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In-app messaging is the future of customer support

In-app messaging is the future of customer support

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Every customer support manager has asked the same question: how can we provide a better customer experience

The key is personalized, in-app messaging that offers conversational, streamlined support. And we’re not just talking about chatbots here. While automation and artificial intelligence can improve self-service and async support, people still want to be helped by a friendly face (or messaging profile). 

This is why many forward-thinking companies are transitioning from live chat to in-app messaging

“We started thinking about how we can build a better chat experience when customers communicate with customer service. We leveraged Sendbird to build this ideal chat we had in mind,” said Adi Alimin, VP Platform Products, Traveloka. 

Key customer support trends

Over the past decade, customer expectations around support have changed drastically. 

Once upon a time, everyone who needed help would be directed to a call center. People didn’t like waiting on hold, but it was just a standard part of the customer journey. 

Today, users have far higher expectations. They want a full omnichannel service experience where they can get support whenever they want and make contact through the most convenient platforms. 

In an ideal world, this would mean offering snappy customer support on social media, through live chat, via email, and over the phone. 

The reality is quite different. Expecting your customer service team to cover all these channels and maintain satisfactory response times is a tough ask. 

Live support chat is one of the most challenging aspects of this juggling act. 

People expect real-time interactions when you provide this as a primary communication channel. If your team cannot realistically handle a high volume of support claims live, whether over the phone or via chat,  customer satisfaction will plummet.

Why async customer support beats live chat: In-app messaging examples 

To avoid this ongoing headache, many brands are now turning to asynchronous in-app support.

The stats indicate that this is a wise choice. On average, asynchronous support chat delivers CSAT scores that are 18% higher than synchronous or real-time methods.

Some of the benefits to asynchronous customer support chat include:

1. Limited wait time

With live chat, users must wait for an agent before receiving support. 

Async in-app messaging allows users to send a message at any time and receive a response whenever a support rep is available to answer. The customer can be alerted to the incoming message via a push notification or email.

By utilizing Sendbird’s Chat API, Virgin Mobile UAE can integrate in-app messaging within the Virgin Mobile UAE app in a way that feels completely native. Users can chat with a business representative and receive responses in the Virgin Mobile app.  

“Our customers are more engaged and consistently give us a CSAT score of 5/5,” said Ozgur Gemici, Senior Manager at Virgin Mobile UAE.

Sendbird Desk empowers agents to field these questions quickly. The workflow feels like using Messenger or WhatsApp, meaning support teams need relatively little training.

2. Continue the conversation at any time

When a user logs off of live chat or hangs up the phone, the conversation thread is finished. Customers need to start from scratch if they want further support. 

Sendbird’s in-app messaging makes conversation history secure and easy to return to. We know that support isn’t a one-time thing, but an ongoing part of your relationship with a customer. 

Conversation history can be critical, especially in a healthcare use case.

Named by Forbes as one of the most promising U.S. companies, Accolade is a fast-growing healthcare provider that aims to offer a single point of entry (and support) for healthcare.

“Getting in-app messaging right is key for us to provide better engagement and personalized care,” says Hiren Bhavsar, Director of Product Management at Accolade. 

Using Sendbird’s chat API, and HIPAA-compliant security, Accolade has made it easier for patients to contact service agents and clinical staff and maintain a professional level of care. 

3. Better personalization

Personalized service isn’t only relevant in healthcare. Customer experience is always better when reps can tailor their help to individual customer needs.

In most cases with live chat, agents start having no idea who they are talking to or, if there are any, what their previous support issues have been. As a result, they have to ask identifying questions before diving into the main query.

Asynchronous messaging systems like Sendbird Chat are usually linked to in-app user accounts through an SDK. Support staff can refer to customer data and previous conversations as they handle incoming messages.

Accolade support agents and clinical staff can see all previous customer engagement within a secure environment, meaning they can provide clear answers without asking more questions.

4. More than messages

Sometimes, you need more than a couple of lines of text to provide support. Pictures can assist a support representative in understanding the issue a user is trying to communicate. 

“The chat we built upon Sendbird is the number one communication channel among all the channels that we provide to our users.” -Traveloka

You can’t do this with live chat. But you can with async messaging. 

With Sendbird, you can enable many more types of customer interaction, including file uploads, polls, and interactive CSAT messages.

Spanish startup Glovo offers an app that covers a wide range of eCommerce transactions, from food delivery to subscription software. 

Initially, customers and partner services could only connect through live text messages. But since implementing Sendbird Chat, Glovo users can now share files and images to communicate

After making the switch, the app saw a 3% increase in chat usage, and a massive 15% drop in the number of conversations that ended with no reply. 

Best practices for asynchronous in-app support 

  • Set reasonable customer expectations through UI design. If you put a little green “online” dot on your chat interface, people are going to be disappointed by any delays. Instead, consider providing a reply time estimate that gives you breathing room.
  • Make async your primary channel. While offering multiple channels for support is tempting, the customer experience is usually better when you do one or two channels well. Make async your priority, and it will pay you back in improved CSAT.
  • Sync support with your user database. To help your customer service reps deal with problems faster, ensure that your chat platform is synced with your CRM or user database. Agents should have all the information they need without having to ask questions.
  • Choose an intuitive platform. Along with improving your customer experience, async can make life easier for your contact center. Make sure your platform has a familiar UI, or that your onboarding is ready to go. 

Async chat is on-demand, personalized, and efficient

There’s no doubt that the future of customer support will look very different. Machine learning will provide us with ever more impressive chatbots, and AI copywriting will create knowledge bases and FAQs that are infinitely more comprehensive than we see today.

But in the end, certain queries will still need to be answered by human reps. Investing in asynchronous in-app messaging now will help you get ahead of the current competition, and prepare your company for the future.

Try Sendbird today to discover how easy it can be to implement messaging and mobile-first customer service with our Chat API and Desk support solutions. 

 

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