The world of cloud communications is full of excitement and chatter about how the launch of Apple Business Chat and Rich Communication Services (RCS) will transform communications between businesses and their end customers. The fast-growing user base and the promise of rich customer communications have rightly made messaging apps the number one priority for customer experience leaders around the world.
A2P communications have traditionally been information-oriented rather than action-oriented. Quickly scroll through your messaging inbox and you will easily locate hundreds of messages from your bank, utility provider, online retailers, logistics firms, and telecom operators informing you about several things related to your account or service – from balances and monthly statements to upcoming payments and expected downtimes.
If you take a closer look, you will notice that almost all of these messages are one-way communications, often left unopened or unread in customers’ inboxes. The reason, the lack of a meaningful response path for the customer to act on the message.
Research shows that text messages have much higher average click-through-rate (6.16 percent as against 2.80 percent for Emails). Yet the potential of A2P communications as a medium to engage customers has remained untapped.
Every time businesses send a routine account or service notification to their customers, they have the opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell relevant products or services, delight customers with exclusive offers, or simply engage them with proactive customer service.
Why replicating the existing one-way messaging experience on interactive messaging channels like Apple Business Chat won’t lead to CX differentiation?
Providing customers with a seamless response path gains further importance as businesses adopt the new messaging channels like Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger and RCS which have been designed and used for two-way communications. As a result, interactive customer experience is now an unsaid expectation.
Further, customers today seek to have conversations with brands they love and are not content with just a transactional experience. There is a need for businesses to drastically shift gears from keeping customers “informed” to keeping them “engaged”. Action-oriented proactive communication strategies are now imperative to build meaningful customer relationships.
Day-to-day A2P communications, including the ones that are necessary because of regulatory requirements, are great customer engagement opportunities that businesses can leverage by presenting some contextual calls-to-action that customers can act on.
For instance, imagine an airline sending SMS reminders to its customers about an upcoming flight. Anywhere between three to four messages are sent up to the run-up of the flight. Boring, isn’t it?
Now, imagine if, in each of these messages, the airline gives customers an option to respond. How about informing a frequent-flyer about a vacant window seat based on previous seating preference and allowing customers to reserve it simply by replying to that message? Or letting customers place requests for special assistance, or simply cancel or reschedule the flight in case there is a change of plans?
The above approach is far more convenient and effortless for customers as against calling an IVR number or logging into a customer service web portal.
Another relevant example is from the banking industry. It’s common for banks to send direct debit reminders to customers for mortgage payments. However, most of these notifications are informative. Customers need to visit the bank, login to the web portal or call the IVR for simple queries like what’s the penalty for late payment or whether they can defer the payment by a few days. Banks can reduce customer effort and enable a seamless experience by allowing customers to ask these queries or place a request for changing the direct debit date simply by responding to the received message.
Now is the best time to shift from informative to action-oriented proactive communications
Let’s take a quick look at the key capabilities required for converting routine one-way communications to powerful customer engagement and contextual revenue generation opportunities:
- Capturing customer responses and identifying their contextual intent
- Automating the end-to-end communication flow logic including conditional branching
- Integration with backend systems to fetch relevant information, or to trigger updates and actions for fulfiling customer requests
- Seamless fall-back to live agents in case human intervention is required to address customer requests or queries
It can be a herculean undertaking when handling each of the above requirements using a programming-intensive approach.
Thanks to the advancements in natural language processing (NLP) and artificial intelligence, the emergence of visual low-code communication flow builders, and serverless runtime environments, businesses can rapidly build and launch action-oriented proactive customer communications across channels and systems.
Wondering how can you make the shift from informative to action-oriented proactive communications, and what does the right customer communications platform for today’s fast-evolving CX world looks like?
We are soon publishing a whitepaper to answer this and many other pertinent questions on the need for a new, agile approach for building and managing seamless customer communications in today’s increasingly multichannel world. Pre-register here to get a copy of it delivered to your inbox.
IMIconnect, our enterprise-grade omnichannel communications platform, enables organisations to gain customer trust by sending proactive timely and relevant notifications to customers with convenient response options for them to request additional information, seek personalised assistance or make any contextual changes. Our low-code visual communication flow builder allows you to quickly build interactive customer journeys, seamlessly integrating customer interactions with your backend systems for end-to-end automation.
Be the pioneer in moving from informative to action-oriented proactive communications and deliver a differentiated customer experience across channels. Request your trial here.