Businesses are looking for ways to communicate with customers as smoothly as possible. The introduction of live chats and their rising popularity proved the desire of customers for instant connection and written communication.
However, to completely immerse in customers’ lives, brands went further by meeting them where they spend most of their phone time — messaging apps.
Why instant messaging is so popular
Messaging is the #1 digital activity people engage in — every minute, 42 million messages are sent on WhatsApp only. It adds to 100 billion messages a day.
Texting became more popular than phone calls: across all generations, consumers prefer messaging at least 3 times more than face-to-face communication. Millennials prefer messaging 8 times more than face-to-face communication for a number of reasons:
- It’s time-efficient
- Allows a user to be engaged in other activities and conversations
- It’s free
- Easy multimedia sharing
Why businesses should use messaging apps in customer service
Among customers, instant messaging becomes a more popular way to interact with brands. A YouGov study reported that 69% of consumers prefer communicating with brands over mobile messaging rather than traditional calls.
It provides customers with an opportunity to interact with a real person and get individual attention. Unlike chats, messaging apps don’t make customers wait for a reply from an agent without leaving a page.
66% of consumers are more confident about making a purchase when a company is active in messaging apps.
How businesses can leverage messaging apps in customer support
There are a number of ways brands can use messaging apps to provide the best experience for their customers.
Just get an account
Start simple — just get an account. In some cases, it may be enough.
Apps like Telegram and Viber have a limited number of business-oriented tools. So the sheer presence there could be crucial, especially in particular countries. Telegram is the most popular messaging app in Belarus, Lithuania, Egypt while Viber is #1 app in Ukraine and Greece. Both apps are also immensely popular in Russia. Being accessible on those platforms is a must for the European region. Being present in popular messaging apps helps businesses, especially, small enterprises, be closer to customers without spending a penny.
Implement a chatbot
Chatbots process the most basic customers’ requests, saving time and money for customer support teams. It makes them a great addition to any business account. In 2018 Facebook reported 300,000 active bots on its Messenger, which was three times more than a year before. Most of them can answer the predefined questions, provide delivery tracking or confirm appointments. More sophisticated versions can upsell, suggest the best option, help choose items, notify about the upcoming events or sales, or proactively reach out to a customer with updates. And all this in the most convenient channel for customers — messaging apps.
Creating a chatbot does require third-party services — chatbot builders. But most of them are self-explanatory and don’t require professional help. Telegram, for example, has a whole library of chatbots that can be utilized by other channels. It’s also known for a clear and easy set-up for an existing chatbot. Messenger is known for a wide range of features, chatbots can implement. It’s also convenient to have one if you’re running ads on Facebook or Instagram. Integrating a chatbot in your messenger will help you run the most basic operations pain-free.
Start a channel or a group
WhatsApp, Viber and Telegram are famous for their group and channels feature. For brands, it’s a chance to gather their customers in one place and spread important updates or news with lightning speed. Transportation companies use channels to notify passengers about changes in scheduling or delays. Retailers use them to inform about upcoming sales or collection drops. Small businesses can use them to notify the most loyal clients about the limited availability of special items or changes in the working hours for holidays. Some brands even start groups where customers can help one another with product issues or share their experiences. Messaging apps serve as a proactive support channel that keeps your customers informed, prevents basic information inquiries, and even helps build a loyal community.
The opportunities of instant messaging apps are limitless. Companies use them to automate hiring, sales, booking, planning and verification processes. Some companies create entertaining bots as a promotional tool, others use apps to expand their net on a target audience.
At my company, SupportYourApp, we provide concierge service to one of our client’s customers. Concierge includes anything from booking a table at the restaurant to planning a vacation. The most fast-growing in popularity channels for concierge requests are Telegram and Viber: 47% of our customers use them to contact the service. People want brands to be accessible and support to be conveniently close. For Telegram, we even built a bot that was able to partly automate the most popular inquiries, like flower delivery and booking a table at the restaurant. This way we’re able to keep the customer satisfaction rate and loyalty consistently high.
Instant messaging apps make businesses more relatable to their customers. It shows brands’ dedication to transparency and accessibility in communications. By leveraging this channel, companies reach more potential customers, earn loyal clients and save on a budget.
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