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What is RCS (and why we’re excited)?

George Perry George Perry
George Perry
Graphic of smartphone with text conversation, and various application icons floating above it

Here’s a fun (or depressing, it’s all about perspective) fact for you — text messaging, SMS and MMS, hasn’t really changed at all in the last few years. To be honest, what makes up a text message hasn’t really changed all that much since the first message was sent 25 years ago (it said “merry christmas” if you were wondering).

But, with smartphones having become ubiquitous little devices that we can’t go anywhere without, and that businesses increasingly connect with us on, some much needed changes are coming in the form of Rich Communication Services, or RCS.

Wait, what’s RCS?

RCS means rich communication services. It’s the future of texting. It’s taking the best features of all the messaging apps we know and love — SMS, MMS, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and using it to create a new standard that combines those services into a single, native experience that you can use on your existing mobile messaging client.

Enhance your messaging experience

Services like iMessage and Facebook Messenger have changed how we think about messaging. Users no longer just want to send texts, they want an immersive messaging experience with that makes sharing their lives and interacting with others easy. RCS gives them that.

Real-time feedback like read receipts and typing notifications let you know when your message has been looked at and when you’re about to get a response. Rich dynamic content such as video, images, and links can all be added, creating a more engaging, branded experience. Quick response buttons create a fast, error-free way for your customers to respond to specific situations.

That’s cool, but why are you so excited for RCS?

You’re not already excited? That’s fair, we tend to get excited about messaging, but you need more. That’s fine. I understand.

A new standard

It’s easy to forget that messaging is a little fractured. You have SMS for text messages, but as soon as you want to add something else (image, video, links, etc), you’re sending an MMS. Want to send that funny cat GIF outside the U.S.? You’re going to run into problems.

RCS creates a unified standard for sending messages of all types, wherever you want to send them.

Unified branding across channels

For businesses, the ability to create a branded experience, with colors, logos, and images, reaffirms the brand experience for your customers. RCS makes that possible, allowing you to create messages that align with your look and feel, creating a unified brand experience across all of your channels.

That sweet, sweet data

Before RCS, your measure of SMS success stopped at the delivery receipt level (and even then, you may only get so far as a carrier handoff receipt — not a device receipt). This changes with RCS. Read receipts, click-through rates, and other more traditional marketing measurements will be at your fingertips. With a better understanding of what messages resonated (and which didn’t), you can better tailor your marketing efforts.

So how can I use RCS?

So sure, all these features and branding and reporting metrics are great, but it really comes down to one thing — how can RCS work for you?

There are already some great use cases, including check-ins for hotels and airlines. Our friends over at Genesys have a great use case for how RCS can benefit contact centers. In truth, any way you’re using SMS or MMS now, can be enhanced by RCS.

Don’t believe me? Reach out and talk to one of our experts to see if your use case makes sense for RCS. Still have questions, check out our RCS Messaging page to learn more.

This post is the second in a 4-part series. If you’re interested in this topic, check out the rest!

Learn more about RCS