Think about how much time you spend on social media. Now compare that to how much time you spend on messaging apps trading texts, photos, videos, and links with friends and family. Is it about the same amount of time? Greater?
Messaging apps are poised to become the “biggest Internet phenomenon since the app store” according to social media platform, Buffer.
Rather than social networking by broadcasting things to all of their friends or followers, people are using private messaging to send contacts personalized messages. And on more advanced messaging apps such as WeChat in China, customers can speak with bots, order items, send cash to friends, and request an Uber amongst other things.
Once people download an app they may use it once or only on rare occasions, but when people download messaging apps they use them on average 200 minutes per week.
This is why smart companies are shifting focus to messaging apps when it comes to engaging with customers, and here’s why you should consider doing so too.
Messaging Apps are the New Social Media
Although social media is still a powerful tool for customer service, even Facebook has begun focusing a large amount of attention on Messenger, bots, and the app’s capability for brands to interact with customers in addition to users chatting with each other.
Each month, more people are active users of messaging apps than they are of social networks. This category of messaging-related social networking is being called “dark social.”
A report by “The Economist” found that 77% of online link referrals in Europe come from dark social, be it a messaging app or email.
Beyond being a way to communicate, building community is possible with messaging apps. For example, Adidas is using WhatsApp to build local communities around the world. The idea behind this messaging-focused strategy is that Adidas wants to make itself a more personal brand. In the past, Adidas direct messaged groups of brand ambassadors on Twitter for invites to a private chat with an Adidas sponsored player; something highly engaged customers would be very excited about. Messaging is ripe for innovative techniques for connecting with customers, since it goes far beyond sending your customers only text in a Twitter DM or tweet.
Messaging is the Future of Customer Service
Chatbots are changing the game for customer service. As a highly promising feature of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Kik, chatbots are already helping customers solve problems. So if a customer contacts a brand with a question or issue, the service rep or bot that answers can reply with everything from a video to photo instructions on how to solve the problem.
Beyond solving problems, chatbots in messaging apps also let users do a variety of other useful actions that they used to need multiple apps to do. On WeChat, users can buy movie tickets, make appointments with their doctors, purchase clothing, and book taxis to name a few.
Many different types of businesses are seeing the convenience and potential of messaging apps over traditional apps. In addition to letting passengers message with a customer service agent, airline KLM lets passengers get their boarding passes and receive flight tracking updates in Facebook Messenger.
In a press release, Joe Gagnon, SVP and chief customer strategy officer of Aspect, a software company said, “We believe that texting and messaging will very soon become the simple and central interaction point for the entire customer service ecosystem, giving companies the ability to create the intelligent, automated, interactive text conversations their customers desire.”
Currently, Mila is testing a messaging option and a wireless button for our customers to request the on-demand service they desire. In addition to our Mila Friends, whose in-person service can be requested on demand, we are also testing “Chat a Friend,” an option where Mila Friends can message and help customers remotely.
Because messaging apps are faster and more personalized, companies that have messenger options for their customers will stand out from the business that don’t, and in turn, create a higher level of customer engagement.