Use messaging apps for better client service
WHEN a customer requires support, he usually wants questions solved quickly and effectively.
Customers are becoming more demanding of good service that is convenient and personalised to their needs.
Because of this, it is not surprising to find that messaging is becoming increasingly popular.
Today, messaging has already overtaken e-mail as the most popular digital communication channel.
Juniper Research estimates that 90 per cent of all Internet users will use some form of messaging by 2018.
Most people are familiar with using messaging apps on their mobile phones to keep in touch with their friends.
The common apps include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Line.
As more people get comfortable using such messaging apps, it has reached a point where companies consider this as a critical way to engage with their customers. We have now entered the era of "conversational commerce".
The fact that more customers prefer messaging is changing the way that businesses interact with their customer base.
Unlike e-mail, messaging has a significantly shorter response time, meaning that customers are happier.
For example, when a telco business in Canada started using Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers, they saw a 65 per cent increase in customer satisfaction.
Happy customers are loyal customers.
Messaging is also more convenient as customers can whip out the mobile phone and send their message anytime, anywhere. The conversation they have with the company is ongoing - a customer can send in his query, then close the app and do something else.
When the business replies a few minutes later, the customer is alerted immediately. Unlike a phone call, there is no need to be put on hold and listen to elevator music. The customer can attend to other matters while waiting for a reply.
It is also more efficient for the business, as one service agent can handle multiple messaging interactions, servicing several customers at the same time.
Companies that wish to tap on messaging apps should start by having a good understanding of their customers.
What type of queries do they have? Which are the common messaging apps they use?
What are the problems they have experienced using other communication platforms?
Once you have selected a suitable messaging app, advertise this channel to a small group of your customers.
Let your customer service agents experience messaging with a manageable number of customers before gradually scaling up the service.
The next step would be to define and measure the success of using messaging platforms.
For example, you could aim to reduce the average response time or increase the average customer satisfaction rating.
Another objective could be to help boost the number of sales conversions.
Once the business is comfortable using messaging to engage its customers, it is time to scale up.
Find a support software that allows a large team of customer service agents to respond to large volumes of messages.
Train your agents so they know how to solve typical queries, when to transfer a problem should it require specialised help, and are familiar with messaging etiquette (such as when to use emojis).
If there is a large number of customer messages, consider using automation, like chat bots.
Messaging is a new tool that makes it easy for businesses to have meaningful conversations with their customers.
Not only does this provide a new platform and widen a brand's reach, it can also boost client satisfaction and loyalty.
Royston Tay is the general manager of Zendesk Message, a software from Zendesk that helps businesses message customers at scale.