Consumers prefer messaging to ask queries, but brands slow to respond

The rise of instant messaging is leading a shift in consumer behaviour where people are more interested in messaging brands than calling their toll-free numbers and speaking with a call centre.


Survey claims messaging is a growing preference over dealing with call centres

But another study has also revealed many brands are still failing to understand the urgency of replying to consumer messages.

A survey of more than 1,000 Australians revealed that consumers are growing frustrated with 1800 numbers and the challenge of navigating their way through phone tree menus.

The survey by messaging specialist agency Liveperson claimed 88% of those surveyed were annoyed by having to use 1800 numbers, with 54% frustrated by waiting on hold and 44% complaining about having to navigate through automated menu systems.

Millennials expressed an even greater preference for messaging over 1800 numbers, with 69% preferring to messaging a brand to get answers to questions.

However, another survey released by recently established division of The Works On Message, revealed that many brands are still coming to terms with how to use messaging apps in a way that benefits customers, with speed the essence of a successful strategy.

Challenging retailers, airlines, telcos and banks to answer questions sent by “customers”, Australian companies lagged behind those in the US for speed and quality of replies to a basic series of questions.

On Message partner Doug Nicol said failure to respond in under 10 minutes was regarded as a fail for a business seeking to engage with consumers through a messaging app.

“Our research shows some Australian brands have not got their act together on this form of social,” Nicol said.

“You need to understand this is a channel that requires marketers to think like customer service experts and customer service people to think like marketers. If you are not fast and useful for the consumer, you will be rejected.”

In the airline category, the question ‘Do you have student prices?’ was asked to Virgin Australia, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin America using Messenger.

Virgin America was the fastest to respond, replying in seven minutes, followed by Virgin Australia at 10 minutes and the UK’s Virgin Atlantic at 36 minutes.

Looking at how well Telco’s responded, it found Verizon was fastest to reply to queries in under 10 minutes, while Telstra responded in 12 minutes and questions to BT in the UK went unanswered.

The On Message research found messaging apps now have 10.5m active monthly users in Australia.


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