Well, yes, actually I can, and the fact that I’m only picking up on this story on December 31th some 28 days and 20 years since the first text was sent offers some insight as to why.
I didn’t discover texting until about 10 years ago. I didn’t begin texting “prolifically” until 2007 and I, just like the text message itself, kind of peaked in 2010. But as we young and trendy types know (46 is the new 28 after all), texting isn’t in decline at all, it’s simply moved to WhatsApp and the like where “smartphone users can send all the texts they want over Wi-Fi or cellular networks without paying per message.” And, the sorts of unlimited text plans been pushed today mean concerned parents no longer need to sweat it when their bill arrives to find their kid has rattled off 16,000 texts during the month.
Now that kind of takes away the fun, because texting for most was defined by its “cost saving” language frugality. In other words, “texters” no longer need to use u for you or OMG or BFF, etc. For me, that’s the real change we’re going to witness now that SMS is no longer a teenager.
Look at Twitter. I haven’t seen Twitter users developing the same sort of acronym based language with such fervor. Sure we see #justsayin and #fail and the like but on Twitter the 140 character restriction is not a financial one.
So what’s next for SMS? Well if you ask KANA customers, not much. To them it’s just another channel, just another way that some, and really not that many, people interact with their business or their city. It needs to be supported but of all the ways you can now interact with a business from a customer service perspective (or a city or council for that matter); SMS is probably your least flexible and maybe last resort. Of the 8.6 trillion text messages sent each year, only a small percentage are customer service related.
But wait! There is something more. One thing we at KANA have experienced of late is a substantial demand from our customers to engage in mobile live chat with their customers. In fact, many now prioritize mobile chat over web site chat. And what’s the best paradigm for doing this? It’s the back and forth speech bubble metaphor so beloved of texting apps like those offered by Apple and WhatsApp.
So texting has evolved, and taken its rightful place alongside other interaction channels, and is helping KANA customers engage with their customers in real-time, and on the move.
Now that’s something to celebrate.