One thing I’ve learned in my career is that you never know when a learning moment might arise. I had one recently at our ConnectCentral event. As part of demonstrating the messaging capabilities of our digital customer engagement solution, I asked attendees if they had Facebook’s Messenger app. I’d expected many to say yes, but definitely didn’t expect that every single person would.
Messaging: The Key to a Successful Digital Customer Experience?
In that moment, I suddenly began to understand just how profoundly messaging can redraw the landscape for customer service. Spurred by my experience at ConnectCentral, I did a little research. Today, the top four messaging platforms boast five billion users.
While startling, I suppose the messaging explosion shouldn’t come as a complete surprise. After all, messaging apps have quickly become our most dominant personal communications tool. The extent to which we’re using messaging to reach out to businesses, however, truly caught me off guard. Gartner has predicted that support requests using consumer messaging apps will surpass those coming from social media by 2019.
Can Messaging Transform the Digital Customer Experience?
The Gartner stat convinced me that messaging apps will redefine digital customer engagement for years to come. Here’s why:
*Source: Statista, October 2018. Apple data from Apple reporting in Q1 2018
When it comes to customer engagement, it’s no longer enough for companies to say, “We use email, chat, and voice.” As those modes decrease in popularity, consumers now expect to use messaging. The friction of moving from their messaging app to an online chat or any other mode is simply too disruptive. Forcing customers to use a brand’s preferred channel is a recipe for disaster.
Messaging as Part of a Broader Digital Customer Engagement Strategy
Messaging apps can certainly help build deep connections with customers. It’s important, however, to build flexible customer engagement strategies for all channels. Customers want you to meet them where they are, but “where they are” is constantly changing. A new startup working in a garage could soon deliver capabilities we can’t imagine today—and can’t live without tomorrow. And we shouldn’t ignore customers who prefer more traditional tools, such as email, phone, chat, and social media.
What is an Omnichannel Customer Engagement Strategy?
Businesses today need powerful omnichannel solutions that unite all these modes of communication. RingCentral’s digital customer engagement platform, Engage, connects with customers across all digital channels, including messaging apps, chat, email, social media, and more. By integrating these channels and providing truly omnichannel customer service, customer engagement becomes much more than the sum of the parts. Engage uses an AI-based smart-routing engine to manage customer engagement with a single interface.
Agents can also use messaging and video to include agents and experts from across the organization in real-time customer conversations, resulting in quicker resolutions.