How to combine customer service and messaging apps: everything you need to know
In this article:
- Why should businesses offer customer service on messaging apps?
- Customer service: messaging apps vs. phone hotline
- Customer service: messaging apps vs. e-mail
- Customer service: messaging apps vs. social media
- Customer service: messaging apps vs. live chat
- Tips for getting started with messaging in your customer service
Consumers today are exposed to a lot of brand and service options on several platforms. For businesses, this means that they are constantly looking for ways to improve the connection with their target groups, and become more innovative in their customer communication. Recent research shows: for customer service, messaging apps deliver the best results. Here's why!
The Washington Post has called messaging app customer service “the biggest shift in customer service since the 1-800-number.” From BMW to Orion Mall to TUI: businesses across all industries use them as a main channel for customer communication and care. And they are seeing incredible resonance among consumers.
Why are messaging apps so much more successful than other customer service channels? Why do customers love them? And what are the advantages for businesses? In the following, we'll answer the most important questions around customer service and messaging apps.
Why should businesses offer customer service on messaging apps?
Businesses need to be available in their customers' favorite channels, and that's messaging apps! Messaging apps have even surpassed traditional social media channels. Currently, WhatsApp is the world's most popular social media platform.
With more than two billion active users and 100 billion delivered messages per day, it's clear that people love to chat on Meta's green messenger service. And other messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or Telegram are following close behind in popularity because they are easy to use, convenient, and they offer engaging multimedia options.
As a result, customers have started reaching out to businesses on messaging apps as well. For the family of Meta apps alone, more than one billion people contact a business on a messaging app every week. This means: if businesses want to be where their customers are, they need to offer customer service on a messaging platform!
Data also shows that businesses that make it easy for customers to reach them, and move in the same spaces, are more successful.
- 79 percent of customers are more loyal to brands that are easy to contact.
- 70 percent of consumers choose “message us” buttons over “call us” buttons.
- Customers around the world overwhelmingly say they trust businesses more when they can message them.
In the end, both customers and businesses benefit from a messaging solution for their customer service.
Advantages for customers
As mentioned, customers love to chat on messaging apps. Make it easy for them to reach you by being available on their favorite channels. Ultimately, this improves the customer experience.
- It's more convenient! Customers won't have to switch to e-mail or phone just to contact you. They can just stay in their preferred app.
- It's faster! Instead of having to wait in line on the phone for hours, customers can get a quick response (especially in combination with chatbots).
- It's more flexible! No need to stay glued to a screen until the live chat agent answers in real time. With messaging, customers can just take the conversation on the go.
- It makes your customers happier! Businesses that offer customer service on messaging apps have been able to improve their customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net performer scores (NPS).
Advantages for businesses
As a business, you not only end up with happier customers, you'll also be able o save time and money!
- Your employees will be happier! Customer service on messaging apps puts less stress on your service agents than having to answer immediately in a live chat or taking too long on the hotline. Handling inquiries on messaging apps will reduce the work load for your employees and save time.
- If you add chatbots to the mix, you'll benefit even more! Even simple chatbots can answer the vast majority of frequently asked questions. This allows you to scale your service without increasing cost.
- In addition, you'll also increase the quality of your customer service, as chatbots reduce the workload for agents, who can then, in turn, take more time to help customers with complex issues.
Sounds great, right? But how do messaging apps do when you compare them directly to other service channels?
Customer service: messaging apps vs. phone hotline
Raise your hand, if you enjoy waiting on the phone for hours to talk to a customer service agent. Right! Hotlines can be incredibly frustrating. Especially, if the issue could have been solved in seconds with a text message.
Speed is not the only way, though, in which messaging apps beat hotlines.
For one, messaging is more flexible. Agents can answer multiple customers at the same time. On the phone, they can only focus on one customer at a time. Second, messaging doesn't require real-time answers, which makes the solution more flexible for customers and less stressful for agents.
It's also easier to send multimedia files on a messaging app to explain an issue or ask a question.
Try doing the same on the phone! It'll take longer, it's more complicated and less clear! Finally, it's also really easy to connect your messaging solution to your CRM system, and store valuable customer data easily and centrally.
Customer service: messaging apps vs. e-mail
At first sight, e-mails are a great customer service channel. They're not as stressful as phones, you can answer in your own time, and receive information in a digestible way. However, users are being flooded by e-mails. Every day, people send more than 300 billion e-mails worldwide. This leads to full inboxes, ignored messages, and a general e-mail overload.
That's where messaging apps have a huge advantage. Messages have open rates of 90%. They also end up front and center on the user's locked screen. In other words, if you want to reach your customers, your e-mails will probably be ignored, while your messages will be read.
Conversations in messaging apps are also typically less formal, as it's the channel we use to talk to our friends and family members. Naturally, users adapt a more personal tone with businesses on messaging apps as well. This creates a closer connection to your customers and makes the customer experience more personable.
💡 Deep dive: 5 ways in which messaging channels beat e-mail
Customer service: messaging apps vs. social media
Social media platforms, such as Facebook or Instagram, are often the first touchpoint a customer has with a brand. So why not engage with them in a conversation directly there?
For one, because public comments on your Facebook timeline or in your Twitter replies are typically complaints. That's damaging for your image, and might leave the wrong impression about your brand. In addition, public social media feeds don't protect the user's data, so you want to be extremely careful in using social media to discuss a customer's personal issues.
Even if you use direct messaging, make sure that you work with a professional messaging solution that can guarantee 100 percent data protection.
💡 Deep dive: 5 ways in which messaging channels beat social media
Customer service: messaging apps vs. live chat
Live chats are also a popular customer service channel. Especially for e-commerce companies that offer an online shop on their website, it's a smart solution to offer customers guidance as they shop.
On the flip side, live chats can be very challenging for your service team. Customers expect immediate answers, which can be stressful for agents during peak times. And if an issue takes longer to solve, customers can't just get up and leave. With a messaging app, on the other hand, they could just take the conversation with them, which makes messaging apps more convenient than live chats.
Depending on your business, having live chats and messaging apps as complimentary solutions could be a good compromise though, especially if you incorporate chatbots in your web chat.
Tips for getting started with messaging in your customer service
When thinking about integrating messaging solutions as part of your customer service, we recommend:
- Starting on your customer's favorite channel first, and integrate other messaging channels later. This gives you a good first use case that you can learn from and scale.
- Adding chatbots to answer simple questions. This saves resources, while improving the customer service experience.
- Using a professional solution like Sinch Engage by MessengerPeople by Sinch that allows you to manage all messaging apps on one platform, integrate your CRM systems, add chatbots, and offer data protection.
🚀 Take your customer service to the next level. Try our messaging solution for WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, and other messenger apps for free!