Rich Communication Services: The Benefits and Drawbacks

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RCS Rich communication Services

Rich Communication Services (RCS) messaging has been in the works for a while. Praised by Gartner, TechCrunch and others as “a messaging standard that has the potential to tie together SMS and other chat apps”.  The purpose of it to overhaul SMS into a messaging system that is more interactive. RCS offers group chat, video, read receipts etc. Developed and promoted by the GSM Association in 2008, Google are currently adopting it as an opponent to Apple’s iMessage service.

One of the major benefits of RCS for businesses and carriers is that it is tied to a user’s mobile number rather than an app. This means that there are no downloads required.

“RCS will upgrade today’s business messaging experience by enabling brands to send more useful and interactive messages.”
Amir Sarhangi, Head of RCS at Google

This should be a welcome development for carriers and networks. SMS and voice call revenue has suffered because of competition from WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and the plethora of messaging apps.

Uptake among the carriers seems to be taking off. In March 2018 only 27 carriers were on board. A month later it was 55 according to the GSMA. However, seeing as technology companies are responsible for eating into the text and voice revenue of carries, this may explain the initial hesitancy.

The difference between iMessage and Rich Communication Services is that RCS has a more open development platform allowing businesses and carriers to develop their own immersive chat apps and interactive experiences.




“RCS will upgrade today’s business messaging experience by enabling brands to send more useful and interactive messages. For example, a message from your airline reminding you to check in for a flight can now take advantage of rich media and interactivity to provide a full check-in experience, complete with boarding pass, visual flight updates, and terminal maps on demand, all directly within the messaging experience. Businesses can also have a branded messaging experience with information about the business and the ability to share content like images, video clips and gifs.”
Amir Sarhangi, Head of RCS at Google

The benefits of RCS are obvious, but here are just four key differentiators.

Rich Media: As the name suggests, text is no longer the only option. Web features, videos, forms, attachments, GIFs, survey can all be delivered straight to the customer without them having to download an app or visit a website.

Analytics: A major drawback of SMS was the lack of data. There was no option even see if a message had been read. RCS offers all the analytical depth of the web.

Group Interactions: SMS is essentially a one-on-one experience for the recipient. Now users can engage in multi media group chats like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp

Brand consistency and security. One of the drawbacks of SMS is that customers aren’t always 100% sure if the sender is who they say they are. This can lead to resource consuming inbound calls from uncertain customers. With RCS the sender is verified, and the CX is consistent across all channels.

With RCS in the early stages of development, early adopters will be rewarded. The experience is engaging and novel for the first consumers. As with all marketing and customer engagement channels, effectiveness is at it’s peak in the early days. Think of the declining open-rates of email, or the increasing costs of PPC advertising for examples.

To learn more about RCS watch this webinar with our partners OpenMarket.  

Drawbacks of Rich Communication Services

yellow traffic light

Does it all seem too good to be true? Almost. One of the major drawbacks, is that is limited to two device types. Those being Android and Windows phone. That only leaves half the market to engage with. Additionally, not all mobile operators have yet signed up to RCS – cutting your addressable market down again.

Additionally, it’s still in early stages, and not readily available. Even if you are happy to message Android and Windows devices only, you may have to wait a while. As a new channel, there may be some initial hesitance from recipients to the messaging standard.

However, brands should take Action now. Here are a few things to prepare for the inevitable rise of RCS.

  • Begin or redouble efforts to get customers to opt-in to SMS to receive mobile text messages you’re your brand. Research shows that consumers happily sign up for SMS delivered promotions.
  • Start with SMS campaigns, or develop the complexity of existing SMS campaigns
    • Explore the use of different trigger types for campaigns, including, a subscription or account being closed, proximity based messaging via Bluetooth, password reset request, payment verification, and more.
  • Explore the alternatives to RCS, such as VoiceSage’s Rich Media Messaging

With RMM (Rich Media Messaging) you can create compelling, immersive and engaging Rich Communication Services type messaging out to your consumers.

Through the use of a VoiceSage Rich Media Message brands can achieve the same impact and embed many of the features of RCS today across all handset operating systems and any cellular network enabling you to gain a positive commercial advantage over your competition.

To learn more about RCS watch this webinar with our partners OpenMarket.  

RCS cafe


Published on: 6th July 2018

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