Empowered by the Internet and mobile technology, today’s consumers have practically come to expect instant gratification from their go-to companies and brands. After all, a recent consumer study showed that mobile messaging was the #1 preferred method for communication in the U.S., South Korea, Singapore and India, and among the top three channels elsewhere in the world. Is it really any wonder, then, that nowadays, companies allow us to schedule our prescription refills via text; order pizza, tacos, and even groceries with only a couple taps of a smart phone; and even get dates with just a quick “swipe right”?
Indeed, because consumers demand ease-of-interaction and immediate response times, proprietary chatbots, text and SMS campaigns, and mobile messaging apps are being used successfully by companies to facilitate one-on-one mobile communication with customers and prospects. Read on to learn how.
The most popular mobile messaging apps
Geography, it appears, is a key driver of consumers’ individual preferences for mobile messaging apps. Globally, 47% of mobile users said they preferred standard text/SMS as a means of communicating with brands, followed by Facebook Messenger at a distant 21%, and (Facebook-owned) WhatsApp at 18%.
In China, however, the WeChat app dominates the market for mobile communication with an enormous, 81.2% market share.
Moreover, with research suggesting that “Calls are out, and text is in,” plenty of brands are also developing their own apps, or “custom brand platforms,” which will enable all sorts of mobile communication with customers in a brand-controlled environment. And as evidenced by Facebook’s $18 billion purchase of messaging platform WhatsApp, and HSBC’s whopping valuation for WeChat in excess of $80 billion, tremendous growth potential is expected in the mobile messaging space in the years to come.
4 ways to use mobile messaging functionalities
Some globally-recognized brands have already successfully launched various campaigns using mobile messaging to engage their customers and better meet a variety of needs.
Customer service: Hyatt Hotels began using Facebook Messenger as a sort of anytime, anywhere customer service portal for its guests. Users can initiate real-time conversations with Hyatt representatives and receive immediate, direct responses to a variety of inquiries, whether they need reservation assistance, would like room service or additional towels, or if they forgot a personal item at home and would like hotel staff to deliver a replacement.
Soliciting consumer insights and feedback: Beauty retailer Sephora introduced a chatbot on messaging app Kik that offers makeup tips and tutorials, as well as allows customers to place orders. The chatbot also asks users to take a short quiz, which derives specific customer insights and preferences that the company uses to create a more customized brand experience on their behalf.
Branding and storytelling: Shoe retailer Clarks used the WhatsApp platform to invite customers to interact directly with celebrity guest storytellers in connection with the 65-year anniversary of Clarks’ iconic Desert Boot. The interactive campaign was engaging in a way that helped bridge generational gaps and create brand and product interest.
Product promotion, sales and delivery: Domino’s Pizza is an early adopter of innovative mobile communications, through its Domino’s AnyWare initiative, which enables customers to order pizza via no less than 10 different mobile and digital channels. From Facebook Messenger and Twitter, to voice commands on Amazon Alexa and/or Google Home, and even a simple text of the pizza emoji, Domino’s is pioneering an all-out disruption in its industry; gone are the days when consumers have to pick up a phone and actually call to order a pizza.
As brands continue to explore this new frontier in marketing communication, we are likely to see entirely different usage patterns emerging across a wide range of industries, including customer service. So how might mobile communication impact your industry? Leave your comments below to continue the discussion.