Messaging apps, such as WhatsApp, Snapchat, Kik, and Facebook’s Messenger, play a huge role in how people communicate with each other. 800 million people use WhatsApp each month, with Facebook’s Messenger, QQ Mobile, and WeChat following closely on their heels. Skype, Snapchat and Kik don’t have quite the volume of users, until you delve down into usage rates among younger people: among the 25 and under set, these apps become much more prominent. 30% of all Millennials report using Snapchat at least daily.
Now, increasingly, brands are using these popular messaging apps to connect with their customers. While advertising isn’t really an option on most platforms yet, messaging apps can be used to answer customer questions, check order status, and have other conversations via live-chat features. Depending on the app, this chat functionality is available only on a mobile device, or on a mobile device and desktop computers.
It is important to think about how messaging apps fit into your customer service plans. Some business owners, such as the jeweler Rare Pink, use apps for a specific sort of conversation – in that case, as a confidential way to discuss engagement ring plans conveniently. In this specific instance, according to Forbes magazine, using a messaging app is preferable to using traditional social media because app usage won’t trigger retargeter ads, which could potentially spoil the proposal surprise.
The fact that there are so many messaging apps can seem quite daunting. However, using messaging apps effectively for your business isn’t as time or labor intensive as maintaining an entirely new social media platform: instead, think of these apps as so many e-mail addresses. You’ll want to set up and monitor accounts on those apps most relevant to your user base; the key is to be friendly and responsive whenever customers reach out to you. The next step in message app-based marketing will undoubtedly be reaching out to customers with highly relevant, individualized offers, but if you’re not there yet, don’t sweat it. Concentrate on successfully integrating messaging apps into your existing customer service infrastructure to begin with. Making a smart start now will serve you well later.