Business Messaging – Can Mobile Operators learn from Dolly Parton?

Business Messaging – Can Mobile Operators learn from Dolly Parton?

American country music legend Dolly Parton recently received the Moderna vaccine for COVID-19, a vaccine she had helped fund after donating $1m to Vanderbilt University Medical Centre. She joked afterwards that she had “taken a dose of her own medicine”.

Could Mobile Operators follow her lead to accelerate the deployment of RCS Business Messaging?

It’s no secret that a lot of capital has been poured into RCS, while few investors have yet to make a meaningful return.

Now that Google has seized the initiative and launched RCS P2P via Guest Cloud across the globe, many operators can see a potential path to RBM revenue without the expensive entry costs. This is encouraging – the more ubiquitous RCS becomes, the more likely that businesses will include it in their customer communications armoury.

But challenges remain – how can the operators and others in the ecosystem persuade business customers to add RBM to their established communication channels? And how can they educate consumers to become comfortable with this new channel?

Businesses want to see real live use cases in their market before they make the leap. One way to address this is for operators to adopt RBM for their own products and services – in other words, take a dose of their own medicine.

According to research by Upstream, 57% of operators shifted from physical to digital sales and 55% increased their digital offerings during the pandemic. But over 70% of MNOs rely mostly on physical interactions – stores and call centres – to generate their income.

RBM is an ideal channel for many of the interactions that operators have with their subscribers – selling phone credit, upgrading handsets, changing BillPay plans, checking rates, billing queries, questions about coverage. They have a better insight than anyone on who uses android or iPhone.

The operator’s own experience could be used to attract their Enterprise and small business customers. They will develop insights into customer experience, such as what use cases suit RBM better than other channels. They will know if the business case makes sense – does RBM improve sales performance or customer retention, can it reduce service costs? Consumers will become comfortable with using the native messaging app on their handset for interactive chat sessions with businesses.

Providing a positive RBM experience will require operators to partner with other players in the messaging ecosystem. Messaging platform partners provide essential services such as spam & fraud management, wholesale billing, analytics & business intelligence, and platform management.

But when the operators adopt, other businesses will follow. And like Dolly Parton, many will benefit from their investment.

Eamonn Dullaghan is Director of Product at Anam.