Making it personal, keeping it conversational: Enterprise messaging in 2030

Presented by Sinch

Brand marketers have seen the future of enterprise comms, and it’s not email or apps. It’s almost certainly rich conversational messaging. So, how will it look in 2030?

Futurologists can be sure of one thing: technology might change in unexpected ways, but people don’t. While 1960s future-gazers were wrong about flying cars, they were right to assume that people would want faster, easier travel.

So what can we say about enterprise messaging in 2030? Same thing. Will we communicate via voice or text? Will we use smartphones or eyewear? No one knows for sure.

But we can expect universal ‘human’ needs to shape how brands and their customers talk to each other.

In this sense, we are already on a journey to the brand engagement of 2030.

Today’s consumers are already starting to choose communications that are personal, relevant, and private. They prefer conversation messaging to one-way alerts. They want to engage across the channels of their choosing.

Forward-looking enterprises understand this. They are using these considerations to build exceptional experiences now.

Brands can gather data from multiple channels — whether it’s SMS, email, voice, or web chat. They can crunch this data to reveal a single view of the customer, and then deliver genuinely personal services.

In Sinch’s Mobile Consumer Engagement report, we explore these trends. We also project ahead to the next decade.

We believe three factors will shape enterprise messaging in 2030. Let’s look more closely at them.

1. Every brand message will be like a mini app

Consumers have already demonstrated their desire for what is called ‘rich’ messaging. Around four billion people now use WhatsApp, WeChat, and others to swap videos and pics, chat in real time, and communicate in groups. In a sense, these messages are like self-contained web pages or apps.

The same shift is coming to the enterprise space. Today, most business-to-consumer messages are still simple one-way text alerts. However, the benefits of richer two-way communications are irresistible.

Ecommerce companies understand this. Take the example of reminders sent to customers about items they have added to their carts but not paid for. When one online store enhanced these reminders with images, style suggestions, and a ‘go to checkout’ button, its ROI hit 913%.

Similarly, when French insurer Macif used rich messaging for inactive customer accounts, it found the click rate was twice as high as SMS and three times higher than email.

2. Keep me informed, but keep it private

After years of data breaches, consumers are distrustful about sharing their data — especially mobile data — with enterprises. They demand security, and they expect value. Regulators agree. It seems inevitable that, by the end of the decade, governments will have introduced more privacy-protecting laws.

So messaging in 2030 will be ‘won’ by companies that respect their data privilege. Today, we can see emerging technical solutions to the privacy issue. In ride sharing, for example, it’s now possible to mask the private numbers of all participants. This means that drivers and passengers can call each other but be assured their real numbers are hidden.

3. Treat me as an individual

When enterprises earn trust, they unlock a big pay-off: the chance to do personalized marketing.

With consent, brands can use customer data to make genuine one-to-one conversational messaging a reality. By 2030, this will be the norm for trusted brands.

The upside can be considerable. For example, one telco found that a high number of its new customers would churn when they got their first bill. The problem? The first bill would charge for 30 days plus any extra when the subscription was started mid-month. This total would be more than the agreed price.

When the company sent personalized video messages explaining the anomaly to new subscribers, it reduced churn by 17% and delivered $10m in savings.

If enterprise messaging is to become rich, two-way, private, and personalized, the most forward-looking marketer should be planning for it now.

So what can brands do to accelerate the move to conversational messaging?

The first is to dismantle internal barriers so that the company can have a single view of the customer. Brands should unify email, text rich messaging, and web chat. Internal departments should all collaborate and share insights too.

Companies should also consider investing in bots that can deliver personal services at a vast scale. In our research, moving around one in six customer care conversations to chat bots boosted sales by 40%.

Moreover, brands can use sentiment analysis to unlock insights into bot conversations that make future marketing and conversations even more productive.

Brands also need to be open to new channels as they emerge. One to watch is RCS — the rich, two-way channel that 84 of the world’s operators have already launched.

That said, they should not overlook text. There are still plenty of use cases in which ‘plain’ SMS delivers excellent results.

One great benefit of text is that it is asynchronous. It doesn’t have to be ‘answered’. This makes it an excellent alternative to voice in many scenarios. For example, notifying customers that their out-of-stock item has arrived. When retailers switch from calling people to texting them, they can achieve a 35% reduction in non-pickups.

Credit card companies can score similar gains with fraud alerts. Rather than call to tell the customer about suspicious payments, they can send a text with the option to instantly respond yes/no. The comparative cost is $0.055 (text) vs. $4.13 (call).

Looking ahead to 2030 is tricky. Industry experts can’t even agree on what the next iPhone will look like. But by focusing on universal human needs, marketers can at least know the direction of travel for enterprise messaging.

Jonathan Bean is CMO of Sinch.

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