Chat Apps Are Edging Out SMS: What it Means for the Contact Center

Mobile chat apps are becoming a new customer communication standard. These types of services were initially brought to market with social connectivity in mind, but with the increasing evolution of instant messaging (IM) and related presence solutions and the swift decline of text messaging (or SMS), it seems that chat apps could be the next best technology for the contact center.

Chat apps fall underneath the ever-widening umbrella of unified communications (UC), which is currently a red hot contact center technology. Back in 2011, text messaging was blowing mobile messaging out of the water, but now with a rapidly growing global adoption rate (the technology is exploding across China, Japan, South Korea and Tawain while maintaining very high usage rates in America), this claim is no longer valid. In fact, back in November 2012, reports began circulating that text messaging had declined in the U.S. for the first time in history– largely due to Internet-powered alternatives.

US-based WhatsApp (which has more than 250 million active users) and China-based WeChat (which trails close behind with 195 million users) can teach the contact center a lesson or two about how to strengthen customer engagement. Specifically, contact centers need to elevate their customer service standards with digital, multi-channel services.

Whether you attended Call Center Week 2013 and heard it being discussed during panel sessions or are currently seeing it with your own customer base, multi-channel integration is being demanded by customers all over the world. For a call center manager or decision-maker, this may mean broadening one’s horizons to support advanced call center applications for customers’ mobile phones or drawing on real-time information to better prepare agents when contacting customers. What kind of strategy is your contact center implementing in order to stay ahead in today’s hyper-connected age?

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