Apple Business Chat is going to have a tremendous impact on how brands engage customers across the globe in the not too distant future. In order to start leveraging this new channel, though, brands will need to partner with a Customer Service Provider (CSP) to facilitate implementation and ongoing use of this new mode of customer communication.
Per Apple’s recommendation, there are certain elements that the right CSP should provide in order to build a successful bridge for communication between brands and customers. Apple specifies these four key components for an effective solution: an agent console with built-in features, integration into backend systems, intelligent message routing, and quality of service monitoring.
These four capabilities are indeed necessary, but they may not be sufficient alone. Brands should also consider for the following seven key capabilities when evaluating CSPs to support them on Apple Business Chat:
1. Asynchronous Communication – Traditional web chat technology that supports countless live chat agents across the web is inherently based on a ‘session’ concept that defines the start and end of a conversation. It is for this reason that once popular messaging players like Yahoo Messenger or AOL AIM couldn’t pivot to the mobile-first world. In this world defined by apps like iMessage and WhatsApp, messaging is continuous with no defined start or end. Furthermore it uses simple notification technologies like received statuses and read receipts that enhance the experience. It’s therefore imperative that selected CSPs are experienced in dealing with both synchronous and asynchronous messaging modes.
2. Proactive Messaging – Providing a direct, threaded messaging experience is step one, but being able to send outbound messages to engage customers is taking support to the next level. A proactive messaging capability lets brands onboard customers successfully, allows them opt-in to promotional offers, and inform them about relevant news and updates.
3. A Unified Conversational Platform – It’s also important for the CSP to be built across more than one digital channel. Brands have to ensure that they can serve customers across web, native branded apps, email and ABC, all through one platform. The general experience for your contact center agents should also be consistent without having to navigate multiple systems for different channels. The right CSP will be able to offer a unified conversational platform across your multiple digital channels.
4. Integrated Knowledge Management – By providing customers with tailored knowledge articles and FAQs as answers to their queries right within the chat conversation, brands can effectively deflect new issues on routine topics that unnecessarily increase the cost of delivering service. Strong CSPs will use advanced AI technologies to predict and serve customers the information that is most likely to help them.
5. Customizable Bots – Integrated conversational bots further enhance the experience by helping automate routine handling of customer issues. If a brand frequently experiences a large volume of issues dealing with product returns, for example, a specialized bot can handle the collection of information from customers and automatically make a decision about the return. With a custom bot builder, brands can create bots for multiple scenarios, integrate them with backend systems and thereby help agents focus on more complex issues. Prioritize a CSP that allows support teams to easily create complex workflows through bots that integrate with internal systems.
6. Real-time AI-based Issue Triage – As brands grow, manual ticket triage becomes more labor intensive and an unnecessary burden that will rapidly balloon support costs. An effective CSP should be able to parse incoming chat conversations and automatically drive additional workflows, through bots for example, or assign issues to the right agent. The CSP should have a native AI engine that powers this process.
7. Built-In Customer Feedback – The hallmark of a strong customer service operation is often a commitment to continual operational improvements based on customer feedback. An in-chat, integrated feedback gathering mechanism such as a CSAT survey makes it easy to gather feedback from customers with high response rates. Collecting and measuring customer feedback should be a core capability of a potential CSP.
For additional information about what CSPs need to offer in order to properly support Apple Business Chat and conversational messaging, learn more here.