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Rich communication services: the next big contact centre channel?

Elisabeth
Elisabeth De Longeaux Product Marketing Manager at Odigo

Amid a wealth of potential channels contact centres need to be accessible over the ones that customers prefer and which add most value to their journeys. Rich communication services (RCS) may be new but could well rise through the ranks to become a core channel because it’s based on text messaging, a mainstay of billions of mobile phone users. 1.2 billion people worldwide are already only a click away from having RCS-supported devices. What should contact centres know to prepare for RCS?

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Customers live in a fast-paced world of instant answers and sometimes even information overload when too many options and demands on their attention can run the risk of causing digital fatigue. This can end up driving some customers to seek simpler solutions or stick with the tried and tested channels they trust. Read on to learn why Rich Communication Services (RCS) could make a difference by allowing contact centres to create added value experiences with familiar technology and win customer loyalty.

The many sides of the Rich Communication Services message

Rich Communication Services (RCS) are 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 on just about every mobile phone device there is. Its richness lies in the eyes of the beholder

For customers, 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. Customers can then use these messages to make payments, receive services like tickets or passes and even have a video four-way call. The beauty of this lies in its simplicity because all this can be achieved without flipping screens, changing applications, or switching devices. 

For organisations enhanced benefits include the ability to customise text messages, offer dynamic content and get read receipts. These and many other functionalities do much to improve brand visibility. They are especially likely to build customer loyalty and elicit a response from customers when implemented into a carefully planned set of experiences using a customer journey map.

Rich Communication Services is a force of future digital communication

Rich Communication Services relies on the foundation of all digital communication – the text message sent and received via mobile phone. Even though RCS became 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 setup 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 per cent of overall global mobile subscribers. It comes as no surprise that RCS is seen as the natural successor of SMS

Rich Communication Services represent a mix of the innovative and the mainstream, but across the board these traits spell trust. First, with RCS it is 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, and 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).

An important piece of the puzzle for contact centres

The key to unlocking the potential of the Rich Communication Services in the contact centre lies in where the latter needs to go. In a drive to take the customer experience to new levels, many contact centres have been 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: convenience for customers comes from a consistent level of service delivered across the key channels customers want. 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 presents a customer journey that is so smooth that there is total freedom to use whichever channel the customer prefers at the moment without it impacting the flow towards resolution. 

Rich Communication Services can be an additional tool for the contact centre, especially as an asynchronous channel to manage traffic peaks more easily. This channel speaks to the need customers have for getting one-to-one treatment but without waiting in a call queue for the next available customer service agent. To customers, familiarity will help build trust more rapidly in this form of communication. The service does however rely on customers agreeing to get Rich Communication Services in the first place but after that messaging content and appearance can be designed to clearly portray brand values and authenticity. 

The benefits for the contact centre don’t stop there. Directors of customer experience gain a channel which makes it much easier to analyse 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 behaviour. This in turn can translate to improvements in the way the contact centre communicates with its customer base.

Making the big decision

Rich Communication Services have the potential to fit easily into current contact centre channel strategies. However, will it become the preferred channel for the brand to communicate with the customer and vice versa?

Would you like to discuss the needs of your organisation when it comes to contact centre technology?


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Elisabeth De Longeaux
Product Marketing Manager at Odigo

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