Managing a Messaging Channel08/03/20
The coronavirus pandemic has changed how businesses interact and communicate with customers. Limited or no contact mandates have pushed businesses to find other ways to personally communicate with customers. One strategy some businesses have turned to is a messaging channel. In fact, during the first few months of the pandemic, the use of a messaging channel to interact with customers increased by 26%. At the same time, businesses are still learning to manage a messaging channel.
Our company provides a 2-way messaging channel for businesses to interact with their customers. Two-way messaging is different from SMS messaging. SMS messages are the ones we get to remind us about an appointment or tell us about a sale. Read more about the advantages of 2-way messaging. When we talk with businesses about using messaging, they have two main questions. Why should I add a messaging channel and, if we do, how do we manage it in addition to the phone, email, and social media channels we already offer?
Why Add a Messaging Channel?
Better Customer Experience
On-the-go customers want quick, concise interactions from their mobile phones. Messaging a business reduces the friction of contacting a business from a mobile device compared to the phone or email. Customers can send a message with a question and go about their business. They don’t have to wait on hold or search for an email address.
More Efficient Communication
A messaging channel is not only easier for customers, it’s a more efficient communication channel for businesses than either the phone or email. By nature, messages are short and concise. With a mass messaging feature, businesses save time and effort sending a quick mass text message as compared to designing a lengthy marketing email.
More Personal Communication
Messaging is a more personal way to communicate with customers. For example, our messaging platform enables personal interactions by attaching the customer’s name and account information to all interactions. No need to ask for their name or account number.
People constantly check their phones. The average person spends 5.4 hours per day on their mobile phone so businesses can stay front of mind using a messaging channel.
Awesome Open Rates
98% of text messages are opened with the average text being read within 5 seconds of being received. It can take customers 90 minutes or more to open an email, if they ever open it.
Messaging is affordable, especially considering the super high open rates businesses get in return and reduced time to manage interactions.
It’s easy for businesses to see that a messaging channel is better for their customers. At the same time, they are afraid they can’t manage a messaging channel.
How Can We Manage a Messaging Channel?
Use a 2-Way Messaging Platform
For a messaging channel to be most effective, it should allow 2-way messaging. This is how you communicate with your friends. You exchange messages in a conversational way. By contrast, SMS messaging allows limited or no 2-way interactions. For example, your dentist might send you an appointment reminder that you can either confirm or cancel but you can’t have a conversation with your dentist.
Don’t Just Add Messaging as Another Channel
Customers are already contacting you by phone, email, chat, or social media. When you add a messaging channel, you can reduce the resources spent on one or more of your existing channels. Establish a plan to drive customers to your messaging channel.
Train the Responding Team
Managing a messaging channel is different than managing email or phone calls. Numerous messages can be managed at one time and each interaction can be handled up to 8 times faster than a phone call or email. At the same time, responding to text messages is different than responding to email or even phone calls. One of our clients had a responder who copied email responses, including their full email signature, into the text messages. Message managers should be trained so they understand messaging and can take advantage of the benefits.
Create a Messaging Communication Calendar
Include your messaging channel in your overall communication plan and specifically design messages to send. Consistent messages keep customers engaged and aware of special sales, important information, updates, or reminders. Proactive message about changes or updates keeps customers in the loop and reduces incoming questions.
Use Customer Insights
Customers ask questions about what’s important to them. Businesses can use those insights to better understand customers and how to communicate with them. Those insights will lead to proactive messages to customers to reduce incoming questions. For example, one of our clients was receiving an increased number of questions about product delivery. When they saw that, they sent a mass message about delivery to customers and significantly reduced the number of questions coming in.
With a mass messaging feature, businesses can target messages to different customer segments. This provides a personalized experience that customers value.
Look for Critical Messaging Features
Most messaging software includes features that enhance message management. Look for the following features to get the most from your messaging channel.
- Ability to route messages internally to an appropriate person to review or respond
- Ability to create stock responses for common questions that can quickly be inserted in a response
- Ability to tag messages to gain insights into customers’ behaviors and create reports
- Ability to send mass messages to all or segments of customers
Businesses are navigating a disrupted environment, especially when it comes to interacting with their customers. A messaging channel provides efficient and effective communication for businesses and gives customers the easy, personalized communication they want while on-the-go.
Peoplocity provides a 2-way messaging platform. Businesses provide their customers with a personalized mobile app to ask questions and get help. Businesses use a cloud-based platform to respond to customers and to deliver information, reminders, alerts, and updates to customers on their mobile app. It’s more efficient for businesses and increases customer satisfaction.
Tags: messaging app, Messaging channel