Call me, maybe?
Telecommunications began thousands of years ago, with the use of smoke signals and drums. Thankfully, it’s evolved since then, through snail-mail, landline telephone and mobile, to e-mail. Although, how many times have you been stuck twiddling thumbs on hold, listening to an irritating jingle on repeat, waited for a letter, or watched a spinning wheel? This is precious time lost, which you’ll never get back. Now, the web is opening up modern forms of communication, including real-time broadcasting to vast audiences around the world - driven by a core human need for belonging and love. Instant messaging is here; the immediate interchange of thoughts, opinions and experiences and recognition of these, depicts a modern protagonist, through seamless, private and secure channels (as preferred by both individuals and regulators alike).
68% of people asked said they preferred messaging to communicate with a business, which suggests that messaging is fast becoming a conversational alternative to traditional channels1. Furthermore, 50% also anticipate speaking to chat bots in the coming years2. The interconnectivity of people/bots and the web means that information sharing, help and support should only be a few clicks away at all times.
The rise of messaging
As personal devices become increasingly fundamental to support our day-to-day lives, humans become increasingly digitally dependent. This includes the way that we communicate and engage with our family, friends and colleagues. Today, 1.5 billion people use WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, plus another 1 billion on Chinese WeChat3. Every minute, that’s 41.6m messages sent (vs. 18.1m SMS messages and 87,000 tweets)4.
WhatsApp has seen unprecedented growth in usage in the last few years, reaching 58% of total network users in 2018. Leading in apps for monthly active users, WhatsApp supports daily conversations for almost 70% of the British population; and notably 84% of Brits between 24 and 35 years of age5.
In 2019, Facebook announced their new vision; a privacy-focused social network built around messaging - the first pivot from their desktop-based social media network since its birth in 20046. If we consider the direction of one of the fastest-growing, highest-earning organisations in existence, which plans to consolidate all messaging platforms (i.e. WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram messenger) - surely, the future IS messaging?
What’s the use of messaging?
Messaging capabilities are now being built by many businesses to adapt to today’s customer needs and expectations: demand for quick, easy, convenient service and the authentic language that we speak with each other, every day. This way, organisations can get even closer to understanding their customers, whilst being present where customers already are.
Messaging offers personalised support that is free, ongoing and presented with rich media like no other existing channel. Being able to research, purchase, make bookings and navigate on your mobile is already very handy; what makes this even better is simply commanding your device to help you straight away (letting technology and supportive humans do the work), so that you can get on with your day.
Introducing AI chat bots into the mix further enhances messaging capabilities, and accelerates rates of return on investment over time. Instant triage, digital appointment bookings, automatic 24/7 responses, clever marketing and tailored content are just some examples of how AI can be used to enhance customer experiences - making messaging the fastest growing channel worldwide.
Messaging is now
Given that 2019 has been deemed the ‘year for messaging to dominate’1 and with the trajectory of messaging in the last few years, it’s essential to understand the value that conversational commerce can add to your organisation over time. Whether starting to build awareness, create a new channel, or develop AI capabilities, we’re passionate about helping businesses explore how they can best apply digital conversations in their organisations and grow their digital customer relationships.
About the author: Francesca Lau is a Senior Consultant within Baringa’s Customer and Digital team. With broad consulting experience across Financial Services, Fran is passionate about building great customer experiences, improving business processes, and creating future state visions and illustrations for clients.
2 Gartner Report 2018