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12 December 2019

58% use messaging platforms to contact businesses 

Facebook partnered with UCL business psychologist to investigate what will change (and what won’t) in an age of instant messaging

Messaging is the new normal, said Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, a consumer and business psychologist at University College London, at Most Contagious last week.

Dr Tsivrikos was at the event to discuss research into messaging he is carrying out in partnership with Messenger from FACEBOOK (which was a Most Contagious thought leader partner).

The UK-wide research, to be launched in the new year, reveals 58% of respondents have contacted a business using a messaging platform within the past six months, showing that most people are using the same medium to contact businesses that they use to chat to each other.

Wanting to talk and ask questions are some of the primary things that make us human, said Dr Tsivrikos. People use messaging platforms because they want a timely response and because they want a more casual connection with brands, he explained, adding that the 58% figure will increase ‘dramatically in years to come’ as the behaviour of younger demographic groups becomes more pervasive.

Dr Tsivrikos said people’s behaviour in this regard was understandable because ‘technology moves but what doesn't move is humanity. We’re all social animals.’

Using Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to highlight people’s fundamental need to belong, Dr Tsivrikos then sketched out three of the most critical rules of connection in the age of messaging.

The first related to autonomy. Of the UK respondents who have contacted a business using a messenger platform, 59% say they do so because it allows them to have a conversation in their own time and on their own terms.

The second law showed how speed has become the way brands demonstrate care. Half the UK respondents surveyed by Dr Tsivrikos and Messenger from FACEBOOK say slow responses are the most frustrating thing about contacting a business. If you can deal with a customer in a timely fashion you are not just demonstrating efficiency, said Dr Tsivrikos, you are showing that you care – by helping people to get on with their lives.

Finally, Dr Tsivrikos’ research showed that visual communication is becoming more important to users. Over a third (36%) of UK respondents send more images and videos when they use the medium, and 35% say they share more gifs and emojis.

The ‘New Rules of Connection’ will launch in the new year, detailing the key behavioural trends dictating how consumers and brands interact through messaging.

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