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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : July 04, 2016

Mobile users embrace SMS, chat bots to 'talk' with businesses

The majority of consumers now use their smartphones to talk with businesses, according to new research findings released by global trade body Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), albeit via chat apps and SMS.

by Helen Leggatt

The MEF's study, 'Mobile Messaging Report 2016', surveyed 6,000 mobile users across nine countries - Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Nigeria, South Africa, the UK and the US, and found that more than three-quarters of consumers (76%) have received communications from a business via SMS and 65% have done so via a chat app.

Facebook (56%), WhatsApp (50%) and SMS (42%) are the top performing channels used for talking with businesses, and many brands are taking to these platforms to connect with users. Also used are Instagram (21%), Snapchat (14%), WeChat (13%), Skype (13%), MMS (13%) and Blackberry Messenger (10%).

Furthermore, the demand for these types of services is growing, and currently 24% of retailers are leveraging SMS while 17% have a presence on a chat app.

The industry within which most consumers talk with businesses on a smartphone is financial services. A third (33%) of survey respondents said they had received an SMS from a financial services company and 22% have communicated with one via a chat app. Typically, account activation is the main reason for the contact (16% via a chat app and 17% via SMS) as well as balance checking. In fact, across all industries, confirming passwords was the most common chat activity.

"Consumers have come to expect companies to communicate with them in real time about every aspect of the service life cycle and mobile messaging continues to lead the power of that engagement," said Rob Malcolm, senior vice president of corporate development of mobile messaging solutions provider Mblox, who supported the research.

Earlier this year, Facebook announced the introduction of chat bots for its Messenger app. The chat bots enable users to get information, or answers to customer service queries, quickly and efficiently without having to browse through websites. The bots work by using preset keywords that are assigned to specific responses or action. The social network now has more than 11,000 chat bots and around 23,000 developers.

Tags: chat bots, messaging app trends, mobile, research

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