Article

Why social messaging is the future of customer experience

By Michael Schweidler, Senior Content Marketing Manager EMEA

Published November 25, 2021
Last updated November 29, 2021

Challenged on the highly detailed nature of her requests to someone who is serving her, Sally Albright — in the classic romantic comedy ‘When Harry Met Sally’ — says simply, “well, I just want it the way I want it.”

Today, we are all Sally Albright. Thanks in large part to technology, which puts us in touch with brands and retailers instantly, at the click of a mouse, we want things to be the way we want them — and right now, without delay.

In the past, we might have been content to dial a toll-free number and hang on the line or send a web form into the ether. Now, we just message brands in real time, on social media. When something goes wrong, or we need something done, we expect that same immediacy in reverse. If we get it, we’re happy. If we don’t, we’re not — and that tends to get shared publicly too.

The rise and rise of social messaging

One of the most effective ways for brands to address this rising demand for instant customer service is through the use of social messaging. Using channels such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct messaging and WhatsApp, customers have direct and instant access to brands, and service agents a rapid, highly-effective way to interact with them.

It's little surprise, then, that in the last year, there has been an increase of 110% in the number of consumers who say that social messaging is their preferred channel for resolving issues with the products and services they use. And it’s not only a hit with consumers. A recent survey found that service agents were 50% more likely to want to message a customer than to use any other channel. The reason closely mirrors that given by consumers for preferring the channel: it allows them to do more than one thing at once; for agents, that means dealing with more than one customer at a time.

Combining convenience with meaningful interaction

The rise in social messaging is an opportunity for brands to meet growing customer expectations, but marketing departments can’t do it alone. It’s companies that build a coordinated approach to social messaging that stand to transform their customer experience in ways that increase loyalty and drive revenue. In fact, among high-performing businesses, almost a third were found to have adopted support via messaging, compared to less than 20% of low performers.

German DIY retailer BAUHAUS integrated WhatsApp into its customer-service platforms last year. Now, 37% of its customers use the platform and 92,000 tickets, out of a total of 230,000 since February of 2020, have come through WhatsApp. This has allowed BAUHAUS to respond more efficiently because agents handle an average of 39 messages per hour on this channel, versus 29 by email. And the results speak for themselves. Satisfaction rates for customers supported over WhatsApp have hit 96%.

While quick, convenient service contributes to a positive customer experience (CX), 80% of consumers say they want brands to interact with them in ways that are meaningful. While service tickets are meant to be resolved and closed, messaging channels facilitate ongoing personal relationships with customers. In this way, messaging is the gateway to providing real, authentic conversational experiences—the kind customers both
expect and deserve.

Strengthening customer relationships

By reorienting their customer service away from simply closing tickets to providing enhanced value for each customer, businesses and customer support teams are building deeper, more valuable relationships with consumers. And those that are forward-thinking are going a step further, combining proactive, self-serve, and human support capabilities, to empower their teams to provide faster answers to more customers – without losing that all important human touch.

By 2025, it is estimated that outbound customer engagement interactions, including proactive customer engagement, will outnumber inbound. By combining rich customer and social data, businesses will be able to identify opportunities to proactively support customers through messaging platforms. When done effectively, this will minimise customer effort, reduce service tickets and demonstrate that brands are truly attuned to their customers’ needs.

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