We all know we should have a nice web chat service available for our customers, but while we were acknowledging that, messaging took several huge steps forward.
WeChat and Line are two ‘super apps’ in Asia that started out as messaging services and quickly evolved into ecosystems. They offer in-app money transfers, flight bookings and anything else a digital consumer could want – all within a messaging service.
What advanced messaging does
Advanced messaging allows rich communications with actions, rather than the spray-and-pray email or plain text SMS. You’re going to the consumer where they live, so their experience with you is native to their favoured environment.
Messaging is immediate and intimate. Providing your desired customer journey within a message has a far higher likelihood of conversion than an email with a call to action button. You’re not requiring that a customer come to your website or app to chat – you’re taking customer service to them.
Example: sending a customer a rich message with their flight details embedded, with options to change their seat or check-in early. Not an email they won’t check until later.
Rich communication services (RCS)
Rich communication services are software capabilities for sending super-rich advanced messaging, like the flight example I gave.
Operators of messaging services like WhatsApp are starting to open up their platforms to brands, offering a one-to-one line of communication.
Business RCS requires businesses to be verified – so there’s a trust and security element. Using an API (application programming interface – basically, a plugin to a platform) into an existing messaging service also means you’re talking to your customer within a platform they’re used to.
Two examples of RCA tools
WhatsApp Business API
That’s right: get right inside a customer’s inner sanctum. I don’t think this should be a decision taken lightly. Only a few kinds of business have any right to message a customer so intimately, in my opinion.
However, for some applications, that intimacy and PRIVACY could be a real asset to your communication strategy. Anything with appointments, like a dentist clinic, would be an excellent use of rich communication through WhatsApp. Banks, solicitors, aesthetic practitioners… Keep it nice and secure, with easy in-message actions.
WhatsApp Business API also gives you a business profile, so we could be moving towards restaurants being accessible through WhatsApp and the customer orders through a chat. Mind = blown.
Sinch rich messaging
Sinch is a provider of advanced messaging, through APIs into platforms like WhatsApp and rich SMS technology.
Using something like Sinch gives you one RCS tool for multiple APIs. It’ll give you branded text messages (so THAT’S how they do it!) and things like call to action buttons in your messages. You can also automate everything, so engaging thousands of people with one campaign is possible.
Not going to lie – it looks expensive. Most of us will not have the budget for anything like it right now. But it’s available, it’ll get more affordable and it could be something you invest in over the next few years. When you think of how this could cost-save in customer service or grow your revenue with better conversion, it may even work out for you in the near future.
If you’re already using webchat and SMS for customer service or marketing, RCS advanced messaging is your next port of call. All the reasons you adopted those communication methods, plus everything you need to convert your customer. It’s any business’s dream.