For some time now, social media has played a dominant role in the evolution of customer service. From millennials to baby boomers, and simply any customer who needs assistance on the go, social media has proven to be an effective and engaging means of engaging with brands. However, there has recently been a dramatic shift in the way customers use social media. According to a recent Business Insider report, messaging apps have overtaken social networks in terms of monthly active users, shifting to what are known as dark social traffic channels, which encompass messaging apps, email, and private browsing. The Economist confirmed that more than 2, 5 billion people around the world have at least one messaging app installed. And how has this change affected your social behavior? As revealed by a study by RadiumOne, almost 70% of all referrals on the internet come from invisible traffic channels. This growing trend is also converging with the growing demand for mobile customer engagement, fundamentally changing the way social media is used in the customer experience.
A shift to in-depth, private conversations between brands and customers.
Many brands have given customers the option to interact one-on-one with them through popular messaging apps. Facebook Messenger, Kik, WeChat, and Viber are just a few of the apps currently hosting brands that have integrated messaging into their customer service. Cosmetics store Sephora, for example, offers customers full assistance in browsing the product catalog, getting personalized recommendations, and making in-app purchases. Many of these brands, including Sephora, are also counting on chat bots to offer even more efficient and sophisticated personalized search and assistance, often backed up by human support when needed. Other industries are also following suit, from airlines like KLM, offering customers detailed information about their flights and boarding passes through Facebook Messenger, to restaurant chains like Taco Bell, which makes their food orders fast through chat bots integrated into the Slack messaging platform . As customers engage with brands through messaging apps, stronger relationships are formed and service becomes more seamless and personalized than ever.
A change in the way marketing and sales are being done.
Just as brands are making it easier for customers to engage in product research and purchase in one place, business strategies are also changing. Right now, messaging apps don’t show ads, and brands that engage with customers through those platforms typically ask customers to sign up for notifications. However, many brands have found creative ways to reach customers in ways that are satisfying for all parties involved. Apps like WeChat allow customers to purchase branded stickers that can be sent in chats to personal contacts Snapchat, a platform especially popular with millennials, it has proven to be instrumental in launching commercial campaigns that convert into clicks to brand websites and ultimately purchases. Fashion brands from Asos to Valention have successfully used the platform to offer customers a glimpse of their products, with Asos in particular offering discount codes to its young customer base. Other brands as diverse as Gatorade and the candy company Sour Patch Kids have run contests to increase customer acquisition, brand awareness, and sales.Social networks will continue to shape the customer experiences of the future, but messaging apps will certainly redefine them. As a global leader in cloud-based contact center software solutions for customer service and sales, Vocalcom decided to integrate Facebook, Messenger, Telegram, WeChat, Viber, Kik, and conversational SMS into its cloud contact center platform to evolve into a premium conversational commerce platform for the future of a great customer experience.