Make routine customer communications, such as service notifications and transaction alerts, smarter and save costs by leveraging IP messaging channels
The task of keeping customers informed has become increasingly complex with the rapidly evolving landscape of OTT messaging channels, regulatory requirements, and customer preferences, along with the rising costs of communication.
These factors are driving a rethink of application-to-person (A2P) customer communication strategies, not only to comply with new regulatory requirements such as the GDPR, but also to take advantage of the rich capabilities offered by messaging channels such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM, WeChat, Google RCS, push notifications and in-app messaging.
Using these channels intelligently allows companies to transform routine A2P communications, improve customer experience and reduce communication costs. But what makes up an intelligent customer communication strategy?
Making A2P communications smarter
Customer-friendly, intelligent communications sit at the intersection of four key characteristics:
1. Compliance with regulatory and organisational contact policy
2. Catering to customers’ preferences
3. Intelligent, multichannel routing
4. Context-sensitive and superior messaging experience
Let’s take a deeper look.
A non-uniform contact policy across business units can lead to multiple, disjointed messages being sent that annoy customers and damage the brand.
Further, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect in May 2018 has made compliance a priority for companies. Consequently, the ability to capture and enforce customer consent in real time will become an imperative.
Organisations need to centralise their customer communications to enforce necessary checks such as contact threshold (no more than ‘x’ number of messages in ‘y’ period) and social hours (is it a good time to contact the customer?). This requires the ability to prioritise messages (e.g. fraud alert vs. daily account summary) and hold messages until a specified time based on policies and preferences.
Catering to customer preferences
The rise of OTT channels has reshaped customers’ communication preferences like never before. Not only has the number of channels increased, but customers also prefer to use different channels for different types of communication.
This means customer experience leaders need to set up online “preference centres” where customers can easily set up and manage their communication and channel preferences. These preferences should then be applied in real time to deliver the right categories of communication on the right channels at the right time and at the right cadence.
Automated multichannel routing
This refers to the ability to switch from one channel to another keeping in view customers’ communication preferences, nature of communication, and associated cost implications.
Here are a few examples of different routing algorithms required in varying messaging contexts:
- Least cost / best effort – Routine notifications such as weekly account summaries, sent over SMS, account for the majority of A2P communications costs. Organisations can significantly reduce these costs by leveraging customers’ preferred OTT channels.
- Intelligent failover – Delivery receipts and read receipts provided by OTT channels provide higher visibility than SMS. When critical messages such as fraud alerts or OTPs aren’t delivered/read over these channels, you can dynamically switch to outbound voice call and/or SMS to ensure customers receive messages.
- Multichannel messaging – Some situations (such as a payment becoming overdue or imminent service outages) warrant a notification being sent on multiple channels (such as SMS and email, or SMS, OTT and voice call) to ensure that customers notice/take action.
- Suppression – If a new message renders a previous message obsolete (such as with parcel delivery notifications), you can discard it, thereby reducing communication costs and the risk of bombarding customers with excessive communication.
To have the ability to implement intelligent multichannel routine comms, you need to adopt a platform approach that allows you to easily build and deploy newer routing algorithms and make on-the-go changes as customers’ preferences and needs evolve over time.
Context-sensitive and superior messaging experience
While text-based messages can be used for point-in-time alerts and notifications, OTT channels can be leveraged for sharing rich media files such as videos and images to improve customer engagement.
In-app communications opens up a secure communication channel that you own – and a personalised inbox for your customers where you’re more like to get noticed.
Finally, using a cloud-based platform to centrally manage all your communications allows you to insulate your internal business systems from the complexities of the ever-evolving customer communications layer. This means you don’t need to re-engineer your back-end systems as and when new protocols, APIs, or channels become available. In addition, because the communications layer sits outside your firewall, you can still communicate with customers in the event of IT outages.
Is your communications strategy ready to address the challenges and leverage the opportunities offered by digital messaging apps?
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