Real-Time Messaging: The Complete Guide for Modern Businesses

What is Real-Time Messaging?

Real-time messaging is the simultaneous exchange of text or media messages between two or more individuals. Whether we choose to engage on messaging apps such as iMessage or Whatsapp or prefer social media messengers such as Facebook Messenger or Instagram messages, real-time messaging has become a popular method of communication in our daily lives. Businesses too are now jumping to offer customer service using real-time messaging, in a bid to engage easily with their customers. 

What Is Modern Real-Time Messaging?

Although not a new concept, real-time messaging has evolved to become a more intuitive and user-friendly software for customers and businesses. Initially, real-time messaging was hosted on apps (think of AOL chat rooms), where both individuals had to be connected to the application at the same time to talk to each other. 

If the person at the other end didn’t connect and interact concurrently, there would be no conversation. This is because servers would relay a message, wait for a response, and transmit the message back. So unless the communication were two-way, the conversation would be at a standstill.

But modern real-time messaging has made room for conversations to occur without both sides having to interact simultaneously. With the help of asynchronous messaging, two individuals can converse at their own convenience without needing the other person to be online and connected to the server at the same time. This means the sender can post several messages that get stored in the receiver’s server until they are back online, at which point they can reply and effortlessly continue the conversation. Asynchronous messaging is what makes real-time messaging modern and user-friendly.

Traditional Real-Time Messaging Modern Real-Time Messaging
  • Synchronous messaging requires both the sender and receiver to participate in the conversation at the same time.
  • In asynchronous messaging, the sender can post as many messages as they want, and the receiver can reply to them when available. 
  • The absence of a receiver means there will be no conversation. The sender has to wait for the receiver to be online to send messages.
  • The absence of the receiver does not affect anything, and conversations can still be relayed and can be replied to when the receiver is available.
  • The sender and receiver can only talk to one person at a time. 
  • The sender and receiver can chat with multiple people concurrently.

 

If you are wondering whether traditional real-time messaging is what customers expect when interacting with brands, here’s what you need to know.  The average time a customer is willing to wait for a response is up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds. 

In a traditional chat, this would mean that a customer would need to wait around and keep themselves available for the entire duration of that conversation. On the other side, agents too would be constrained to a single conversation even if there is no immediate action they can take. That means that multiple other customers would have to wait till previous conversations end before they can reach an agent. 

In a way, synchronous messaging slows down communication more than asynchronous messaging, where, even though there could be a short wait time, more people are likely to get answers. 

Keep reading to find out how to reduce wait times further with modern real-time messaging. 

Why should businesses use modern real-time messaging?

Think back to the time you needed to verify your online purchase details, but there wasn’t a live agent to help you out. You couldn’t go ahead with your purchase without your question being clarified, so you didn’t make the purchase. That business lost you as a customer that day. 

But you’re not alone. According to an American Express survey, “One-third of consumers say they would consider switching companies after just one instance of bad customer service.” 

When customers go unattended, they are likely to leave and never come back. So choosing the channel that offers the highest rate of customer service resolutions is essential for a business. Businesses that face long wait times, high volumes of queries, and queries outside business hours will significantly benefit from a real-time messaging solution. 

The real-time messaging solutions can take customer service a step further. Modern messaging software can give information to customers before they interact with an agent. The information offered can be as small as setting a response-time expectation to an AI chatbot that can instantly answer the customer. 

The best way to implement a real-time messaging solution to your business is by choosing the right messaging software. 

How to Use Messaging Software for Real-Time Messaging

Here’s how you can use messaging software to offer high-quality, real-time messaging-based customer service. 

Notifications

Real time notifications

A ping to your customer’s device is the best way to let them know that you’ve replied to their message. So even if there are a couple of minutes of waiting, it helps the customer acknowledge your response and go ahead with the conversation. Notifications can be enabled with sounds as well as through email. This way, no customer is left behind, and they will get the answers they are looking for. 

Response ExpectationReal time expectations

Set the right expectations with your customers by enabling the Response Expectation feature. It calculates the likely time it’ll take for an agent to respond to a new message. This feature works in real-time based on the availability of your agents. Customers will be informed going into the conversation, knowing how long they should wait for a reply. 

Read more about how one business set the right expectations with their customers, allowing their agents to talk to 100% of their customers. 

Priority Inbox

real time inbox

The priority inbox is a productivity asset! It pushes to the top the chat messages that have been waiting for the longest for a response. Those are the first chats that your agents will respond to. This feature saves time when you have a flood of requests and limited agents on hand. Moreover, we know customers are living to wait for at least two minutes for a response. So, you never have to keep them waiting again. 

Business Hours

Real time business hours

Instead of turning your chat widget off at the end of the workday, enable conversations outside business hours. When your agents are offline, you can send customers an away message. A simple statement that states that you’re currently unavailable and that customers can explain their problem will get addressed once you get back to work. 

Live Translate

real time translate

Real-time live chat opens up opportunities to talk to customers across the globe without language being a barrier. It takes away the cost of hiring agents who speak foreign languages by offering a live translation feature. This Google Translate integration turns customer messages into your primary language and your answers into their preferred language. This feature is a game-changer for lean teams that work with global customers. 

Canned Responses

real time quick response

To go a step further in saving time for your customers, you can identify the most common phrases you usually use to talk to them. These can be made into a short-hand key of sorts and quickly send to the customer when needed. You can create as many canned responses as you need, give them a unique key, and even add in placeholders to speed up the conversation. 

The following three points delve into the self-service features that you can enable to facilitate real-time messaging. Self-service is the icing on the cake when it comes to real-time messaging, as it takes the way the need for agents to offer support in the first place. There are two benefits for agents here: 

  • Firstly, they won’t spend time answering common questions, and they’ll have time for more significant problems.
  • Secondly, the number of queries that come in will reduce significantly because customers will get their answers without requiring an agent’s assistance. 

Learn more about customer self-service 

FAQs

real time faq answers

FAQs don’t involve conversations, but this feature helps you make time for more pressing support conversations that could take up your agent’s time. By identifying the top conversations our agents have with customers, you can create an FAQ section to find the answers instantly without talking to an agent. FAQs will reside inside the chat widget as a separate tab. If the customers don’t get the answers they want, they can always start a conversation with your team. Think of the FAQ feature as a filter. The more information you can give the customer beforehand, the less they’ll need to reach out. 

Hallway Bot

real time bot

The hallway bot is a feature that collects information from your customers ahead of your conversation to set the context for what is to follow. You can use this feature to get some background on the customer and understand what their queries are regarding. The bot flow is conversational, so it removes the need for boring forms and prepares the customer for their chat with the agent. When offering support in real-time the more information you can get from the customer the better your help can be. Why not use a bot to collect that information while they wait for an agent?

Chatbots

Real time chatbots

Chatbots are the holy grail of self-service. As AI-driven software, they take away the heavy dependence on agents. They work around the clock and completely eliminate wait times (you heard that right!). With zero wait times, every customer gets the support that they need and your agents only focus on the most pressing concerns. For best results with chatbots, you need a clear strategy of the topics that it’ll tackle for your business. With the right bot flow, you can reach new peaks of customer satisfaction. 

If you are completely new to chatbots click here to learn more about it. If you want to know how the right chatbot strategy can help you ace real-time support, click here

Home of The Modern Messenger

Freshchat is home to state-of-the-art modern messaging. Every feature listed above is used by our trusted customers every day to offer real-time support. You can get started with Freshchat with a 21-day free trial. After that, you can choose which features fit your arsenal in offering high-quality, real-time customer service and pick a plan that works for your business.