Taking Business Messaging Further with RCS

InsightsFeb 19, 2019

SMS-based application-to-person (A2P) business messaging is relied on by brands around the world to send transactional messages like login authentications, timely alerts, and more. It’s a strong growth market with an estimated worth of $70 billion by 2020. For operators to maintain a piece of this growing market, they must embrace Rich Communication Services (RCS) business messaging. With the enhanced messaging features of RCS, it is perfectly positioned offer a modern one-stop shop for business messaging that brands need and their customers want.

Messaging is the preferred mode of communication for many consumers because of its speed and convenience. For many consumers, especially younger ones [1], texting is easier and faster than phone calls and some markets have even reported declining mobile call usage for the first time [2]. With today’s consumer busier and more distracted than ever, traditional communications aren’t as effective as they once were. Brands need to focus on the communication channels that customers prefer.

While SMS kicked off the growth of business messaging, it has struggled to maintain it. Today over-the-top (OTT) messaging networks such as WhatsApp have matured to offer their users enhanced messaging features that SMS can’t match. For example, SMS suffers from character limitations, inadequate branding options, and it lacks other features that users now want from modern messaging. RCS Business Messaging with Messaging as a Platform (MaaP) addresses these shortcomings of SMS.

RCS Business Messaging allows brands to easily use colors and imagery to better engage their customers with branded messages. Perhaps most importantly, Messaging as a Platform (MaaP) powered chatbots enable two-way conversations between brands and their customers 24×7 without having to build a costly app. In these conversations, chatbots can provide suggested replies and actions so that customers can choose what information they want to see next.

74% of users say that “RCS would make them more likely to want to communicate with a brand” [3] because of its additional features. From simple advertising to customer care, RCS Business Messaging expands the ways that brands can reach their customers and its uses are endless.

For example, travel brands can use RCS to send customers reminders to check into flights, select a seat, and pick a meal option. Customers can receive boarding passes within the conversation thread and get flight status updates.

It improves customer service as well. Users can send questions or concerns to companies through an asynchronous conversational messaging interface instead of waiting in a long phone queue. More than just text, the response from the brand can include images, videos, and pre-defined answering options.

In addition to an improved customer experience, RCS can also lead to significant operational cost savings.

By 2020, 25% of customer service operations will use chatbots [4] and RCS Business Messaging is best positioned to be the trusted universal platform that powers those interactions. This shift allows operators to maintain their place in the business message market.

“We anticipate that RCS is going to grow the Business Messaging revenue pool in the coming years and will become an important revenue driver in its own right.” – GSMA and OpenMarket RCS Business Messaging Research Study

Operators already enjoy a complete billing relationship with their customers and billing is seen as a key asset and differentiator for the operator-based RCS Business Messaging. By enabling quick and easy payment mechanisms, operators can develop an additional direct revenue source. Operators can also successfully build a Business Message ecosystem capitalizing on customer trust and privacy, as well as their large customer base and existing SMS A2P businesses.

While SMS will continue to serve as an important part of Business Messaging, RCS Business Messaging with chatbots is the future for mobile operators. Like RCS in general, it combines the aspects that have made SMS such a success with a range of enhancements to better serve the customer.