RCS, or Rich Communication Services, is a communication protocol that enhances traditional SMS text messages by enabling network operators and phone carriers to incorporate richer content, making the messaging experience more similar to using a messaging app rather than native SMS messaging.
RCS is the latest evolution in consumer text messaging. SMS has been around since 1993 and remained more or less unchanged for almost a decade until MMS arrived in 2002. MMS allowed longer messages and a variety of multimedia file formats to be sent between phones, ushering in the era of the picture message.
Fast-forward to 2009 and the beginnings of the app messaging revolution with WhatsApp and the likes of Viber and Facebook Messenger, giving users even more flexibility in terms of the types of files they could share via the platforms.
RCS offers many of the features available on popular messaging platforms and brings text messaging firmly into the 21st century. RCS messaging is particularly effective for brands as it allows consumers to interact with your brand within their phone’s native messaging app instead of having to download a third-party application.
Users can book appointments, browse product catalogs and even make purchases without having to leave their phone’s native messaging environment. RCS provides a much richer user experience comparable to modern messaging apps than the simple text messages SMS has historically offered.
RCS is growing fast, and there’s never been a better time to explore what the technology can do for your business.
SMS has been the messaging standard for almost three decades, allowing short, 160-character messages to be exchanged between users and brands. Despite the best efforts of WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and many more, SMS is still the favored messaging service for billions of users around the world.
One of the reasons for its enduring success is the fact that it comes as standard with every phone sold. Another is that SMS doesn’t need a mobile data connection to send messages, unlike every other messaging platform.
RCS is an upgraded messaging protocol that’s designed to bring SMS and MMS up-to-speed in an era of rapidly-advancing messaging platforms. It doesn’t require you to download an app, but it does allow you to send rich media files, suggested responses, increases security with Verified Sender functionality, and gives text message levels of deliverability thanks to SMS fallback.
Read more: RCS vs. SMS Messaging: A Comparison >
The next-generation SMS protocol has a host of features and benefits that make it perfect for marketers looking to promote their brands to a market of millions.
Brands using RCS have access to a variety of tools to show skeptical consumers the messages they’re sending can be trusted. The RCS messaging protocol requires that business users go through a verification process to eliminate fraud and spam.
When your business uses RCS for marketing and sharing essential, timely information, customers can see that your business profile is verified, so they know that they are receiving legitimate messages. Once verified by one of the regulatory authorities, brands can display the following in their messages to reassure consumers:
Brand information and verification
Direct website link, email and phone numbers
Sender view with a checkmark for verified senders
RCS means you can send rich media such as images, video, carousels, and GIFs up to 105MB to your database of consumers, creating engaging messaging that encourages users to make the next step. RCS messages also have no character limit, doing away with the 160-character limit of standard SMS messages.
Creating rich, interactive content can help to move consumers down the purchase funnel faster, reducing the number of clicks customers need to take to reach the compelling, benefit-driven content that drives conversions.
Making it easier for customers to interact with your brand, RCS features suggested responses and actions for your customers, seamlessly coaxing them through the customer journey. For example, you could set up a “schedule now” button to set up appointments and use RCS to confirm them with a “yes” or “reschedule” suggested response for customers. R
CS has myriad options for customers to interact with brands by booking appointments, completing transactions, or even seeing real-time delivery updates without leaving their messaging app.
Not every mobile device out there will have RCS enabled. In those situations, rather than leaving messages undelivered, an SMS message will be sent as a replacement so your message will always get through.
SMS messages have a phenomenal 98% open rate. RCS messages are similarly effective and add features such as Verified Sender and Rich Media to give customers the confidence they’re communicating with a genuine sender and drive interaction with compelling content. Ultimately, that means ROI above and beyond that of SMS.
Read more: RCS - Busting the 5 Biggest Myths >
RCS messages add a number of valuable features that include:
RCS is native to all android phones and familiar to its users
No need to install additional apps
Free of charge to receive
Possible to use P2P, A2P and P2A
RCS has a host of valuable features for businesses, including:
Send high-quality content to drive higher response rates and improved ROI
Build trust with RCS’s Verified Sender feature
Build out your omnichannel messaging mix using RCS to take your SMS campaigns to the next level
RCS messaging allows businesses to create hyperpersonalized communications with locations, photos, and a variety of other multimedia elements
For transport companies, RCS is the perfect tool to inform customers of delivery dates and times, and provide seamless and secure experiences throughout the logistics process from dispatch all the way to delivery that track how satisfied customers are with your organization, are at risk and so is your reputation with customers.
SMS works brilliantly for exchanging short, simple messages that give concise information to customers. Use SMS as a base layer to converse and inform your customers, and make sure both your agents and customers can switch to other channels easily when they need to take the conversation further
RCS can create rich experiences within native messaging apps, marketing new products and collections to customers, delivering personalized discounts, and directing customers directly to a product or relevant content URLs.
All RCS features above will help boost customer engagement, and customer engagement will, in turn, boost conversion.
Read more: Why You Need RCS to Boost Sales >
Security is paramount for financial institutions, and RCS can be used to share one-time passwords (OTPs) for two-factor authentication, adding an extra layer of security and sharing account updates. In addition, the Verified Sender feature ensures customers can be confident they’re being contacted by a trustworthy sender.
The travel industry relies on the ability to quickly inform customers of details or changes in their bookings and travel arrangements. RCS can send a variety of files of up to 105MB via native messaging apps, ensuring customers receive vital documents and get the information they need quickly and easily.
RCS Business Messaging brings rich media features to SMS campaigns, adding another layer of security via Verified Sender, deliverability using SMS fallback, and increases engagement with suggested responses. RCS is available as part of several CM.com products.
Available via Business Messaging API: Our API provides your customers with on-the-go access to your business via all their favorite conversational channels using our unique Business Messaging API.
Available via Mobile Marketing Cloud: Mobile Marketing Cloud is the only omnichannel customer engagement solution that includes mobile messaging channels like RCS, SMS and WhatsApp, delivering a superior customer experience that increases engagement and drives conversion.
Available via Mobile Service Cloud: Mobile Service Cloud is an all-in-one customer service solution that allows customer interaction through their preferred messaging channels, such as RCS, SMS and WhatsApp, and Apple Messages for Business, managing all conversations in one easy-to-use omnichannel inbox.
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