Credit: Vanessa Kary | https://vanessakary.wordpress.com/

How To Add Messaging To Your Communication Mix

Messaging is so simple. Yet when it comes to messaging customers, why do businesses struggle to get it right?

Let’s look at a typical messaging roll-out to find out where things fall flat:

Messaging your customers often begins by introducing a simple feature within your product or service. For example, a user receives SMS for a password reset when locked out of their account, or for an appointment reminder.

This works well for both you and your user, when messaging is kept to a single channel. They get clear communication from you, and you can easily keep track of the information you want to send them. But things are rarely so simple.

What if the same user decides to download your mobile app and turn on push notifications? You decide to stop sending SMS alerts in favor of push notifications to avoid double notifications.

But what if the user disables push notifications, accidentally clears them, or buys a new phone and never re-downloads the app? These are just a few common scenarios that can cause the user to stop receiving push notifications.

And now they are out of the loop.

Taking a shotgun approach is an alternative. You can blast notifications to the user via SMS and push notifications at all times. While users who want to stay connected with your business don’t mind getting either SMS or push notifications, when they get hit with both, it becomes a poor experience.

Customers want to stay connected with relevant, targeted alerts, but opt out when they are barraged with duplicate messages.

The opt-out rates begin to soar. You notice that the list of people who use messaging to talk to you shrinks.

These considerations are not just limited to SMS and push notifications. Users are adopting a rapidly growing pool of messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Viber, where they also want to be able to engage with your business.

But it’s probably unrealistic for your business to integrate every messaging channel out there in every geography. Even if you did, it would be hard to orchestrate messages across every channel and plan for things like local preferences and failover.

So as a product or service manager how do you implement messaging to benefit your business? How do you plan to connect the customer communication systems that you already use with new channels? And most importantly, how do you create a convenient experience that does not become a new source of frustration or failure?

The Four I’s of Messaging

Here is a simple framework to add messaging to your customer communication mix successfully. It focuses on four key areas that you need to establish a clear strategy around in order to build the right solution from the get-go.

Know your messaging INTERFACES

You have many messaging technologies to choose from — SMS, push notifications, in-app chat and messaging apps. Select one based on your customers’ preferences, and what you are trying to communicate.

Formulate your messaging INTEGRATION

Integrating mobile messaging into the customer conversation makes interactions more productive. Add customer, order or issue information from CRM, ERP, and other enterprise systems to bring context to your communications. Contextual information also influences the channel you use to reach the customer, how you route your messages internally and how you engage in customer conversations.

Boost your messaging INTELLIGENCE

Intelligence is the key to delivering human-style messages at scale. Add intelligence to engage with larger numbers of customers efficiently, without sacrificing the quality of the user experience. A hybrid approach of human-assisted bots — where bots handle most requests and escalate to human agents only when needed — is gaining adoption.

Build your messaging INFRASTRUCTURE

Adopt an incremental building block approach to get global reach, delivery intelligence, and the highest reliability over both IP and carrier networks, all with minimal development effort. Twilio’s programmable APIs are part of an all-in-one messaging toolbox that orchestrates across every major messaging channel to reach your customers the way they want to be reached.

Organize your customer communication roadmap around these four I’s to ensure you use messaging to improve the customer experience, not overcomplicate it.

Want to dig deeper into each of the I’s? Check out the Blueprint for Mobile Messaging.