Asynchronous Messaging

If you are a business owner or operations manager looking to improve the efficiency of your contact center process flow, then the chances are you will have come across the term ‘asynchronous messaging’. But what exactly is asynchronous messaging, and how can it help you to increase agent productivity and customer engagement..?

Communication Business Avenue, has been helping some of the world’s largest companies to integrate call centre systems and digital communication tools for the past 16 years

What is Asynchronous Messaging?

Asynchronous messaging is a type of communication technology that allows users to engage in conversations via messaging platforms without both parties needing to be present and active in the interaction. In the world of conversational marketing and customer support this is a powerful advantage, as it allows participants to start, pause and resume conversations with a brand at their convenience. 

At it’s heart, the concept of asynchronous messaging is actually very simple and is already a normal part of our digital lives. For example when we use common messaging apps like whatsapp, facebook messenger and gmail, we take it fore-granted that we can view the conversation history and that we can start and continue conversations at our convenience. This type of interaction is formally known as asynchronous messaging, and the technology is starting to be utilised by businesses to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their customer support interactions.

What is Synchronous Messaging?

Synchronous messaging is a communication that requires the participants to be live and talking or chatting one-on-one continuously at the same time. Participants have to begin the conversation and end it after the conversation has run its course.

We usually experience synchronous messaging with customer service agents. When you call a hotline or send a message to a customer service help desk, you talk to an agent via call or chat but this conversation closes after the communication engagement ends. Every time you talk to an agent, whether to raise a new issue or to refer to an old one, the agent will need to ask the same questions again and again as the conversation history is not saved and available to them. They will need to verify your identity again before they can proceed with solving the problem or answering the query.

Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Messaging

Asynchronous and synchronous messaging are popularly used by companies and businesses. They use this to communicate with their workers, staff, teams, clients, customers, and many more. But the top most essential use for companies of messaging is for their customer service assistance. To compare, we will be using the setup of an omnichannel that uses either asynchronous or synchronous messaging. At one glance at the table below, we can see the differences and similarities between these types of messaging.

Asynchronous Messaging Synchronous Messaging
Real-time Real-time
The customer responds in their own time Chat closes when the customer logs out
Easy and quick access in sending a message on a messaging app. Needs to log in to a browse and on the website. May not work on mobile platforms.
The customer can use different mobile phone apps Applicable in web or a specific app
The customer doesn't need to provide the same information given to the previous agent. The agent will need to ask the customer for the same information each time the restart the conversation.
Agents are able to help customers no matter where they are and what they are doing. Needs to log in to a browser on the website

Both types of messaging are real-time. They differ on most of the features except for the fact that they are both forms of real-time communication. In this context, when we say real-time, we are referring to the fact that messages are sent in the actual time they are delivered.

In asynchronous messaging, a customer can respond to or send inquiries at his or her convenience because messages are stored in the chat box that is accessible at any time. But with synchronous messaging, when the chat closes, the conversation ends and if something comes up in the customer’s mind later on, he or she needs to do the same cycle from the beginning. While asynchronous messaging gives us the whole conversation history and we can go back to read the previous messages, in synchronous messaging, the customers need to provide the same information that he or she has provided on the previous chat engagement with an agent. 

Synchronous messaging is for queries that can be easily solved in the moment. In practice, however, most customer queries aren’t so easily resolved. There’s no perfect agent that knows all the answers to every query. Some agents may have limited knowledge in a certain area, meaning that transferring the case to to another more knowledgeable agent may be necessary. With synchronous messaging however, upon transferring, the live chat closes with the previous agent and opens another conversation with the new agent. This means that the same cycle of questions has to be repeated (which includes the customer providing the same general information about their identity and the reasons for making contact).  

However, in asynchronous messaging, the messages in the chat box remain. The information that the agent needs are available in the chat history and they just need to read the previous conversation that the customer had with the previous agent. There’s no need for the agent to ask again for the same information that the previous agent had asked for. 

Another difference between asynchronous and synchronous messaging is the accessibility of the service. Asynchronous is available with most apps today but with synchronous messaging, it’s availability is restricted to a specific media or app or just with the website that is accessed through a web browser. 

As was mentioned earlier, asynchronous messaging is a common and popular method of communication these days. Social media networks use asynchronous messaging as well as many customer services teams for online businesses. Asynchronous messaging is also being used in internal business systems, such as by HR departments in interactions with employees. The benefits of using asynchronous messaging are numerous which is prompting many businesses to migrate to this kind of service.

Benefits of Asynchronous Messaging

Asynchronous messaging outperforms synchronous messaging when dealing with complex situations that require more than one session or agent to resolve. As stated, there’s no perfect agent that has all the answers . Sometimes they have to ask a member of the support team, especially if the queries are more technical in nature and require expert knowledge to answer. Below are some of the benefits of asynchronous messaging:

Efficiency and Productivity of Customer Service Agents 
Agents can cater to more customers at the same time. They can manage more conversations with less time, resulting in high customer satisfaction. 

Agents can focus on issues that should be prioritized. With asynchronous messaging, there could be a time gap for answering questions. Agents have more time to consider the best option to solve a particular query or problem or to decide whether to escalate the issue or not. This leads to better quality communication between the agent and the customer rather than trial-and-error mechanics. 

Time-saving 
Agents can field other queries while waiting for the response of the customer. Aside from catering to other customers, agents can also make the best use of their time doing other tasks like researching answers to further customer queries or locating resources that can help fix the customer’s problem. Also, if the problem reoccurs then the agent will easily know what to do and what kind of solution applies. 

On the other hand, customers can also make better use of their time by not having to give information that an agent should know because it was already in their conversation history or it was asked by the agent in the previous conversation. 

Flexibility 
Saving time by using asynchronous messaging relates much to flexibility. Not all customer care services are online 24/7. Some go offline depending on the type of work, time zones, business or store hours. The customer can just leave a message on a messaging app, and then the agent can answer the query when they are back online.  

Creates Customer Rapport 
When the agents do not need to ask the same questions again, like verifying identity, this helps with building rapport between the customer and the customer representative. Since the conversation is continuous, for the customer it can become as though they were talking to a friend looking for advice. The chat can be opened and answered at the customer’s convenience just like talking to a friend or a family member. 

Profit Increases 
When customers are satisfied with the assistance that they have experienced, they are much more likely to use as businesses products again and may even advocate it’s services to other potential customers via word-of-mouth. This can naturally lead to more sales and can be very useful in growing your business in the long-term.

If asynchronous messaging is used internally, then profit increases for the time saved by the employee to accomplish the task. The employee will have more time to do the other task assigned to them because they have easily get the help they need from other team members. 

Gadget-friendly 
Asynchronous messaging is gadget friendly. You can use a desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. For example, you accessed a messaging tool on your computer but ended up the conversation on your phone. You can take the conversation anywhere and reply to it at any time.

Asynchronous Messaging Tools

There are many tools for asynchronous communication. The range varies from messaging, video, audio, boards, and collaboration apps. The main feature is the accessibility of the messaging history and being able to continue the conversation at your convenience. Here are some examples of tools that use asynchronous messaging.

Emails 
Emails are stored in your inbox and you can make a thread on an email by replying to it. The recipient can answer anytime at his or her convenient time. Most of the communication of business relied on emails on a day-to-day basis. Emails allow writing contents, attachments of files and integration of appointments in calendars.

Asynchronous video or audio
These kinds of apps make it possible to create a simple video that can be sent to co-workers, team members, or friends. The recipient can access the video any time after it was uploaded. This is a valuable tool when someone from the team or a co-worker is living in a different time zone. Advantages of these types of communication platforms is that users can understand the nuances of communication, simply owing to the fact that they can observe facial expressions and tone of voice in a video message.

Collaboration Apps
Many apps are available today for asynchronous collaboration. Examples include slack, Trello, Twist, Teams, Asana, Monday.com, Click up, etc. Updates and comments from the messaging boards of each task are also considered asynchronous communication. Once a task is created, members of that task can comment, ask questions about the task and send updates. Asynchronous messaging on collaboration apps is a good way to facilitate the efficiency of communication when the team has lots of tasks ongoing and they are living in different parts of the world.

Social Media Messaging Apps
Conversation, knowledge sharing, and collaborations nowadays naturally occurs in social media apps. They are usually classed as asynchronous messaging. Social messaging apps improve the communication of families, teams, co-workers, etc. You can send audio and short videos aside from the traditional chats and messages.

Omnichannel
Omnichannel is known for synchronous communication but now it can also be asynchronous by connecting the channel into a third-party messaging app. Omnichannel is used by companies and businesses in engaging and supporting customers or workers.

Examples of omnichannel for business are the Microsoft Omni Desk and the Live Assist for Dynamics 365 Omnichannel. They are omnichannel solutions that both work with Microsoft Dynamics. If you’d like to know more about how these omnichannel solutions leverage asynchronous messaging, and how they can help you improve customer engagement, then feel free to get in touch with our contact form.

Scroll to Top