Q&A: Are brands growing to match global customer service trends? Special

Posted Oct 3, 2019 by Tim Sandle
In today’s digital world, communication preferences for consumers constantly change at a rapid pace. In order for brands to successfully meet their consumers’ expectations, they must implement the trends that are evolving into a customer care strategy
Online shopping.
Online shopping.
One major trend we’re continuing to see in the space is the rise of private social messaging channels. According to the 2019 State of Digital Customer Experience Report, today’s consumers rely heavily on private messaging channels to engage with brands and prefer private resolutions over traditional channels.
They have also found that communicating through private messaging allows for a more meaningful one-to-one engagement, enabling brands to drive customer satisfaction and loyalty. Brands must incorporate this customer contact channel into their strategy in order to keep up with competitors in the space. Burberry is an example of a company that is doing this successfully with the recent launch of their invitation-only messaging service.
To learn more, Digital Journal spoke with Ido Bornstein-HaCohen, CEO of Conversocial, to discuss the importance of brands evolving alongside today’s customer service trends, and how private social messaging is leading the way as the dominate care channel for forward-thinking brands.
Digital Journal: How are brands using social media?
Bornstein-HaCohen: Brands use social media in a whole host of ways - too many to list or discuss in any kind of succinct way. I think it’s important to shift your mindset away from what social media was, to what it is now.
Think back to what happened with cell phones. They used to just make calls and then in the late 90s you could send an SMS. Now, if you asked what you can use a phone for, it’s not so simple. A smartphone is your platform to do anything - video call your friend, pay for your coffee, hail a cab.
It’s the same with social media. It’s no longer just a profile page where you upload a few holiday photos. It’s a number of interconnecting ecosystems where billions of people exist and are having a wide range of experiences both with friends and family, and with brands. The main benefit for brands is that social media is ubiquitous in modern life and they have the ability to meet their customers on the channels they use every day.
DJ: What are private social messaging channels?
Bornstein-HaCohen: Private social messaging channels are social channels that allow two or more people to interact in a space and a way that is not shared with the rest of the world. These include the platforms likes of Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Twitter DM, Apple iMessage and Google messaging are also considered private messaging channels. They’re all platforms that allow conversations which can only be seen by participating users. As people are becoming increasingly aware of their privacy online, tech giants such as Facebook are prioritizing private messaging channels.
DJ: How are brands using these channels? Which types of campaigns work best?
Bornstein-HaCohen: In 2017, two billion messages per month were sent between consumers and businesses via Facebook Messenger. Fast-forward to now, just two years later, and that figure has grown ten-fold to a staggering 20 billion messages per month. Being that these channels support asynchronous communications, messaging via private channels allows consumers to communicate with brands on their own terms, not the other way around. The customer can send a message, head out for lunch, come back, and a response is waiting for them.
Messaging also makes commercial sense for brands. Human agents can handle multiple inquiries at once and take a shorter amount of time to resolve a case compared to more archaic channels such as phone. The customer gets a better service experience and contact centres are able to operate more efficiently - it’s win-win.
Brands are using these channels for direct communication with their customers, displacing phone as the main form of communication. The asynchronous nature of these channels allows them to be used to improve customer communications while reducing contact center costs. The most prevalent use cases today are for customer service - allowing for seamless resolution of customer requests over texts by utilizing automation or contact center agents.
DJ: How do people take part in these channels?
Bornstein-HaCohen: Most forward-thinking brands have opened up their private messaging channels to make contacting them as easy as messaging a friend. People can simply send a message and then wait to receive a response. A key benefit over live chat is that they don’t have to keep the conversation open - they can close the chat and come back when it’s convenient for them. It’s worth noting that while some brands are doing messaging well and typically respond in just a few minutes, there are brands who take days to reply, if at all. Thankfully, more and more companies are realizing that consumers want to communicate with them over their preferred channel - private messaging - and are investing to improve the experience they provide.
DJ: How do social messaging channels boost customer engagement?
Bornstein-HaCohen: The data from our State of Digital Customer Experience report speaks for itself: — 60% of consumers have stopped doing business with a brand due to a poor customer service experience — a figure up by 5% from our 2018 survey. A further 66% stated that good customer service on messaging channels is “very important” when it comes to affecting their brand loyalty. Good customer service on consumers’ preferred service channels also generates ROI, with 62% of respondents noting they would purchase from a brand who resolves issues over messaging channels.
Having a presence on messaging channels is no longer a “nice to have”. It is a key part of any successful customer engagement strategy which has a direct effect on the bottom line.
DJ: Are there any notable case studies?
Bornstein-HaCohen: We’ve been working with low-cost airline Volaris for a number of years and they’ve been able to produce some phenomenal results by championing messaging as a key customer service channel.
Messaging has proven to be 83 percent more cost effective for Volaris while also driving higher customer satisfaction in our latest case study with Volaris Airlines.
With Facebook Messenger now accounting for nearly 59% of their total messaging volume, the airline's average handling time has been reduced by 29%, as agents are able to handle up-to 5 conversations simultaneously on Messenger customer chat compared to 2 conversations via live chat and 1 via phone. Agent response time has been reduced by 43% and first response time has been reduced by 78 percent.