If you want to break away from your brand’s competitors, you know why focusing on customer experience (CX) is so important. 

You know that offering the best customer service possible is a differentiator. That’s even more true when:

  • 96% of customers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.
  • 84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report increased revenue.
  • Customers switching companies because of poor service costs U.S. companies $1.6 trillion.

Today’s consumer wants instant support and quick answers. If you want to learn how to give customers the options they want, this blog post will help.

Let’s dive right in…

There’s a problem with customer experience: what customers really think about your customer service

For customers — especially those with an issue or trying to complete a purchase — getting in touch with a business can be challenging.

Too often, interacting with “customer service” provokes feelings of frustration because of the amount of time involved:

  • When customers call you on the phone, they get put on hold
  • When they email you, they get an auto-reply message telling them to expect to wait at least 24 hours for a response
  • When they contact you on social media, you end up referring them to other channels to resolve their issue

And that’s why when given the choice, 75% of customers prefer to use private messaging over traditional customer service channels. They’re looking to reach out on their terms and schedules, and the ability to contact your business using familiar apps.

This makes sense when you consider the massive consumer adoption of messaging.

  • 80% of adults messaging daily
  • 78% of consumers want the ability to text businesses
  • 99% open rate for text with 95% open within 3 minutes 

If you think this phenomenon is limited by age or generation, you’d be wrong. The truth is people prefer message to message than phone calls or emails across all generations. According to data from BT & Cisco, more than 60% of respondents prefer messaging:

  • Millennials 65%
  • Gen Xers 65%
  • Boomers 63%

In other words, customers want to be able to message a business at their convenience, on any device.  

Unfortunately, there are shortcomings with traditional channels like phone and email. These constraints include: 

  • not being consistent with customers’ daily habits, 
  • difficult to access and very impersonal (for example, automated answers and no visibility on the status of the request sent)

The second thing to pay attention to is that offering customers convenient service options doesn’t only benefit them; it benefits your business as well. Digital support channels are easy-to-use. They also have rich features that can help your agents solve issues. Lastly, they’re actually easier to manage than synchronous channels.

Businesses aren’t reacting to changing customer demands

According to PwC, more than 70% of consumers say speed, convenience, helpful employees, and friendly service matter most. And, of course, companies who prioritize technologies that deliver these benefits, have happier customers. 

This is especially true when it comes to a customer with questions about their purchase. 44% of consumers say getting their questions answered by a live person during an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.

Yet, despite more than half of all chats coming from mobile devices, 42% of businesses think customers prefer phone support.

The option of chatting with a live customer service agent provides consumers with instant support, quick answers, allows them to avoid phone conversations, and is faster than email. 

But, even live chat falls short in certain situations.

For example, because live chat is a synchronous channel that requires agents and customers to be online at the same time, you can experience time zone issues. Also, there’s no history of conversation or ability to switch from web to mobile. If you get disconnected, you lose your chat session.

Finally, live chat isn’t optimized for mobile usage and the growth of mobile e-commerce.

Let’s take a closer look at why asynchronous communication (like messaging) is more suited to your customers’ habits and preferences.

  • Customers can message your company while they’re doing something else (like traveling or waiting in line)
  • There’s no wait time and no need to stay focused on the conversation like with traditional channels 
  • Messaging is a more conversational mode without hold music, complex ticketing systems, or annoying web forms

Maybe it’s time to ask…

What does the future of customer engagement look like? 

Brands who want to remain competitive will need to adapt to consumers’ higher expectations.

For instance, data shows high-performing CX organizations are more than 9X likely to integrate data from multiple sources, analyze customer interactions across channels, and engage customers optimally across channels.

To be clear, that means meeting your customers where they are. 

In a best-case scenario, you should be able to offer your customers a fast asynchronous mix of live-chat and messaging.

That’s why we’re rolling out messaging with Engage Digital.

The Engage messaging feature is a new feature of RingCentral’s Engage Digital platform that combines live-chat functionality with messaging. Available, on mobile or desktop, it guarantees a continuous conversation across all your customers’ devices for a better experience.

Now, your customers can engage or continue a conversation with your brand at any time and from any device.

Imagine, an experience that offers:

  • Fast-asynchronous channels giving your customers the ability to contact you even when no agent is online. That means you can offer 24/7 support!
  • The perfect mix of automation (chatbots) and human contact, depending on the type of questions. That means you can remove tier 1 queries from your agents’ queue allowing them to handle higher-priority issues.
  • Three ways to use one channel. Because the Engage messaging feature is so robust, you can deploy it as:
    • Live-chat mode floating on the corner of a website
    • Messaging mode embedded on a webpage
    • Mobile mode on any iOS or Android device

Plus, the Engage messaging feature offers a few advantages over regular live chat including:

  • Keep conversation histories whether customers are authenticated or not. That means your customers can have a continuous conversation across all their devices without losing the context (When you quit a live-chat session, you lose past conversations and need to start from scratch every time.).
  • Use available live chat triggers (and it is co-browsing compatible)
  • Continued conversations at any time and users can have multiple conversations

The Engage messaging feature is the best of both worlds, combining the best parts of live-chat and messaging. Plus, it allows you to work from a better knowledge of your customers giving you information from their customer account and conversation history.

The takeaway

Today’s consumers prefer private messaging to traditional customer service channels. 

If you want to give your customers the options they want, offer them the ability to have a conversation with your brand at any time, from any device.

Hopefully, this blog post answered some of your questions and shed light on your customers’ preferences to make it easier for your team to deliver a CX that leads to increased revenue, customer loyalty, and a consistent experience across all channels.

Find out more about RingCentral’s Engage Digital messaging feature and how it can help you connect on the channels your customers prefer here