Why an app isn’t the answer to all your communications challenges

Jonathan Ryan – March 30, 2020

Effective communication is an essential piece of the CX puzzle, and many businesses resort to a common refrain when deciding how to better communicate with customers – “let’s build an app”.

It’s true that many brands have adopted apps to engage with their audience. Optus, NAB, Commonwealth Bank, Telstra and iiNet are all examples of businesses using apps to enable customer interactions and provide a source of information.

But an app isn’t necessarily the answer to all your communications challenges. For starters, there are a lot of them. Google Play has 2.57 million apps while the App Store has 1.84 million for iOS. With that many apps on each platform it can be almost impossible to break through and let your customers know about your own app.

Download detox

Look at your phone screen. How many of your apps do you use daily?

Most of the time we spend on our phones is spent using just three apps. With 80 apps installed on our phones on average, nearly 90 per cent of those aren’t used daily and only 38 per cent are used each month. Close to two thirds lie dormant most of the time.

Ultimately, the odds that your app will be the one to grab attention aren’t good. A new app will be competing with every other in a customer’s phone. Not just other brands, but social media, streaming apps, games, and more.

In many cases mobile messaging is a more valuable channel for communicating with your customers. If you need customers to take an action, such as providing feedback, you can’t rely on an app or email. That’s why Indian travel company Club Mahindra began using mobile messaging. Half an hour after checkout, customers receive an SMS asking them what they thought of their trip. The response rate immediately improved 140 per cent, and Club Mahindra was suddenly getting a wealth of customer opinions when the customer was most eager to talk.

Mobile messaging doesn’t require an app download. It’s right there on a phone from the day a customer opens the box to the day they upgrade to the new model, and they’re probably already using it every single day.

Simplify the complicated

The appeal of two-way messaging is its simplicity. Apps make things pretty complicated. Download, register with email, create new password, confirm email address, log back in, navigate through the different screens… Receiving an SMS is a single action activity that takes no effort from the customer.

With the average smartphone user receiving 46 push notifications a day, it’s no surprise that less than half of iOS device users opt-in for push notifications. Which means you’re missing more than half your potential customers when relying on an app for customer engagement.

And when a customer can receive an RCS (Rich Communications Services) message, it becomes even more impossible to ignore. RCS supercharges your messaging by providing the ability to include high-res images, reply buttons, audio messages, videos, animations, GIFs and more, all within what appears as a normal message. It’s another way to power two-way communications with customers to give them an interactive experience – without requiring them to download anything.

Mobile messaging doesn’t compete for space, with an average open rate of 98 per cent. 90 percent of them are read within 3 minutes and the average person replies within 90 seconds. In comparison, it takes 90 minutes to respond to an email.

This makes it the ideal platform for any communication that’s timely or urgent. For example, Virgin Trains in the UK introduced the Early Bird Message system so customers could receive a text message straight to their phone seven minutes before the train is due to depart the station, telling them the platform number and reminding them where they’re sitting. Since introducing Early Bird, Virgin Trains has upgraded to using RCS in their messaging to customers to deliver premium engagement with customers.

Message received

Mobile messaging, whether SMS or RCS, is a better communication and engagement tool for a slew of CX scenarios compared to apps, from timely messages such as reminders to urgent messages such as fraud notifications, and even two-way engagement.

It lets you engage directly with a customer 1:1 in a cost-effective way – and there’s no need to hire a whole development team to put it into action! There’s no opt-in or opt-out, no chance that a message can be missed. You’re able to reach customers when and where they need you to, every time.

Get in touch today to find out how OpenMarket can help you solve a range of CX challenges with innovative mobile messaging solutions.

See all blogs

Related Content