Since its inception in the 1990s, SMS revolutionised mobile communication, becoming the foremost communication avenue globally. However, despite its widespread adoption and usability, there has been no further advancement in SMS technology.
While SMS stood still, the advent of smartphones and over-the-top (OTT) messaging platforms changed how we now communicate. OTT messaging platforms like WhatsApp, Viber and Facebook Messenger have upgraded simple text-based communication to rich text replete with images, videos, and gifs.
While this worked wonders for consumers, it placed mobile network operators (MNOs) with a product that once was the only choice and generated significant revenue, a last-resort subscriber choice, thereby hindering revenue.
However, SMS is not dead. The number of SMS and MMS sent across the United States increased from 1.5 trillion in 2017 to 2.2 trillion in 2020. Thankfully, with the emergence and speedy advancement of rich communication services (RCS), MNOs now again stand to gain from their native messaging services.
Read on to know more about rich communication services and how MNOs can benefit from deploying RCS messaging.
What is rich communication services (RCS)?
Formed in 2007, RCS is a protocol poised to replace SMS and MMS eventually. However, since its formation, it moved at a glacial speed languishing for almost a decade until Google revived it, offering Android's default messaging app — Chat. In 2018, GSMA announced the formation of the RCS Universal Profile — a global standard allowing consumers to communicate with each other across networks and countries.
RCS messaging is not just an extension of SMS. It offers the global reach, security and simplicity of SMS along with the rich-text and feature-laden capabilities of OTT messaging, completely transforming legacy SMS communication. It opens endless avenues for brand marketing, customer service, A2P and P2P communication, improved customer experience and creating new revenue streams.
What are the benefits of RCS to network operators?
RCS provides the network operators immense opportunities to compete with OTT messaging platforms. We have listed below some of the many and prominent benefits of RCS for MNOs.
Enhance consumer experience by capitalising on RBM
OTT messaging offers lucrative, appealing features that help consumers personalise their messages. Moreover, consumers can access all of this without paying a fee via an internet connection. With so much to offer for negligible cost, it is no doubt that people easily and speedily migrated to OTT messaging despite the prevalence and dominance of SMS.
However, RCS and RCS business messaging (RBM) are game-changers. They are replete with features and capabilities that can compete with OTT messaging platforms without the need to download additional external apps.
MNOs can cash in on RBM and enhance consumer experience by implementing conversational marketing on their network, allowing businesses to directly converse with their customers in a dynamic environment.
Given the runaway dominance of OTT messaging platforms, you may ask why brands would switch to RCS? Despite its success, implementing OTT messaging campaigns causes a 75% loss in customers in the first three days and 95% after three months. On the other hand, SMS marketing campaigns enjoy an open rate of 98% and an average response time of 90 seconds.
RCS offers brands OTT-like rich media capabilities, automated responses, trigger actions, and more helping brands connect with consumers across networks with the stability and unchallenged reach of SMS. Moreover, marketers can access RBM features like read receipts, sharing high-res images and videos, group and cross-platform messaging, video calling, data analytics and mobile number identification.
Leveraging RCS, MNOs can enhance the existing fragmented subscriber experience and set it up on their network, delivering improved user experience.
Identify new growth opportunities and revenue streams
Increased data demand, market saturation and OTT messaging platforms have severely dented traditional revenue avenues of MNOs. However, if implemented successfully, RCS offers MNOs a chance to set up new revenue streams.
As per a study from Juniper Research, the RCS subscriber base will grow to approximately 3.8 billion by 2026 from 1.2 billion. This growth of nearly 200% displays the immense capability and easy adoption of RCS in the future. Furthermore, global operators' revenue from RCS is predicted to grow from $230 million in 2022 to $4.6 billion in 2026, despite the solid competitive challenge from OTT messaging.
With RCS and RBM capabilities, brands will switch to mobile messaging to increase their reach and the size of their customer base. MNOs can offer these brands a personalised, permission-based mobile marketing channel as per the already existing price-per-messages monetisation model.
Moreover, GSMA's RCS Universal Profile version 2.0 offers improved messaging expressiveness with features that enhance conversational marketing and improve security and authentication. With these features, MNOs can monetize chatbot directories directly embedded into the messaging app on the device, allowing customers to browse through brands and instantly connect with them.
This will help MNOs provide RBM with a value proposition indispensable to brands. Brands will pay network operators to run marketing campaigns on their networks to ensure that they do not miss out on access to a large chunk of subscribers in your network.
Foster brand loyalty by improving customer interaction
The increasing number of MNOs providing the best services at competitive pricing has resulted in a never-ending cycle of MNOs struggling to retain subscribers. Moreover, the increased customer expectation with the advent of OTT services has MNOs scrambling to find novel services to ensure lower attrition rates. However, to reduce churn rates, MNOs must invest in providing an improved engaging customer experience that helps foster brand loyalty.
MNOs can use RCS messaging to resolve their customer engagement woes. Using RCS, MNOs can communicate with their subscribers frequently, create and launch customer loyalty reward programs and inform customers about new plans and products, features and billing information. Moreover, MNOs can analyse customer behaviour and pain points by evaluating customer responses, actions and transactions.
RCS will help MNOs stay relevant in an ever-changing and growing technology environment by providing, enhancing and managing end-to-end customer experience lifecycle. It will help MNOs gauge customer expectations, assisting them in offering top-notch and highly competitive quality of service and customer experience.
Mobile operators need to adopt and successfully implement RCS to benefit from its immense potential. However, they cannot do this alone and need a reliable and specialised technology partner to help successfully deploy, manage, support and integrate RCS. At Dotgo, a global leader in RCS, we provide operators with all-encompassing rich business solutions ranging from Dotgo Messaging-as-Platform (MAAP) services and Bot store integration to WhatsApp Business Messaging and RBM verification.
Contact us to know how we can help you monetise RCS and provide the best RCS experience to your subscribers.