Improving the Customer Experience with Messaging Apps

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“By 2019, requests for customer support through consumer messaging apps will exceed requests for customer support through social media.”

In its 2017 Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center, Gartner made this notable prediction:

“By 2019, requests for customer support through consumer messaging apps will exceed requests for customer support through social media.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. A 2016 survey conducted by The Boston Consulting Group found that the number of consumers seeking help through social media channels has been on the decline since 2013. Why? Individuals surveyed said that customer service via social media channels (Facebook, Twitter) was slow and often couldn’t handle complex interactions.

At the same time, the way we’re using mobile apps is changing. We’re using fewer of them, but spend more time in them. The dominant players now are multipurpose, utilitarian, or have a personal aspect to them. Just think about the impact that apps like Waze, Uber, Lyft, and popular messaging platforms have made on the lives of consumers — changing how they communicate and use data to be more productive. A recent Gartner survey found that 72 percent of mobile application users in the U.S., U.K., and China use a messaging app like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or WeChat at least once a day.

Many brands are capitalizing on the reach and popularity of these messaging apps by extending them through the use of intelligent chatbots that provide services to their customers. One of the most notable examples is 1-800-FLOWERS, which allows customers to place an order seamlessly within a matter of minutes using Facebook Messenger. Even Apple has entered the fray with its recent announcement of Business Chat to be released on iOS 11.

So how can you improve the customer experience on messenger platforms? Here are three tips to keep in mind:

Tip #1: Enhance call centers with chat functionality that gets real work done

Call centers are still overwhelmed by the number of inbound calls to customer service representatives (CSRs). Chatbots and virtual assistants can relieve CSRs of many time-consuming and repetitive tasks that could easily be completed through self-service. CSRs are then freed up to provide undistracted service to customers with complex needs.

Tip #2: Know when it’s time for a human to take over

A seamless transition from chatbot to agent is a critical characteristic of a successful virtual assistant. Its artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP) capabilities should go beyond witty banter, be smart enough to understand customer intent, and detect when a customer would be better assisted by an agent without the need to explicitly ask.

Tip #3: Seamlessly integrate chat functionality within your CRM

What good is chatting with a customer if you can’t easily access their history and data? Chat functionality is novel by itself, but when incorporated into a single unified platform — which includes sales, marketing, and service data — it can understand context and provide efficient service whenever a user experiences a moment of need. Today’s customers won’t put up with long interactions that are inconsistent, repetitive, or confusing. Would you?


Looking for more customer engagement insights from Gartner? Download the full 2017 Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center.

Considering adding chat to your customer service strategy? Learn more about Pega’s Virtual Assistant at Pega Intelligent Virtual Assistant.