We Agree with WIRED…Screw Texting!

Posted by
Erin Kang
LivePerson Contributor
Thursday, December 10, 2015 - 17:02

Back in August, an article from WIRED, “Screw Texting. It’s Time to Pick a Universal Messaging App,” got me thinking about the reality of our messaging economy. Author David Pierce (@pierce) was — and is — right: The number of apps we use to communicate is ludicrous. And it’s obviously a topic that resonates. Since published, the article has roughly 150 comments and has been shared on Facebook more than 6,600 times.

It’s clear that people are fired up about their ability to make mobile connections in a more convenient way.

And it’s no wonder. With so much innovation in communication tech, it’s pretty incredible that texting is still our primary method for regular conversation. SMS was established more than 20 years ago and limits you to 160 characters (unless you’re on an iOS device). I won’t even get started on group texting (at least we can mute it)!

The real issue here, according to Pierce? “[By] not picking a place to congregate, we’re missing out on one of the most powerfully useful new things in tech: the all-encompassing messaging app.”

Stop saying “There’s an app for that.”

A daily conundrum…

Office BFF: “Did you get my message?”

You: “Yeah, it made me hungry.”

Office BFF: “Huh? The thing on Slack.”

You: “Ha! Check your SnapChat!”

We’ve all been there, caught in several conversations across apps.

To the detriment of app users (almost everyone), it looks like this phenomenon isn’t anywhere near extinction. New messaging apps are released all the time, and the number of apps is still “growing exponentially.” The attraction is obvious: Of the top most used apps globally, six are messaging apps, according to KPCB. Global leaders include WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, WeChat, LINE, and Kakao Talk — with millions of users on each.

We’re so app-overwhelmed that it’s become normal to check four or five messaging platforms several times a day, expecting our friends to be scattered across networks. To Pierce’s point, it really is time to simplify our communications and pick a universal messaging app.

The Chinese are already using WeChat in this sense. “For more than 500 million users in China, it’s essentially The Everything App,” said Pierce. Beyond messaging, WeChatters use the app to play games, order food and clothes, make bank deposits, change the temperature of their homes, and more. It’s become a central place to gather, communicate, and GSD.

Looking at the popular messaging players closer to home, are we gravitating towards one all-inclusive app? Pierce calls out Snapchat and Facebook Messenger as the top contenders in the US.  Both have massive followings and built-in commerce functionality, with Snapchat’s Snapcash and Facebook’s rumored Moneypenny. But the verdict is still pending.

Sad but true, Pierce says it perfectly: “We never really replaced or improved the phone call — we just split it into a dozen different apps and services. But it’s time to bring everything back together.”

Why messaging matters for business.

We may not have a one-size-fits-all messaging app, but we do have the solution to simpler, more meaningful customer connections.

From small businesses to larger enterprises, customer experience is more critical than ever. And (surprise, surprise) the 1-800 number just isn’t cutting it anymore. Nor are delayed responses to social media complaints and emails.

Related read: Can LivePerson slay the 1-800 time-suck with new mobile product?

Messaging gives businesses the freedom to handle multiple service scenarios at once, deliver more intelligent, real-time support, and save money in the process. The next wave of customer care is already here. Consumers demand more immediate, human brand experiences, placing mobile messaging at the center of customer care innovation.  

Customer service is ripe for disruption.

An all-encompassing app is still a futuristic idea, even though it shouldn’t be. If the 1-800 number is still commonly used for customer service (c’mon, it was invented in 1967!), we have to allow time for businesses to catch up to consumer preference.

It’s our job, as customer care advocates, to accelerate the next immediate step toward customer service disruption: the death of the 1-800 number. In the meantime, businesses that provide the best support possible — where and when it’s needed — will differentiate themselves.

That said, we do think it’s possible for the business world to select a universal messaging system — one that every brand and consumer feels comfortable engaging with. What will you choose?

Stop waiting and join the movement today: Visit HoldNoMore.org.

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