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Video chatting rapidly replacing SMS for businesses, reports find

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A new report by cloud communications firm Vonage has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly altered how businesses interact with consumers. The study shows that while some communication channels have grown increasingly popular, others have struggled.

In particular, customers have become much more accustomed to connecting with companies via video chat. According to the report, globally, there has been a 140% increase in the number of people that prefer to connect with businesses by video. Worldwide, 55% of consumers now engage with a business through video chat on at least an occasional basis.

Looking at specific industries, consumers seem to have few qualms about using video chat to discuss more sensitive information. The number of respondents that preferred using video chat to talk about banking rose to 16% in August, up from 9% in January. Individuals that preferred video for their therapy session also rose from 18% to 25% over the same period.

Times change

Surveying 5,000 consumers based in 14 countries across Asia Pacific, Latin America, North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the report also found that the popularity of SMS text messaging dropped significantly as the preferred method of communication for consumers, falling 23% between January and August. 

Mobile phone calls remained the favorite way of connecting, while messaging apps saw strong growth.

“We are at the beginning of a huge market-wide communications revolution. If there was ever a question that businesses needed to digitally transform not only to survive but thrive, COVID-19 eliminated any doubt,” said Joy Corso, Chief Marketing Officer for Vonage.

 “This is a secular change in how business gets done. This survey underscores the fact that it is now fundamental for companies to stay connected to employees and customers from anywhere – through whatever channel they choose – video, voice, messaging, and chat.”