What is asynchronous messaging?

Sara Ana Cemazar
June 14, 2023
min read

Messaging is how most of us communicate in our daily lives nowadays. But do you know the difference between synchronous and asynchronous messaging? Do you know that you do both?

We communicate asynchronously with our friends, coworkers, and customer service agents. Find out the benefits of this communication method and why you should introduce it as your customer support channel.

What is asynchronous messaging?

The adjective synchronous refers to something that exists or occurs at the same time. Therefore, synchronous messaging is a live conversation between people happening via messages, something like live chat.

On the other hand, asynchronous messaging is just the opposite. It marks the communication method where messages are exchanged in irregular time intervals. In other words, you don’t get a response right away. This type of messaging can happen through an asynchronous chat app.

Asynchronous vs. synchronous communication: which one is better?

In short - both are great, and communication is the best when you use both interchangeably.

Synchronous and asynchronous messaging are different ways of communicating via chat, and both have their advantages and drawbacks. The use of asynchronous messaging has risen in the workplace and in customer service because it doesn’t require an immediate response. It allows the messaging parties to communicate when it’s suitable to them.

asynchronous messaging

Is messaging always asynchronous?

Messaging can also be synchronous, but it's not by default. For example, you might find yourself online at the same time as the other person you're messaging in an online chat room. You'll be exchanging messages back and forth and engaging in a textual conversation, which will happen synchronously.

However, messaging is asynchronous by default. It isn't comparable to synchronous communication channels like phone. If you send a message and you receive a reply the next day, the communication can still be successful.

What are some examples of asynchronous communication?

1. Instant messaging

Perfect examples of asynchronous messaging includes workplace chat among coworkers in different time zones. While one team member is working on a joint project, he might ask another colleague about some details. When she gets to work and finishes her meetings, she will answer: he will get the message when he starts working the next day and so on.

We also often communicate via asynchronous messages in our private life. You don’t always reply to a text instantly, right? 

Customer service can also communicate with customers via asynchronous messages. This enables users to reach out and communicate with customer support agents when it’s suitable for them, while reducing the agents’ overload.

asynchronous messaging

2. Email

Email is a good example of asynchronous communication. Emails are usually longer in form and people don’t answer them right away. Information is transferred, but people might read or receive the email later, and respond when it suits them best.


There are numerous tools we use at work to collaborate. For example, leaving comments to online documents or assigning tasks in a project management software is a way to communicate asynchronously because you’re not expecting answers or feedback in real time.

Benefits of asynchronous messaging in the workplace

The rise of digital workplaces brought new technologies and ways of communicating with coworkers. We can all agree that video conferencing is a huge piece of the puzzle into effective team collaboration when apart, but asynchronous messaging also has its advantages.

The recipe for effective communication includes both asynchronous and synchronous communication. Here are the benefits of asynchronous messaging in the workplace.

1. Improved focus (less interruptions)

With asynchronous messaging, employees are able to organize their own work schedules and have designated focus periods. The lack of interruptions helps employees be more productive, but still convey important information when it’s best for them.

2. Effective collaboration for distributed teams

Members of hybrid working teams often work in different time zones so it becomes hard to always communicate via video conferencing. Asynchronous communication via threads, channels, and direct messages in their instant messaging platforms provides an effective way of communication when working remotely.

asynchronous messaging

3. Documentation of messaging

Asynchronous messaging is done in a written form, so it’s easier to track what’s being said. This becomes very useful when you need to remember and confirm what you and your colleague talked about, or what parts of a project did you both agree to do.

The best asynchronous communication practices

A study conducted by Stanford University showed that remote workers increased their productivity by a full shift (or more) when using asynchronous communication. Here are the key steps to to communicate effectively when working remotely:

1) Communicate in detail

If you are going to request something, make sure that everything you need is clear for your co-workers: data, questions, relevant information, even though you believe the person already knows, double-check! Don't spare details, send everything you believe can be used to solve the issue.

2) Plan for the long term

Remember that, in this case, the return is not immediate. You need to consider that what you are asking for, may need a slightly longer deadline to be answered, so it’s better to send everything in advance.

3) Before and after meetings, document the discussion

When scheduling meetings, make sure everyone involved knows all the subject’s key topics to avoid mismatching information. After the meeting, write down everything that was said in order to make a record of the communication, so that you are able to share the detailed information about the definitions with everyone.

4) Turn off notifications during office hours

To be productive, you need to give time for your creativity. Turn off your mobile push notifications to avoid getting distracted by them.

5) Adopt the right team collaboration platform for your company

In order to avoid the numerous extra tools used for communication (WhatsApp, Skype, email, and more) consider adopting a tool to integrate all applications in one place. This way, you can integrate all channels in one place, keep the communication simple, and centralize information.

Why it's great to offer asynchronous chat in customer service

The biggest benefits of asynchronous communication is the lack of urgency to respond to the received message. This also opens up new opportunities in customer service.

Almost 21% of live chat support messages go unanswered. This means that agents are spread thin and cannot reply to all the incoming inquiries. Changing the customers’ expectations is crucial here: with live chat solutions, they expect instant response. On the other hand, asking customers to leave their questions in the chat and saying you’ll respond during business hours is game-changing.

asynchronous messaging

Of course, not all businesses can opt for asynchronous messaging in customer service, but it’s a great way to offer help to your consumers without overloading customer support agents.

1. More effective problem solving

When customers reach out to customer support via live chat, they require an immediate response. Agents usually need to ask them several questions before getting to know their issue. This one-on-one conversation is very time consuming for the agents, but for customers as well. That’s why support tickets coming from asynchronous messaging channels like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, and SMS rose by 48% since 2020, while live chat tickets increased by 16% only.

asynchronous messaging

On the other hand, getting customer inquiries via asynchronous messaging could help you resolve customer issues more effective. For example, if you ask a set of questions to qualify the issue and leave the space to describe the issue, it can be routed to an available agent and answered later. This can also be done with the help of chatbots and other automation technologies.

2. Higher customer satisfaction

Customers rarely want to dedicate a certain time frame to resolving their issue with your product. Instead, they want to resolve the issue with minimum effort, and messaging back and forth with the customer service ensures just that.

In that way, the support they’re getting fits into their lifestyle and daily rhythm. There’s less wait time and no repeated information. This leads to higher CSAT scores.

3. Higher agent productivity

Synchronous messaging or live chat require one agent per customer interaction. Asynchronous messaging combined with automation tech and chatbots can help agents prioritize and focus on issues that need to be addressed more quickly than the others.

The benefit of less waiting time doesn’t only refer to the customer, but to agents as well. 

Harness the power of asynchronous messaging with a powerful chat platform

Rocket.Chat is a chat platform built to bring the best messaging experience to employees and customers worldwide. 

When used as a team collaboration software, Rocket.Chat helps team members stay aligned no matter where they work from.

Get started with Rocket.Chat’s secure collaboration platform

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Rocket.Chat is also used as an omnichannel customer support solution that centralizes inquiries coming from WhatsApp, Instagram, Twitter, SMS, email, and more.

In other words - we bring the power of asynchronous messaging to teams and customers worldwide. Get to know more about the benefits of messaging in your business:

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Frequently asked questions about <anything>

asynchronous messaging

What is an example of asynchronous messaging?

What is the difference between synchronous and asynchronous messaging?

Is SMS synchronous or asynchronous?

How to communicate with your team members effectively when async?

Sara is an SEO Strategist at Rocket.Chat. She is passionate about topics around digital transformation, workplace experience, open source, and data privacy and security.
Sara Ana Cemazar
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