Messaging: Myth vs Reality (pt1)
Messaging has been seen as the panacea for customer engagement, however the operational nuances around the technology need consideration to ensure project success. This document discusses an approach to reduce risk and deliver excellent customer journey outcomes.
As I’ve told many people over the years, I don’t speak with my kids any more. That’s fine as they don’t want to speak with me, but we message all the time! It’s how we interact because it means we don’t have to schedule time to do it, there’s no missed calls, and we’re not interrupting the other when it may be inconvenient.
Brands are in the process of tapping in to this level of convenience and consumer behaviour in order to better support their customers. The key ambitions of engaging consumers in digital channels are as they’ve always been – Happier customers at lower cost. Messaging as an engagement channel can fulfil these outcomes, but there are limitations that need to be considered when building out a strategy.
Before we start though let’s ask 2 questions:
· What do we actually mean by Messaging?
· What services are we intending to use the channels for?
These will help define your high-level requirements as there is a fundamental difference between asking a friend ‘which restaurant tonight?’ to providing automated, secure, transactional services on your bank account.
Our definition of messaging is an asynchronous 2-way digital conversation between your brand and a consumer, using your web site or mobile app, or on a 3rd party messaging platform like WhatsApp, FB Messenger, or Apple Business Chat.
CX for EBITDA
So why would a brand, built on customers connecting to their call centre, be interested in messaging?
Let’s pretend there is only one messaging system today so we can ignore the security implications of multiple and the consequences of shifting conversations between platforms. That’s another story we’re developing in parallel.
The key is happy customers. Happy customers spend more, more often, will recommend you to friends and help drive your business success. The standard measure for this is Net Promoter Score (NPS), which when adopted formally by an organisation is a fantastic KPI to help you understand the state of your business.
When we consider messaging our friends it’s a great experience, I don’t expect someone to come straight back to me and they know it’s not urgent otherwise I’d have called them. Translating this onto a business means that consumers now have a channel where we don’t have to listen to terrible hold music for 15 minutes, actually want to use it, know the brand has my query and I can just get on with my day. What’s not to like?
Now this is where it gets interesting. A customer with low NPS will typically spend less, less frequently, and not recommend your brand to friends when compared to someone with a high NPS. In fact, most organisations can measure profit by customer today, and if you order the customers by NPS you’ll generally see a tight correlation. This means you can measure the business benefit of moving people from being detractors to promoters as the difference in profitability of each group.
We’ve been optimising the call centre experience for decades and most organisations are pretty good at it, aside from staffing it correctly. The implication is there isn’t a great deal more that can be done with this channel to further improve NPS. However, when we introduce a channel that people actually want to use into the mix the whole brand experience improves dramatically. Particularly when we use AI to triage the simple(ish) intents for fast response, and quickly escalate to a human when needed, who is also supported by AI technology to help them in their job.
Simply put, messaging when done well, can help move consumers to the top 2 NPS boxes by improving their experience and it will drive profitability.