Do brands need to embrace chat apps for customer service?

Published on 02 May 2013 by in Latest News

chat apps customer service Do brands need to embrace chat apps for customer service?

As consumer use of mobile messaging apps surpasses SMS, is it time that brands also made the move to services like WhatsApp and BBM to communicate with customers?

For the first time, the volume of messages sent via mobile apps exceeded those from traditional SMS based texting services, with consumers sending 19 billion chat messages daily via apps. More importantly, by the end of 2013, this number is expected to increase to 41 billion, compared to 19.5 billion SMS texts, as usage rates for the services spike.

Crucially though, the customer base for these apps represents just a fraction of those using SMS, suggesting app users send a higher volume of messages thanks to the cost-effective nature of the service.

This is of particular significance for brands, as it suggests consumers might prefer chat apps over other customer service channels; utilising these channels could improve customer satisfaction. This is especially true for conversations where a large amount of information must be exchanged, implying a greater cost for the consumer through traditional call centres.

As many users are already familiar with applications like WhatsApp, this solution would also involve fewer adoption barriers for consumers than alternative mobile customer service options like branded customer care apps.

Despite these numerous advantages, few businesses have integrated any of the popular chat applications into their CIM mix. One major obstacle to reaching this goal is the additional pressure that instant messaging customer service options would place on brands to reduce response times.

Secondly, though the worldwide chat app customer base has already grown to 586 million users, this still signifies a relatively small proportion of the population. As a result, while WhatsApp may one day grow to become a crucial CIM channel, for now traditional channels remain a vital element of the customer service mix.

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