In last weeks blog we discovered that, compared to two years ago, people are more likely to get in touch with customer care teams through private Social Messaging channels, such as Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM, than public ones. We continued our investigation, to see if such a pattern exists across a number of industry sectors.

Usage of private messaging has gone up in all industries, while that of public social media channels showed a mixed picture

In order to see whether this trend of private channel use persisted across different fields, we segmented our 60 clients into 8 industry sectors: Airline, Automobile, Financial, Hospitality, Railway, Retail, Telecom, and Tech & Utility. Figure 1 illustrates the respective volumes of messages resolved in private and public channels along the same 2 year timeline. Apart from Telecom and Tech, all other sectors have witnessed private message volumes catching up to, or overtaking public volumes during this time period. The finance industry in particular has seen this shift as early as 2016, due in part because banking related inquiries typically contain personal and sensitive information and require a higher level of security, for which private channels are more suitable. The Travel, Retail, and Utility sectors have likewise seen this shift to private channels all throughout 2017.

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Figure 1. Trends in no. of issues resolved in private vs. public channels for 8 industry sectors

Table 1 below shows us, with at least 95% confidence according to Mann-Kendall tests, whether the trends noted in each respective sector are significant. ‘No trend’ means the trend detected is not statistically significant. Overall, all the industries we studied have indeed seen a significant increase in conversations resolved via a private channel. In contrast, the Finance, Hospitality, Retail, and Utility sectors have seen a decrease, or in some cases a plateau, in conversations that ended in a public channel.

Industry Resolved in private Resolved in public
Airline Upward Trend Upward Trend
Automobile Upward Trend Upward Trend
Financial Institutions Upward Trend No trend
Hospitality Upward Trend Downward Trend
Railway Upward Trend Upward Trend
Retail Upward Trend No trend
Telecom and Tech Upward Trend Upward Trend
Utility Upward Trend No trend

Table 1. Direction of trends for each industry

We also carried out the same trend tests for all of our 60 enterprise clients. The data is not shown here but in summary, two third of the clients have seen either no trend, or a decline in the volume of conversations started and resolved in public channels. In contrast, 56 out of 60 (93%) have witnessed an increase in private-private conversations.

What we have learned

So what does all this data tell us? Customer care teams today are 10 times more likely to resolve customer inquiries via a private channel, like Facebook Messenger and Twitter DM, than they were two years prior. What’s more, the rate of growth of conversations using private channels has accelerated to 20 times that of conversations using public channels (i.e., 900% vs 45%). All of our findings did in fact prove our prediction true that customer services through messaging benefits both consumers and businesses alike. For consumers, messaging is more intuitive, more convenient, and more personal. For businesses, messages can be dealt with in an asynchronous fashion, which makes resource allocation more flexible and in turn it improves efficiency and drives down cost. By taking advantage of automation systems that utilize rules and machine learning (i.e. bots, content routing, tagging, and prioritization) and integrating them effectively into a number of stages throughout message processing, businesses are such to reap the rewards that this new era of social messaging will provide.