For long, the phone has been the major customer service tool, only challenged by email. Despite best efforts from companies to shift service enquiries to self-service online, the phone still plays the major role in assisting customers. Yet it is cumbersome for both companies and consumers. Luckily for both, a new channel is entering the customer service scene — messaging.
For a customer phone service consists of endless queues, self-entering of data to robotic voice prompts and being tossed back and forth between representatives. But as the only alternative for personal service to turning up in person, you have no choice. Neither has the company, for whom service by phone is both expensive and time consuming. Now that is changing with messaging.
As a method of service, customers love messaging. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive and it’s personal one-on-one communication. And above everything, it is instant.
Messaging has been the big winner on the technology scene in the last five years. WhatsApp has beaten all internet records reaching 500 million users in four years. WeChat in China has grown to 275 million users and Line in Japan to 350 million users. But what is brand new, is corporate adoption of the technology.
Offering messaging in service situations enables a customer service representative to answer questions pertinent to the purchase decision and give personal and timely response to time-critical questions. As the nature of messaging communication is to-the-point, it is much less time consuming than phone calls, also because they are able to communicate with multiple customers at the same time.
For companies messaging, and its cousin chat, can be an answer to managing service in the internet age. In recent years we’ve seen chat introduced in sales situations online with great results. A report by Forrester Research shows that 44% of consumers considers instant online service important.
An example a brand new model built on messaging is WhatsAHOY Travel, a personal travel service for frequent travelers. Their clients receive 100% of their servicing by chatting to AHOY on WhatsApp. For travelers in fast-paced environments with complex and last minute itineraries the instant assistance provides the help they had given up on from traditional travel services. It has been so popular that the company has a waiting list for new clients.
Traditional businesses have also spotted the opportunities for messaging. Marriott Hotels released an app enabling travelers to communicate with service personal via messaging, so guests can order pillows, flowers and services without having to speak to anyone in person. The promotional video for the app has been viewed 7 million times on YouTube, cementing popular interest.
Perhaps most importantly, chat and messaging enables companies to reach a whole new target audience. There is a market segment of millions of people, predominately younger ones, that prefers dealing with people via intermediary technology rather than face-to-face. These people are much more likely to buy or interact via messaging, tweets and chats than face-to-face or by the phone. Today, businesses only hear from this contact averse segment when they lament terrible experience publicly on social media. By then it’s impossible to remedy the situation and the damage done to your brand is irreversible.
Wouldn’t it be nice to reach them before that?
This article was written by Tine Thygesen from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.