Communicating With Millennials: Why Messaging Apps Matter
Millennials are increasingly using popular messaging applications such as WeChat, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to communicate, pay and exchange information not only with their peers but also with companies, according to research from Yahoo’s Flurry Insights.
Like Gmail or Outlook, these applications provide an environment in which people interact in real time, but with the addition of a social dimension. Looking at this trend from an enterprise perspective, it would appear that customers would trade off simplicity and convenience over brand loyalty, security and confidentiality.
Messaging applications are used 4.7 times more frequently each day than the combined average of all other mobile applications, and users also reportedly keep messaging applications on their devices for longer periods of time. As this trend grows, this is a threat for any company spending millions of dollars acquiring customers every year but remaining a click away from losing customers to other service providers existing in the same mobile environment.
What do customers really want?
What customers want are simple and convenient ways to interact with the companies with which they choose to do business. They want to be notified in real time, access data in a single place and share it, gain instant feedback and be able to take action in an instant. It seems trivial, but many companies today are failing to deliver such basic features. The reason: their mobile assets (mobile website and mobile applications) look like their desktop website.
Unlike messaging applications that have mastered mobile enablement for a while now, mobile core capabilities such as geo-tagging, instant notifications, address book or payments are not well integrated into enterprise mobile services.
Enterprise messaging applications (EMApps) can turn into massive new business opportunities if a company is positioned to deliver unique content (statements, offers, notifications, new product announcements, etc.) to customers.
For example, imagine that pipe bursts and damages ceilings and walls in someone’s house. The customer calls their insurance claims department to make a claim. After the claims agent takes the details for the a First Notice of Loss letter, she suggests they download their Claims Direct Mobile Application (a branded EMApp) from the App Store or Google Play.
Once the mobile application is set up on the customer’s smartphone, all communications related to the claim are pushed into the Claims Direct application. They receive instant notifications, such as confirmation of meeting times by the loss adjustor. The customer can easily communicate back and forth with the claims agent—sending them additional pictures of the damage at their request, for example. A settlement offer can be digitally signed, saving $20 and weeks of printed-paper processing.
These EMApps can be developed specifically for each enterprise and line of business. They come with:
- a branded customer experience
- seamless registration/log-in enablement
- enterprise-unique content and history
- a mobile optimized customer experience (e.g. responsive content in HTML5, unlike PDF)
- embedded calls-to-action, such as digital signature, one-click-payment or call-my-agent
- geolocation based services
- content sharing capabilities, photo capture and tons more features
Inheriting what messaging applications do best, EMApps provide a hybrid, enterprise branded solution between messaging applications and existing enterprise mobile assets. They are most useful for supporting enterprise customer communications during key business processes like mortgage applications, claims management, client onboarding or life insurance on boarding. They are worth a look.
Antoine Hemon-Laurens is a customer communications management expert at GMC Software.
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