Blog · 28 Feb 2018

The digital customer: Messaging gathers momentum

In the third blog of our series on the digital customer, Thomas Duecke examines the rise of messaging as a customer experience technology.

Messaging is on the rise

As instant messaging becomes more and more normal in our everyday routines (just think: when was the last day you didn’t send a message to someone?), our research shows that this popularity is mirrored in the expectations of digital customers.

Here at BT, we have a theory; for a contact centre technology to really take off, it has to meet three key criteria: consumers must like it, the organisation must need it, and it must work well. Here’s the thing about messaging — whether it’s through dedicated messaging platforms, chatbots, social media or web chat, it fits these criteria.

Research reveals why

Over the past two blogs in this series, we’ve started exploring our recent research: ‘Chat, tap, talk: Eight key trends to transform your digital customer experience’. That same research has shed light on customers’ feelings about messaging.

Between 2015 and 2017, for example, the number of people who say they use messaging two to three times a week or more rose noticeably from 38 to 66 per cent. And this popularity for the channel shows in the 65 per cent of people who said ‘chat’ was their preferred choice for online support.

The rise of chat could also be explained by the fact that consumers use it to get an instant response (perhaps fuelled by what we’ve all become used to, with the rise of personal use of messaging technology) — 58 per cent see messaging as a quicker way to get a reply than either emailing or calling.

Where might this lead

To get an idea of where the demand for messaging might lead us, we should look to China.

Our latest research shows that China currently leads the way, globally, in messaging, with 32 per cent of Chinese consumers getting support through WeChat. That’s a huge number of people using a single-service platform, and could be seen as a benchmark for the rest of the word.

After all, messaging is better for the consumer — making their life easier with instant answers. It’s also better for contact centres — helping to cut costs and increase efficiencies by freeing up human resources to deal with more complex issues.

Keep an eye out for the next blog in the series, where I’ll go into the reasons why video is (still) making waves.