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What is Messaging?

Messaging is referred to as the next generation of chat and has been increasingly adopted in the US, particularly within enterprise businesses, since 2017. In this article, we’ll explain what messaging is, what the differences are between messaging and chat, and what benefits messaging can bring to your business. We’ll also explain what advantages and disadvantages the introduction of messaging has for both managers and users.

The final section presents examples of messaging implementations from businesses in different global markets.

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

Table of Contents

What is messaging?

Messaging is a type of chat characterised by asynchrony (i.e communication that doesn’t happen in real-time). It is sometimes referred to as ‘uninterrupted chat’ and is characterised by the fact that both parties chatting can startor leave a conversation at any time they wish..

The chat can be continued in real time, as in facebook messenger, or asynchronously. Another great feature is that messaging is not limited to apps, but can also be used on company websites. Even once a conversation is interrupted, a history is kept and the context can be taken over from other platforms to continue the conversation.
Messaging features can:
  • Allow customers to enquire at any time and in any way they like
  • Be deployed on a variety of platforms
  • Allow for ongoing conversations

Differences Between Messaging and Chatting

What is the difference between messaging and chatting? It’s important to note that messaging is not necessarily superior to chat. They can be used in different ways, each with specific advantages and features.

Let’s look at some cases where you can utilize the features of each tool.

Cases Where Chat Is Best Suited

The main feature of chat is the ability to talk to operators in real time. This has the advantage that customers can get the support they need immediately.
For this reason, the best use case for chat on e-commerce websites is when a customer asks for help with a question they do not understand at the time of purchase. Chat is effective when there is a high level of purchase intent and when there is an opportunity to discourage a customer from dropping out of the site before completing their purchase.
✅ Regardless of the industry, chat support is effective just before conversion.

Cases Where Messaging Is Best Suited

Messaging is ideal for dealing with general enquiries. This is because you can continue the conversation at a time that is convenient for the customer. Moreover, conversations started on the company website can be continued online. Customers can continue to receive support for the same case even if the channel changes.
✅ Messaging can be used to ask questions about a product, or to ask questions about their registration details.

Benefits of Messaging

The benefits of messaging can be divided into three areas: users, managers and personnel.

Benefits for users

There are three benefits for customers who use messaging
  • Customers can use it in their spare time
  • Can be used on the move
  • Conversations can be continued on a convenient channel
Customers can continue a conversation regarding their query at a time and place convenient to them and on a channel they prefer. There is no need to explain the history of the conversation to the support agent, each time the conversation is resumed.

Usage Scenarios That Utilize the Benefits of Messaging

Let’s look at some usage scenarios where the benefits of messaging can be utilized:

  • Company employees: can continue conversations with the person in charge between meetings.
  • Parents: can continue a conversation with a brand while tending to household chores or helping with the childrens’ homework.
  • Students: can continue a conversation on their break times during the school day.

Benefits for Managers

What benefits does the company see in introducing messaging? Consider the benefits to frontline managers.
  • Reduced operator waiting times
  • Enquiry peaks can be spread out
  • Shorter training periods
  • Reduced turnover and attrition
  • Increased customer satisfaction

Each of these benefits is explained below.

Reduced Operator Waiting Time

Messaging does not require responses to be in real time, agents only focus on one conversation at a time and once they reply they are moved to the next conversation in the queue… One company was able to increase operator efficiency by using messaging twice as much as a telephone call and more than 1.5 times as much as a chat.

Enquiry peaks can be distributed.

Messaging is asynchronous, so customers can inquire outside of normal peak hours (lunchtime and after work). Even if customers enquire during peak hours, the company can reply during off-peak hours. As a result, the peak period for enquiries can be dispersed.

Shorter Training Periods

Agents do not need to respond instantaneously. They can respond to queries by consulting the company’s FAQs and other knowledge. This reduces the amount of business knowledge taught in the initial training and shortens the training period.

Reduced turnover and attrition rates

Agents can respond to each and every customer query carefully. They are relieved of the pressure of having to respond immediately, or of customers becoming irritated. Agent stress is reduced, job satisfaction is improved and turnover & attrition rates are reduced.

Increased Customer Satisfaction

Customers prefer texting to telephone enquiries. At one telecom company, 70% of customers chose the ‘message button’ over the ‘phone button’ for their enquiries. Easy-to-use messaging improves customer satisfaction.

preferences-over-messaging

Benefits for the Person in Charge

What are the benefits for the agents who switch to using messaging?

  • Increased operational efficiency
  • Reduced escalation

Messaging allows more time to respond to customer queries. Escalations are reduced because there is ample time for research.

Messaging allows more time to respond to customer queries. Escalations are reduced because there is ample time for research.
✅ A major wireless carrier that implemented messaging reduced its escalation rate from 10% to 0.28%.

Disadvantages of Messaging

Messaging also has disadvantages.
  • Immediate replies are expected
  • Training of personnel is special
Each disadvantage is explained below.

Immediate Replies Are Expected

Customers may not know the difference between messaging and chatting. Therefore, they often expect an immediate reply.
When operating messaging, try to manage the customer’s expectations when it comes to reply time. Setting up auto-replies that inform the customer as to how long they will need to wait can do much to reduce customer frustration (e.g “We will get back to within X hours” or “We are receiving a lot of enquiries at the moment, it may take up to one working day to get back to you”)

Special training of personnel

Messaging requires a different skill set from both voice and email support. However, it has a lot in common with voice response, as you are effectively ‘talking’ to customers via text. During training, you should teach the mannerisms of voice response as well as chat talk etiquette and the best conversational tone for chatting.

There may be times when in-house training is difficult. In such cases, vendor-supplied training services can be used.

Effects of the Introduction of Messaging

Messaging technology has been under development since around 2015, but its introduction at enterprise level accelerated in 2017. The use of messaging is increasing in global markets, particularly in the US.

The following are some examples of the effects of it’s introduction in several industries.

[Travel] Virgin Atlantic Airways

Virgin Atlantic Airways introduced messaging in 2018. The method is to offer messaging via IVR to customers who have enquired, and messaging is done via SMS.

Within six weeks of introducing messaging, the airline experienced the following implementation benefits
  • 95% increase in customer satisfaction
  • 20% week-on-week increase in enquiries transferred to messaging
  • 100% of support agents satisfied with messaging

[Entertainment] Sky UK

SKY UK, Europe’s leading entertainment company, introduced messaging in 2016. Since its introduction, the company has provided messaging services on SMS, Facebook Messenger, iOS and Android platforms.

The benefits felt in the first 12 weeks of implementation include:
  • 90% of operators in charge of messaging are satisfied
  • 2.2 times more efficient compared to voice response
  • 30% of operators switched to messaging in the middle of a voice response
  • Customer satisfaction is consistently above 80-90%.

[Bank] Buddybank Bank

Launched in 2018, Buddybank, a subsidiary of UniCredit Bank, is an iPhone app-based bank that handles all queries via messaging, with no FAQs. The platform used is Apple Business Chat.

What are the benefits of the implementation?
  • 95% Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)
  • 92% Apple Pay usage rate
  • 76% of Buddybank Bank customers are new UniCredit Bank customers
  • Average customer waiting time of 30 seconds
  • 24-hour service is now available.

[Insurance] Mdabroad Ltd

MDabroad works with some of the industry’s largest medical insurers, including Aetna, Allianz and Zurich, to provide real-time insurance to travelers and expats MDabroad introduced messaging in 2017.

The challenge at the time was the inefficiency of multilingual medical specialists having to be available in the contact center 24/7.

The introduction of messaging has made the following changes
  • Efficient use of WhatsApp for support
  • Personalized advice through WhatsApp ID and CRM integration
  • Productivity of each operator increased by 18%.

[Information Technology] KDDI Corporation AU

KDDI Corporation AU provides a messaging service using Apple Business Chat, which allows users to contact operators via the iPhone messaging application iMessage. Other messaging services are available from My au, LINE and +Message.

KDDI Corporation AU provides a messaging service using Apple Business Chat, which allows users to contact operators via the iPhone messaging application iMessage. Other messaging services are available from My au, LINE and +Message.

[Communications] Rakuten Mobile, Inc

Rakuten Mobile also uses messaging as one of the contact methods. It is easy to use by downloading the Rakuten Mobile app.

First, customers send their query. After that, a push notification appears when a reply from an operator arrives, allowing the customer to read the answer.

3 Reasons Why Introducing Messaging Is Recommended

Messaging is being increasingly adopted in global markets, but perhaps you may be thinking that we should wait and see, or make the move when messaging is more widespread. However, there are three reasons why taking steps now to introduce messaging will serve you well in the long-run:
  • Messaging apps are more popular than phone apps
  • Phones are the last option (there is an increasing shift from phone calls to texting)
  • Texting support is highly valued
Each of these reasons is discussed below, based on the data.

1. Messaging apps more popular than phone apps

First, let’s check out the global trends. We refer to a survey conducted in September 2017 by LivePerson in the USA.

The study polled more than 3,200 Gen Z (aged 18-24) and Millennials (aged 25-34) in the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan and Australia. The same questions were also asked of 1016 Americans aged 35 and over to compare them with younger generations.
The following question was posed to the different groups: “If you could only use either a phone app or a messaging app, which would you choose?” The results of the answers show that the majority of Gen Z and millennials prefer messaging/SMS apps over phone apps.
The analysis shows that messaging is overwhelmingly preferred, especially in the USA (73.4%) and the UK (73%), where the trend originated.

2. The Telephone Is the Last Option

The table below shows that the telephone is the last option among the tools used to enquire when customers have an issue.

When the groups were asked the following question: ‘Which tool do you prioritize when looking for clarifications?’ the first tool used in all countries was the company’s app or website. Looking at the global average, the next most used tools are live messaging or chat, social networking and finally toll-free numbers.

3. Text Support Is Highly Rated

How do customers who receive text support from companies feel about it? According to the Call Center White Paper 2021, the answers to a questionnaire asking about impressions of customer support via chat and line were favorable because it is easy – 36% and favorable depending on requirements – 47%. This shows that 83% of those who used the services provided by manned chat had a positive impression.

Text-based customer service is becoming the dominant form of customer service worldwide and in the country. Chat and messaging, especially on apps and websites, will become increasingly popular.

Conclusion

The benefits of messaging are numerous, and include advantages both to customers and to support agents and managers. The data shows that implementing messaging drives greater levels of efficiency and customer satisfaction and results in forming an ongoing engagement with customers. If you are serious about improving customer experience and would like to know more about how to successfully implement messaging, feel free to get in touch via our contact form

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