RCS: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

Matt Labus Picture

by Matt Labus | Last Updated: Jun 15, 2018

The world will send 3.8 trillion text messages this year, which explains why SMS is still such a popular method for marketers to build their campaigns around! Whether it's waiting for Qdoba to text you about free chips and queso or saving up for the latest sale at Kohl's, odds are you've opted into SMS marketing campaigns at one point or another–after all, in our oversaturated inboxes, emails are bound to get lost, but it's rare that we let a text sit unread for too long. But with new technology comes new opportunities, and SMS marketing is about to get a facelift – Rich Communication Services (RCS) In short, RCS is poised to enhance the B2C messaging experience by allowing companies to include trendy up-to-date messaging features, like read receipts, high-res photos, group chat, and other interactive elements. And what’s the manifestation of this new tech? Google has developed the latest and greatest RCS platform: Chat (only available for Android, for now). With 80 percent of consumers finding RCS appealing, Chat is entering the market with a full-steam ahead approach. Use Chat as a Trusted Tool for B2C Communication Chat is not a new texting app–think of it as more like a new set of features inside the app already installed on most Android phones. From a user interface perspective, Chat will look like Android Messages and other updated messaging apps. Chat will allow businesses to send branded messages, embed high-res media, suggested replies and actions, instill consumer confidence with verified sender IDs, and provide detailed analytics as to how your messages are performing. Notice the change in appearance in RCS presented in the image to the right. Immediately, the sleek interface sparks your attention. On the marketing front, Chat allows businesses to effectively send personalized messages to their customers. For example, companies like Virgin Trains can provide a user-friendly booking experience equipped with a boarding pass and a choice of seat (leagues above the current text-only confirmations that are possible with SMS!). There are endless opportunities as to how RCS can be used as a means of communication and as a conversational marketing tool. Some of these creative solutions include using RCS to send things like vacation reservation updates, package delivery notifications, and credit card fraud alerts. Google’s Push For RCS Across All Mobile Carriers So, when will this exciting new tech be available? First and most importantly, in order for Chat to work on your device, your cell carrier must support the new platform. Which is why Google has been working with all cell carriers for a while in order to get this technology out in the wild as soon as possible. In order to use RCS, you must also have a device and application that supports Chat. The only real downside of Chat is that if you send an RCS message to someone whose phone or mobile network doesn't support it, it will be sent as a regular text message (similar to iMessage). RCS could easily be the next big thing for marketers, but ultimately the rate of adoption and success of RCS depends on the mobile operators. You can expect RCS to make noise in 2018 as it gains more momentum within the B2C communication space. In a world where we spend 3 hours a day on our phones and read 98 percent of our texts, RCS will revolutionize communication. Businesses know more about their consumers than ever before, and this hot new tech will has the opportunity to deliver amazing ROIs.

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