Here at HelpSocial our focus has historically been on social networks. Our software enables agents and bots to communicate with customers via social channels from the same contact center system used for answering phone calls and replying to chats and email. Now, with the help of our new partner Nexmo, the Vonage API platform, we are folding in SMS and MMS with additional messaging networks to our suite of customer channels!
We started adding in social messaging apps to our platform a few years back, but some may be confused as to why a company known for social media engagement would consider adding a traditional channel like SMS into the platform. I mean, our name is HelpSocial.
Our mission has never been to have a siloed focus on any one communication channel. We created HelpSocial back at Rackspace to help service agents assist customers faster by having an omnichannel view (view of all channels) of the relationship. We started with a social media focus because our customers led us there and it was the biggest service gap for us at the time. As digital has accelerated in the contact center, customers and partners have asked us to be able to use the same natural language processing and machine learning capabilities for handling SMS as we have offered for social conversations. Why? It’s a pretty interesting problem familiar to every company going through a digital transformation in customer service.
The use of one-way SMS notifications has grown incredibly quickly over the last 5 years. However, it’s estimated that only ~20% of the businesses sending those notifications allow customers to reply with questions. That’s understandable – if a large brand sends an account notice to 100,000 customers and half of them quickly reply back with a question, how can a service center be prepared to handle that sudden volume of inbound messages in a timely manner, as well as keep up with all the other inbound inquiries from other channels at the same time? The answer has been, “We can’t, so don’t offer SMS as an option for inbound service.”
Compared to phone calls, SMS is incredibly inexpensive. If it could be possible to scale the experience there, SMS offers a tremendous opportunity for reducing service costs and providing a better customer experience through the convenience of a channel that everyone with a mobile phone has access to.
Experience with bots has matured over the last few years and their use has become an answer to scaling high-volume digital service experiences. At HelpSocial, our customers have asked us to help them not only integrate digital channels in their contact center, but also provide our Open API as a way to tie their bots into the same channels, service workflows, and reports as they use with human agents. Our message processing for AI and automation helps as well – they can automate a decision on whether something goes to a bot or an agent, and tell the bot/agent what to do with it when the message arrives.
These tech advances in customer engagement make it possible for the ~80% of companies using SMS only for 1-way notifications to enable it as a full, low-cost, scalable service channel. As a huge bonus, since consumer preferences generally favor texting over calls, the use of messaging for fast service reduces the number of expensive and time consuming service calls for frequently asked questions, allowing a contact center to help more customers, faster, at a lower total cost of service.
We are excited to have partnered with Nexmo because they are the industry leader in providing communication access for messaging networks all over the world. More than that, we believe that from a functional and practical perspective, there are many reasons that SMS is actually one of the most powerful channels a contact center can use to assist customers, and Nexmo has a network with unmatched global reliability. Couple SMS with other messaging channels and businesses can create compelling customer customer experiences wherever their customers prefer to communicate.
As we continue to help businesses integrate digital channels with their bots and contact centers, we look forward to providing more access to new messaging channels through Nexmo’s global network. If you’d like to learn more about our AI-powered service for managing SMS conversations with your customers, read more here or contact us for a live demo here.