Customer experience has been at the centre of attention for the last few years, even more so in the SaaS community. The focus has evolved from ‘just’ making great products to also ensuring our users loves every second of working with the company.
There are a few aspects, with their underlying metrics, that define a great customer experience. Things like successful onboarding, seamless purchase, pain-free customer support, and ongoing business. All of which are under one single, all-encompassing metric: retention.
How does any of this tie into messaging apps?
It can be boiled down to just one word. Communication. Communication is critical in every business. It is how a company presents itself to customers, how it handles disputes, how it talks new customers through their first experience with the product, how it advertises… everything. Despite the importance of communication, there is a disparity in the way business and consumer interact.
Stuck in the old ways
Messaging apps have revolutionised communication. They allow us to talk instantly, in a quick-fire way, across the planet with rich media (images, audios, videos, emoji’s, etc.). Consumers have moved from sending lengthy emails or extremely short SMS messages to our relatives. Businesses, however, have not caught up. Most companies are still stuck sending lengthy (unopened) emails. They are expecting their customers to interact with them the old-fashioned way. Results are depressing. Email open rates are low (about 22% on a good day), click-through rates are even lower (about 3% on a good day).
We are finding more and more businesses are trying to successfully onboard customers, get them to purchase their products, help them through an experience, and keep them around. Via a communication channel their customers simply don’t use anymore. This communication gap can now be filled.
Businesses are integrating messaging apps
The simple solution is for business to move communication with their customers over to messaging apps. For a long time, for a number of reasons, this was impossible. First, there was an enormous technical barrier. It was difficult for businesses to be present on messaging apps. Not all messaging apps offered business accounts, some still don’t to this day (We are looking at you WhatsApp).
Second, email providers have had years of development to fine tune their service. Building lists, creating drip campaigns, signup forms – all of that was out of reach for messaging apps which turned off marketers.
Third, no one saw messaging apps coming. Back when instant messaging first arose, it was a way for the younger generation to communicate with one another. Some may have predicted it to be the way forward, but no business would have bet its entire communication plan on a hunch.
Oh, how times have changed.
Today, platforms exist that enable businesses to connect with their customers and replicate the self-serving aspect of email, but through messaging apps. Now, businesses can create accounts on almost all messaging apps. Since Facebook recently announced a potential WhatsApp API, this trend is not showing signs of slowing down.
Now, multiple studies support mobile messaging. A study by Nielsen reported 67% of consumers expect to message businesses more in the next two years. Another study by ubisend shows 63.9% of consumers believe businesses should be available and contactable through messaging apps.
As a result of that, we’re seeing businesses and website integrate messaging apps in their content distribution process, for example. Companies like CNN and TechCrunch allow you to connect with their Facebook Messenger bot to receive the latest news you’re interested in.
Businesses no longer have an excuse to remain in the past. Customer experience, customer success, and retention will rely on communicating using the channels consumers prefer and use every day.