Vanessa Boudin-Lestienne and Patrice Bonfy witnesses of the digital transformation, share their vision on the Messenger platform. Since its launch this new tool has revolutionised the way in which brands manage Customer Relationships. Today Messenger enriches interactions between brands and customers. How will brands be using Messenger by 2020?
Vanessa Boudin Lestienne: Messenger is facebook's users’ private messaging application. It unifies the previous facebook inbox and the instant messaging interface. It appears on mobile devices as an application that is autonomous from the facebook application. In 2015, the Messenger growth accelerated with 4 particular announcements: the possibility of creating a Messenger account without having a facebook account, the launch of Messenger as an independent platform from facebook allowing the mobile application developers to send messages to their Messenger contacts from their application, and finally the launch of " Businesses on Messenger " and M (facebook’s personal assistant, mixing artificial intelligence and human advisers).These two last functionalities, that are currently still being tested, introduce new ways of interaction between customers and brands on facebook.
Patrice Bonfy: By extending Messenger’s current capabilities for a few years, we can imagine that in 2020 Messenger will become a global communication platform, allowing each individual to communicate with their contacts not only from facebook products (facebook friends, facebook pages, facebook at Work colleagues, Whatsapp contacts, Instagram contacts, Oculus Rift contacts), but also through their address books contacts, using their phone numbers and even through contacts in other applications (LinkedIn? Runkeeper?) which will have integrated it as part of the structure of their messaging in order to reach more users. The users will not only be able to send one-to-one or in-group text messages, but also other formats such as making payments (already possible in the US), localisation, meeting invitations and 360 ° view ( Oculus Rift) from wherever they are. M will probably become an application that is independent from Messenger, still profoundly connected to Messenger, but with the ability to be integrated to many other services.
Vanessa Boudin Lestienne: Since 2011, facebook users have been able to send private messages to brand pages. They do not hesitate to use this channel. From our experience with managing Social Customer Relationships 50% of facebook conversations are received via private messages (that are now on Messenger). The other half of the conversations still take place in public on the brand facebook wall.
Patrice Bonfy: The first “Businesses on Messenger” experiments show that we are transitioning from a wait-and-see reactive strategy where brands were initially resistant to face the requests via Messenger, to a proactive strategy where the brands will encourage their customers to enter into communication via Messenger. Zulily and Everlane’s command-tracking through Messenger demonstrates what I call the CAAAC: "Customer Account As A Conversation". All the interactions between the brand and its customer will be saved in a structured way within the larger conversation. Therefore, we can easily access a customer’s contract, invoices, purchases, level of a given indicator at a given date, etc. It will be easier to react and engage in a conversation with the brand. M will be able to help us easily find the right information, and synthesise information from our different conversations.
Vanessa Boudin Lestienne: Where we have implemented Chat/M with big brands Chat scores the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Contacting a brand through facebook gives the user the advantages of Chat - simplicity, possibility to manage the conversation while doing another task, the ability to react immediately to the advisers response – additional benefits include: the conversation can be concurrent if a delay is necessary to provide an answer, or if the user is not available anymore; the history is naturally recorded; the conversation is easily accessible on all of the users devices; finally the customer always has the possibility to revive the discussion, a "no reply" isn’t possible!
Patrice Bonfy: By activating the Customer Relationship with a brand on Messenger, the user centralises all his customer accounts under the " CAAAC " format. There is no more need to access other customer interfaces, everything is stored and easily available on Messenger and in a language that is natural to M. Moreover, the user can activate transactions without leaving Messenger. Let’s imagine that I have an order history with an e-shopping retail brand. I can ask advice on new trousers, receive suggestions directly on Messenger, validate the order and make a payment just by saying "OK"! As M reaches all my stored data, I can even begin a conversation with a new e-shopping brand, validate an order and "let M manage the formalities” (address, delivery mode, etc.).
Vanessa Boudin Lestienne: Promoting the Messenger contact channel outside of facebook (in the same way as pro.com which displays a button "Message us" activating a Messenger conversation directly from the Text-a-Pro service presentation website) firstly offers the brand the chance to assert an innovative and open customer relationship stance. Most of all it allows the brand to surf on developments supported by facebook in order to be available for all its customers, on all devices. By integrating Messenger to its Customer Relationship, a brand can spread to all navigators, all mobiles, Apple Watch, Internet.org (to be present on mobile within markets where mobile data subscriptions are available) and certainly to the virtual reality platform Oculus Accounting from 2016!
Patrice Bonfy: By structuring their commercial relationships on Messenger, the brands will benefit from M’s intelligence on their customers and will see the "my account" Customer Relationship contacts decreasing because they will be directly handled by the artificial intelligence. They will then be able to focus on value-add conversations, either to solve problems that are not taken into account by CAAAC, or to activate new commercial transactions. Interfacing themselves with Messenger will also offer them opportunities to acquire new customers: the more their commercial exchanges will be structured (products, orders, payments); the more M might be able to lead users "that made a request" of such and such product or service to them. The optimisation of structured commercial conversation is possibly the future of SEO!
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