Twenty years ago, if you had a question for a brand, you had no option but to pick up the phone or walk into a shop. It was not uncommon to have to call four different numbers or speak to four different people before getting through to the right person who could answer your question.

While this was once a practice that consumers resented, reduced brand loyalty means bad service is enough to turn existing and potential customers off your brand forever.

In every industry, it’s widely recognised that service is king. However, many businesses are yet to grasp that channel option is as important as the service itself.

The future of business relies on exceeding customer expectations. The simple fact is, consumers dread dialling a contact centre. Messaging (how we communicate with friends and family), is the universally preferred way of interacting with brands. When brands give consumers the option to ‘Message Us’ or ‘Call Us’, most consumers will opt for the first.

Major companies across retail, banking, tech, telco, travel and more, are realising this is where their money should be invested. If your organisation isn’t already on the conversational commerce (the official term for conversing with brands through the digital channels they already know and love) journey.

Here are two reasons why it should be:

  1. Conversational commerce will keep your customers happy

    Consumers’ preferences are constantly evolving and they expect brands to keep up with them. If you demand a consumer communicate through a particular channel, and this is not their preference, then they will turn to a competitor with a less a complicated process.

    This is where conversational commerce gives you the advantage. Consumers are already comfortable with conversational commerce platforms – they use messaging services including Facebook Messenger, SMS and WhatsApp to communicate every day.

    Not only is messaging the communication platform of choice, it also allows for asynchronous communication. Phone calls and traditional web chat are session-based, which means they have a defined beginning and end – most times ending when you don’t want them to.

    In comparison, messaging allows for a persistent thread to be established, which means the conversation can carry over different days or even devices and platforms. It’s like hanging up the phone and starting again on another line except, this time, the operator already knows everything that’s previously been spoken about.

    And the results? Messaging is showing a 10–15-point uplift in customer satisfaction (CSAT) across the board.

  2. Conversational commerce is good for business

    Conversational commerce is an incredibly efficient channel for B2C communication.

    Fewer than 5% of people who visit a website actually buy something. And over 80% of phone calls start from someone visiting your website, but not being able to find what they need. Businesses have spent billions optimising their websites and digital marketing, only to see eight in 10 customers to give up on websites and pick up the phone instead. This has become an epidemic, with contact centres fielding 265 billion calls per year at a cost of US$1.3 trillion.

    Additionally, the shift in workflow provided by messaging enables contact centre employees to tend to more customers at one time. It’s less stressful for agents and research has shown annual attrition in contact centres where staffers are messaging is less than 10%, compared with 35% in call centres. (There’s no argument that ‘I HATE YOU’ in capitals does not have the same impact as someone screaming in your ear.)

The jump to digital engagement via messaging has fuelled increased CSAT and sales conversions as well as improving agent and business efficiency. Conversational commerce and its ability to intelligently and conveniently satisfy consumers’ need for ask-and-answer relationships will fulfil the dreams that were first envisioned at the dawn of the internet – for both consumers and businesses.