With the abundance of technology available to companies that promise to streamline processes, increase productivity, and reduce costs within the contact center, why do so many companies choose to invest in instant messaging customer service? The answer is simple. Instant messaging for customer service accomplishes all three of these things plus it’s easy to implement.
The main reason most companies turn to instant messaging for customer service is to provide their customers with a better experience, but there are other, less obvious, benefits that instant messaging provides. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at instant messaging for customer service and why more companies are turning to this method of communication to achieve more than better conversations with their customers.
What is Instant Messaging
For a certain segment of the population, the term instant messaging may tickle the memory of an old instant messaging tool that was popular 20 years ago called AOL Instant Messaging (AIM). That tool, along with a handful of others were popular services to send instant messages to a network of people who used the same service.
Today, the internet and the tools in which we access, and communicate on have become more accessible and easier to use. Instant messaging, has been liberated from dial-up and desktops and is now available across a plethora of devices. Today, people can send an instant message from anywhere there’s a wifi signal or cell service, which is pretty much everywhere. While instant messaging is still a real-time exchange, the message can come in the form of text, audio, emoji, animoji, or even video.
Instant Messaging Customer Service
The way we communicate has evolved and instant messaging has emerged at the top of the food chain. In fact, “4 out of 5 consumers send mobile messages at least daily, while nearly half also use Facebook Messenger and a further third use other messaging apps daily.” (Customer Preference for Messaging, Market Strategies International)
The high adoption of messaging makes it an obvious choice for consumers to reach businesses. Using instant messaging for customer service has been a no-brainer for consumers for a while. Customers who seek to use the same fast, easy, and convenient way to contact companies, as they use to contact family and friends, have been trying to engage via instant messaging for some time. Companies, while quickly adopting the practice, have taken longer to realize their customers preference for instant messaging. Here are three benefits of instant messaging for customer service to help your business that you should prompt you to act right away:
1. Streamline processes
Agent labor is the biggest expense for a contact center, therefore time efficiency is one of the biggest challenges. Requiring agents to do things like cut and paste information from one system to another, gather simple information before receiving a call, or answer basic questions that could be handled without the help of a live conversation, are tasks that can be avoided.
Quiq Messaging has features that help contact centers reduce “time wasters” such as these. Here are a few common scenarios you’ll find in a contact center and how instant messaging can streamline the processes:
- Gathering basic information
- Quiq’s web chat has the ability to present your customer with a short form to gather information like name, order number or email. Before the agent even accepts the call they are armed with information to search your internal database and gather valuable customer information. Quiq Messaging has the ability to integrate with a CRM system so that your agent can view customer information alongside the conversation with the customer to provide a better customer experience.
- Answering common questions
- Agents can avoid the task of repeatedly typing out your return policy or performing a copy/paste to share the terms of your guarantee. Commonly asked questions can be easily answered through pre-built snippets. This feature allows Quiq clients to store answers to frequently asked questions that agents can access with a few short keystrokes.
- Scheduling an appointment
- Quiq’s Messaging platform enables agents to automatically send a list of available time slots that customers can pick from with a quick tap. This feature saves our clients the tedious back and forth usually required when trying to coordinate things like delivery times or service appointments.
- Understanding what the customer is trying to describe
- Quiq clients have found that customers can easily send videos and images to better explain their issue since consumers are able to quickly take a photo, screenshot or video with their phone or tablet and attach during the conversation. This feature has helped reduce handle time since agents can see what the customers see and are better equipped to assist the customer to resolution.
2. Increase the productivity of your agents
In addition to streamlining processes that allow your agents to accomplish tasks more quickly, messaging enables your agents to do more tasks. No hocus pocus or smoke and mirrors here. The asynchronous nature of messaging is the magic ingredient to this boost in productivity.
Asynchronous means that your customers can communicate intermittently, as their time permits. It also means that they can shoot off a text to check on an order or schedule an appointment while they are at their kid’s soccer game without missing a single play.
The customer’s pause in conversations presents agents the opportunity to receive and respond to multiple conversations at one time, often handling 6-10 conversations at once, without sacrificing the customer’s experience. In fact, it enhances the customer’s experience because the customer is able to tick that “call” off of their to-do list without disrupting their day.
3. Reduce costs
We’ve talked about two benefits of instant messaging for customer service that really focus on saving time within a contact center. The old adage “time is money” hasn’t stuck as a universal truism just because it’s short and catchy.
Phone calls can cost $3-4/call and as high as $12/call regardless of how simple or complex the customer’s question is. In contrast to expensive phone calls, where agents can only handle 1 call at a time, agents can handle multiple messaging conversations at once, reducing work time and costs within the contact center. Quiq clients have been able to reduce work time by at least 35% compared to using phone and email to answer the same customer inquiries.
Instant messaging has evolved into the preferred method of communication for consumers. This shift in consumer behavior means there’s an opportunity for companies to leverage this channel to streamline processes, improve agent productivity, and reduce costs.
A growing number of companies have realized these benefits within their contact center because they partnered with Quiq Messaging to better engage with their customers. If you’re ready to learn how you can realize these benefits, text or chat with us today.