Today, messaging support is the least popular it will ever be. That is to say, it’s launching like a rocket that probably won’t land within our lifetimes. The industry’s largest providers – Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp – are helping to standardize messaging support, strengthen consumers’ trust in messaging as a channel, and make apps the de facto place to get help.
Messaging apps resolve issues faster
Messaging offers more signal and less noise than any other support alternative. In the early days of social support, platforms were instrumental in helping support teams scan the noisy social sphere for valid customer complaints, especially on dark social. That still happens, but a growing number of customers prefer to communicate directly with brands via private messaging because it’s how they can get the fastest resolution. These one-to-one interactions are all signal, and agents have more context and can provide better support.
Big companies aren’t always keen to adapt. But brands that think their legacy channels and current live chat provider will suffice are mistaken. As we’ve written before, messaging apps have the unique advantage of being:
- Persistent: Messaging conversations persist across interactions, just like they do in real life. If a consumer writes in, abandons the chat, and returns days later, they and the agent can pick up where they left off rather than start over.
- Cross-channel: Few consumers carry an app on their phone for live chat support with a business. But 3.7 billion of them have messaging apps that include a universal ID such as an email that allows agents to identify them across desktop, tablet, and mobile.
- Simple: Customers want simple support in times of need. They often find legacy channels irritating because the interface always changes and they must learn something new in a time of peak frustration, like which button to press to reach an agent. Messaging apps eliminate outreach friction by letting people message brands in a format that they’re familiar with.
The big messaging apps will also likely out-innovate and outcompete upstart alternatives. Already, Facebook Messenger has launched a desktop live chat widget that makes it an all-in-one service. And WhatsApp for Business is being tested and rolled out for select companies.
Want to participate in WhatsApp for Business? Learn more here.
Messaging apps are the next iteration of social media
Social media isn’t exactly a bubble, but it is evolving.
The big four messaging apps eclipsed the big four social media apps in growth and total users back in 2015. Consumers are reverting to less public conversations with tighter-knit groups of friends and acquaintances, and Gen Z feels an aversion to public sharing that often surprises older generations who invented the social graph and status update. Private sharing is up, public sharing is down, and messaging apps are one proving to be the most effective and durable way for consumers to reach support.
Private channels are more secure
Viral customer service complaints like United Breaks Guitars are growing less common as consumers
Research firm KPMG International found that less than 10 percent of those surveyed felt they had adequate control over how organizations handle their personal information, and feeling insecure can influence consumers’ behavior. Fifty-five percent of those surveyed said they had decided not to purchase something due to privacy concerns.
Messaging apps can provide a secure channel, but they’re not secure by default. As IT support industry refrain goes, customer problems usually exist between keyboard and chair. Humans often unknowingly circumvent their own communication security by clicking links or sharing their login information with phishing scammers. But brands can secure these channels with the right technology partners.
Conversocial, for example, has nearly a decade of experience providing secure communications over Facebook and Twitter and has pioneered encrypted communication over Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The platform is built to provide end-to-end secure communications despite consumers’ missteps.
Messaging apps are the customer experience imperative of the decade. Consumers, brands, and messaging platforms are converging around them for quick resolutions, high usage rates, and security. And for brands, they offer a tremendous marketing advantage: Advertising that you provide secure, quick, satisfying communications is a necessary component of earning consumer trust in the 21st century.