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Rich Messaging: What is & Benefits To Your Business

Softphones And Messaging
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By now, everyone has used text messages to send pictures and videos to friends and family before, but have you thought about the technology that makes it all possible? That’s the case for Rich Messaging, but what is it? Let’s begin.

What Exactly Is Rich Messaging?

Known formally as Rich Communication Services (RCS), rich messaging is an evolution of SMS text messaging that, unlike its predecessor, supports sending and receiving multimedia content from pictures and videos to audio recordings, files, and even phone contacts.

While SMS text messaging was a staple of the early 2000s, the technology is starting to show its age, as it lacks all the features, bells, and whistles that we expect to see today.

Rich messaging is actually fairly popular with individuals for personal use as well, but its use cases go beyond just sending funny GIFs to your family members.

When used properly as part of a mobile marketing initiative, RCS can be an invaluable business tool for building superior customer experiences and boosting client engagement.

It empowers your advertising campaigns to capture new leads by working with them through this easy-to-use and convenient real-time communication channel.

There are two major standards of mobile messaging today found on modern smartphones:

  • Short message service, or SMS, is the older of the two. SMS is the most recognizable form of text messaging, seeing as it’s been around since the 1980s. Up until the modern digital age, it was the most dominant and widespread method of text communication.
  • Multimedia messaging service (MMS) or “rich messaging,” allows users to send multimedia content, such as pictures, audio, videos, contacts, and other rich forms of media. Using the same technology as SMS—MMS has become the new gold standard for mobile communications thanks to its support for multiple media forms.

If you’ve used platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Skype, then you’ve encountered rich messaging. Before we dive deep into rich messaging, you should understand why users prefer it so much.

While SMS text messaging was a staple of the early 2000s, the technology is starting to show its age, as it lacks all the features, bells, and whistles that we expect to see today.

Rich messaging is fairly popular with individuals for personal use as well, but its use cases go beyond just sending funny GIFs to your family members.

Rich communication services are the same technology Google announced last year (and finally implemented) as the primary texting platform for Android. By default, most Android users will have access to this service by default.

Even if you’re not an Android user, there’s a good chance you’ve used rich messaging before on iMessage, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, or Skype.

And regardless of your device, Cloud Softphone users can access rich communication services through any app that they deploy with our platform.

What are some advantages of Rich Messaging?

RCS has several advantages over traditional text messaging beyond the introduction of multimedia support.

  • Messages can be up to 10mb each and exceed 8,000 characters in length.
  • Special features like group messaging and integrated video calls are now possible.
  • The service is cross-platform and works on a variety of device types.
  • Information can be gathered from conversations to use for analytics.

Are these advantages backed up by the numbers? They are according to Google’s report on RCS for business use. About 3/4ths of consumers are more likely to engage with a brand if RCS communication is available, and people are a whopping 35 times more likely to read an RCS message than an email.

Softphone And Communications Sip Ucaas

How Do Users Perceive Rich Messaging?

Rich messaging has become the norm for communications apps today. Your users want it, and you need to deliver a seamless user experience to them.

But just how much do users like MMS?

Nearly 80% of users say they find rich messaging “appealing,” and 74% said rich messaging encourages them to communicate with a business.

Just look at every app out there, from Slack to Snapchat, that have implemented MMS. It’s evident that putting any form of media into a bite-sized piece of communication is an appealing and powerful tool.

While other mediums like email offer similar multimedia capabilities, MMS is far faster and more accessible from anywhere. As communication becomes a driving force in the modern era, users are expecting to be in the know where and whenever they want.

Unlocking your phone to check for news is much more convenient than opening a large email.

How RCS improves the customer experience

You’ve probably noticed that the customer experience is a recurring theme of this discussion.

Rich messaging, when applied to business use, is mostly geared towards providing a more engaging and convenient way for customers to get in contact with businesses.

How exactly does RCS improve the customer experience?

  • More engaging conversations: RCS can be used within a call center to make conversations with clients more meaningful and reduce frustration by allowing for richer methods of communication. When you have access to images, videos, and other multimedia files, it’s much easier to talk, build an understanding, and resolve issues.
  • Better customer service: The stronger your customer service, the more loyal your customer base will be. Rich messaging makes talking with your agents as convenient as possible, as customers can just message you instantly with their needs and even consult with self-service options through RCS.
  • Pushing for conversions: The capabilities of rich messaging mean that customers can get everything they want done in one place. At any point in the purchasing cycle, agents can answer questions, provide information, and conduct the transaction all within the conversation.
  • Informing customers: RCS offers up an excellent avenue to send out messages to keep your clients informed and engaged with your brand. Delivery updates, product catalogs, sale events, and loyalty programs are all enhanced when announced alongside interesting pictures and videos.
  • Performing data analytics: Rich messaging not only improves the conversation today but can also improve contacts made tomorrow. By gathering real-time insights into how the conversation is flowing, you can find out what your representatives are doing right, how customers are reacting to your service, and what feedback you can provide to your agents to help them improve.

The positive impact rich messaging services have on the customer experience is of great importance to today’s marketing teams, especially as customer service continues to be a distinguishing factor for competing businesses in the future.

3 Use Cases for Rich Messaging

90% of what the brain processes is visual information. It’s no wonder businesses have noticed the marketing potential of MMS. Here are some popular methods to gain traction with your consumer base through rich messaging.

1. Bringing News to Customers

Companies have always wanted to let their buyers know about announcements for new product launches, loyalty programs, and events. Advertising this way is already highly successful through SMS, so it’ll be even more impactful with added images, emojis, and clickable buttons.

In other words, giving clients a rich interface to personalize the user experiences they receive through MMS can result in more effective marketing and better reach.

Most users will have their smartphone on them and are more willing to check text messages they receive rather than emails.

And unlike marketing emails, these texts also have the benefit of avoiding the spam folder, which can greatly improve their visibility.

2. Streamlining Home Deliveries

If a restaurant or other business that handles deliveries directly to customers want to mail a package, it can use MMS to take a snapshot at the exact time of arrival. Doing so can send a message to a centralized server with a notification that the delivery was successful.

Something as simple as MMS can improve the user experience by ensuring that deliveries are made on time, reduce a company’s liability, and let users know the package has arrived safely.

3. Sending Targeted Promotions

Pizza Hut once sent coupons and promotions through MMS to drive online orders. The restaurant chain timed the messages right before dinner when most people were still deciding on what to have.

Companies can leverage MMS and personalization to send targeted offers that are relevant to a user’s interests. This can greatly improve your conversion rates and brand loyalty.

Real-world applications of rich messaging

We’re already seeing rich messaging services show up in high-profile applications. Apple Business Chat already helps its customers choose from the company’s diverse lineup of electronics like smartphones, tablets, laptops, and accessories.

Presenting product choices directly within the chat is the key to unlocking more sales, and Apple even offers secure financial transactions through an integration between RCS and Apple Pay.

Google likewise has built RCS directly into the Android mobile operating system. The Android Messages app has become the primary texting platform on many devices, and it boasts rich messaging compatibility.

As a more general example, online chat boxes you’ve probably seen on websites have become a popular implementation of RCS. They are a way to start up a conversation with a customer and answer any lingering questions one might have regarding a potential purchase.

Online chats have inherent support for files, videos, and other small tools that can have a big impact on whether or not a casual site visitor becomes a paying customer.

Most companies obtain rich messaging features through communication platforms like Acrobits Cloud Softphone. These platforms make sense because they combine all your collaboration tools into one centralized platform.

No matter what channel your customers choose to meet you on, you can be sure that you are able to respond promptly.

How Rich Messaging Improves the Customer Experience

You’ve probably noticed that the customer experience is a recurring theme of this discussion. Rich messaging, when applied to business use, is mostly geared towards providing a more engaging and convenient way for customers to get in contact with businesses. How exactly does RCS improve the customer experience?

  • More engaging conversations:

    RCS can be used within a call center to make conversations with clients more meaningful and reduce frustration by allowing for richer methods of communication. When you have access to images, videos, and other multimedia files, it’s much easier to talk, build an understanding, and resolve issues.

  • Better customer service:

    The stronger your customer service, the more loyal your customer base will be. Rich messaging makes talking with your agents as convenient as possible, as customers can just message you instantly with their needs and even consult with self-service options through RCS.

  • Pushing for conversions:

    The capabilities of rich messaging mean that customers can get everything they want done in one place. At any point in the purchasing cycle, agents can answer questions, provide information, and conduct the transaction all within the conversation.

  • Informing customers:

    RCS offers up an excellent avenue to send out messages to keep your clients informed and engaged with your brand. Delivery updates, product catalogs, sale events, and loyalty programs are all enhanced when announced alongside interesting pictures and videos.

  • Performing data analytics:

    Rich messaging not only improves the conversation today but can also improve contacts made tomorrow. By gathering real-time insights into how the conversation is flowing, you can find out what your representatives are doing right, how customers are reacting to your service, and what feedback you can provide to your agents to help them improve.

The positive impact rich messaging services have on the customer experience is of great importance to today’s marketing teams, especially as customer service continues to be a distinguishing factor for competing businesses in the future.

The Challenges of Integrating MMS on Your Own

So, if we know that rich messaging is something that users like—why aren’t more companies implementing it? Companies want access to rich messaging, but implementing it isn’t the easiest task. Why is this?

  • It requires developer support. Rich messaging, especially the interactive kind, requires support on the backend. Building your own MMS platform requires extensive knowledge of how communication technologies work, so most businesses hire dedicated developers. The work might not be fast enough for time-sensitive topics as well.
  • It introduces security concerns. You generally should not send sensitive information through MMS, as end-to-end encryption is not yet standard.
  • It isn’t cheap. The cost of building a platform that is capable of sending can cost your organization a lot in development and support costs.
  • It’s not available everywhere. Some phones simply do not support MMS and will convert all your messages to SMS, losing much of the value. Apple’s iOS devices, additionally, do not support RCS messaging, opting for its in-house iMessage service.
  • It may be restricted. As a technical limitation, the current SIP protocol is unable to send too many messages through the SIP channel.

However, nothing says your company can’t still be successful with a rich messaging marketing campaign. The benefits far outweigh the challenges, and Cloud Softphones encourages you to adopt this relatively new technology.

A Brief History of SMS and Rich Messaging

Landline Vs Softphone

An early form of traditional SMS text messaging began under the European Telecommunications Standards Institute, better known as ETSI.

It wasn’t until 1982 that the modern interpretation of SMS was proposed by the Global System for Mobile Communications, while the first commercial deployment of the technology began a decade later.

Text messaging has since then become immensely popular for both personal and business use alike, but it arguably hasn’t seen any new innovations since the 90s.

Rich messaging services have recently been pushed as a full replacement for SMS. And while RCS had a slow start at the beginning, we’re starting to see mass adoption by consumers and businesses thanks to its new features and capabilities.

Today, Google has recently integrated many rich messaging services into Android. And worldwide telecom companies have joined in on the RCS model, including Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, NTT Docomo, and other providers.

New features are being added to this day, including data security precautions like encryption. But at the same time, RCS still requires a discrete phone number to function and thus works mainly through smartphones.

Cloud Softphones’ Approach to MMS

We know that many companies struggle with the SIP protocol limitation mentioned earlier, and it inspired us to create our own service based on APIs and web services. We believe that companies will use it to focus on the user experience.

With Cloud Softphone, companies can access and enhance their messaging services without the hassle of implementing complicated technologies. The entire provisioning process is simple and complete within an hour.

Best of all, our MMS service is encrypted using an award-winning encryption stack and is even HIPAA-compliant.

Businesses in all industries can easily integrate Cloud Softphone, improving their communications and providing them with access to a useful marketing tool that you can use to reach your customers.

Why MMS Is the Future of Daily Communications

Rich messaging isn’t going anywhere. If anything, the technology empowering it will only improve. If your organization is looking for a reliable way to take advantage of rich messaging and its benefits, then our white label VoIP softphone is the right choice for you.

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