Customer communication has become a complex mind map for most business owners, CX managers, and heads of digital transformation departments. It appears that even when the brightest minds from your business are put in a room to discuss how to align this communication with shifting consumer trends, it always feels like you’re back where you started.
Here we share insight into the latest customer communication trends based on the interactions that took place on our platform last year – and what this means for your communication strategy moving forward.
Digital channels are the backbone of B2C communication
The number of business-to-consumer interactions that took place on our platform increased by 58% in 2021 compared to 2020.
Given that our platform is primarily used for communicating with customers via digital channels such as chat and mobile apps, it’s safe to say these channels have become an integral part of our clients’ communication strategies.
Customers want to chat with you. They want to get the right answers at the right time, without waiting on hold or being transferred multiple times. And businesses that use digital channels and solutions that enable customers to serve themselves in a familiar, trusted, and secure way are already ahead of the curve.
Conversational channels continue to see high growth
Although adding digital channels to your customer communications mix might seem like a good band-aid solution to your engagement challenges – it won’t be enough. Businesses need to ensure they add the right channels that will enable them to deliver conversational customer experiences. The right channels, in this case, would be the ones your customers enjoy using and that help them at each stage of the customer journey.
Chat apps, voice, and SMS were the top channels used for business-to-consumer communication across regions in 2021.
The world’s number one chat app, WhatsApp, was used on our platform 171% more in 2021 than in 2020 – followed by Viber for which interactions increased by 74%. This tells us that customers want to chat with their favorite brands on the channels they’re familiar with. Instant, rich messaging paves the way for future B2C communication strategies.
This is further confirmed by the 4240% increase in RCS interactions – reflecting the important role rich capabilities and conversational experiences play in engagement growth.
On the other hand, the 148% increase in email interactions on our platform tells us that traditional channels still win over parts of the customer journey – so ensuring you have an omnichannel approach is a good starting point.
All in all, conversational channels are key to growing customer loyalty and long-term satisfaction. Brands across regions have come to realize this, too. Here are the top five conversational channels businesses around the world used in 2021:
- Africa: SMS, WhatsApp, Voice, Viber, Kakao
- Asia-pacific: SMS, Viber, WhatsApp, Kakao, Zalo
- Eurasia: SMS, Viber, WhatsApp, Vkontakte, Voice
- Europe: SMS, Viber, WhatsApp, Voice, RCS
- India: SMS, RCS, WhatsApp, Voice, Viber
- LATAM: SMS, WhatsApp, Voice, RCS, Viber
- MENA: SMS, WhatsApp, Voice, Viber, Kakao
- North America: SMS, Voice, WhatsApp, Viber, Kakao
SMS remains an important failover channel
Even with the rise in rich media-enabled channels among both businesses and consumers – SMS is still a key player in any communication strategy.
We see this through the 38% increase in SMS interactions that took place on our platform in 2021 compared to 2020.
The worst-case scenario for your organization is for important messages not to be delivered, which is why businesses choose to set up failover options. Being able to connect with customers with or without an internet connection makes SMS the go-to failover channel. In cases where a customer is in an area that doesn’t have a cellular data connection or if their data is turned off for other reasons, having your message re-sent as an SMS prevents a ripple effect of greater, often more costly, challenges.
SMS is the most reliable channel for a variety of industry use cases, including:
The future of customer communication
With this immense growth in digital channel popularity for B2C communication over the last year, you might be asking yourself – what does this mean for customer communication in the future?
Recent developments and mentions of the metaverse have led to larger discussions around brands developing omnichannel communication strategies. Using the right channels at each stage of the customer journey is key to ensuring your business is prepared for the hybrid digital-physical experiences that await us.
Communication channels will help enhance CX significantly in the metaverse. They will become integral building blocks. Brands will be able to enhance experiences with video or enable metaverse participants to communicate with voice. Digital channels will help us replicate customer service in the metaverse as it is in the physical world.Ivan Ostojić
Chief Business Officer, Infobip
But where should you start?
First, you should assess your current communications strategy. Identify gaps that you could fill across your customer journey. Are there processes you could automate with an AI chatbot? Add channels that allow you to be flexible. WhatsApp is a good example. You can set up a WhatsApp chatbot to answer customers’ frequently asked questions – and connect it to a cloud contact center. This way, your agents have one place to access conversations across channels, alongside conversation history, purchase history, and more.
You also shouldn’t forget the channels and approach you have in place for customer engagement. Having a solution that makes A/B testing and marketing automation quick and easy to set up can be what takes your customer engagement from good to great. Look for tools that give you real-time insight into how your messaging is performing. Then you can reassess and test again until you’re satisfied with the results.
Once you’ve perfected your omnichannel communications strategy, it’s time to start testing your customer journey for the future.
Businesses should start experimenting and building customer journeys within the metaverse. Whether they’re in the gaming industry or are creating their own virtual spaces to offer shopping or educational experiences – now is a good time to start experimenting and measuring key KPIs such as customer satisfaction, conversion rates, and so on. Testing is the only way to learn how to improve and decide what the right use cases are for your business in the metaverse.
Keep up with customer communication trends
Consumer behaviors are constantly changing. As technology evolves, so do consumer expectations, wants, and needs. Keeping up with communication trends is one of the surefire ways you can ensure your customer journey stays optimized.
We’ve helped brands around the world improve their customer journeys with leading communication technology and digital channels. Here are some of the results:
- Uber managed to anonymize 90% of its global calls with number masking
- Unicef cut its donor churn rate by 33% after unifying its customer journey
- Unilever experienced 14x more product sales after setting up a WhatsApp chatbot
To help you move the needle on your communication strategy, we compiled a guide on the top business communication trends – as told by our experts. Download the guide to learn more about the technology and tools that can help you improve your business today and prepare for the future.
You might also like
8 Trends That Will Shape Business Communications in 2022
Cloud-based communication is evolving at pace – here’s what’s on the horizon, according to customer engagement experts.