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Messaging Customer Care Business Case

The following is a guest post by Abhay Prasad, Vice President, Product Management for Sparkcentral. To learn more about Sparkcentral visit their website. 

Messaging Customer Care: Real-World Deployments, Real Results

The goal of this blog post is to clearly identify the business value of implementing messaging customer care alongside traditional care channels such as phone, email, and live-chat. In my role as Head of Product, I have the privilege of meeting customer service and customer experience leaders on a weekly basis. Over the last several years of my career, I have racked up several hundred such conversations.

These conversations are a part of my role that I love and value immensely because they help me understand our customers’ priorities. While every organization has its own way of articulating their customer service priorities, they generally fall into three main buckets: improving customer experience, controlling customer service costs, and improving agent satisfaction. Agent productivity impacts all three of these commonly held priorities.

Improving agent productivity means conversations are being resolved faster which is a key component of customer satisfaction. It also impacts agent satisfaction because higher productivity is achieved by eliminating repetitive, mundane or wasteful actions that agents are required to do for issue resolution. Finally, and most significantly, agent productivity is directly tied to cost control since its presence enables organizations to handle higher volumes of customer service requests.

In previous posts, we’ve talked about how messaging customer care provides superior CX for consumers. What’s often overlooked is that customer care over messaging channels is also significantly cheaper compared to other, more traditional channels including voice and textual channels such as email and live chat. This is largely because messaging enables agents to dramatically increase productivity.

Voice vs. Messaging

To understand how much more productive, we analyzed a representative sample of our customer base. We found that agents on our platform are able to resolve between 5.7 to 14.5 conversations per hour. This resolution rate is about 25-65% higher than that of voice teams. The median messaging customer care team resolves 7.2 conversations per hour. This is about 42% higher than the benchmark of 4.2-5.2 resolutions per hour for a voice agent. This does not include conversations that did not require a response (e.g., conversations resolved by bots and automation, or a “Thank you” from a customer after a conversation was already marked resolved by an agent). Also excluded are additional conversations conducted by agents that were never resolved.

This disparity in productivity is driven by a messaging agent’s ability to handle many more simultaneous conversations than a voice agent is able to. Agents on our platform often have more than 10 conversations being actively handled at once without jeopardizing the quality of service.

Email vs. Messaging

Messaging provides an even higher productivity gain over email. Email, like messaging, is an asynchronous channel. This means that conversations don’t have to happen in real time and can span minutes, hours, or even days. However, from a consumer’s point of view, email is a highly dissatisfying channel, associated with high response times (often a day, sometimes several days) and high friction. Continue reading