What is RCS and How Can It Improve Business Communication?
Maiwenn Marchand
22 Jan, 2021

If you are using an Android smartphone, you know that the default messaging app is outdated. The messages all look the same and are quite banal. It is impossible to send images or any other type of media without switching to MMS. Therefore, most people use an additional messaging app like WhatsApp or Line. But in the context of corporate communication with several end-users, it is important to have a secure and efficient tool. This is where RCS comes in. But what does RCS mean?

What is RCS messaging?

RCS stands for Rich Communication Services. This is a protocol that is used between operators and phones, allowing the exchange of rich media (images, videos and so on) between users. RCS messaging is a bit like the 2.0 version of traditional SMS. It is the new telecommunication standard that tends to replace the traditional SMS. RCS allows you to send messages, photos, videos, locations and other files, but also to create groups of conversations as on WhatsApp or Messenger. Google is pointing at having RCS replacing SMS on all Android smartphones in the years to come.

How does RCS work?

In addition to offering several communication possibilities, the RCS protocol is a communication method that is performed via a Wifi connection or via mobile data. RCS was developed in 2007 by the GSM Association consortium. Then, in June 2019 the RCS protocol was deployed by Google.

What are the possibilities of RCS?

With RCS messaging, a world of possibilities in terms of communication opens up. For Android users, exchanging images, videos and GIFs will become as easy as with any other messaging app. Also, RCS allows group messaging and video calls.

The technology will also enable numerous possibilities for companies. When a sender is verified, RCS will allow these companies to use rich media to communicate with their customers. Imagine sending all documents per SMS instead of classic channels such as e-mail or snail mail. So, instead of getting lost in a full inbox, customers will receive them through the channel that has the highest open rate: SMS. Or, imagine the benefits for marketing to reach your customers with image carousels or videos through this channel.

How can RCS be applied to business communication?

RCS offers a true marketing app and is therefore a must-have tool for businesses. It offers numerous business applications. Let’s go through some of them so that you can get inspired.

1- Personalise your sender information

If you work in marketing, you know how important branding is. A branded message allows your customers to instantly recognise you and focus on the message itself instead of wondering about who sent the message.
RCS allows basic, yet very important personalisation of your message lay-out. So, once certified as verified senders by Google, brands can personalise several attributes. First of all, the sender’s name will no longer be a simple number but text. Also, a logo can be added in the chat itself for visual recognition. Finally, the colour of the chat can be personalised as well.

2- Share rich media with RCS messaging

Today, as soon as we integrate a media in an SMS, it becomes MMS. MMS is not supported by all devices and can bring along extra costs. In contrast, RCS allows the integration of all rich media within the message itself. Let’s take a few use cases to fully understand the importance of this point:

Thank your VIP customers for their loyalty

Imagine that you want to thank your VIP customers for their loyalty by offering them a gift. But you have 3 different gifts and you would like to let them choose which one they want to receive. Before RCS, you would probably insert a link in an SMS or an e-mail that leads your customers to a dedicated landing page. On that page, they will need to log in first and then select the gift they want to receive. It works, but it’s not the most user-friendly way to thank your customers. Now, with RCS, you would be able to send out a message including a carousel directly in the app. So, your customers simply need to click on the gift they want to receive and you can send them their gift. It’s as easy as that!

Carousel within a message using RCS

Send a ticket or boarding pass via RCS

Let’s take another example. Imagine you have a travel agency. You want your customers to be able to receive their boarding pass in the way that suits them best. Today, you probably send them their ticket by e-mail. Some airlines also let customers access their tickets through an app. With RCS messaging, you would be able to improve your service. In fact, you could send the boarding pass directly to their phone, inside a message. So, the passenger would have easy access to their pass when at the airport, without needing to open a slow app beforehand or going through their e-mails to find the pass.

3- Use suggested actions or AI combined with RCS to create a real communication channel with your customers

Besides rich media, you can implement predefined actions to have an interactive communication channel thanks to RCS. Let’s say you decide to do something about non-payers in your company. Today, you can send out payment reminders per SMS, that have proven their efficiency. But imagine you want to take it a step further and allow people to download the unpaid invoice or call your call centre for more information. With RCS, you can add action buttons under your message. So, if your customer doesn’t remember his unpaid invoice, he can click on ‘download invoice’ and can consult it on the spot. If they have any questions, they can click on ‘call us’, which would put them in contact with your call centre.

Action buttons on a payment reminder message

If you have too many action buttons, you can also opt for artificial intelligence. A bot can ask questions and detect your customer’s answers to help direct them through a funnel. Instead of reminding them to pay their invoice, you could decide to ask them if they already paid. If their answer is ‘yes’ and you didn’t receive the payment, you can ask them to verify the account they made the payment to, for example.

AI & RCS for more personalised interaction

Can RCS be applied in other ways?

The answer is yes. The RCS protocol foresees a lot of applications. For example, you could choose to require your customer’s location and limit or personalise action buttons according to it. You could also send out QR codes or add in-app payment features. Generally, all native Android apps will be integrated, meaning you can use their features as you wish: include buttons to launch calls or send e-mails for instance or use the functionalities of Google maps. As you learn from your customer’s responses, you will also be able to track RCS activities with Google Analytics. This will give you a better insight into your customers and their preferences.

If you want more information on RCS, don’t hesitate to contact us, we will be glad to provide you with a solution for your business communication!

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