As WhatsApp, Apple, Amazon and Google start unveiling their investment in digital customer care, there is no more doubt GAFA will play a major role in the near future in terms of B2C communication.
What will be the impact for companies? How can they integrate all these new contact points?
Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon: from marketing to customer service
Originally, Facebook had a real marketing approach toward companies, offering a dedicated channel for targeted ads. As of 2016, the largest Social Media platform made a strategy switch and gave companies an official access to Messenger. The results observed since leave no doubt about the relevance of this channel in customer care. As of today, over 2 billion messages are exchanged each month between 20 million companies worldwide and their clients. Facebook’s success inspired other major messaging players now considering customer care the next logical move for growth.
Apple Business Chat
Apple will open iMessage, its messaging app, to companies with the launch of Business Chat as part of the new iOS 11. With this new feature, end customers could enjoy a global experience within iMessage and obtain product information, pay with Apple Pay, choose a delivery method, etc. As the app is native to iPhone, it enjoys a real competitive advantage for reaching iPhone users.
WhatsApp for Business
Whatsapp has also revealed a few months back its plan to position itself on the customer care segment yet no official date has been communicated as of when the API would be released. The recent launch of verified accounts for selected companies shows the first step of a clear roadmap towards brands integration within the app.
Google RCS & My Business Chat
Meanwhile, Google works on RCS (Rich Communications Services), a new enriched message format meant to replace SMS. This project clearly aims to disrupt customer care as Google announces the possibility to receive bank alerts or plane tickets through this new channel. The company also tests a new feature enabling users to contact companies through a “message” button placed on their Google My Business page.
Amazon is also positioning itself and has launched earlier this year Amazon Connect, its phone support management app. The worldwide e-commerce leader has also announced its plan to get into customer care messaging with Anytime. Amazon could very well differentiate itself from competition using one of its major asset: the artificial intelligence developed with Alexa.
What will be the impact for companies?
All these innovations brought by the GAFA are using the same strategy of using messaging as a private vector of communication between companies and individuals. The approach appears to have potential when observing the 60 billion messages exchanged daily through Messenger & Whatsapp.
But messaging isn’t just a channel that meets customers needs and expectations: it is also an opportunity for companies to get closer to their clients through less formal conversations. Managing those interactions is made easier because of its “fast asynchronous” format: companies can streamline their workload because agents can either reply instantaneously or at their convenience and treat multiple threads simultaneously. To benefit from such advantages, more and more brands have integrated messaging within their own app. This strategy presents the very serious advantage of giving brands additional control (data hosting, design, features, etc.) while being independent from GAFA’s platforms evolution.
Furthermore, the rapid development of new channels represents a major challenge for brands as each new one comes with its own technical specificities. Managing daily interactions coming from multiple channels can become very complex. In 2016, Dimelo enabled AXA to integrate Messenger and be the first French company to use Messenger as a customer care channel. Similarly, our open platform aims to integrate new channels as they become officially available to companies. Using our platform, customer care agents can manage all channels through a unique interface that perfectly integrates in the brand’s ecosystem.
While GAFA are ready to revolutionize customer care as it exists today, we at Dimelo will enable companies to select and integrate painlessly these innovations at they come to life and be where their clients expect them to be.
Originally published Sep 21, 2017, updated Sep 24, 2021