Mobile customer service is broken. So says Stan Chudnovsky, Head of Product for Facebook Messenger. Social media is hit and miss, and nobody likes having to call, and get bounced around a ‘phone tree’.
But, an alternative now exists. Mobile chat.
The problem is that leaving it to each individual business’ app isn’t going to work:
- How are we going to know we need a separate app in the first place?
- Downloading, installing, setting up a new account, and learning how to use yet another app is just too much friction.
- …and we’d need to do this for every business we interact with!
Even if somehow, the awareness, and friction issues can be overcome, and if all these businesses had apps, and all of them had decent chat experiences, there’s no reason why they should work in a consistent way. The likely overall customer experience would be horrendous. On top of all that, we’re not going to clutter up our screens any more than we have to.
There will always be exceptions and every business believes they’re one of them. But the reality is that we’ll continue to only install and use a small subset of apps for businesses we interact with over time.
So, the most likely outcome is that most businesses will end up using a third-party for mobile customer service over chat. That’s where Facebook Messenger wants to be. With 900 million monthly active users they’re certainly well-placed.
Since launch a few weeks ago, 10,000 developers and 5,000 Shopify merchants are using the Messenger Platform. Three financial services firms including Bank of America were launch partners and analytics are on the way.
Developers are now able to tap into Facebook’s Bot Engine, the same artificial intelligence technology it’s using to develop M, its virtual personal assistant. This means end-users will be able to chat with automated systems to perform simple tasks such as ask for information, submit orders and discuss shipping.
According to the FT, 80 per cent of time on smartphones is spent in apps, and 80 per cent of that time is spent in just five apps. With Facebook dominating the rankings, and Facebook Messenger the fastest growing app in the US last year, chat bots are looming large for sure.
This model of Messenger being the Browser and bots being websites is well established in China with WeChat and its 600 million users. In the West, Kik is probably furtherest along with its ecosystem of around 6,000 bots used by 40% of US teenagers. Skype, Viber, SnapChat are sure to follow. There’s a logic and gathering momentum behind bots supplementing native apps, web apps, websites, email and phone… for customer service.
How are you going to handle mobile customer service for your business?
Meanwhile, here’s a great interview with Kik’s co-founder and CEO on the chat market, bots, and Kik’s role in all of this.
Customer Service is a Growth Channel
Jay Baer’s excellent recent book, Hug Your Haters, is about why & how customer service can & should be a marketing channel. It contains a lot of compelling stats. Here’s an infographic collating 23 of the most compelling. My favourites: while 80% of businesses believe they deliver superior customer service, just 8% of customers agree.
ARE CUSTOMERS TOO POWERFUL?
Lincoln Murphy (SaaS growth guy) explains why this is the wrong question and what we should be focused on instead.
SHORT-TERM THINKING WILL KILL YOUR BUSINESS
Gary Vaynerchuk’s keynote at ICON 2016 is as entertaining and insightful as ever. His point here is that focusing solely on sales and conversions will kill us, even if it’s working now. At over 60 minutes, this video is a must watch.
THE LEADING INDICATOR FOR SERIES-A VALUATION
Tomasz Tunguz (RedPoint Capital) reveals the surprising factor that predicts how likely and much your startup will get Series-A funded. Turns out it’s not revenue, nor recurring revenue as most of us think…
INSURERS & THE INTERNET OF THINGS
The smarter insurers are actively investing in startups that are exploring the Internet of Things. CBInsights tells us who they are.
THE SPECIAL ONE
Andreessen Horowitz stands head and shoulders above most VC firms. Michael Troiano explains why, and the lessons we can learn when choosing our next investor.
I’ve been following Don Tapscott for many years. His new book is essential reading for anyone involved in Fintech or just curious about what Blockchain is and what it means for all of us. “In 2013, Thinkers50 named Don as the 4th most important business thinker in the world. A June 2013 Forbes.com analysis of social media identified Don as the most influential management thinker in the world. He is the author or co-author of 15 widely read books about new technologies and new media in business and society.”
Joe Polish interviews two of the biggest thinkers and doers of all. Tony and Peter discuss their latest projects in this 50-minute video. Well-worth watching if you need a reminder that startups are about doing the impossible or if you could do with a shot of inspiration.
The UK established the Open Banking Working Group (OBWG) in late 2015 to not only meet government standards but to uncover how to propel banking into the modern era. The resulting Open Banking Standard, opens up a new set of banking models that will help consumers transact, save, borrow, lend and invest their money in better ways than before. Jim Marous explores how this initiative impacts the UK as well as what opportunities other markets may see in the future.
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