Why customer services need to embrace mobile messaging — right now

By Patrick Fan

Mobile messaging apps are taking over communications these days. Smartphone users are spending thousands of minutes each week in apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger instead of making direct phone calls. The trend is even more dominant among millennials, according to Inc.

Customer-facing businesses cannot overlook this trend. Recall the frustrating experience of being put on hold by a call center and listening to boring, repetitive music. An excellent customer service department can convert a poor experience like that to an engaging one, making customers feel appreciated so they come back. Mobile messaging can become an important element of such an experience.

Messaging apps can improve customer service in a number of ways:

Messaging is built for multitasking

A single staff member can interact with multiple customers at the same time, which aligns with customers’ mobile-heavy expectations. The communication doesn’t have to be happening at the same time for both parties, and neither is required to commit to a single, dedicated session at the same time. Constant lookup, searching and interaction with internal peers are very common in modern customer service operations, and it’s poor form to keep a customer on hold for a single session. With a messaging platform, customers don’t need to wait on hold, and both parties can work in parallel because they’re notified of any new messages.

Messaging is now a multimedia platform

Mobile messaging today involves more than just texting — it now includes platform features with audio, video, collaboration and text capabilities, thus providing flexibility in methods of communications. A customer may be in a noisy environment that isn’t suitable for talking on the phone, and there may be a situation in which sharing an image is more effective; thanks to messaging apps and smartphone cameras, sharing images for collaboration is easier than ever. The platform provides a more effective way to communicate compared to email or voice call.


Messaging is persistent and threaded

Users can save, archive and retrieve important messages whenever they need them. Messaging communications are generally stored under threads so all the related information is grouped together, saving the time in sorting up emails and lookup data from a separate system. Users can recall and follow up on previous communication quickly and easily. By retrieving legacy information from previous conversations, businesses can make their customers feel more valued and engaged.

Messaging is analytics-friendly

Messaging data is generally well-structured. By integrating social profile data with modern language insights and APIs, businesses are able to obtain additional information on existing customers, which can generate potential business opportunities and improve future customer satisfaction.

Businesses can integrate and automate messaging. With the help of modern chatbot technologies, it’s possible to automate common questions and answers. Unlike traditional interactive voice response (IVR), IBM Watson’s Natural Language Classifier (NLC) technologies can learn customer intent via machine learning and provide relevant responses. When a live staff member is required to step in, system integration lets that happen without the customer realizing the change.

Don’t get me wrong — voice-call customer services remain a powerful way to provide a real-time and an engaging experience when needed. As great businesses, we need a platform that can support both asynchronous and synchronous services delivery based on different needs and contexts. It will not only help in reducing operations costs, but also allow staff to focus on cases that require their expertise. If you haven’t started thinking about your mobile messaging strategy, start it now!

Written By

Patrick Fan

CEO / Founder of beNovelty

Patrick is currently co-founding a technology startup in Hong Kong in 2015. Patrick was a Certified IT and UX professional by IBM and HFI with exceptionally strong proven track records in banking, transportation and public sector projects - received over 10 recognition awards including…

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