OPINION: Harnessing the power of conversational messaging to cultivate deeper connections with customers – Citizen Digital

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By Alma Numić, 


World’s Leading High-rise Marketplace

Conversational messaging channels are witnessing rapid growth, reflecting a growing consumer desire for stronger connections with the brands they support.

Whether customers engage with a human agent, a chatbot, or a combination of both, conversational support provides an effective, efficient, and positive experience.

Research conducted by global cloud communications platform Infobip for example, underscores the profound impact of conversational customer experiences and advancements in generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) on interactions between individuals and brands.

The study, analyzing over 473 billion digital communication interactions on Infobip’s platform in 2023, revealed a remarkable 450 percent surge in the use of voice and video services in Kenya.

Additionally, Kenya experienced a notable 17 percent increase in interaction volume. Across Africa, industries such as real estate, finance, technology, as well as energy and utilities, are witnessing significant growth in conversational messaging. These findings highlight the rapid expansion of conversational experiences globally as businesses implement marketing, sales, and support strategies.

While 2022 saw a surge in omnichannel adoption as brands recognized the importance of engaging customers on their preferred platforms, 2023 witnessed a refinement in the end-to-end customer journey. Customers now navigate seamlessly through their journey within a single conversational thread on chat apps. 

WhatsApp remains the primary channel for conversational support, with businesses sending 90 percent of support messages via the platform. However, brands are diversifying their channel mix, leveraging chat apps tailored to specific regions.

For instance, Infobip recorded significant increases of 541 percent, 146 percent, and 284 percent in Messenger, Viber, and Line, respectively. Brands are leveraging conversational AI to deliver personalized customer service and support.

Super apps, such as WhatsApp and WeChat, have emerged as multifunctional platforms with billions of users worldwide, presenting brands with an opportunity to seamlessly integrate their products and services, offering a one-stop solution for consumers. 

As super apps, such as WhatsApp, evolve, brands leverage them to enhance customer engagement and streamline the purchasing process, creating a more cohesive and immersive experience for users. 

WhatsApp ranks among the most popular social media platforms in East Africa, spanning Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Data from the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) reveals that in the last quarter of 2023, 47.5 percent of Kenyans utilized Facebook, while 47.3 percent used WhatsApp. In the third quarter, ending in September 2023, WhatsApp led with a usage rate of 45.9 percent, closely followed by Facebook at 45.2 percent.

Recent data from the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) indicates that WhatsApp ranked third in terms of bandwidth usage among social media platforms, trailing behind YouTube, Facebook, and TikTok.

WhatsApp messages surged by 421 percent in Asia Pacific in 2023, while mobile app messaging increased by 146 percent in the Middle East and North Africa, and by 18 times in North America. 

Customer experience is undergoing a profound transformation driven by technological advancements and evolving consumer expectations. Businesses across industries are left with no other option but to explore innovative strategies to engage customers more effectively throughout their journey. 

The integration of AI into customer service operations has revolutionised businesses’ interactions with their customers. While generative AI initially automated routine tasks and generated content for messages and emails, the focus has shifted towards interactive AI.

Interactive AI enables more personalized and human-like interactions, leveraging data and insights to anticipate customer needs and provide tailored solutions. 

This evolution prompts businesses to prioritize customer delight over transactional interactions. The foundation of conversational marketing lies in the exchange of information, and brands need to intensify efforts to engage customers on platforms they frequent for personal communication. 

Alma Numić is the VP General Manager Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) at Infobip

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