The messaging channel will continue to take the world by storm in 2019. Privacy and simplicity will continue to be key drivers as more businesses implement text messaging as a key consumer channel.
Keep Pace or Risk Falling Behind…
Of course, I’m not the only one predicting that the messaging tsunami will gain momentum in 2019.
Both experience and research have clearly shown that customers prefer not only to text each other, but the companies they do business with. The vast majority (80 percent) of businesses reportedly want to implement chatbots by 2020, according to Oracle research. That’s because chatbots are one of the most effective and efficient ways businesses can answer incoming inquiries from their customers.
According to Juniper Research, chatbots may help cut business costs by $8 billion by the year 2022. Chatbots are highly effective ‘members’ of the customer service team, saving both time and money. Plus, they’re available 24/7 to answer customer questions.
Gartner research predicts that by 2021, 50 percent of enterprises will spend more time and money creating chatbots than developing traditional mobile apps. Gartner also predicts that CUX or ‘conversational AI-first’ user experience will be adopted by most enterprises by 2021. A newer version of UX design, CUX combines the brand persona with personalized content to deliver the best possible user experience.
As bigger companies begin to implement chatbots and messaging strategies, their competitors will have to keep pace or risk falling way behind on key measures involving customer service and sales.
Consumer Privacy: Priority Number One
The swing toward greater privacy and control of your data will pick up speed in 2019. Massive security breaches such as the privacy breech that affected 50 million Facebook users this past year are clearly driving this trend.
The recent ruling by the FCC declaring text messaging to be an informational service (and not a telecommunications service) may have unintended negative side effects. Neither the FCC nor any carriers have found the magic wand to protect business customers from phone slamming and other types of fraud.
We may well see different business models pop up – some built on blockchain technology – that will address consumer privacy and control. In fact, Midori’s own Text ProtectTM, which just received trademark protection this month, is one such solution. A simple but effective way for businesses to claim and protect their phone numbers and thus their brand, Text Protect was built on proprietary, patent-pending Blockchain technology.
The fact that control over consumer data and messaging services is in the hands of just a few carriers should also be addressed in the near future. The FCC and state regulators may get more involved in the rights of consumers through net neutrality rules. Large enterprises may also focus on security and privacy issues by adopting one or more cloud-based services.
Simple Chatbots: Offering The Convenience Consumers Want
When it comes to chatbots, customers want convenience, not conversations. A good chatbot will quickly gives the answers and assistance the customer is looking for. And when the customer’s needs exceed the chatbot’s capabilities, there should be an easy, frictionless path to a live agent.
Since simple, rules-based chatbots get the job done the vast majority of the time, there’s very little need for sophisticated, AI-based chatbots. Projects using AI (artificial intelligence) will be limited to enterprises with an abundant amount of digital data, access to large sums of money and AI expertise.
The vast majority of small and medium sized businesses simply don’t have enough digital data, finances or expertise to implement AI. Even if they’re sitting on enough data, it’s typically not labeled and is split between multiple databases. And when AI is not implemented properly – as even market behemoths like Amazon found out – it can do more harm than good.
New Year’s Resolution: Get Started on the Messaging Journey…
This next year, resolve to start walking down the path of messaging.
If you haven’t yet text-enabled your local and Toll-Free numbers, now is the time. We can text-enable your individual phone numbers, provide a simple web interface and give you a customizable, chatbot on your newly text-enabled phone number – all in less time that it takes to brew a cup of coffee.
The next step is to implement a simple chatbot. We highly recommend getting started by identifying the most common questions your business is asked. Then, implement a simple chatbot like Angie the Answer Bot that can answer those common questions.
In fact, you can even experiment with Angie for free. We’ll only charge your business when you’re ready for Angie to go “live” and answer questions by attaching it to your business phone number.
Are you ready to integrate messaging into your current system? Are you ready to start implementing a strategy with one of the fastest ROIs on the planet? Get in touch with us. And start the new year off with a bang!
Happy New Year!!