Messaging: Synchronous and Asynchronous

We’ve been trained to expect friction in communications when we’re at work. But what about friction in communicating…about communicating?

How many times have you been on a conference call, waiting 5 minutes and started wondering whether or not the other person would dial in? How many all-hands meetings have you coordinated that fell flat as new circumstances came up? We expect problems like these because they’re the norm.

But the problem isn’t that we’re bad at coordinating and following through on communication—it’s that there’s a disconnect between synchronous and asynchronous communication.

In many situations, the key to creating valuable conversations—whether they’re internal or with customers—is seamlessly mixing synchronous and asynchronous communication.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Communication Explained

Asynchronous communication was born with the written word and was transmitted via stone carving or parchment, and the original synchronous communication format was of course talking face to face.

Today, we see this dichotomy in digital communications as well. The difference is pretty simple:

Synchronous Communication: If you’re using Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime or any other real-time voice/video solution, you’re working with synchronous communication.

Asynchronous Communication: You can think of asynchronous communication as messaging loosely defined. Someone sends a message, and someone else (or multiple people) receive that message at a later time. Emailing about calls, instant messaging to make sure your meeting is still on, setting up a calendar invitation—these are all examples of asynchronous communication.

Right now, we use all kinds of different disconnected solutions for synchronous and asynchronous communication. They’re often disjointed as we tend to use tools that suited for either one or the other.

But with modern, programmable messaging technology, you can create a persistent asynchronous communication channel that incorporates synchronous capabilities.

Tying Synchronous and Asynchronous Together with Rich Messaging

Blending the before and after (asynchronous) with the real-time (synchronous) requires the right foundation. Rooting your communications in messaging gives you a flexible platform that can incorporate rich, synchronous elements such as voice, video and even location sharing and live document collaboration.

If you’re just thinking about this in terms of your internal communications, look at how Voxeet integrates with the Layer customer conversation platform to reduce friction in your day-to-day communication/collaboration.

Layer VoIP/Video integration (WebRTC) example ft. Voxeet from Ivy Montgomery on Vimeo

However, blending the two sides of communication with a messaging backbone isn’t just valuable for internal communications. Here are just a few different use cases where a seamless mix of asynchronous and synchronous can have a major impact on the customer experience:

  • Insurance Brokerage: Text with customers to set up an initial relationship and coordinate a phone call. Include notifications for the phone call and allow both parties to tap and join. When the call is over, the insurance agent can add personalized product cards within the messaging experience.
  • Financial Services: Similar to the insurance use case, financial advisers can text with customers and offer recommendations without disrupting them. But when it comes time for a real-time discussion, it can be set up through the same channel—and the event log keeps track of all past and present transactions, call recordings included.
  • Job Marketplaces: Not every use case has to be transactional with customers. Job marketplaces can give applicants a single source of information that schedules interviews, includes communication with hiring managers if necessary, adds updates to scheduling in case of any issues, and allows candidates to follow up after an interview.

Just because we’re used to having friction in our communications doesn’t mean it always has to be that way. If you can eliminate the friction by blending synchronous and asynchronous communication, you can boost the user/customer experience and drive business value.

If you want to learn more about the Layer customer conversation platform and its ability to flex and adapt to your communication needs, contact us today for a free demo.