Messaging services: the future of customer experience for SMEs

By Marc-Alban Ponthieu, Messenger & WhatsApp Business Brand Development Lead – Southern Europe at Facebook

The conversation is at the center of all relationships whether face-to-face, by phone, or by email. It is all the more important for SMEs in developing their customer experience.

And in recent years, technological innovations coupled with new consumer expectations have offered SMEs and the French the opportunity to interact together, more easily and quickly via innovative tools. Thus, messaging services are gaining ground against other more traditional communication channels.

In France, 88% of French people have already contacted small and medium-sized businesses by so-called “traditional” means of communication: 62% by email, 54% by telephone, and 34% prefer human contact.

But this habit tends to change because two in five French people say they are ready to contact companies via messaging applications – a desire in particular boosted by the emergence of these services, new trends in uses, and new expectations of French consumers vis-à-vis -to SMEs.

Indeed, at a time when everything is going very quickly, their priority is to be able to converse with a brand via instant chat at any time of the day. They thus expect to have a return to their question within an hour or even before.

“Instant messaging is the first showcase for us: Messenger is the platform that allows us to interact with our customers who contact us most of the time for requests for quotes, information on the workshops offered… This free communication channel allows us to respond to them very quickly and transform this simple request for a quote into an act of purchase. ” Cyril Bertrand, co-founder of Sweet Délices.

Today, messaging is an integral part of consumers’ lives. The French spend a considerable amount of time chatting with their relatives via messaging platforms like Messenger for example. It is therefore a logical continuation for them to contact their favorite brands through the same means.

Messenger is mainly used to contact friends or family (50%), acquaintances (41%), colleagues (30%), businesses (36%). And with the Covid-19 crisis, the use of the platform and chatbots continues to increase. Moreover, 55% of French people surveyed say they are ready to contact companies through Messenger.

When it comes to contacting customer service, email or telephone are no longer synonymous with saving time. An automatic confirmation email [email protected], music on hold then answering machine … more and more consumers are using chats, which allow them to quickly get in touch with customer service and get relevant feedback.

The after-sales service, and in particular for complaints, is the main reason for this contact (75%). Indeed, this means of communication is considered practical (51%), fast (46%), and efficient (45%).

The e-commerce (51%), tourism (46%), entertainment (45%), and new technologies (45%) sectors have seen an increase in requests for information for personalized support throughout the process. purchase.

This personalization of the customer relationship also creates a bond of trust between the brand and the consumer. For 70% of French people questioned, messaging applications would help create this personalized relationship. And if the customer is satisfied, it can lead to an act of purchase.

This is all the more true for digital natives or generation Z who are more demanding of brands: not only SMEs must be responsive but the purchasing process must also be part of a logic of instantaneity and fluidity.

Moreover, a third of the exchanges via an instant messaging platform end in a transaction via the applications although this feature can still be scary,

And with the appearance of live shopping in France, this convergence between instant chat and real-time shopping will accentuate these new means of consumption which also meet the needs and constraints imposed by the current health situation.

Messaging tools have a bright future ahead of them and allow brands to be in an exclusive exchange with their most loyal (or future) consumers.

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