Why You Need to Quit Voice in 2016

Posted by
Erin Kang
LivePerson Contributor
01/22/2016 - 12:34

It’s 2016, and folks are finally getting over an old habit  voice and talking about a trend that LivePerson has built a business around for the past 20 years: messaging.

The 1-800 number has been around since the ’60s, and, for the longest time, it was the only way to get in touch with companies to place an order. Change a password. Or check on a shipment. All that changed as the internet took over, but somehow companies everywhere still relied on the 1-800 number for customer service.

>> Related BuzzFeed: Things Only People Who Hate Talking on the Phone Will Understand

Until now. Companies have started to break their bad habit. And it seems like every day we’re coming across a headline about the merits of messaging, hearing a company sing its praises, or seeing a new start-up gaining momentum in the space. Even Facebook is on board to eliminate phone calls from the ways we connect. So we sat down and compiled the highlights from a year in messaging and our hopes for 2016. Among the top talking points are the mobile takeover, consumer preference (or lack thereof), and brands joining the conversation on messaging platforms. Enjoy!

When messaging takes over mobile.

Phone in hand? Chances are, you're about to message. Phone in hand? Chances are, you’re about to message someone. Mobile messaging apps trumped social media apps last year and were used by more than 1.4 billion consumers worldwide in 2015. That’s up 31.6% over the previous year! And messaging apps also topped the global list in both usage and number of sessions, according to Mary Meeker’s “Internet Trends 2015” report.

What makes mobile the preferred mode for messaging? Let us count the ways…

  1. We all want personal, one-on-one connections — it’s the go-to way to socialize. We’ve used mobile devices to communicate for years, and now messaging apps enable that same intimate setting at our fingertips.
  2. Convenience seconds the list: Mobile is asynchronous yet instant, easy to use yet productive for both parties, and much more.
  3. Finally, the growing number of features coming to mobile messaging — such as peer-to-peer payments, m-commerce, and greater security — keeps messengers in-app and attracts new users like never before.

And when it comes to messaging, consumers aren’t exclusive.

There isn’t one global messaging app of choice. Although many countries can name a most-popular messaging app (for example, WeChat in China, LINE in Japan, WhatsApp in Germany, and Facebook Messenger in the US and UK), consumers aren’t only using one single platform. Do you regularly toggle between texts, SnapChat, Facebook, iMessage, and others? You’re not alone.

The slide below, from Meeker’s report, shows the preferred global messaging apps worldwide.

Messaging apps = top total apps in usage + sessions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why isn’t there a clear winner just yet? Although Facebook may technically own the top four most-used apps listed, there are plenty of reasons consumers use (and need) multiple messaging apps.

  • While some platforms dominate the lion’s share of consumer messaging, those users and sessions are highly regionalized.
  • Consumers are communicating with the same person (or group) within multiple apps simultaneously.
  • We’re still seeing users go to different apps for different features and functions (think: Snapchat vs. texting, etc.).
  • Brands aren’t loyal to a dedicated platform either and mix pure-play messaging platforms with in-house solutions.

 

Brands join the mobile messaging party.

How are brands using messaging apps?As consumers continue to increase their usage of mobile messaging, brands are prioritizing community, loyalty, and a great overall experience and joining the messaging game. Here’s how some of the best are using them to their advantage.

  • Need to reach teens? Snapchat may be your best bet. Check out Taco Bell — a brand that’s done well on the platform. In August of this year, the company reported a Snapchat following that was “crazy engaged” — 90% of its Snapchat friends would open and watch branded messages in their entirety (and some of those were as long as five-minute collages!).
  • Everlane and Zulilly were two of the first brands to hop on Facebook Messenger to more deeply connect with customers. The idea was to message them one-on-one and let them track orders (as well as make purchases) directly from the app.
  • Some companies offer chat through in-house messaging. Airbnb’s “Local Concierge” connects travelers with personalized recommendations from locals in their destination cities. It’s a great step in building upon the peer-to-peer community at the core of the Airbnb’s service. Also in the same vein, The Home Depot was recognized for its personal mobile app, which connects pro account holders directly with customer care professionals without forcing them to make a call.

 

We look forward to what’s next in the messaging space and continuing our mission of creating lasting, meaningful connections between brands and consumers.

What other great moments should we include with those listed above? What do you think lies ahead in 2016? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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