5 Advantages of Messaging Apps versus Social Media
Our Customer Service: Why Messaging Apps Are #1 series explores how messaging apps stack up against other customer service channels such as e-mail, telephone, live chat, etc. Today’s topic is Messaging Apps versus Social Media. What are the advantages of customer service via WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, and Facebook Messenger vs. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter? Read on to find out why direct channels offer a better experience for both your customers and your business.
Messaging Apps versus Social Media: 5 Reason Why WhatsApp & Co. Offer Better Customer Service
Customer service via social media…this seemed like a dream when social media platforms were flourishing and businesses had just discovered the engagement potential of social branding. As it turns out, customer care and service carried out through tweets, on Facebook posts, or Instagram comments is hard to manage and can blow up quickly. But a close relative of social media – mobile messaging, or what some people call “dark social” because of its private, 1:1 nature – can be the antidote to businesses’ customer service woes. Messaging apps offer a huge variety of advantages, from a streamlined one channel approach, to enhanced automation possibilities.
1. One Channel
Social Media Problem: Tweets and Facebook or Instagram comments don’t offer the infrastructure to really address most customer inquiries. For one thing, you have to keep your answers fairly short, especially on Twitter. Then there’s the issue of what types of information make sense to post online. Your customers are unlikely to tweet you their account number, and you’re probably not going to post a PDF of a prepaid return label on a Facebook post. Multimedia is essentially not supported: you’re limited to writing a quick response. This means for any even slightly complicated request, you’re simply directing customer from one channel to another. “Thanks for your Tweet, please send us an e-mail so we can help figure this out!” This definitely isn’t efficient.
Messaging App Solution: Messaging apps just as personal as social media (if not more, since it’s private!) but actually support multimedia and full integration into CRM systems. Unlike social media, messaging can be used as an all-inclusive service channel. A customer can send you a photo of a faulty item and you can immediately send them a PDF of a return label. You never have to direct a customer to phone support or e-mail because you’re working on a platform that can’t handle the customers needs. Sure, people love to talk about multi-channel support…but you don’t need multiple channels if you can do it all on one channel – especially if that one channel is your customer’s favorite.
Social Media Problem: This is a quick one. Social media platforms are, by nature, open platforms for discovery and connection! That’s great for finding new trends, connecting with long-lost friends, or sharing photos with a big group. But it’s not great for sensitive information, asking questions about your insurance details, setting up doctor’s appointments, or anything else that you don’t want to share with all of your contacts.
Messaging App Solution: WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, Facebook Messenger, Viber, and Telegram are all direct channels where information is sent securely and privately. Customer don’t have to worry about anyone seeing their private information — including the messaging company itself! Messaging apps with end-to-end encryption offer data protection so secure that you can discuss any type of customer service issue with no worries.
3. Image and Reputation
Social Media Problem: We all know it’s true – people talk more about a bad experience than a positive one. When customers complain on social media, you can dim this negative effect by responding quickly and empathetically. But you can’t undo the magnifying effect that platforms like Twitter or Instagram stories have, where customers’ experiences can go viral and give your brand a lot of negative attention. Twitter has certainly caused a fair share of PR disasters, even for brands that have a good rapport with their users on social media. Social media is an echo chamber, and one negative review can carry disproportionate weight.
Messaging App Solution: 1:1 communication means that your customers’ concerns won’t become a talking point for your entire Twitter audience and the media. You can handle customer inquiries in a more efficient and personal way on an appropriate channel, ensuring that they’re happy with the solution. Then, when customers tweet about your amazing customer service, you can create a different kind of news story.
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4. Speed and Automation
Social Media Problem: 42% of customers expect a response on social media within 1 hour. This means that on social media there are actually higher expectations than for e-mail, but for a service that doesn’t fully offer the infrastructure of a proper customer service channel. Longer conversations or customers writing to you on multiple channels or commenting on several posts can quickly become hard to sort through and handle. Unless you want your staff to be answering Facebook comments 24/7, this is not sustainable, especially for companies who receive a lot of customer inquiries.
Messaging App Solution: We aren’t suggesting that you shouldn’t respond to your customer within an hour. That’s definitely possible! But it’s clear that messaging apps are a much easier platform for offering speedy communication. The conversation with one customer always remains within one conversation, even if they write to you several times in a row with additional information, so it’s easy to keep an eye on how the matter is progressing and how you’ve been able to help the customer. Additionally, it’s easy to automate messaging app communciation. You can start small with pre-set answers, enabling your customer service agents to respond to customers with just one click. These pre-set answers can be welcome messages that give your users an immediate response, or they can be answers to FAQs, which speed up your overall customer service because employees don’t have to repeatedly type the same messages. Fully contained Chatbots can also take care of first-level support, standardized dialogues or appointment scheduling, making sure that the maximum number of inquiries are resolved at the same time, and ensuring that customers receive answers as quickly as possible.
Social Media Problem: Last but not least — social networks have stagnated in the past years, in part because of privacy leaks and data usage concerns, in part because of the influx of advertising, and in part of because of algorithms that change what you see in your feed. The top social networks simply aren’t growing at the pace they once did, and already have a smaller user base than messaging apps.
Messaging App Solution: Messaging apps not only have more users than traditional social media, but they’re also growing faster and offering more business potential. Take a look at this timeline:
In 2016, the monthly active users of the top 4 messaging apps (WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and Viber) surpassed active users of the top 4 social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.) In 2017, messaging apps were already over 20% bigger than social networks. And in 2019 even Mark Zuckerberg sees private messaging as the future for Facebook and other social platforms. Make sure you’re a part of that future by focusing on messaging apps for customer communication.
Some trend-savvy businesses have already started focusing on messaging apps as a main channel for customer communication, and as this movement continues, more and more customers will begin expecting businesses to be available on their most-used channel. Facebook and Twitter are losing their social dominance, and messaging apps can reach a larger group of consumers more effectively. If you’re interested in specific tips on how to use messaging apps for customer service, messaging app usage data, or customer case studies, check out our free webinars:
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