SMS rebooted: is RCS the future of messaging?

By Thomas Patrick Ward, Marketing Specialist, rdcom 12 Jun 2019

According to Ofcom, people in the UK check their smartphones on average every 12 minutes during the time we’re awake.

We live in a mobile-first world where the phone is the go-to device for people of all ages and demographics.

Rich Communication Services: The evolution of SMS

Despite its age, SMS still boasts some of the most impressive open and read rates compared with other methods of communication. Whilst its functionality is limited, all this is about to change through Rich Communication Services (RCS).

Rich Communication Services (RCS) is a new online protocol that has some big players working on its widespread rollout, including Google and the GSMA.

RCS will disrupt the current A2P Chat Apps landscape and change the way consumers and brands communicate. Essentially it will offer the functionality of mobile applications within an SMS but with no extra downloading required.

RCS will provide a seamless transition for users from SMS and therefore the impressive metrics of SMS, such as open, click-through and engagement rates, will be transferred across.

Enabled by Android

RCS allows messages to be enriched with rich media thanks to the Android ecosystem. This will enhance customer experience and engagement, as witnessed in early commercial RCS campaigns.

Consumers are already familiar with the ecosystem and will adapt quickly  to the technology. Brands can incorporate the following features into their messaging, much in the same way as with mobile applications:

  • QR codes for tickets, order tracking, and redemptions
  • Suggested user replies, including customised reply buttons that can be fully programmed to suit requirements
  • Suggested user actions, including Google Maps, calendar, or dialler
  • Rich Media such as images, videos and GIFs.

Enhanced customer experience & engagement

Sophisticated chatbots provide an opportunity for users to engage with brands at a time that suits them. Users will be in control of their interactions and brands will be omnipresent.

This level of accessibility will improve customer service and brands will be able to meet consumers’ demands through personalisation.

In an age of increased awareness of trust and security, the verified status will also ensure that recipients can quickly identify that they are engaging with the genuine brand.

What are the opportunities for brands?

RCS provides brands with an opportunity to personalise messaging and enhance customer engagement. As consumers’ expectations in these areas increase, RCS is a fantastic platform to drive loyalty.

Even more exciting, RCS is an opportunity for brands to reach customers directly on the device that they use the most and check multiple times per day.

RCS can be leveraged for almost any occasion, including airline or train tickets, sales, events, support, secure banking and customer care. RCS works seamlessly with Google Pay, which provides the ability to make instant purchases. Personalisation and convenient payment technology is a powerful combination to generate revenue.

As RCS gains momentum over the next year, there are real opportunities available for brands to get ahead of competitors and embrace a new and exciting technology, thus offering mutually beneficial opportunities for both brands and consumers alike.

rdcom is a Verona-based global business messaging provider and a Google Jibe partner. Swing by the rdcom picnic table at MAD//Picnic on 10 July to find out more about RCS. Buon appetito!

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