RCS Q&A – Something big is happening in mobile communications

OpenMarket – February 2, 2018

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is the next big thing in communications and has the potential to revolutionize the way you interact with customers. But before we get carried away, here’s what you need to know…

If you’re a brand looking to get closer to customers, Rich Communications Services (RCS) will give unparalleled capabilities.

You’ll have the power to communicate with people more easily, in a compelling, joined-up way, and ultimately, serve them better. In fact, 82% of respondents to an OpenMarket survey said they prefer RCS capabilities over SMS.

Imagine the best bits about SMS, email, instant messaging and apps – all that flexibility and interactivity, rolled into one, on everyone’s mobile device, in one inbox. That’s RCS. And it’s going to be huge.

So, what else would you like to know? We’ve compiled a Q&A about RCS, and what it could mean for you… and your customers.


What is RCS anyway?

 RCS is a new communication channel in a place you’ve always known. Like an app, it’s an interactive tool that gives yourcustomers the right information, at exactly the right moment. But the difference is, it’s already built into nearly every Android device on the planet.

Think of RCS as SMS 2.0 – or in other words, it’s SMS for the modern age.


OK, so how might I use it?

Imagine this: you’re an airline, and good communication with your customers is vital. But currently, you either send boarding passes and updates out via email, or encourage customers to download your app.

But imagine if you could send all this information (and much more) directly to customers’ smartphones. Well, with RCS, it’s all possible. What’s more, there’s no need for apps, or the need to frantically search email inboxes.

That’ll satisfy any weary traveler, to say the least.


So what else can RCS do? 

Quite simply, it can deliver a dizzying range of rich, interactive communications to customers, including:

  • High-resolution photos – ideal for explaining problems or issues
  • Action and reply buttons – which means you can interact with customers in real time
  • Star ratings – to enable easy customer reviews and give you feedback in real time
  • Audio messaging – because text can sometimes lead to important stuff being lost in translation
  • Videos and animations – how-to guides, adverts… let your imagination run wild
  • GIFs – for when words won’t quite cut it
  • Image carousels – so you can use visuals to brighten experiences
  • Rich cards – letting you give customers more choice, straight to their handset
  • Branding – give an app-like experience on any device
  • Geolocation – perfect for when you send directions to customers
  • Add to calendar – take away the hassle of having to remember

Many brands are already using RCS to communicate with customers in the right place, at the right time – what we call an Empathetic Interaction.

Apps are dead then – right?

Truthfully? Not quite yet – their demise is still some way off (although Gartner predicts one fifth of brands will lose their apps by 2019). They’re important tools that help customers interact with a brand in the same way they would on a desktop website – but optimized for their smartphone.

The problem is, truly decent apps cost a lot of money to produce (as much as $1,000,000). What’s more, no matter how good they are, the end user still needs to download them to their phone, and update them. If you don’t have 4G, you’re stuffed.

But RCS is a multifunctional communications platform, already native in most smartphones. There’s no need for additional software, everything’s in one place, and it works with limited cellular coverage.


The big question – how will it affect business comms?

Think about your current lines of communication with customers. We’ll bet it’s a considered mix of email, voice, post, SMS, and maybe even instant messaging or an app. They all have their merits, but they all have their downsides too. It’s a lot to stay on top of.

And in terms of customer relationship management, every channel needs to talk to all the others. Otherwise your customer’s experience will be lumpy, at best.

Not only does RCS enable brands to deliver rich, varied messaging and functionality to customers, it’s all made possible within the one platform.

The result: communicating with customers is far easier, and it makes your back-end simpler too.


What networks support RCS?

 The good news is, smartphones are clever enough to already support RCS functionality. And carriers are catching on to the advantages, and what it means for the future of text services.

According to GSMA, major global carriers such as Telefónica and Vodafone, plus the big US ones (AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint) are already backing RCS, and helping drive development.

In all, 50 operators in 27 countries have already launched RCS, with 40 new operators in 30 countries coming shortly.

What’s more, major players like Samsung and Google have invested heavily to ensure that RCS is ready for organizations and customers to use its full potential, and hit the ground running.


RCS: the wolf in SMS clothing

Want to find out more? Our eBook RCS and the New Age of Customer Empathy gives the complete picture on RCS messaging. And to see RCS in action, we’re at Mobile World Congress 2018. You can book an RCS demo or find out more here.

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