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"Connect with Customers: Messaging That Works" with Rob Lawson


So everybody get your phone out, please. I'm assuming it's not very far away from your hand already. Okay. I want you to find the text messaging application so that the app you use to send a text message and SMS boring old black and white text to your friends family. Whoever okay. Now think about where that application is on your phone and put your hand up if that application is not on the home screen of your phone the landing page of your phone. Okay, we got 1/2 hand. So first data points like text messaging app is still on the home screen of all of our devices we care about it.

Now pull back and just look at the home screen of your phone. Look at all the apps there put your hand up if you've got Facebook Messenger on the home screen of your phone. 5% very accurate measure. What about Snapchat? Less than 5% WeChat, any other messenger apps on the home screen of our phones that I'm forgetting. WhatsApp? How many WhatsApp’s okay lot of WhatsApp’s interesting for the U.S. So I guess my point there is messaging counts. Like this is you know back to my previous comment trying to meet users where they are, you know messaging is still really important and text messaging is the most important, you know, it's the it's the lowest common denominator perhaps from a technology perspective, but everybody has it everybody's using it look at your text messaging app again, open it up. Look at the time and date the last message that you sent or received the thing at the top or the bottom depending on how it’s architected put your hand up if that's more than 24 hours ago.

If it was more than two hours ago, but your hand up. A few hands so not only on the home screen of iPhone, but we're using it we using it really frequently and that's the point. That's why Google is really investing in trying to make that a better surface for businesses to engage with consumers in different ways. Why are we doing that? You know, why do we think this is important as consumers and we're all consumers were Deluge with information. We get brand information left right and Center. We've become experts at resisting it. We have DVRs, we sort of fast forward through TV ads we have ad blockers on our browsers we switch off notifications and we're exceptionally good at that in a customer service sense. And we've talked a lot about customer service being a driver of bots.

I loved over stats 55% you know, I don't want to call up a business if I have to call it United and change my flight this afternoon. That's just a pain. I have to take time. They're not going to listen and United hates it its really expensive. It costs them $10 every time I call them. So it's bad for businesses. It's bad for consumers. There's a lot of pain that we can solve by moving customer service interactions into a better medium.

We talked about banking before apps are super important. We've all got phones. They're all full of apps businesses spend a huge amount of money on building great app experiences, but most of us ignore those most of the time this is a classic Mary Meeker stats that has been around for the last sort of at least the last 12 months 85% of my time is spent in five apps and the same is true for you. Now. The five apps are going to be different like, you know, we'll all have a different set 50% of our time is spent in one app. So although apps are important if you're a banking app or you're a retail app or you're a travel app chances are you’re on-screen 3456 chances on notifications are off and it's a really hard place for you to engage all of your users. So what our consumers want? they want conversational experiences. They want one to one they want to be listened as well as to Talked at so you have to be receptive to a two-way engagement, which I guess everybody in this room is already receptive to but it's important to think that this isn't just about what the business needs.

It's about what the consumer needs and that applies whether its marketing whether it's service whether it's Commerce, whether it's you know, maybe some other interface that a business has with the consumer. A big kind of up and to the right number. This is from Boston Consulting Group. They did a bunch of analysis around businesses that had made the transition to a conversational engagement with consumers and those that hadn't and compared sort of trajectories of economic performance and they build this sort of model and I don't know if it's the right number but it's a big number that basically says, you know, this is what consumers are expecting their moving to a more conversational expectations how they engage with businesses. So what is what is Google doing? We've really backed a standard called RCS and RCS is it's a pretty boring tell coast and that it's been around for 10 years. And basically it's the upgrade path for messaging. So if your messaging app on the home screen of your phone apart from the gentleman in the front can it's only text messages today ICS enables it to do a whole bunch more things and it's been built for the last, you know, at least three years. Google has been working with pretty much all the phone manufacturers to build it into the Native Messaging App and is now working with the mobile carriers to make sure that worldwide it gets deployed into the mobile networks, which allows some great consumer to Consumer features in messaging but also importantly opens up a business Channel.

So what can we do? Well, what's different and we'll go kind of Round the Clock here. So at the top of the messages are coming from a business, if you if you get a message from United in your text messaging app. It's going to come from a short code or a long code. It's a whole bunch of numbers. Then you have to read the message and say who this is from our case United. It's about my flight now it's going to come from United or it's going to come from Citibank or from wherever the businesses it's going to be verified. You got a little Shield at the top. So, you know, that really is that business you don't have to trust that it's your bank or is it somebody fishing to be your bank? You know, it's that business you can brand that experience with SMS.

It's unbranded. There's no colors. There's no logos. There's no emotion. Now you can choose the logo you can choose the colors. You can start to wrap this up in the look and feel of your brand. Obviously you can send text based information but now you can send these cards and we'll see these cards come in different shapes sizes carousels one off you can have just a photo there. You can have something more complex.

So you've got a QR code plus some text plus some branding elements and then we have these what we call chips underneath the ability to sort of tap through. If you like this instead of ivr logic trees applied to messaging so rather than having to type yes or no or say yes or no, you can just tap the yes, no button or the checking savings change the upgrade whatever the utility there is the user can quickly tap through an experience without having to open the keyboard. And it goes all the way through into payments integration. So you can have you know, a sort of marketing choosing a product. What are the features one of the benefits? I want this one. I want to drill down by genre or category or something and then you can make a transaction. So Google pays integrated into messaging you don't have to leave and go off to an app or a website you can have that full experience and I'm whistling through these hopefully to leave some time for questions at the end. So I put 12 a bit more on these how a businesses using it today.

So here are some sort of examples of brands that are already using Rich business messaging to engage the users mostly in the u.s. I can't it's live today in US Canada Mexico were about to launch a whole range of European markets next month and some more Latin American markets with some Asian things coming later in Q4. As a do a range of things the thing that perhaps the most excited about is really simple. So they just send a booking confirmation message. You book a hotel. Here it's a sort of glass Treehouse. I you know, it's a nice visual example, but you know, it's probably a more mundane thing. You booked a hotel you get a picture of the hotel you get information when you staying what are the dates what price of you paid and then you get chips below you want to add that to your calendar.

Do you want to see that on map? So the day of or the day before you can open up that booking confirmation? You can hit the chip and it'll open up maps and show you how to get there or you can hit another chip and say I want to change the dates change the reservation and you can go into more of a logic flow like it because it's it has great utility for the user. They get much less interaction from this than they do from text messages or from email which they like because the users get all the information they need in a concise format in messaging. Subway again do a variety of different things the subway started off from an SMS perspective. So they took they have about 4 million users in the u.s. That have the part of a text messaging Club. So you get a text message if you sign up I can't remember the short code but you get a text message every week from Subway with an offer. So it's a free coke with your sandwich. It's a free cookie.

It's to meatball marinara has for $11 and these things change every week and you have to show the message in the store or in the in the subway to get your promotion. They switch this over to our BM. So as well as sending the text saying to meatball marinara is now you get a picture of a big juicy looking meatball marinara and you know, it's the same it's the same text is exactly the same copy. They haven't approved any other sort of creative other than the addition of an image, but the combination of an image plus the text is way more powerful. It makes me much more hungry and they get you know over a doubling of redemption and they measure success there in People going into Subway and buying a sandwich. So just and it makes sense if you think about advertising Works how branded communication works. It's typically involves some images or some video plus and text and that's powerful and so, you know being able to do that in a messaging world creates, you know, the ability to change people's minds and to influence them in interesting ways. Snap travel is and you can see sort of sum of the utility here.

We'll sort of sort of spin round and round in the GIF, but this is a sort of fully featured bot. So this is a bot that you know, truthfully was initially built for Facebook Messenger. So snap travel have built the ability to go and book a hotel so you can go in and say I can want to go to Albuquerque or Paris or Cape Town. It'll say great when you want to go and you can say Tuesday the 5th of June to you know, Thursday the seventh of June or whatever it might be or you can say Tuesday to Friday. Are you can see a variety different things and it understands it's got a decent amount of sort of NLP there that will translate your needs and take you through a booking process you get this Carousel so you can see here the cards coming up you can present options. So based on you saying I want to go to Albuquerque between Tuesday and Thursday. I've got a hundred eighty dollars a night. It'll make you a recommendation.

Here are the best hotels it'll show you user ratings. It'll show you photos and you can scroll through and make that booking and you'll see that the chips if that Don't work. You can pull out of the experience and then you can chat to a live agent. So it's reasonably common that we see a sort of hybrid experience of some automation some NLP plus some ability to connect through with a live human and I think that's you know, typically drives a good user experience Overstock again a variety of things. My favorite thing about this is the product review message. So you buy a new table here. You can see a nice little coffee table three days after you get the coffee table and we know when it was delivered to you. We send our they send you a message saying, you know, how do you like your coffee table? They send you a picture of it.

They show you the price that you paid and they give you chips 1 star 2 Star 3 stars four stars five stars and you just open this again. It's the homepage of my phone. It's a messaging app. I don't Login, I just took three stars four stars, whatever I think and they say great. Thank you very much. Join a writer of you and you can hear the sentence or you can just move on but in one tap you've rated the product, you know versus getting an e-mail going to the site. What's my password? I don't care enough about my table to do that, but I'll do it in messaging and they get over ten percent of people and now leaving reviews through this channel, which is, you know, hugely more than they get through the other channels, so they're really excited and there's real user benefits as well. Redbox, this is you know again, I'm rushing through here.

You can do different things. You can choose a movie genre so you can say Okay. I want to watch a movie tonight and you can drill in and you can see the thing flow through you can just choose comedies dramas new releases, whatever it might be and you can drill down you'll see a carousel you can see pictures you can reviews and you can so great. I want to choose this movie and then it'll say OK, let's find you a box that uses location services. So you can ask users for location through messaging and then give them a list of the nearby boxes that you can go and pick it up or you can do the reverse you can find a box and then, you know, look at the genres in the movies available those things and again make a reservation. So again, great utility super easy using that template of capabilities through which messaging How does it work and we get about you know, 85% read rates at 85% of those messages are read. That means that the people have opened that conversation. It's gone full screen on the device.

Obviously. You can often read the message just in the conversationalist. You can read it through a notification coming in. We don't count those. So again, it's got you know, it's back to the fact, you know, nobody gentlemen accepted put their hands up. It's on the home screen of the device people are noticing they get these messages. This isn't a push notification for the app on screen 7, and they're responding we get, you know, an average over 20 percent top rate on a sort of per-user basis. So, you know, it's a very responsive easy to engage medium that’s me.

If you'd like more information, please do email me. I can if you go to the website, you can also sign up for more information. You can see Partners. We have about 200 partners that are building our BM experiences today for about 400 Brands. So it's there's a decent ecosystem out there. If you'd like to sort of join, we'd love to hear from you or if you're a brand looking for a partner. We can help introduce you to people that already developing in the system. Now my first question is how many questions are asked on Google every day lots.

You should ask Google. All right. Use your big boy voice. That is a great question. We repeat that since so, how are we doing discover abilities or Discovery? So we've launched our BM in what we call an ATP mode. So the expectation is that you're a business you already have the phone number of your customers and you initiate that conversation. So most of the use cases I showed business initiated. And we've done that simply because it's an early medium.

People are still experimenting. We want them to learn and typically we want the business to feel in control of that rather than opening a Floodgate to something that they're perhaps, you know, the user inquiries. They're not used to obviously Google has some fairly interesting surfaces for Discovery. We've got search we've got Maps we've got Google Play other places where the users can go and go and search for or would encounter a brand and so I think over time you could expect they will open those up as a channel to for a user to initiate that dialogue Great question, but who else has one? All right in the back by the time that I get there if you can say it without the microphone your good try it. Okay, he's soft-spoken. You're going to make Phil run. Here you go. Thank you.

This is a naive. Austin can you explain a little bit about the kind of flow when a message comes to a phone does the phone manufacturer limit what applications can handle those carrier messages? So in the example of Android is the native Android messaging app the only app that can kind of receive those inbound text messages. That's not a knife question. The there is there's one app on Android. There's an app that is designated as the sort of recipient that the police that those carrier text messaging that are addressed by your phone number. Typically you get the phone out of the box and it will come with a nap either. You know, it could be Android messages Samsung messages, you know another messaging app, you know, pretty much all of those are now enabled for Rich business messaging and the user can also choose to download a different app and make that the default app. So how would this if I have an Apple device or if I have a phone number that's not associated with an Android phone whether it be cloud-based etc.

How would this experience work today? It's Android only it's a good question. The reason that Google backed rather than building a sort of proprietary messaging platform as back to our CSS, which is a Telco standard. It's run by the gsma. It's not a Google product is we want ubiquity we want this to be a surface and a messaging experience for all users. So by backing that you know, and you know, encouraging the Android ecosystem to adopt it, you know, we have over 45 oems today that are RCS enabled we just announced a big interop agreement with Samsung last week. So now it works across, you know, pretty much every device on the Android is this ecosystem? Obviously, I you know Google can't speak for Apple. We know Apple talking to Google about RCS. We know they're talking to the juice.

Gsma about RCS just as Apple's messaging experience incorporates SMS and I message today. I think the expectation is over time as RCS is adopted by consumers, you know, Apple would also support RCS just like they support SMS. All right. So question, I like how this is charge from the consumer perspective. So, how does that work? So how is it charged from a consumer’s perspective to some extent that depends on the mobile phone operator which will be country-specific? So there is some variance there the sort of the guideline and I think what everybody is done to date is that it's free to the end user. So there is no charge to the user for sending or receiving these messages certainly from a business perspective. So if you're getting messages from a business, you don't pay for those as a consumer now, if you think about those carrots are for example, we just launched a few weeks ago with putative a which is a big media company in Mexico.

They send you the Daily News you get a carousel of new stories you get sport you get business you go so on and so forth and you can drill down and say well I want more celebrity news or different things you get a carousel of new stories. There's a thumbnail photo and a sort of headline for those things. Some of those are videos. You can kind of say Okay. I want to watch the video. You highlights of the Barcelona game yesterday. If you want to open the video, then you're into a video player and its consuming date. So then there's you get some edge cases they're on is that is that is that data charge the consumer? Is that charge back to the TV company, you know, but that will be down to the local carrier typically.

Any other Google questions, here we go. Thanks, you understood that the in the native iOS messaging app doesn't support it. But still is there a search party IOS app that would support RCS. There are no iOS. Third-party RCS clients available today, you know. And Google's positively made taking a step of not building one. You know, we believe it should be a native experience. How often are you seeing brand sending messages to Consumers and are there any restrictions around how often they can send messages to prevent spamming for exhibit? For example, we have lots of sort of spam detection spam controls that the end user I can show you on a device but there's ways that user consider flag messages as spam and we sort of detect them at a server level there's sort of guidelines around frequency, but I think it's really there's some degree of trust that you know a brand should do the right thing for its consumers.

So if Overstock send me 10 messages a day probably I'm going to switch that off pretty fast because that doesn't have real utility but there may be situations where you know, I'm flying to New York this afternoon if my flight gets delayed 10 times. I probably want to know about that each time it gets delayed. So there's you know, there are situations where high frequency might be appropriate. So it's hard to sort of block that and say well there's a there's a rule that it shouldn't happen more than twice a day. I think it really depends on the Building a good experience for the consumer. Is a telephony based standard as opposed to a more internet-based standard? Is there a fundamental kind of rethinking of how we message people because I know in SMS Bots we've had a problem with messages coming through in the wrong order and having that really rich experience not only with the imagery and the messages and emoticons, but having it be in an order of which it makes sense to the user. Clearly we want a good user experience. I you know in I haven't seen any issues as a sort of user of this and you know, because it's my job I'm using this everyday like with our with a whole range of brands are seeing and user feedback around the bad the poor ordering of messages, you know, it is, you know, it's data.

So obviously, you know, there are times when you're in poor data coverage in there may be slow delivery of messages one of the features of our CSS. You can drill into any message there's an information button and it will tell you when that message was sent and well at when it was when it was delivered and when it was wet, so and you also get that back as a brand. So one of those messages are delivered into the messaging app. There's really no technical reasons that they wouldn't be displayed in order because the app knows when they were sent so it will order them based on the correct or even if they receive them in the wrong order little shuffle them back in the right order. So I think that will be much less of an issue than perhaps. With SMS it there are also some sort of brand advantages. There is the you get to that you can send a message to the user and you'll know when it's red and when it's acted upon and you also know when it's not if you send a message to a user and a day has gone by and they haven't read it yet. You can revoke that message and then send them an email or send them a you know, contact them a different Channel So you you're in control of not knowing just when it was sent but when it was consumed by the by the user All right.

I'm going to have a technical question here. Are you hungry? Yes, okay, good. Ladies and gentlemen, this man is helping us think outside the body and that has to do with text messages. Follow Google's lead because they're obviously making the market move. So put your hands together about place for this gentleman here. Thank you, sir.


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