The Future of Customer Service Is Conversational

10 years ago, people used to email, call, or text their friends and family. Today, the vast majority of conversation happens via messengers.

Business communication is set to follow the same pattern.

According to Paul Adams, VP of Product at Intercom, messengers like WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook messenger have become the dominant way people communicate. It’s a fundamental change that is impacting the business world.

Most companies still rely on phone and email to communicate with customers, but Adams believes the future of business communication and customer service is conversational.

Moving away from traditional communication channels and towards messengers is a win for both companies and customers. Messengers can be scaled much more easily and cost-effectively than phone or email, and customers appreciate the convenience of self-service.

However, Adams is quick to acknowledge that messengers aren’t the perfect fit for every situation. Messengers can be incredibly effective for simple, repetitive questions, but deeper human assistance can be needed for more complicated issues.

Adams believes the future of support looks like a funnel with three layers:

  1. Proactive support. This includes outbound messaging to check on customers and their products and address any issues before they arise.
  2. Automated self-service support. Messengers can easily answer simple questions, such as checking on the status of an order or making a basic account change. Self-service options allow customers to get help when needed without having to wait.
  3. Human support. For more complicated issues, customers can be transferred to a human to provide personalized service.

Although messengers are the future of business communication and customer service, Adams says it’s really about marrying the scenario to the communication channel. A messenger might not always work, just like a human isn’t the best option in every scenario. But leaning into messengers and using human support when needed can deliver seamless customer interactions and lead to strong business insights. In the end, successful business communication is all about staying close to customers. Messengers will see huge growth in the coming years as more companies turn to self-service options. And when those interactions help companies stay connected with customers, everyone benefits.

*Sponsored by Intercom

Intercom is a Conversational Relationship Platform that helps businesses build better customer relationships through personalized, messenger-based experiences. The company is bringing a messenger-first experience to all business-to-customer communication, powering 500 million conversations per month and connecting 4 billion end-users worldwide across its more than 30,000 customers, including Facebook, Amazon, and Lyft.


Blake Morgan is the bestselling author of The Customer of the Future. Sign up for her new course here.

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