It can boost branding, optimise customer engagement, deflect voice contacts and simplify your channel mix. Therefore organisations that want to get closer to the customer should make adopting Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging a new year’s resolution.
With the continued excitement around the capabilities of social messaging as a customer engagement channel, it’s easy to overlook text messaging. But all of that is about to change.
Rich Communication Services or RCS is the next generation of the humble SMS. It’s essentially a new universally supported standard that endows the text message with the same types of content possibilities as a message sent via a social messaging app such as WhatsApp or via Apple’s own iMessage service. So rather than a predefined number of characters in a default typeface, messages can really come to life, able to support animation, video, embedded images and other integrated file types.
Whereas before you might send a text to share a link to a web page, a digital ticket or a how-to tutorial, the message itself becomes the page, the video or QR code. But the benefits don’t stop there.
WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Line and Viber are the world’s most popular messaging apps. However, if you’re a multinational organisation that wants to reach and engage with as many customers and prospects as possible, you may need a presence on each of those platforms. Not only that, the customer is in charge of interaction – he or she needs to initiate a conversation before you can start engaging. They’re inbound, not outbound channels.
However, all smartphones support SMS – which is what has made it such a good marketing channel. And as the RCS standard will also be universally supported, as long as the recipient has a current-generation Android handset and you have their phone number, you can initiate a conversation and can do so with rich, tailored multimedia content.
Adoption of RCS is led by the GSMA, the global association for telecommunications and has been driven forward by Google. It has been up and running in parts of Western Europe since the beginning of 2019 and is now rolling out in the U.S. This means that by June 2020, a majority of U.S. consumers will be able to send and receive RCS messages – it’s set to become the default message type in Android Messaging.
However, Apple is yet to say if it will also adopt the format for messages its customers send to or receive from Android device users. It already offers this type of user experience through its own iMessage platform which is exclusive to the company’s own devices. But whatever Apple decides, it will not impact on an organisation’s CX strategy. What Apple has done is create Apple Business Chat enabling companies to use iMessage’s multimedia capabilities as a form of customer communication.
All of this means you could soon be able to rationalise your channel strategy without negatively impacting your CX or marketing campaigns. The RCS message can serve every step of the customer journey, from giving prospects access to live chat or a chatbot to providing shipping information and delivery alerts post-purchase.
But whatever channels an organisation decides to prioritise, we’ve got you covered. Apple Business Chat is already integrated into Sitel Group’s own omnichannel engagement platform and we’re currently working with a number of clients to decide the look and feel of their RCS strategy. When messaging becomes multimedia and rich in content, making sure the experience reflects brand image and brand language is just as important as the information conveyed.
From SMS, RCS, Apple Business Chat and live chat to social media and contact centre management, Sitel Group can help your organisation implement and optimise a truly omnichannel approach to customer service and CX.