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Contact centers strive to be accessible via as many channels as possible in order to meet growing customer preferences. Rich communication services (RCS) is sure to get a large piece of this pie because they are based on text messaging which is the mainstay of billions of mobile phone users, with 1.2 billion worldwide already being only a click away from having RCS-supported devices. What’s in store for contact centers?
Customers live in a world of increasing strain, where too many options and sources of information run the risk of causing digital fatigue. They end up driving many of us to seek simpler solutions or stick with channels we have learned to trust over the years. Read on to learn why Rich Communication Services (RCS) could make a difference in how your contact center responds to customers and wins them for your brand.
As the name suggests, Rich Communication Services (RCS) is an enhanced version of an SMS/MMS message. To be more precise, RCS is not an application but a standard developed by Google that can be implemented in just about every mobile phone device there is. Its richness lies in the eyes of the beholder.
For the customer it has the familiar feel of a text message but with hi-res images and videos (in that sense, it bears a resemblance to the instant message application). Significantly, the message is verified as coming from a trusted entity. The customer can make payments (e.g. bills), receive services (e.g., a bus ticket) and even have a video four-way call. All without flipping screens, changing applications, or switching devices.
For your company it’s the ability to customize text messages, offer dynamic content and get read receipts. These and many other functionalities do much to improve brand visibility. They are also more likely to build customer loyalty and elicit a response from an ever more demanding customer.
Rich Communication Services relies on the foundation of all digital communication – the text message sent and received via mobile phone. Even though RCS went commercial relatively recently, it’s already a part of an existing global telecommunications infrastructure. Indeed, it has a great head-start in that it is part of the default set-up on many types of Android mobile phones present in every corner of the globe. A February 2022 market report by Juniper Research notes that today RCS is integrated into 1.2 billion phones and the forecast shows 3.8 billion RCS users by 2026, or 40 percent of overall global mobile subscribers. It comes as no surprise that RCS is seen as the natural successor of SMS.
Rich Communication Services represents a mix of the innovative and the mainstream, but across the board these traits spell trust. First, with RCS you are essentially working within an existing channel that already has a stamp of approval as a time-tested communication channel. Second, using this channel to engage the customer is conditional on the customer themselves accepting the vendor as a trusted entity. Third, from the customer’s perspective there are no hoops to jump through: no migration, no sign-up, no download, no new passwords. RCS, in short, presses all the right buttons.
Rich Communication Services is already powering outbound sales/marketing campaigns across industries. Success stories from a variety of sectors, including retail, telecommunications, food & beverage, banking and many others all attest to greater engagement (e.g., a 17-fold improvement in clickthrough rate) and conversion rates that are often through the roof (e.g., a 140% increase in conversions on purchases).
The key to unlocking the potential of the Rich Communication Services in the contact center lies in where the latter needs to go. In their drive to take the customer experience to new levels, many contact centers are on the lookout for new and better ways to reach, engage and win over the client. That’s where the channel-less experience comes in.
It’s simple and straightforward: the more channels are available, the better, as long as the customer gets a consistent level of service across the board. That means, first and foremost, not having to repeat oneself every step along the customer journey. Choice is paramount, but it has to go hand-in-hand with quality. The optimal outcome is thus a customer journey that is so smooth, the customer isn’t bothered by what channel in the omnichannel experience he/she is using at any given moment.
Rich Communication Services can be an additional tool for the contact center, especially as an asynchronous channel to manage traffic peaks more easily. This channel speaks to the need customers have for getting one-on-one treatment but without the hassle of calling in and waiting in line for the next available customer service agent. To the customer, there’s nothing fishy about this form of communication. Rich Communication Services messages are text-based and very familiar territory. What’s more, the brand is actually visible in the message itself. Finally, the customer has to agree to get Rich Communication Services in the first place.
The benefits for the contact center don’t stop there. Directors of customer experience gain a channel which makes it much easier to analyze metrics as they relate to RCS. This is because RCS tracks read receipts and other indicators of engagement. The benefit here is much greater insight into customer activity and behavior. This in turn can translate to improvements in the way the contact center communicates with its customer base.
Rich Communication Services can be one more addition to an arsenal of tools in contact center architectures. However, will it become the preferred channel for the brand to communicate with the customer and vice versa?
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