The international CRM giant Zendesk released its Annual State of Messaging Report 2020 last month providing key data and insights on the most important conversational business and messaging trends ahead. The coming months will see core expansion in the global messaging landscape with strong advances ahead for the industry in mobile, integrated resorts and Latin American expansion, as messaging finally moves beyond boundaries according to Zendesk’s VP of Conversational Business, Warren Levitan.
In 2019, the number of messages exchanged between businesses and customers on Zendesk’s Sunshine Conversations platform increased 500%, and if the data revealed in the company’s third annual State of Messaging report is anything to go by, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the year ahead. “2020 will be the year of connecting conversations in the enterprise,” explained Warren Levitan. “We are seeing businesses embrace messaging as a shared platform for customer engagement, allowing them to truly unify sales, marketing and service interactions for the first time. This is a massive step toward putting customers at the centre of our businesses.”
Zendesk’s 2020 report combines interviews with more than two dozen customer experience product, sales, and marketing leaders from companies such as Google, Twitter, Hootsuite, Birchbox, and more, providing a measured analysis on the future of messaging across online, mobile and social platforms. Featuring expert commentary and in-depth analysis alongside original Zendesk research and third-party data, the report provides key insights into how messaging is changing the face of business with some notable parallels with the gaming industry in the coming decade.
As the international gaming industry continues to expand into emerging markets such as Brazil and Argentina, one significant area of focus within the report is that the LatAm region is leading the way. “Latin America – where WhatsApp is queen – is embracing conversational business faster than other regions, with Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa following closely,” states Levitan. “In many developing countries, messaging has leapfrogged web, email, and mobile apps to become the digital commerce channel.”
The companies dominating the messaging landscape and the vast differences between countries and continents when it comes to who is winning the messaging race is just one aspect of the research. 2020 will also see evolving and emerging conversational business trends such as AI, machine learning and in-chat payments unlocking huge opportunities for online brands across all sectors. Facebook has revealed that 150m people on Instagram have a conversation with a business every month and so for gaming brands the focus on in-chat payments is essential going forward.
“In-chat payments may be the key to unlocking conversational commerce at scale in the west,” Levitan added. “Apple Business Chat has Apple Pay built in and Facebook has several projects in the works with WhatsApp Pay, Facebook Pay and, most controversially, Libra — its planned cryptocurrency. Kakao, Line, and Telegram also boast their own crypto coins in various stages of development. Buying stuff is a crucial part of the conversational customer journey and it’s about to get a whole lot easier.”
Over the past decade, messaging has fundamentally changed the way people interact with friends, family, colleagues, and companies. According to Business Insider, messaging apps have surpassed social media in global monthly active users. Since 2018, nearly every major messaging channel, including WhatsApp, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, Google’s RCS, and Apple’s iMessage, has extended beyond the consumer to businesses. At the same time, businesses of all sizes in every industry have embedded modern messaging experiences into their own apps and websites.
Speaking as part of Zendesk’s 2020 report, Rob Lawson, Global Partnerships, Google, explained: “We’ll start to see the pendulum swing from customer care being the primary driver for business messages towards marketing, lead generation and sales. To date we’ve seen businesses primarily motivated by reducing call centre costs and frustrations for existing customers. In 2020 we’ll see increasing activity from brands deploying conversational techniques to engage new customers and drive incremental business value.”
Bringing the report’s focus back to gaming and integrated resorts, recent data from global research and advisory firm Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of all customer interactions will involve emerging tools like chatbots, machine learning, and mobile messaging, up from 15% in 2018. The impact of this for the land-based sector will be keenly felt as Zendesk’s report highlights how live chat remains an effective channel for real-time conversations and a growing number of hotels, resorts and other customer-centric brands are creating bespoke messaging experiences within their mobile apps and websites.
Warren Levitan, VP Conversational Business, Zendesk, added: “Intent and sentiment engines will be connected to every messaging channel, with businesses intelligently routing each message to the right system and person or bot. Once messaging penetrates the business, we will see that it knows no boundaries.“
To read Zendesk’s full interactive State of Messaging 2020 report, visit: zendesk.com/message/state-of-messaging-2020/