New research has shown that consumers are increasingly keen to use messaging apps for customer service.
The Aspect Consumer Experience Index shows that 38% of consumers would rather use apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to engage with customer service as opposed to phone calls. This follows a recent report that found customer support organisations anticipate a 35% drop in voice interactions with consumers over the next two years.
But it’s not just consumers’ growing preference for non-voice channels that is driving the shift – frustration with customer service as a whole continues to plague the brand experience for many customers. In 2015, the Aspect Index found that 32% of people would rather clean a toilet than contact customer service. This year, the number has climbed to 42%. Consumers seem to be calling for a change in brand engagement, and messaging-based customer service might be the answer.
Google, Facebook and WhatsApp have all made announcements that highlight the customer service potential of their respective messaging apps. Because of this, consumer brand engagement as we know it is set for a radical change. Smart companies see the same messaging apps that are used today for friend-to-friend communications as a way to offer more profitable and pleasing consumer interactions, especially through a text-to-knowledge link that is easy to use.
In this “age of the consumer” there is a growing need for companies to engage their customers through messaging. The research found that if consumers start a brand interaction with a message, 75% of them still want the ability to talk to a live person when needed.
Notwithstanding their growing preference for text over talk, there are clearly times when consumers want to engage with a live person without a lot of effort. So, like all interaction channels, messaging must be approached as part of a larger customer service experience.
Aspect has already piloted Facebook’s “Businesses on Messenger” APIs. Now they are inviting companies interested in testing customer self-service interactions using Facebook Messenger to participate in their Early Adopter Program. Participating companies will be able to use their natural language understanding capabilities, get limited time free production pilot hosting, and the ability to influence the company’s product roadmap around customer service on Messenger.
“Messaging holds the potential to improve the speed and quality of consumer engagement – it’s clear that customer service is the new marketing and customer–company messaging offers a differentiated and competitive advantage for those brands who are ready to engage,” said Joe Gagnon, SVP and Chief Customer Strategy Officer at Aspect.
For more information about Aspect, visit their website.