Messaging has come a long way from the ordinary SMS of the 1990s to the modern messaging platforms we think of today when talking about messaging. Indeed, at the outset, SMS offered only a dry text messaging – no photos, no videos, external links, group messages. In fact, nothing that today’s generations grow up with and simply mean when talking about messaging services.
SMS, as a possible marketing tool, failed to justify its price, especially considering that it offered a very basic skill set. This is why increasingly, consumers and businesses alike are turning to messaging apps like Messanger, Viber, WhatsUp, WeChat, etc.
You can’t blame them. With more features upping the convenience factor, they make users’ lives simpler by replacing email, online logins, customer call centers, and eventually even the web browser itself. Truly, messaging is the platform of the future.
Messaging Apps Have Entirely Changed the Way People Consume Mobile Messaging
Recently, messaging apps only covered the personal sphere, mainly communication with family and friends. However, we are witnessing a trend that nowadays companies are increasingly using messaging apps for marketing purposes. It is no longer strange to see that brand messages are among the messages of your friends and family.
Different media require different types of messages – email marketing calls for one style, in-app notifications for another, and so on. Now that businesses are experiencing the growth of messaging applications, they are using them as a marketing tool and thus replicating the P2P communication model.
But looking wider, the real benefit of massaging apps is not only about companies being able to address their customers more directly. The great advantage of messaging apps is that consumers can also interact with brands in this simple way. The beauty of texting is that it is two-way. Although brands can communicate their offer to consumers, customers can also get answers to their questions, clarify details, make changes to booking arrangements, etc. Moreover, this is not just a possibility; consumers expect it today! They expect to be able to communicate with brands as friends, by simply sending a message and receiving an instant response.
This is where we come to the role of chatbots. How can chatbots improve communication between companies and customers through messaging apps?
Machines are coming!
When chatbots came around a few years ago, they promised to change the customer care experience. It didn’t quite happen, and everything has gone a bit quiet since then. But technology is continuously advancing – chatbots are now much more sophisticated. These are no longer simple pieces of code, but advanced artificial intelligence systems that can adapt to whatever the conversation is throwing at them.
Bots can now use machine learning and become more and more useful. This allows them to adapt to the various situations and needs of consumers who require them to solve their problems. A distinct advantage of bots is that they can work 24/7 without a break! Where could you find such a worker today? Of course, it is first and foremost, a user experience. Customers today want instant interaction with brands and a quick fix to their problems, even if it’s in the middle of the night. Chatbots allow them to do so, as well as the entire history of a user’s interaction with a company, available at just one click. In the end, the customer doesn’t care if they are dealing with a real person or bot, as long as their problem is resolved.
Bots also have huge benefits for businesses. In addition to being scalable and not keeping clients on hold, it is much easier to monitor the bot’s performance. Since everything is written down and not spoken on the phone, there is a paper trail of every interaction. No need to record who you talked to, talk time, what was said, etc. You just look at the transcript. It also eliminates all problems with accents because people do not speak the same language or struggle to understand each other.
One thing is for sure, messaging platforms have certainly changed the way consumers and companies think. With further development and refinement of the platforms, we will see an increasing convergence of companies and their consumers across these platforms. And I don’t think it will bother either one or the other. The mutual benefit is obvious.