayPal.

5. Security

In addition to streamlining connections between your organization and its consumers, rich messaging offers dependable security and peace of mind. Rich messaging provides a secure, protected environment for fruitful conversations to take place.

Today’s consumers often seek out trustworthy businesses that have stringent data privacy measures to protect sensitive data. Rich messaging offers consumers the confidence of knowing their messages are going through a reputable organization with enhanced security protocols.

6. Repeat Purchases

Rich messaging tends to make repeat purchases easier and more likely. When consumers experience seamless, convenient shopping through a rich messaging platform, they are more likely to return for future purchases. If a business uses its rich messaging capabilities to develop quality customer loyalty programs, it will boost customer retention and repeat purchases even further.

How Companies Are Successfully Using Rich Messaging

A highly regarded aspect of rich messaging is the diversity of interactions between consumers and businesses. There are a few different ways that companies use rich messaging in everyday interactions with their consumers.

One example of rich messaging is online chat boxes that pop up when shopping. These chat boxes turn questions or concerns into an actionable conversation. The chat bot handles the consumer’s problem, and businesses build their reputation for exemplary customer service.

Business text platforms may change to meet consumers’ needs. In one of our case studies, a contact from Little Spoon notes how their rich messaging service to check order confirmation details quickly became a question line for mothers. Parents could easily ask the company’s employee representatives questions and talk to them as though speaking to a friend. In this instance, Little Spoon’s stakeholders learned and adapted to suit their customers’ needs so they felt heard.

Regardless of how companies use a rich messaging system, the impact remains steady. Rich messaging gives consumers a better experience with the brand while allowing businesses to communicate more effectively with their customer base.

Bottom Line – Rich Messaging Is the Future

The future is coming and it’s coming fast. Businesses across every industry need to shore up their messaging infrastructure in order to remain relevant with consumers. There is significant data that shows traditional customer communication channels, like phone, email, and web chat, have already fallen to the bottom of the preference list.  Companies must have the right plan and platform in place that allows them to  react to the current change in customer preferences, as well as the future changes rich messaging offers.In addition to creating a solid foundation for the future, rich messaging offers businesses a greater reach than traditional methods due to the increasing adoption of GSMA’s standards. Major mobile carriers like T-Mobile and AT&T, as well as the OEM’s, namely Samsung, Apple, and Google, have already begun adopting rich messaging technology. More major players are expected to adopt it in the future.

The universal support across Google’s Android network gives every company a wide array of platforms and devices to utilize rich messaging. The emergence of Apple iMessage adopting rich messaging capabilities provides an even bigger boost to both consumers and businesses alike. A2P processes have brought about a boom in interest, investment, and adoption in rich messaging technology. 

To enhance your SMS text strategies with a rich messaging platform, partner with Quiq. Our platform enables messaging communications that promote personalized engagement between companies and consumers. We help businesses connect via methods their customers are already familiar with, including text messaging, web chat, and social media.

The possibilities and opportunities for implementing rich messaging into current marketing and customer experience initiatives have never been better. If you are interested in learning more about rich messaging and what it can do, you can read more, or schedule a demo today to learn more about our platform.

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.