On a mobile device, today’s consumers can pay for a latte, hail a cab, control their thermostat, and even potentially find love. Everything is easy, everything is instant, and this is the bar against which all other interactions are measured.
Yet in this world of unparalleled convenience, how do brands who only offer support via email or phone stack up? Unsurprisingly, they leave the modern consumer wanting. Email and self-service portals are designed for companies to reduce cost, not delight customers, and phone support consistently rates as the highest point of frustration in their lifecycle according to eMarketer.
It may seem obvious then that customer service has migrated away from legacy channels not only to social media but beyond, to private messaging apps. Consumers are no longer satisfied to be heard publicly - they want resolution, and for the brands willing to meet them there in one-on-one conversations, they’re finding that it’s more efficient and more cost effective than any other form of support.
Here is why.
The era of authenticity through apps
Enter the big private messaging apps: Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM, WhatsApp, and even live chat services. They’re the welcome recipients of increasing volumes of customer service interactions and they’re all capitalizing on this trend by providing businesses with tools to provide chat resolution.
Messenger famously opened its API to integrations last year with brands like Uber to order rides, Spotify to share playlists, and KLM to receive flight updates. Twitter released its direct message feature which allows brands to take public complaints offline but still in-app. And WhatsApp is about to weigh in as a customer service heavyweight with much anticipated business communication tools.
All are hoping to be the portal through which brands reach their customers, and in their competition, they will inevitably split consumers between them and force brands to adopt not one, but nearly all.
For customer service teams, adding in a handful of new channels might sound nightmarish. How can they best adapt?
Taking the “mess" out of messaging
Multi-channel social care platforms make private messaging support possible. While human agents alone would be restricted to genuine one-to-one conversations and frustrated by switching between apps, social care platforms give agents a single simple interface through which they can manage a world of communication.
Automation for social makes human agents vastly more efficient.
These platforms are packed with features that distill the mess of social media down to just the vital signals that agents need to perform their job. Machine learning can help agents identify the customers with the greatest need and focus their efforts there. Prioritization and conversation threading allow agents to organize interactions. CRM integration allows them to get to the heart of the matter and pick up where the customer last left off, and role-based permissions allow managers to easily field teams of agents who can each handle up to six conversations simultaneously.
Add in to this mix the rise of conversational bots, of which 11,000 already exist on Messenger, and you have a clear future for a partially automated, partially human, completely effective social customer care.
Private messaging apps are coming. The tide of traffic that is shifting here from social should be a welcome boon for those customer service organizations prepared to handle it.
Learn more about how to provide the best social care in this, the era of the customer.