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A definition of conversational messaging

June 30, 2021

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Hanz van Aardt

VoyagerNetz - USA

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A definition of conversational messaging

Did you know that the majority of your customers now prefer to communicate with businesses using messaging channels like text, facebook messenger, WhatsApp or any of a dozen other options? This change in consumer preference is happening and it is about to radically change the way in which your industry communicates with your customers.

One of the leading studies focussed on this trend was undertaken by J.D. Power in 2016. You can read more about the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Chat and Email Benchmarking Study here if you would like. One of the core findings of the study is that when it comes to dealing with service issues and questions, customers would much rather chat. The study refers to this message based communication as live chat but more recently a more applicable term for the concept emerged namely conversational messaging.

What is conversational messaging?

I have read many definitions of conversational messaging. Here are links to some of the more popular ones:

I like the fact that the industry is converging on a term to refer to this new type of communication, however, I believe we should keep the definition of conversational messaging simpler. In my mind conversational messaging is customer engagements which take place over messaging channels. Simply that. Over time we will most likely simply refer to this as messaging - customers will be able to message a business to have a conversation with someone.

What conversational messaging is not?

Conversational messaging is not real-time

Some of the definitions I see out there mention that conversational messaging is more real-time than other forms of communication. Actually that is not the case - phone calls are real-time whereas conversational messaging can take place over hours or even days with pauses in between messaging based on availability of the other party. With conversational messaging each party messages back when they have the information ready to share. I think of this as "Asynchronous communication" and it has incredible benefits which I will expand on in future articles.

Conversational messaging should not be confused with bots and virtual agents

Some definitions equate conversational messaging with bots and virtual agent - this is clearly not the case. Currently conversational messaging have to involve a conversation. It could be with a person or a virtual person (virtual agent). In another post I would like to zoom into the different types of bots - for now all I want to say is that not all bots are equal and certainly not all bot interactions can realistically be classified as conversational bots.

Conversational messaging does not exclude web chat

Some definitions of conversational messaging limit it to certain channels like Text Messaging, Apple Business Chat and Facebook but specifically exclude web chat. This exclusion does not make sense to me. It is true that some web chat systems has certain limitation which limit the experience but that does not change the fact that it entails conversations happening over a messaging channel.

Conversational messaging does not include email

Email is generally not used for to and fro conversations. You can of course use it in that way but typically that does not feel natural.

Wrapping up…

We at VoyagerNetz are very excited to be working on the cutting edge of the conversational messaging revolution. Allowing customers to message into businesses opens up amazing opportunities to streamline customer service and to offer customer engagement experiences which have been impossible or not feasible for medium to small businesses up until now.

VoyagerNetz is working hard to lead the way into the amazing new world where effective Engagements with any business will always be a simple text message away.