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Article 3 min read

Agile practices (3): Customers are turning to messaging. Why aren’t you doing the same?

By Michael Schweidler, EMEA Marketing Manager

Last updated November 3, 2021

If 2020 had a breakout star, messaging would be it. Usage of channels like WhatsApp and SMS (text) has grown faster than any other this year. And increasingly, customers are signalling that they want the convenience and familiarity of channels they already use in their personal lives.

What’s convenient for customers can also be convenient for teams. With messaging, agents can handle multiple issues at once. And a continuous record of the conversation means that anyone on the team can jump in and continue working on the problem. It’s an efficient solution for times like these, when ticket volumes are high. Agile companies in Europe have become better: Those that are resolving customer issues faster are increasing the number of tickets processed per agent at a 24 per cent faster rate compared to their less efficient peers.

And focusing on what customers want, or being a customer-centric business, can help companies deliver better experiences overall. But adoption rates among agile companies (those that have managed to keep resolution times from rising this year) have unexpectedly fallen. Why isn’t messaging playing a bigger role for companies that are successfully scaling their support operations?

Scaling up is(n’t) hard to do

Businesses new to messaging may be slow to get started, but those who already have these channels are scaling up. And not just by adding agents.

Looking just at companies with high rates of growth (increases in ticket volume or staffing of 10 per cent or more), 1 in 5 agile companies have seen tickets spike over channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and SMS/text.

To help them tackle the surge in messaging tickets, many companies are increasing their agent counts, and some considerably so. More than 10 per cent have significantly boosted messaging support, with higher rates for larger companies (100 or more employees).

These rates look impressive, but agile companies are actually dedicating fewer resources to these channels than, say, live channels like phone and chat support. Why? Because messaging support is much easier to scale.

A single agent can only be on one phone call at a time, but that same agent can easily increase the number of customers they’re helping over text or messaging — just like they do with mom, dad, the babysitter, or their best friend. Scaling up on these channels doesn’t always require more agents to do so.

Setting teams up for messaging success

Agile companies are staying efficient during these volatile times. But with customer preferences changing, it’s a missed opportunity for many to not have messaging play a bigger role.

Tools like Zendesk’s Agent Workspace can help to streamline messaging support by funneling real-time conversations from customers’ preferred channels into one unified interface, alongside legacy channels like email and live chat. In addition to popular channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, this also includes newcomers like Apple Business Chat and even a company’s own web or mobie chat.

By following best practices around messaging support, teams can discover ways to deliver faster, better responses to their customers, while giving them the flexibility they want and have come to expect.

1 Building an agile support team
2 Agility starts with self-service
3 Customers are turning to messaging. Why aren’t agile companies doing the same?
4 Prioritising fast responses with live channels and social messaging