Increasingly, consumers want to communicate by messaging
It’s no surprise that today’s consumers are increasingly digital, and that more consumers than ever expect to be able to handle customer service interactions over digital channels. Consumer expectations are clear:
- 89% of consumers expect companies to have an online portal
- 68% of consumers most commonly begin a customer service interaction on a computer
- 73% of consumers have used 3 or more channels to resolve customer service issues
The potential benefits of the shift toward digital communication channels can be huge. In an era where brand loyalty is dead, companies that can deliver the customer experience that consumers are seeking stand to win big. Not to mention the operational efficiencies of digital messaging, which is up to 3 times as efficient as voice-based customer service.
Of course, this overlooks the fact that there are many challenges to moving forward with digital transformation. There are issues of training, infrastructure, and company culture. Another key problem is the fractured landscape of digital messaging. Consumers aren’t just using one platform, they’re using many platforms – and they expect you to as well.
In the United States, digital messaging has exploded
It’s sometimes hard to believe that the first iPhone was released in 2007. Since then, digital messaging has exploded, with hundreds of millions of daily active users across a wide variety of messaging apps. And many of the channels that consumers say they couldn’t do without have only launched in the last few years:
- Facebook Messenger and Snapchat, the two largest messenger apps in the United States, both launched in 2011.
- Google Hangouts launched in 2013
- WhatsApp launched in 2009.
The reality is that that digital messaging is the new normal. Almost half of smartphone owners say they “couldn’t live without” their devices. In eleven years, smartphones have gone from a niche device for technophiles to a necessity that has reorganized how we live our lives. The rapidity of transformation in how we use and interact with technology would have been unthinkable even fifteen years ago.
The pace of change is accelerating
A few facts to consider:
The pace of change is accelerating. It took 75 years for telephones to reach 50 million users. The Internet achieved that milestone in only 4 years. The 2016 release of Pokemon Go – an augmented reality children’s game – saw 50 million user accounts created in just nineteen days. New channels will be innovated, deployed, and adopted faster than ever before. And once a technology reaches a high level of market saturation, customers will expect companies to engage them on that channel – and they will be prepared to switch companies to do so.
We’ve all seen what has happened to companies who have failed to keep pace with changing customer expectations. So where will your business end up? Will you keep up or be left behind?