Nigerian businesses and brands have been told to explore new ways to connect and engage consumers.
It was revealed that in year three of a global pandemic, consumers want brands to become more empathetic, accessible and deliver personalised experiences every time.
Some global telecoms leaders, who came together, at the weekend, in Lagos, noted that doing this at scale with millions of consumers, in real-time, was a huge challenge for brands.
According to them, in mobile-first markets like Nigeria, messaging is the key digital backbone for brand-consumer connectivity. They stressed that SMS continues to be popular with many brands leveraging it for marketing, commerce, and support. They, however, said SMS has limitations vis-à-vis some of the popular, new age messaging platforms like WhatsApp, for example.
While SMS is getting a major upgrade, enabling a richer conversational experience between brands and consumers, they claimed that the technology that makes this possible is Rich Communication Services (RCS), the next generation of SMS.
On its functionality, the Executive Vice President, Telecoms Business at Gupshup and Chief Executive Officer, Dotgo, Dr. Inderpal Singh Mumick, said Nigerian businesses can use RCS Business Messaging (RBM) to reach more consumers and improve customer experience, leading to increased ROI.
Mumick said using RBM, brands can send rich and interactive messages, which can include images, GIFs, videos, carousels, suggested replies, and suggested actions.
“All these are delivered to customers from a verified sender id with a trust mark, improving trust and convenience in the process. Popular suggested actions include opening a website, dialing a number, viewing, or sharing a location, and adding events to the phone’s calendar,” he stated.
He explained that users don’t need to download another app, stressing that RCS leverages the Android Messages app, the default SMS app on Android devices, and offers end-to-end encryption for advanced security. He added that RCS is the default-messaging standard for 5G networks, though it continues to support 3G and 4G networks.
According to him, more than 14 million people are already experiencing the benefits of using RCS in the country, and the number is growing rapidly, as all new Android devices ship with RCS built into the Messages app.
“RBM enables brands to offer a next-gen customer experience with greater interactivity, improved trust, and advanced security. We are excited to help Nigerian brands reimagine business-to-consumer communication and deliver richer, two-way conversational experiences to millions of subscribers,” Mumick said.
Commenting, Chief Enterprise Business Officer, MTN, Lynda Saint-Nwafor, said, “Consumers want brands to be accessible anytime, anywhere – and businesses constantly look for new and innovative ways to enable this. Many of our enterprise customers in Nigeria are betting on RCS as a viable way to drive secure, contextual, and personalized consumer conversations at scale.”
Director, Airtel Business, Nigeria, Ogo Ofomata, said enterprises are increasingly turning to chat and messaging platforms to strengthen consumer relationships and engagement.
Ofomata said several of Airtel’s enterprise customers are in the process of deploying RCS to consistently deliver a richer, more tailored, and interactive experience to thousands of consumers.
On brands interest, Partnerships Lead-Communication Products, Google, Johanna Kollar, said the adoption of RCS business messaging continues to grow rapidly, stressing that brands across the world now want to deliver rich and interactive messages including images, GIFs, videos, carousels, and more to their consumers – RCS makes this possible.”