With the abundance of technology available to companies that promise to streamline processes, increase productivity, and reduce costs within the contact center, why do so many companies choose to invest in instant messaging customer service? The answer is simple. Instant messaging for customer service accomplishes all three of these things plus it’s easy to implement.
The main reason most companies turn to instant messaging for customer service is to provide their customers with a better experience, but there are other, less obvious, benefits that instant messaging provides. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at instant messaging for customer service and why more companies are turning to this method of communication to achieve more than better conversations with their customers.
What is Instant Messaging
Instant messaging is a type of communication that allows two or more people to transfer text in real time over an internet or cellular connection. It’s a great way for shoppers and service representatives to correspond quickly with short, deliberate messages. Unlike other communication types, instant messaging apps help consumers receive answers in seconds without having to meet in person or speak over the phone.
At the turn of the century, people used instant messaging platforms such as AOL Instant Messaging (AOL) to transfer information. IM is the standard for casual communication everywhere today, although the practice has only been mainstream in public society since the 1990s.
Today’s technology lets people send shorter, more personal messages that are easy to read and digest. Also known as text messaging or business messaging, this mode of communication is quickly becoming the norm for sales teams and customer service agents.
The Benefits of Instant Messaging for Customer Service
The way we communicate has evolved and instant messaging has emerged at the top of the food chain. In fact, “4 out of 5 consumers send mobile messages at least daily, while nearly half also use Facebook Messenger and a further third use other messaging apps daily.” (Customer Preference for Messaging, Market Strategies International)
The high adoption of messaging makes it an obvious choice for consumers to reach businesses. Using instant messaging for customer service has been a no-brainer for consumers for a while. Customers who seek to use the same fast, easy, and convenient way to contact companies, as they use to contact family and friends, have been trying to engage via instant messaging for some time. Companies, while quickly adopting the practice, have taken longer to realize their customers preference for instant messaging. Here are three benefits of instant messaging for customer service to help your business that you should prompt you to act right away:
1. Streamline processes
Agent labor is the biggest expense for a contact center, therefore time efficiency is one of the biggest challenges. Requiring agents to do things like cut and paste information from one system to another, gather simple information before receiving a call, or answer basic questions that could be handled without the help of a live conversation, are tasks that can be avoided.
Quiq Messaging has features that help contact centers reduce “time wasters” such as these. Here are a few common scenarios you’ll find in a contact center and how instant messaging can streamline the processes:
- Gathering basic information
- Quiq’s web chat has the ability to present your customer with a short form to gather information like name, order number or email. Before the agent even accepts the call they are armed with information to search your internal database and gather valuable customer information. Quiq Messaging has the ability to integrate with a CRM system so that your agent can view customer information alongside the conversation with the customer to provide a better customer experience.
- Answering common questions
- Agents can avoid the task of repeatedly typing out your return policy or performing a copy/paste to share the terms of your guarantee. Commonly asked questions can be easily answered through pre-built snippets. This feature allows Quiq clients to store answers to frequently asked questions that agents can access with a few short keystrokes.
- Scheduling an appointment
- Quiq’s Messaging platform enables agents to automatically send a list of available time slots that customers can pick from with a quick tap. This feature saves our clients the tedious back and forth usually required when trying to coordinate things like delivery times or service appointments.
- Understanding what the customer is trying to describe
- Quiq clients have found that customers can easily send videos and images to better explain their issue since consumers are able to quickly take a photo, screenshot or video with their phone or tablet and attach during the conversation. This feature has helped reduce handle time since agents can see what the customers see and are better equipped to assist the customer to resolution.
2. Increase the productivity of your agents
In addition to streamlining processes that allow your agents to accomplish tasks more quickly, messaging enables your agents to do more tasks. No hocus pocus or smoke and mirrors here. The asynchronous nature of messaging is the magic ingredient to this boost in productivity.
Asynchronous means that your customers can communicate intermittently, as their time permits. It also means that they can shoot off a text to check on an order or schedule an appointment while they are at their kid’s soccer game without missing a single play.
The customer’s pause in conversations presents agents the opportunity to receive and respond to multiple conversations at one time, often handling 6-10 conversations at once, without sacrificing the customer’s experience. In fact, it enhances the customer’s experience because the customer is able to tick that “call” off of their to-do list without disrupting their day.
Instant messaging also enables more efficient team communication, as it allows agents to message back and forth when they need to relay important information. Instead of having to make dozens of phone calls or emails, they can reach each other in seconds with instant messaging systems.
3. Reduce costs
We’ve talked about two benefits of instant messaging for customer service that really focus on saving time within a contact center. The old adage “time is money” hasn’t stuck as a universal truism just because it’s short and catchy.
Phone calls can cost $3-4/call and as high as $12/call regardless of how simple or complex the customer’s question is. In contrast to expensive phone calls, where agents can only handle 1 call at a time, agents can handle multiple messaging conversations at once, reducing work time and costs within the contact center. Quiq clients have been able to reduce work time by at least 35% compared to using phone and email to answer the same customer inquiries.
4. Gain a cohesive instant messaging system
Instant messaging mobile apps and software programs provide a cohesive, streamlined way to reach a wider audience. Quiq supports SMS, online, and social media communication, and its messages allow retailers to update consumers across several different platforms.
Instant messaging is a great way to answer questions, send alerts, provide technical support, and schedule services using a single mode of communication. Messaging allows consumers to interact with retailers directly from their phones, and agents can reduce their workload with advanced technology.
Because it’s so fast and easy, team communication through instant messaging is more sustainable than traditional correspondence methods. Today’s consumers want answers immediately and they want to find them quickly. Mobile phone communication offers both convenience and speed, which makes it a scalable option for many retailers. It helps them meet more demands without forcing them to devote additional time and resources to interruptions. The process is simpler, and customer service representatives can automate certain responses for better service and efficiency.
5. Better serve consumers
People love having access to resources that deliver fast results, and that’s exactly what instant messaging provides. With message platforms, retailer agents can increase job performance and serve more shoppers at one time. The faster a customer receives the answer they’re looking for, the more likely they are to buy the product that catches their interest.
Consumers are fickle, and it’s important to find new ways to keep them engaged. With analytical insights and archive keeping, leaders can monitor performance and create more effective improvement plans. Instant messaging apps are also effective for helping retailers collect feedback on new strategies and policies. Surveys and post-purchase questions allow instant messaging service agents to determine customer satisfaction.
These platforms may also come with a variety of features such as multi-language support, group chat options, and automated bots. Instant messaging breaks down communication barriers between retailers and consumers while providing solutions that can generate accurate answers to simple questions within seconds.
Evolve the Way You Communicate With Consumers
Instant messaging has evolved into the preferred method of communication for consumers. This shift in consumer behavior means there’s an opportunity for companies to leverage this channel to streamline processes, improve agent productivity, and reduce costs.
A growing number of companies have realized these benefits within their contact center because they partnered with Quiq Messaging to better engage with their customers. If you’re ready to learn how you can realize these benefits, text or chat with us today.