Customer Service Via Messaging Apps On The Rise

New research from call center software provider Aspect suggests that messaging apps may be the future of customer service.

The Aspect Consumer Experience Index shows that 38 percent of consumers would rather use messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to engage with customer service versus phone calls. While this percentage is still not the majority, it is pretty high considering that customer service through messaging apps is a fairly new strategy.

Additional data from the Aspect Index found that 42 percent of consumers would rather clean a toilet than contact customer service, which is an increase from 32 percent last year. This shows how frustrated consumers are with brands' customer service initiatives and how a change, such as messaging apps, could be the answer.

"We believe that texting and messaging will very soon become the simple and central interaction point for the entire customer service ecosystem, giving companies the ability to create the intelligent, automated, interactive text conversations their customers desire," says Joe Gagnon, SVP and chief customer strategy officer, Aspect. "Messaging holds the potential to improve the speed and quality of consumer engagement; It's clear that customer service is the new marketing and customer-company messaging offers a differentiated and competitive advantage for those brands who are ready to engage."

It is important to note that consumers still want the ability to talk with a live person when needed, with the Aspect Index revealing that if consumers start a brand interaction with a message, 75 percent still want the option to talk to a live person. This means that messaging should be approached as a part of the larger customer service experience.

Fortunately, there are a variety of options for businesses looking to expand their customer service initiatives via messaging. Not only does Aspect offer an Early Adopter Program for companies looking to use Facebook Messenger, but there are also solutions available from other companies, including Zendesk and Conversocial. It is important to note, however, that companies participating in Aspect's Early Adopter Program are able to leverage Aspect's natural language understanding capabilities, get limited time free production pilot hosting, as well as the ability to influence Aspect's product roadmap around customer service on Messenger.