OpenMarket – November 1, 2018
With its unparalleled opening rates (and opening times) SMS is a no-brainer for companies trying to communicate urgent information with their customers.
But SMS is about to get a serious upgrade.
RCS (Rich Communications Services), otherwise known as “Chat”, is the next stage in text communication, coming to all Android devices soon.
With the ability to share files, send images and video (even while on a call), and include interactive elements within a text message, it’s a game-changer for businesses using text communication.
Just another bandwagon?
If you’re responsible for your company’s communications decisions, chances are you’ve heard these kinds of claims before.
There are even parallels with MMS and other messaging apps and platforms.
That’s why we partnered up with GSMA (the global trade standards body for the mobile industry) to understand the consumer appetite for RCS applications.
And boy is there an appetite.
80% of the respondents said that they found RCS appealing, with 74% saying RCS would make them “more likely to want to communicate with a brand”.
Since RCS doesn’t require you to download any additional apps or learn any new interface, it gave the people surveyed a greater sense of control.
That’s important because 40% of consumers said that they find learning how to use companies’ individual apps frustrating and 45% would prefer fewer apps on their phone.
All of this is incredibly encouraging for brands trying to deliver richer, more empathetic and intelligent experiences.
The good news is that RCS is being adopted by carriers and mobile manufacturers across the world. There were approaching 200 million active users as of October 2018, according to the GSMA – a figure that was expected to double by the end of 2018, then rise to a billion in 2019.
Possible RCS applications
RCS allows you to use images, video, text and interactive elements. So you could use it to deliver pretty much any kind of message. But broadly speaking, the applications for RCS tend to fall into five simple categories:
Usually an A2P-led purchase involves an SMS interaction, clicking on a link, visiting a site, putting in your details and then getting a confirmation email. With RCS you can do the whole transaction in a single app, even receiving tickets as a message. No need for multiple apps and platforms.
With RCS, you can let a customer know why you’re calling as you’re calling them. 74% of customers agreed that this feature would increase the likelihood of them answering. No one likes a cold call out of nowhere. The additional information brands can deliver with communications will give their messages a huge boost in effectiveness.
One of the standout features of RCS during the survey was the ability to see the view from a seat before booking tickets to an event. Consumers agreed that it was a great relief to actually be able to see the pitch or the stage, so they knew what they were getting. This level of interaction will make it a lot easier (and cost-effective) for brands to deliver more personalized experiences at scale.
Continuity from SMS
RCS lives inside the standard messaging app, so requires no new download, no training, and will be an intuitive next step for SMS users. This means that even the least tech-savvy of your customers will be able to get on board. Even your grandma. So think about how you use SMS today – then think about how much you’d add with RCS.
Security and reliability
As the messaging app is intrinsically connected to Android Pay, customers are able to pay for purchases with a single click of an interactive element in an RCS. This means they don’t have to worry about security when putting in payment details.
It also allays the fear of data access and misuse by third-party apps that affected 66% of people asked. Think about how RCS will help your customers buy in new ways – and the new things they’d be able to buy through an RCS securely.
The time is now
If you want to engage with your customers using a platform with the interactivity and customizability of an app but the familiarity of SMS, you need to be looking into RCS.
There’s no doubt that it’s in its infancy, but with the amount of users globally about to skyrocket (without them having to take any action), now is the time.
In the words of Martin Repp from Deutche Telekom: “The move from SMS to RCS is an evolution not a revolution. But it will be like going from a black and white TV to a 4K color TV.”
If you want to learn more about RCS, check out our ebook, RCS and the new age of customer empathy.