We’re just back from Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, where we were invited by the GSMA and Google to help demonstrate how Rich Communication Services can be used to enhance the business messaging experience. There was a lot of interest in our RCS demo featuring an Ocado customer journey, including an enhanced delivery notification as well as a failed payment journey, showcasing our Google Pay integration.
Payment is one of the latest and most exciting RCS features available today, so we were proud to have the opportunity to demonstrate such an innovative and hotly anticipated feature and to be able to contribute to the buzz and momentum building behind RCS. Take a look at our video interview from the GSMA of our demo at MWC.
RCS is now available for business communication in America, on the Sprint network, as well as in Mexico, with more territories set to follow soon. And with announcements regarding Inter-Op Agreements starting to appear between major operators, we expect to see increased coverage across multiple mobile networks and in most territories by end of 2018. In fact, I predict that by the end of 2019, the coverage should be relatively ubiquitous – and certainly of interest to any brand wanting to engage their customer base.
What are the benefits to the user?
The benefits to smartphone users are obvious: improved Peer-to-Peer (P2P) messaging, mirroring the much loved capabilities of channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, all within the phone’s native messaging app. Advertisement-free, users will no longer need to install multiple apps or maintain multiple messaging groups in different channels.
But what does this mean for brands?
There’s no denying that SMS is a great channel for brands to instantly communicate with their customers, with 90% of messages opened within 3 minutes alongside a 95% overall open rate; no other channel comes close to these impressive stats. SMS has enhanced and complemented customer engagement strategies in all sectors for many years, with growth in its use forecast to continue for some time to come.
However, despite unrivalled reach, read and response rates, the brands we work with here at Esendex have some frustrations surrounding the limitations of SMS. They yearn for better branding capabilities and business verification, to enable them to build trust and battle the spam that reduces consumer confidence today.
They crave increased consumer engagement and the ability for their customers to initiate conversations and start a dialogue. They would like the ability to send rich, engaging content containing images and videos to complement their brand principles. Enhanced reporting is also high on their list of requirements, such as proven delivery and read receipts, and including an accurate timestamp.
And this is where RCS can really help.
RCS – The future of business messaging
There’s no denying that RCS is exciting. The improvements that this new platform offers are clear, from improving customer service, increasing consumer engagement to reducing costs. Essentially, we have the opportunity to combine the rich, functional experiences of mobile apps with the ubiquity and engagement rates of SMS. Now is the time to consider how these new capabilities could enhance not only your customer experience but also your gross margin.
Take a look through our short video for some ideas on just how RCS can enhance everyday customer communications.
For more information on the benefits of RCS or how you can use this new messaging protocol, simply complete our contact form or call 0345 356 5758.
Coming soon: my next blog will be about practical steps brands can take to prepare for a future in Rich Messaging.