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From SMS to Slack – The Evolutionary Path of Messaging

From SMS to Slack – The Evolutionary Path of Messaging

Paul Sweeney

As we all are well aware, organisations have quickly shifted to remote conferencing and engagement for their internal team communications. From Zoom, Teams to Slack the communication and collaboration platform options are endless with many making the jump overnight. 

But what about customer interactions, where do they fit in? We have more communication platforms, more messaging, more options and its' hard to keep it all straight. We are in a period of significant social change and the new normal is just super saturated with communications.

Messaging is shaping our behaviours 

What we have learned is that technology and social change go hand in hand. It is hard to tell which one is driving the other. In the beginning, SMS was a way to send simple one-way messages, of limited length, to all devices. It was convenient for quick "status updates." It was cheaper than calling people and people adopted new text language and symbols to fit those length limitations.

New spaces were found in our day when sending a text just become a social norm, as in "I'll be there in 5 minutes", and "I'll pick up the diner." Eventually, you sent a text message to ask if the other person was available for a call. Messaging apps are cheaper than SMS. Text limitations did not apply on WhatsApp, so the messaging culture has become richer. More functionality has been added, more use cases evolved. Now with picture sharing, voice calling, video with augmented reality overlays, money sending, and commerce we can do so much more.

But just like other social media we can be in danger of being slaves to the endless notifications. I've noticed my own kids using Snapchat for messaging, Instagram for video, and Roblox for group voice and gaming experiences. It's not one device, it's all platforms, on all devices.

Slack was one of the first platforms out there to understand that when we share things in messaging, strange new behaviours evolve. When we add applications, or outputs from applications, suddenly our applications are "conversing with us." We can ask "what's the current capacity" or "how many support tickets are waiting to be answered in customer service." When more and more applications are added, we need better and better automations and filtering. How you set your filters, determines what your experience is going to be like. Your messaging becomes a workstream where documents, files, and code is shared in the flow of conversation.

 

The future is all about flows even in Credit and Collections  

What we are currently seeing is the future is in flows, and in conversation flows in particular. Flows retain contexts and make it easy for us to understand what decision we need to make and what we need to do next. The application can help us make these decisions a bit faster, maybe help with an auto formatted reply, or an auto filled form to share with the customer. Work tasks have become chunked in smaller parts, that need to be acted upon and quickly. It means our work lives are hyper connected. We must collaborate by default.

The world of credit, collections, and payments is about to be immersed in this new reality. Digital Messaging and SMS need to be coupled with the concept of conversational flows. These flows will eventually permeate all parts of the business and all customer interactions. It is no longer just about being "in the cloud", it's how you can mix and inter-relate your cloud-based resources, your processes and your people with the kind of automations and filtering needed to deal with the scale of the requirements coming at us all in the next few months.

    

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