The Future of Conversational Messaging Isn’t Social, It’s Digital, Paul Sweeney

The Future of Conversational Messaging Isn’t Social, It’s Digital – Access, Control, and the Power of Permissions; Paul Sweeney, EVP Product at Webio.

It’s great Paul is back to share his insights on conversational messaging. For all businesses looking at WhatsApp as a communications channel, Paul highlights the importance of joined-up thinking around the customer messaging experience to not lose control. WhatsApp will through 2021 become the next big thing in customer communications. Needless to say for me, I consider FB evil, to all my brands: please do not use WhatsApp for A2P comms with me, ever!

There are loads of data points provided throughout Paul’s presentation on the acceleration of online in our everyday lives. I can not bring myself to use the ’70s term ‘digital’. Beyond WFH, online shopping has extended to local stores and restaurants, the gym has moved into your home (peloton is an expensive example), rather following an exercise class from your laptop or tablet is a significant shift in people’s behavior.

Paul highlights the important distinction between owned (email, chat, voice) versus bought (WhatsApp, Alexa, etc.) channels and the challenges that presents. You have to be where your customer wants you to be. But there is no need the ceed control to the internet giants. And this is where he positions conversational middleware in delivering the control to the brands through threading multiple channels.

For Identity and Verification, threading multiple channels is important. In the Smartnumbers presentation Abhinav shares how multi-channel is important in tackling fraud. And Paul shares the role it plays across a number of use cases. With the data point that it increases contact rates by 300%!

Paul’s thesis is messaging becomes programmable services, programmable customer experience. I think Paul’s presentation, Abhinav’s review of fighting fraud and identity verification, Marlon’s Interview on customer experience and loyalty, Radisys’ keynote on gamifying the customer journey, and Miles Cheetham’s on Open Data, all point to the importance for both the brand and customer of joined up thinking across multiple communication channels. In delivering secure, personalized, and contextually aware customer experiences.

Slideshare is having difficulties today, here’s a direct link to Paul’s slides.

Intro to presentation from the TADSummit agenda

Facebook, Apple, and Google seem to have a runway down which it almost seems inevitable that they will control the access point to your customers. Facebook’s messaging will be cross-app very soon creating one of the world’s largest telcos at a stroke. Apple with iMessage and ABC (Apple Business Chat) seems set to control access to those customers that actually spend money. Google will double down on RCS and messaging from search and maps. The ring is closing in.

However, there are signs that maybe this does not entirely suit the enterprise. Simple things like being able to control what is being said, when it is sent, and how many tries you can make within any time period, are dictated by the social platforms. Companies that can use a combination of SMS, Rich Messaging, and RCS are seeing a much higher level of engagement and impact in their day to day operations.

Will there be an equivalent with voice interfaces? Will Google and Amazon dictate how, when and where you will be able to interact with your customers? Or maybe there will be a third way, one where independent intelligent assistants sitting behind existing phone infrastructures will facilitate the kind of degrees of strategic freedom that are required in a post social platform world.

2 thoughts on “The Future of Conversational Messaging Isn’t Social, It’s Digital, Paul Sweeney”

  1. Thanks for another great presentation Paul 🙂 Some questions from me:

    AQ1) Why do you think 2021 will be the year of WhatsApp business messaging? The enterprise platform has been around since 2017, and they’re not the easiest platform to work with.

    AQ2) Where is spending the money now?

    1. Hi Alan,

      I have been reviewing reports from the CCMA and listening to the industries “Future of …” presentations and the “shocking data” is that circa 30% of people had used chatbot/ self help conversations nearly double that of the year before (contact centres in the UK right now ). The reasons why are simple: Covid19/ Self help solution requirement. Companies were forced to go the digital messaging and chatbot route because they literally had no other way of dealing with the volumes.

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