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We all hate being stuck on a long customer service call, trying to start a chat session, or waiting a whole day or more for a company to email us back about a complaint. But what if you could quickly chat with a company via Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, or other messaging app?

Believe it or not, over half (53%) of all people in the UK and France who use mobile messaging apps have interacted with a company via mobile messaging, or are open to doing so if they can choose to block brands, according to a new survey on messaging app marketing and customer service.

The findings come from the UK based marketing firm Kenshoo, which commissioned a poll of 2,000 consumers split equally between the UK and France.

Over half (51%) of messaging app users in Kenshoo’s study see messaging as faster and more immediate than email interactions with companies, while 48% feel it would be less hassle than voice calls.

Facebook, whose Facebook Messenger is now used by more than 11% of the world’s population, views messaging as an important medium for one-to-one communications between consumers and companies. Since it announced support for brands to build artificial intelligence bots to automate messaging interactions with consumers, over 30,000 already created.

These Messenger bots are used for everything from sending delivery notifications and confirming reservations, to displaying specific pages from company websites–all without leaving the messaging app. Bots even allow people to make payments and participate in games.

Businesses can now send sponsored messages through Facebook Messenger to people with whom they have had messaging conversations. And they can buy Facebook ads that use call-to-actions such as ‘shop now’ or ‘learn more’ which consumers can click to automatically open a Messenger conversation thread with the advertiser. Consumers can still choose which brands are allowed to message them.

According to the Kenshoo study, consumers are receptive to a variety of messaging app marketing interactions. Of those who are open to using messaging to communicate with businesses:
— 46% said they would be tempted by the prospect of receiving exclusive deals and offers,
— 25% said they would use messaging to respond to ads,
— 35% to participate in games and competitions in which they could win prizes, and
— 24% said they would like to use messaging to receive updates on products and services they have expressed an interest in.

“Mobile messaging app marketing presents a new opportunity for businesses to build long term customer relationships,” said Matt Vignieri, Kenshoo’s Managing Director for EMEA. But he says that consumers’ expectations are high. “They expect timely responses and will want communications to be personal and in context. If businesses get it wrong, then messaging could quickly turn into a channel for complaints. And because users can easily share negative experiences with their contacts, things could easily get from bad to worse.”

Messaging app users pointed to two other advantages of contacting businesses via mobile messaging:

  • 15% liked the idea of setting up group interactions with brands, such as discussions around joint purchases, such as researching and booking a holiday or buying furnishings for a home or bringing in friends to comment on fashion buys.
  • 33% liked the fact that messaging apps retain the complete history of any conversations with a company so it is easily available in the app–no need to search through emails, or notes from telephone calls.

Of the 2,000 UK and French consumers polled as part of Kenshoo’s study, 71% use mobile messaging apps with 51% saying they use Facebook Messenger and 40% using WhatsApp. Snapchat and Skype (for messaging on a phone) are each used by 20%. About 29% said they did not use messaging apps.

You can download the Kenshoo study ‘Mobile Messaging Apps: A Marketing Opportunity for Brands’ on Kenshoo’s website, and find tips for creating better messaging app chatbot tips here.


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