An obsession with a modern-day phenomenon, messaging, is reshaping the way brands and consumers build relationships today.
In business, relationships are everything. Simple, genuine human to human contacts which prioritized the smile that businesses brought on the face of their consumers over the product they sold. However somewhere during the rapid adoption of technology and its massive use in customer engagement this human touch got lost.
The internet for all its technological marvels never quite gave the personal feel that consumers always craved for. Cliched concepts like “Millennials love technology” gained momentum and the whole world simply believed that today’s generation simply loves technology. And they started dishing out more technology hoping to win over customers!
However, today’s generation was doing with a mobile phone in their hands and digital empowerment at their disposal was facilitating a convenient life they wanted to live and build the personal relationships they desired to have.
The Alternate Reality & the challenges that come with traditional customer experience
Businesses have for far too long lived and operated in a world of alternate reality. They have consistently believed that by operating multiple interaction channels, overloading consumers with volumes of knowledge material and providing an app on their mobile phone, they are building relationships. However, all that they achieve through these traditional means is to have an interaction.
Modern customers do not value stale interactions, they want engaging conversations with their businesses. They want to be valued; they want individual attention.
But it’s not that businesses don’t want to give their customer a great experience — it’s that they can’t. Because the tools, experience delivery models that they have been relying on were built for a world that no longer exists.
They were built for transactions and interactions; they were never built to understand the needs of the customer in real time and engage meaningfully with them.
As a result, while businesses have continued selling products, they have fallen behind in terms of building relationships.
A recent global survey says that while the usage of technology in customer experience has gone up by 45%, the average lifetime value from customers in retail has come down by 23%. It clearly shows that technology that doesn’t fit into our current lifestyle does not help businesses in their primary goal of customer retention.
Messaging to the rescue
As per latest global statistics over 2 billion conversations happen over digital channels every day!
The biggest channels of them all like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Wechat, Apple Messaging have overtaken our daily lives by empowering us with a powerful new tool – which enables us to get things done in a highly personalized and supremely convenient way.
Businesses have awakened to this changed consumer behavior and are rapidly re-constructing their customer experiences around messaging. Gone are the clunky IVRs, long wait times, incompetent agents, frustrating visits to outlets and many such business interactions.
Messaging is how people shop, place orders, get product information or simply give a feedback. It is one channel which has replaced the need to connect through several others, is instantaneous and allows businesses to open up a highly personalized 1-1 interface for every single customer of theirs.
And what has made messaging more powerful is the Artificial Intelligence backbone that processes customer intents in real time and allows the machine to respond with contextual replies.
Let’s look at an example. In earlier days if we were to purchase an extended warranty to protect a home appliance, we had to browse through the brands website, locate the necessary form and go through a cumbersome form filing process.
Today messaging changes, the game. Businesses are putting up business messaging tools on their website. We simply must open the messenger window, type in our registered phone number and put in a simple query to purchase an extended warranty plan. A friendly support bot locates the form, fetches our account details, pre-fills the form and provides a payment link to make an instant payment. Once we have made the payment it asks for a quick feedback and based on the interaction cycle even recommends the purchase of an additional care plan or an add-on product. The AI engine evens reads the sentiment and intent of the ongoing conversation and provides other contextual suggestions.
All this happens over the messaging channels that we use in our everyday lives and is not affected by any intermittent breaks that we make take to attend a phone call or grab a quick sandwich. Its insanely easy, natural and fits into the “millennial” way of getting a thing done.
It’s the most natural way of building bonds with consumers and brings the necessary human touch to customer experience that builds deep relationships. It enables brands to behave more like people and make customer relations personal again.
The “Generational Shift” is well and truly underway.
Today premium customer experience is simple conversations over messaging apps and voice assistants. The global statistics are further proof of this undeniable shift that is happening today.
Every single piece of tradition is been overhauled. Highly intelligent bots are replacing humans as the first line of responders. Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s Ok and Apple Siri are our new call center representatives who never put us on hold and a simple message over FB Messenger kick starts a series of messages that instantly resolve our queries.
It’s a celebration of the millennial lifestyle which respects the needs and expectations of the digital generation.