Brands take note. Instagram is morphing beyond marketing and becoming a viable customer service channel with the roll out of a ‘contact’ button that allows customers to text businesses instantly with the click of a button.

At Teckst, we’ve been excited about this shift towards greater human to human interactions across all channels and more brands are now putting serious resources behind this. Businesses that make it easy to connect with customers on a conversational level, ultimately creating meaningful engagement that’s proven to convert customers and build long-lasting bonds.

With 97 percent of Americans texting at least once a day, text messaging still reigns as the most popular communications platform for consumers. And nothing beats the immediacy of text messaging when consumers want answers as quickly as possible. Today’s New Customer Decision Journey stresses the importance of “being there” for your customers when they need you. Businesses need to be where their customers are, including the platforms usually owned by the marketing department.

But before you turn on this customer texting feature on your Insta-business account, here’s our take on 5 questions every brand should ask:

Why would I use instagram to engage with my customers?
With its 500 million users, Instagram is a compelling customer service channel. Instagram has been testing its direct messaging feature for a while and texting is already ingrained in the daily behaviors of today’s millennials and Generation Z’ers. The ability to seamlessly text their favorite brands on Instagram is a no-brainer. And although Twitter was the default social channel for customer service, Instagram and other platforms are actively looking to open engagement between brands and their customers. With Instagram’s ‘text us’ feature, you can handle tickets quickly while keeping it from being public.

Isn’t Instagram just part of the marketing team?
Since the introduction of the iPhone, the customer journey included more and more touch points with customer service before, during, and after purchase. This has led to the convergence of marketing, product, and customer service to a complete customer experience. This means that customer service is no longer just to “fix a problem.” Customer-centric brands are investing in the full customer experience because of the potential to generate revenue as a department, not just to “stop the bleeding.”

Will this require more resources?
This is the first question we’re asked when implementing mobile messaging for customer service. The answer is no. There will be an increase in contact points with customers. However, the nature of them is quicker than any other channel. Therefore, the offset is net-neutral and the benefit is that customer satisfaction will go up.

How do we use texting from other areas outside of Instagram?
Instagram isn’t the only place brands are using SMS. From the ‘contact us’ page to in-app ‘contact support’ buttons, brands are utilizing SMS as a key channel for communications in all areas of customer contact. From reply-enabling order notifications to text-enabling their 800 numbers, brands are beginning to fully embrace two-way texting with customers because it’s just efficient.

Does Instagram connect with my CRM?
Unfortunately, Instagram SMS isn’t fully integrated with any CRM platforms. Brands will need to utilize a mobile messaging integration service that brings SMS, Messenger, WeChat and other chat platforms directly into the CRM systems that customer care teams already use. Tools like Instagram’s ‘contact us’ button are mostly for small and medium-sized businesses. However, services such as Teckst brings this technology to contact centers and in-house care teams. Brands have the opportunity to add automation, analytics and more to enhance the experience for both customer care teams and customers.

Read the original here: http://customerthink.com/five-questions-instagram-as-a-customer-texting-channel/