Last week, Fonolo hosted an insightful live discussion on the three main forms of text-based communication battling for the future of customer service: Messaging, chat, and text. The expert panel discussed the impact of messages on customer service, the importance of chat, the implications of engaging through text, and so much more! To save you some time, we’ve extracted video snippets showcasing highlights from the discussion.
Can We Agree on Some Definitions?
We have a number of terms that have overlapping usage. There are also cases where the way a term is used in a casual sense may be different from its formal definition. For example, people often say they were “chatting” with the company over SMS.
For companies focusing on this space, these differences are important. For example, Tobias’s company positions itself very strongly as a “messaging company” and not “chat”. So, we started off by asking the panelists whether we could agree on some definitions.
Is SMS a Stop-gap Till Better Messaging Arrives?
SMS has been with us for a very long time. In fact, 2018 marks its 25th birthday!
The main strength of SMS is its universality. Every phone in operation today (even “non-smart” ones) have SMS capability. SMS also has open rates as high as 98%. But the downside of SMS is that it has a per-message cost and that it only works in a mobile context.
Is SMS a stop-gap until better messaging arrives? Or is it here for the long haul?
How Should Companies Think About 3rd-Party Messaging Platforms?
Originally preferred for person-to-person communication, the past few years have seen a surge of B2C communication via messaging channels (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, etc.).
On the plus side, you get rich functionality, you get identity & authentication handled by the platform, and no cost. The downside is that you are at the mercy of the platform company in terms of their product road-map, their policies. You also are dependent on them to avoid privacy and security incidents. You also have the problem that no one platform has high enough penetration to be your exclusive channel.
With this in mind, we asked: How should companies think about using 3rd-party platforms as channels to reach their customers?
Will the Channel Jungle get Tamed?
The world of messaging is very fragmented today. No one channel is dominant enough to make the other channels irrelevant. And the fragmentation is also very geographic.
The panelists also discuss whether we will see any consolidation, or if companies are going to be faced with supporting a rotating mix of messaging channels as their customers’ tastes change.