Customers want to communicate with businesses through the channels they use every day. They are increasingly messaging-first, and your business needs to be as well to stay ahead in the competitive world of customer experience (CX). With the variety and breadth of digital channels available today, businesses are under pressure to be on the right channels and deliver a rich and interactive experience to their customers.
With more than a decade of experience in the digital messaging domain, Ramy Riad, Head of Future Digital Messaging, lists three key considerations for businesses looking to begin or enhance their use of digital channels to deliver end-to-end customer journeys.
Customers want to talk to businesses, just as easily and quickly as they do with their friends and family. The plethora of channels now available can be quite confusing if your business is just starting or considering alternative digital channels. To begin, it is essential to understand the right channels based on your customer’s preferences. By collating and evaluating customer data to understand the channels customers prefer and why, and understanding how the channel preferences vary across regions or different customer segments, you will have the knowledge required to support your channel decision.
The criteria for success is to identify the key use cases where customers will interact across the channels. While SMS may be best suited for authentication requests, digital channels like WhatsApp, Apple Messages for Business, and Google’s Business Messages can be a good fit for customer service allowing the customers to respond at their convenience. In comparison, Rich Communication Services (RCS) is a messaging channel that lends itself well to proactive notifications and marketing related communications.
Choose the channels that best meet the different requirements for your business. Start small and scale based on customer engagement and relevant metrics. It’s important to allow customers to speak to a live agent if they wish to on these channels. Seamless handover from an automated chatbot to a live agent such as Webex Contact Center, retaining the context of the conversation results in a smooth and personalized experience for the customer.
As the digital messaging channels evolve, so do the pricing models they use. Unlike SMS, where each message of 160 characters is charged a flat rate, digital channels like WhatsApp, have a different approach to their pricing model. For example, currently Google’s Business Messages doesn’t directly charge a business, but if you need to connect to their channel via their partner companies, they will charge for that service. Whereas for RCS you pay for an individual message, similar to SMS.
What makes the pricing a bit more complex is that there are multiple factors that influence it, like geography or usage. For instance, RCS is free of charge in most markets outside of the UK at the moment. WhatsApp has moved to a conversational-pricing model, where a conversation can stay open for 24 hours. Businesses can initiate conversations within a 24-hour window if their customers have opted-in and be charged per conversation.
Even with the varying pricing models, digital channels can help businesses deliver richer CX while reducing costs. Choosing an asynchronous channel like WhatsApp would allow agents to have multiple conversations simultaneously when compared to speaking with one customer over a voice call or resolving the issue over multiple SMS texts. For instance, if a customer service call lasting five minutes might cost approximately $25 of agent time. Having the same conversation over SMS could take up to twenty-five messages between the consumer and the business. At 2 cents per message, the potential cost could be 50 cents. An added benefit is higher engagement which helps businesses to drive higher CSAT scores. Our Future Messaging team helped Vodafone trial their first RCS campaigns which saw a response rate of 25% whereas SMS and MMS scored a response rate of 1%.
More messaging channels means more choice for your customers. While that’s great from a CX perspective, it also means a complex and fragmented channel ecosystem for your IT team to manage. Each channel comes with its own set of onboarding processes and policies which constantly evolve. Added to that are the critical aspects of ensuring customer data privacy and regulatory compliance – all of which can be overwhelming for your enterprise IT teams and can impact the speed of your business’ go-to market.
In such a scenario, a centralized platform that can abstract the complexities of each channel and accelerate go-to market is an effective solution, such as the Webex Connect Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) platform. CPaaS providers have proven experience in managing the complexity of various messaging platforms and are often involved in digital messaging provider partner programs. Therefore, they are well positioned to help you begin your digital messaging journey and future-proof your customer interactions against changing channel policies and regulations. They can measure and balance the risk, benefits, and price to build a business case for the use cases you want to deploy and help you to stay ahead of future channel changes.
Enterprise CPaaS further augments traditional CPaaS capabilities with end-to-end orchestration and automation of customer journeys. With advanced integration capabilities, an enterprise CPaaS platform can help your existing backend systems integrate with third-party applications to leverage customer data and build customer journeys that cater to your customers’ unique needs. These platforms can support customers’ interactions across multiple channels allowing customers to switch channels during the conversation seamlessly while retaining context ensuring a connected and contextual experience.
Webex Connect, our enterprise CPaaS platform, fits the bill perfectly when it comes to orchestrating and enabling end-to-end customer journeys across multiple channels.
Make your digital messaging journey worthwhile with us as your CPaaS partner. Explore our Webex CPaaS to start planning your digital messaging strategy.
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