5G, the fifth-generation cellular network, will increase wireless speeds with its high bandwidth and low latency, ushering in new technology with the capabilities required to stream high-quality video for e-sports or healthcare and expand the Internet of Things beyond smartwatches.
So, what’s the big deal? Is 5G anything different from what we have now?
According to Intel, 5G networks will:
- Deliver 10x less latency (the delay when sending data from Point A to B) than 4G
- Deliver 50x more speed than 4G
- Deliver 1,000x more data capacity than 4G
All these changes will transform customers’ expectations of their mobile experience and business interactions.
These preferences will adapt and be amplified with 5G. Businesses will also need to adapt if they want to reach customers in an ultra-connected world.
Here’s how 5G will transform business communication:
1. Consumers will choose mobile first
Smartphones will be the first 5G devices in consumers’ hands. While a few are already on the market, most models—including the 5G iPhone—are expected to release in 2020.
For the first time, consumers will experience next-generation network speeds and responsiveness on their cellphones. They’ll get to explore an expanding world of high-quality video streaming, interactive advertising and ultra-connectivity.
This access will likely lead to many consumers choosing mobile first for things like online shopping and customer support outreach. They will then continue their customer journey on mobile, by reading product reviews on their way to a physical store or searching for gyms nearby and booking a class in a few clicks.
A seamless customer experience must include mobile as a key player, not an afterthought. Businesses readily accessible by phone—calls, texts, emails and messaging apps—will get a leg up on the competition by meeting customers where they are: on their phones.
2. 5G will increase customer demand for responsive, two-way communication
Gone are the days of automatic, cookie-cutter emails and one-way messages. Customers in a 4G world are already accustomed to personalized results—from “movies you might like” to product recommendations—that respond to their input. 5G will amplify these expectations. It’s part of why customer-centric businesses have grown exponentially in the past decade.
Customers want the opportunity to reach out and respond to businesses and talk to a person, not a chatbot, especially when they have a problem. That makes fast, personalized communication is critical in customer service and support to create the experience and loyalty found in customer-centric business models.
According to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report, 95% of respondents cited their customer service experience as a major factor in brand loyalty. One negative experience could squash that loyalty, with 61% of respondents citing that they’d switched businesses due to poor customer service.
Tools like texting software can help customer service and support teams answer the demands of consumers without sacrificing efficiency. Features like Dynamic Fields allow you to personalize messages by automatically inserting a customer’s name, while Scheduled Messages can be drafted and sent out to proactively follow up with customers after a class or purchase.
3. 5G means constant connectivity, but smaller windows of opportunity
There will be fierce competition for customer attention on and off their phones. Smart devices are constantly synced and linked to phones, home systems, cars and more, offering consumers incredible amounts of information. It’s their ecosystem, their bubble.
The customer is not waiting around for your business to call.
Ever wonder why your customers aren’t picking up the phone anymore? They probably find them “disruptive” –the term 96% of respondents used to describe phone calls in recent Zipwhip research. People are busy, even if they’re connected, which means the window of opportunity to reach a customer and get a response is smaller and more frequent.
It’s perfect for a text.
When it comes to everyday tasks like appointment reminders and confirmations, 67% of consumers would actually prefer a text over an email or phone call. Why? Because it’s quick. They can respond when they have a free minute (assuming the business uses two-way texting) to confirm or reschedule before their next meeting. The customer is not burdened with the responsibility to check their voicemail, sit down for a call back or stop what they’re doing to answer the phone.
Businesses can save hours by texting and avoid phone tag, all while reducing no-shows and keeping customers satisfied with their proactive and non-intrusive messages.
4. 5G paves the way for new technology and more data
5G will be able to move a lot more data. That’s great for video streaming on your phone or building interactive ads that don’t slow down a web page. The improved data capacity will also be integral for creating smart cities, improving self-driving cars and transforming healthcare with telemedicine and remote surgery.
Personalization inherently creates more user data. That’s how algorithms learn and respond to a consumer’s input, how businesses can recommend the “perfect” product. More data will enable businesses to further analyze trends among their existing customers and help sales teams target and engage new leads.
Of course, data encryption and compliance will be key when managing customer information and connectivity.
5. 5G encourages customer and business connection
Bandwidth speeds, latency, data capacity…these are terms for machinery. 5G technology will drive innovation and pave the way for new tools and opportunities for businesses, but it won’t automatically connect them to customers.
Business connection comes from communication, and the fundamentals of that won’t change. Customers still want to have a conversation; they want to talk to another person who knows their name and can help them solve a problem or find the perfect product.
Sure, these conversations will be done at a faster pace. The expectations for “responsive” and “personalized” will rise, but so can the capabilities of a business when they use tools meant to encourage conversation and connection with customers.
Texting for Business is one tool that any business can use to connect with their customers, in today’s 4G or the future’s 5G.
Want to see how texting fits into your business strategy? Check out our free e-book, The Ultimate Guide to Texting Your Customers for a roadmap that covers choosing the right tool, compliance, etiquette and more!