The Benefits of RCS for Customer Engagement

RCS messaging has been causing a lot of industry buzz lately. According to a report by data intelligence company Mobile Squared, enterprise brands will be spending upwards of $18 billion USD on RCS messaging by 2023. RCS is the largest evolution to native mobile messaging for more than a decade, and offers enterprises better ways to engage with their customers (and vice-versa.)

At aql we are engaging with a number of our customers who are at various stages of their RCS journey. With over 174 million RCS users worldwide, brands are now increasingly looking at how they can supplement existing messaging strategies by using RCS alongside traditional SMS messaging.

Not only does RCS give a richer visual experience by combining text with multimedia content, it also improves the messaging experience by guiding users along mobile journeys using suggested replies and action buttons. See below for an overview of RCS vs SMS:

Feature
SMS
RCS
Built-in native support Yes Yes (for Android)
Text messaging Yes Yes
Card and Carousel layouts Yes
Document Sharing Yes
Images & Video Yes
Audio Messaging Yes
Location Sending Yes
QR Codes Yes
Branding & Logos Yes
Business Account Verification Yes
Suggested Replies & Action Buttons Yes
Mobile Payments Yes
Group Chat Yes
Read Receipts Yes
Typing Indicators Yes
Enhanced Metrics Yes
Two-way messaging from a named brand Yes

Branding & Trust

RCS message shown on a device

Arguably the biggest benefit to brands using RCS is the way in which a company’s identity and brand can be put across. RCS messages can be styled to have the logo, name, and colours associated with that brand. This helps reinforce brand identity with each customer interaction.

SMS phishing (SMiShing) has been an industry problem for a number of years, with fraudsters sending messages impersonating banks and brands to trick end users. While networks and aggregators take steps to combat this, it is a constant battle as fraudsters attempt to vary sender IDs and use different routes to bypass protections.

In addition to improved branding, RCS supports verified sending for business accounts. A trust symbol will be shown alongside the brand name which reassures end users that they are not about to become the victim of a SMiShing style attack (RiCShing perhaps?)

The branding and verification benefits offered by RCS will serve to build familiarity and trust with end users, and helps brands protect their identity and reputation, a real business and consumer win-win.


Boosting Engagement

SMS as a technology only really supports one-way messaging, which can simply be done in two directions to simulate two-way conversations! While modern phones will thread SMS conversations together there is no real concept that message B is a reply to message A. Service providers and software companies have to code logic and use assumptions to build clever SMS journeys.

With RCS, journeys are an inherent part of the technology. By defining decision trees, complex user interactions can be crafted which provide end users with an ‘app-like’ experience while they are still within the Messages app, and without having to install or sign-up for any other software.

With 2-way SMS, messages will commonly instruct users to reply Y/N, YES/NO/STOP or reply with a number 1-5 to do a specific action. Whilst this works, the customer reply must be sent in the exact format that the application is expecting otherwise they can’t be handled as expected.

With RCS, the use of suggested replies and action buttons reduces the cognitive load on end users, and reduces human error by restricting the options available and guiding users down a journey. This makes RCS interactions faster and simpler compared to SMS.

Subway has been conducting RCS trials in America alongside Mobivity and their customer loyalty platform. They transformed their customer experience by using RCS alongside AI to create personalised offers and journeys for their customers. These trials have shown a 50-60% increase in conversion rate for RCS messages vs SMS.


What Now?

RCS should be viewed as a supplementary tool for businesses to use alongside traditional SMS messaging. Now is the time for businesses to look at their messaging strategy to identify use cases where the advanced functionality offered by RCS can be of real benefit.

As a leading provider of messaging solutions to businesses, we’re investing to build out our RCS capabilities. aql are looking for a limited number of interested customers to conduct RCS proof-of-concept trials using our beta RCS platform. If you are interested please contact us at rcs@uk.aql.com


SOURCES: