Asynchronous Chat Will Fuel the Future of Customer Experience
Asynchronous chat is poised to redefine expectations around customer service.
Common apps like iMessage, WhatsApp, Slack, and Microsoft Teams are all examples of asynchronous chat in action.
Christina McAllister, Senior Analyst Forrester, believes that asynchronous chat will shake up customer service.
McAllister defines asynchronous messaging as “a text-based messaging experience where both participants can start and stop and come back to the message without losing their place in the conversation history.”
While all of us are familiar with this, it is a revolutionary idea in customer service where live chat reigns supreme.
McAllister explains the two forces pushing asynchronous forward:
1. Consumer Sentiment
It’s a modality that customers are accustomed to, and it’s convenient.
For example, imagine a customer wants to exchange a damaged item. They could call in and endure a 15-minute wait to talk to the agent; they could use live chat only to have the session terminate after a short period of inactivity, requiring the customer to start from scratch.
Alternatively, they could respond to a WhatsApp message at their convenience.
The value is clear.
2. CCaaS Vendors
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) vendors don’t want to maintain the infrastructure for both live and asynchronous chat.
Asynchronous is winning, and providers are relegating live chat products to legacy status.
The adoption rate is low.
Despite the value of asynchronous chats, organizations are relatively slow to adopt due to technological and operational challenges.
Let me give you an example. We subscribed to a data platform from a company in the US. Any support requests we raise are made through asynchronous chat, and they respond during the US time zone. This means we typically have to wait more than 6 hours, which is fine, as it is not a critical request.
This kind of resolution time might be unthinkable for a lot of organizations. Besides, metrics are key when it comes to customer service or experience, and asynchronous throws up a bunch of challenges here.
That said, asynchronous chats would find several use cases where they would be a direct fit.
Asynchronous chat use cases
Here are some use cases where an asynchronous chat can benefit the customer experience.
Product Inquiries: Asynchronous chat can answer customer inquiries about products. For example, suppose a customer is looking for a specific product or has questions about its features or availability. In that case, they can message the business at their convenience and receive a response from a customer service representative. This can lead to faster resolution times, as customers don’t have to wait on hold or for an email response.
Returns and Exchanges: Asynchronous chat can assist with returns or exchanges. Customers can message the business to initiate a return or exchange and receive instructions on how to proceed. This can lead to a more efficient and streamlined customer and business process.
Personalized Recommendations: Asynchronous chat can provide personalized product recommendations. For example, customers can message a business with information about their preferences and receive recommendations tailored to their needs. This can lead to a more personalized shopping experience and increased customer satisfaction.
Scheduling Appointments: Asynchronous chat can be used in the healthcare industry to allow patients to schedule appointments easily. Patients can message their healthcare provider with their availability and receive confirmation of an appointment time. This can lead to a more efficient scheduling process and increased patient satisfaction.
Medication and Treatment Inquiries: Asynchronous chat can be used to ask questions about medications or treatment plans. Patients can message their healthcare provider with questions and receive a response at their convenience. This can lead to more informed patients and more efficient healthcare interactions.
Follow-Up Care Instructions: Asynchronous chat can provide follow-up care instructions after a healthcare interaction. For example, a patient can message their healthcare provider with questions about post-operative care and receive instructions on how to care for their wounds or manage their pain. This can lead to a more informed patient and a more efficient recovery process.
Booking and Check-In: Asynchronous chat can be used by airlines, hotels, and other travel companies to assist customers with booking and check-in inquiries. Customers can message the business with their travel plans and receive confirmation of their booking or check-in time. This can lead to a more efficient booking process and increased customer satisfaction.
Flight or Hotel Inquiries: Asynchronous chat can answer questions about flights or hotels. Customers can message the business with their questions and receive a response at their convenience. This can lead to a more informed customer and efficient travel experience.
Customer Service Inquiries: Asynchronous chat can even be used for customer service inquiries during a trip. For example, a customer can message their airline with questions about their flight status or baggage claim and receive a response at their convenience. This can lead to a more efficient and streamlined travel experience.
Account Inquiries: Asynchronous chat can be used by banks to assist customers with account inquiries. Customers can message their bank with questions about their account balance or transaction history and receive a response at their convenience.
Transactions: Asynchronous chat can also be used to assist customers with transactions. For example, customers can message their bank requesting to transfer funds or pay a bill and receive transaction confirmation.
Fraud Alerts: Asynchronous chat can be used for fraud alerts. Banks can message their customers to alert them of suspicious activity on their accounts and provide instructions on securing their accounts. This can lead to a more secure banking experience and increased customer trust.
Likewise, you can think of many more use cases for asynchronous chats across industries like education, insurance, and real estate.
Asynchronous chat is not only the future of customer experience but also the present, and it is time for businesses to start exploring its potential.
With asynchronous chat, businesses can streamline support interactions and improve customer satisfaction.
Asynchronous chats can revolutionize how businesses operate, with customer experience at the center of everything they do.