The eternal conflict in customer service is between delivering a good experience and keeping costs low. For example, pushing callers to self-serve IVR lowers cost, but customers hate dealing with phone menus and “talking to the machine”. The industry has always sought a way for customers and companies to interact that is enjoyable for the former and cost effective for the latter. Hopes are high that “messaging” is that messiah.
“Messaging” differs from “chat”, which companies have offered via their website for over a decade. We’ll discuss the distinction shortly, but let’s start by looking at where chat has fallen short so that the upside potential of messaging is clear.
Web-based chat has been around for over a decade. Its effectiveness is well-established: Cost-per-contact is substantially lower than phone calls, and customer satisfaction is generally high. Its shortcoming is uptake: Chat deployments rarely resulted in a significant reduction in phone calls. For many people, the default action of picking up and dialing the phone was too hard a habit to break.
Then came the smartphone era. This should have been a boon for chat-based customer service, but instead uptake has been hampered by an inadequate user experience. The hope is that messaging will solve chat’s “mobile UX” problem. Continue reading