RCS (Rich Communication Services) is the latest form of cellular messaging to be launched.
Here's the problem:
Old-school SMS (or text messaging) doesn't support the cool stuff we've gotten used to on internet-based messaging apps (such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, Telegram, etc) - like sending gifs, stickers, implementing interactive buttons, and more.
Though your built-in messaging app on your phone is the second most common app in use on smartphones, it's notoriously not smart. Users don't get the usability they favour on other apps, while businesses are limited in using it as a marketing channel.
The solution that many operators have agreed upon is a new messaging standard - RCS. It lets you send all those cool features, but with your phone's built-in messaging app.
Mobile operators aren't the only ones getting involved - even Google has been investing into the development of RCS for the past few years. They recently killed their messaging app called Allo in favour of shifting the talent to start developing their RCS service for Android - called RCS Business Message by Google, otherwise known as RBM.
RBM is being slowly rolled out throughout the world and was launched in France and the UK as of July 15th, 2019.
This advancement is major. Not only is it majorly shaking up the competition in the messaging app world (a win for mobile operators), but it also unveils a whole world of opportunity for businesses to see and use this as a new and effective marketing channel.
Here are 4 ways you can start using RCS to your advantage.
1. Providing customer service
Millennial and Gen-Z consumers are bringing new expectations into the realm of business. What they value most in a brand, is convenience.
One way to bring them heightened convenience is through providing customer service in real-time, digitally, as well as in their preferred mediums. For millennials, that's online chat, because of how it can drastically reduce holding time.
With RCS business messaging, millennial and Gen-Z expectations can be delivered with even better results and with less friction. The way it works is by providing a support chat bot, but through their standard messaging app on their phone.
Chat support can be enhanced with CTA buttons to quickly resolve issues, such as:
- canceling a reservation
- rescheduling an appointment
- booking tickets
2. Ecommerce order and delivery updates
Communicating delivery statuses is very important - 83% of US online shoppers expect regular communication about their purchases. Uncertainties and the lack of transparency regarding the state of online purchase deliveries are one of the biggest headaches in the ecommerce process - and as a result, room for the most drastic improvements.
By providing up-to-date notifications on the status of their delivery, you are able to increase the online buying experience immensely. This way, the customer always feels in control and in the know about their order.
This added level of satisfaction is potentially a major differentiator from other ecommerce competitors, and therefore an excellent opportunity to make the most of RCS in the early days.
After the customer places the order, there are several notifications that you can provide to help them feel more in control about their purchase:
- Send updates on when the order is dispatched
- Immediate updates on cases if the product is out of stock (bonus: with the use of RCS you're able to quickly resolve issued by providing in-message CTAs that can include, for example, ordering a different item, requesting a refund, or more)
- Send updates on when the order has reached customs (in the case of international deliveries)
- Updates on when the order has reached its destination
All in all, the opportunities are endless.
3. Sales, offers, and last-minute opportunities
When it comes to RCS, one of the benefits is being able to send push notifications to your customer directly to their phone screen - a surface that Americans on average look at 52 times per day.
This brings you the ability to draw their attention to sales and offers you have going on - even last-chance opportunities for products about to sell out. This is genius for your business for a variety of reasons - for one, it plays on strong psychological principles such as scarcity, fomo (fear of missing out), and urgency. Second, it provides the customer with relevant information that they are interested in receiving - who doesn't want to know about deals and savings from brands they love?
The benefits to your business are manyfold - this attracts your customers' attention, drives them to your website, and engages them with your brand, and ultimately, increases purchases.
Here are a few ideas for using RCS for special offers:
- Launching discounts and special offers
- Last chance for discounts and special offers
- Items about to sell out (bonus: if those items are in the customer's shopping cart, or if they've visited that product page)
- Special discounts (such as a discount code or free shipping) for RCS users
4. Last step order completion (abandoned cart retrieval)
It's estimated that at least 69% of carts are abandoned, meaning that a lot of potential revenue is lost. The big question is - how do you get these abandoners to return to the page and complete their purchase.
With RCS you can draw specific attention to a forgotten item or abandoned cart on the front of your buyer's phone - the most direct way to get their attention.
Since those who abandon carts may have done so for different reasons, you can employ different tactics to sweeten the deal for them:
- Simply remind them about it - perhaps it wasn't a good time, they got sidetracked, etc. Simply showing them an image may remind them why they wanted it in the first place.
- Improve the deal to make the purchase more enticing - add a discount code, offer free shipping.
- Inform them when that item's about to sell out - use the scarcity approach to make it clear that this decision can't be delayed - it's now or never.
With these approaches, you'll be able to convert more potential customers and therefore, improve your revenue without spending more on advertising.
So many opportunities - get started with one
As RCS is a relatively new technology, you stand to be a major winner by being an early adopter to stand out among the crowd.
But with so many options, it's difficult to know where to begin. Here's one tip: start with one RCS-enabled tactic, and go from there. For more hands-on help, get in touch with the Amio team at firstname.lastname@example.org for custom suggestions for your situation and help to implement your ideas.