According to the latest data released by WeAreSocial, 2.8 billion people use social networks at least once month – and almost all of them (2.4 billions) do it from their smartphones. This no longer is a surprise. However, what is mostly disruptive is the change social media are currently experiencing. In no time, stream walls and public posts are running out of fashion.
Though Facebook still tops the list as the most used social platforms, Zuckerberg has clearly put his heart (and wallet) into instant messaging apps. WhatsApp and FB Messenger (followed by QQ, WeChat and a number of other lesser-known ones), proved once more to be the users’ favourite apps leaving Twitter, YouTube and even Instagram behind in terms of loyalty and engagement.
This now obvious reality reflects two trends which started already some time ago: from one side, the users’ growing need for intimate and more direct channels; from the other, the increasing importance of natural language processing and Conversational User Interfaces (CUI).
In terms of UX, Instant Messaging apps imply a very brief learning curve. They are so intuitive that even your mom – or that uncle of yours who just can’t get technology right – use them on a daily basis.
It’s no surprise then, that companies and corporations all over the world – like Sephora and TacoBell, just to name a few – have acknowledged the big success of Instant Messaging and are looking for ways to leverage on it just as they were doing with social networks a few years earlier.
Most of them are focusing on the development of Chatbots for existing Instant Messaging apps. Just a few are so visionary to engage directly into XMPP to create their own IM premise.
Three opportunities for Customer Service
Customer Care is the first and most obvious business process where companies can harvest the benefits of creating a one-to-one relationship with clients in their comfort zone.
Consumers can interact with brands as they do with their friends and family, using natural language. Without leaving the conversational context, they can also receive and send a variety of attachments (photos, videos, documents) to get their case through – reinforcing, as a result, the effectiveness of interactions. This is an advantage for companies, too.
Moreover, Instant Messaging does not create real-time service expectations. On live chats (or phone call-centers), we anxiously wait for an answer also fearing to lose our turn, whilst Instant Messaging apps typically allows us to carry on with our business as long as a push notification alerts us there is a reply. For companies, asynchronicity translates into a more efficient peak management and into reducing customer frustrations.
Lower call-back rates
Instant Messaging, as opposed to life chats or standard apps, brings about another great advantage for both customers and companies: easy retrievable information. Whatever info you may have asked for, you can look them up in the thread with Customer Support. This reduces the call-back rates. For customers it means better service and for companies more saving.
No less, for companies the threads between customers and Customer Support represent a very valuable source of qualitative and quantitative information to be used for improving processes and machine learning.
Not all Instant Messaging apps are equals
Some popular Instant Messaging apps are more open than others. The degree of customization they offer to businesses is however inherently limited by the very nature which made them huge: the focus on facilitating person to person interaction. By no means aiming to compete with the giants of p2p Instant Messaging but solely in response to the greater value companies could harvest from the natural language paradigm, MONK Software developed EIMe, the Enriched Instant Messaging solution tailored to enable a renewed and more effective relationship between a company and its customers.
To find out more, meet EiME here.