Rich messaging – welcome to the future
In this article:
Gen-Y consumers want two-way brand interaction and rich messaging that delivers.
That was just one of the takeaways from Sinch’s recent webinar: Engaging Conversations - An enterprise Guide to RCS & WhatsApp.
The event, which gathered together global enterprises, brands, marketers and mobile operators from around the world explored the transformation, enabled by RCS and WhatsApp Business API, that is changing the ways in which enterprises communicate with consumers, boosting engagement, and delivering precious loyalty and sales.
Missed the webinar? Not to worry, here’s a quick run down of what you need to know!
Consumer expectations are changing
Gen-Y has grown up with messaging, in particular with OTT chat apps. Like second nature, they expect to be able to communicate with friends and family in a rich way, sharing images and video, using emojis, creating groups and more besides.
Why wouldn’t consumers want to communicate with enterprises in the same way? To date of course, business to consumer messaging has generally been limited to text, but the ship is turning, driven by consumer demand and new messaging formats delivered A2P.
For example, functions like customer service have traditionally used IVR as the transport layer. Consumers hate it. They don’t want to sit on the phone and wait for numbered options to navigate to their desired outcome. They want to chat, interact and engage.
The mobile channel is changing too
Big macro trends in eCommerce, marketing and contact centers are shifting to the messaging channel. In retail we’ve seen a trend from brick and mortar stores, to online, to apps and now to the messaging channel where products can be displayed in full rich media alongside linked buttons to purchase goods or a map to ‘find my nearest store’.
What’s the business payoff?
The list is long and includes:
- Reduced cost of customer acquisition
- Increased revenue
- Increased engagement enabling an uplift in incremental click through rates as well as upsell and cross sell opportunities – If you add message personalization to the mix then engagement goes through the roof. Separately Sinch has seen engagement levels improve by 65% and conversion to sales by 15% for a major US retailer
- The shift in contact centers from IVR and agents to two-way conversation with bots or templated responses on the messaging channel, is another major benefit to brands - slashing the cost of each interaction.
The most potent consumer engagement channel is the native messaging inbox on the smartphone. Read-rates for SMS are already seriously good. RCS takes this to the next level because it’s visual, can include branding and comes with tools like verified sender, integration with the calendar app, location, and a whole host of rich media content options via carousels or the ‘rich card’ area of each message.
For certain functions, Sinch has seen much better responses to RCS than SMS - simply by showing an onscreen button, the experience becomes more interactive and the consumer is instantly more engaged.
Moreover, RCS improves the customer journey at every stage of contact with an enterprise from on-boarding through to customer service and beyond. In short, you have the power of the message in terms of reach, but now it’s as enjoyable as using an app, a lot less expensive to implement and more immediate (consumers would rather respond to a message than boot up an app).
WhatsApp endures as one of the few apps that consumers love. It’s also true that consumers are happy to use it for personal communication as well as a two-way channel to talk to brands and enterprises. Watch out for the differences to RCS though:
- Enterprises have to make contact via a predefined and pre-approved template
- Once the individual responds then consent to ‘chat’ is assumed
- However initial consent must be obtained outside WhatsApp itself. This can be done via email, SMS, during an online transaction or when setting up a profile and preferences
- WhatsApp prohibits overtly promotional content or anything that directly sells something to the consumer
The big focus for WhatsApp is customer care and support – a safe environment for an individual to talk to a brand to enact customer service and customer support.
Ready for more? Why not start a WhatsApp or RCS pilot program today? We can help and manage:
- Brand registrations and approvals
- Template registration
- Build, design and maintain bots
- Design your campaign flows
- Provide test credit