Slowly but surely, messaging apps have cemented themselves as strong contenders for customer communication. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to businesses that they are able to gather trust and win loyalty by being accessible to customers via messaging channels.
However, the ever-increasing number of social and business messaging apps make it difficult for businesses to decide which channels to prioritize and which ones to ignore. The answer lies in figuring out the channels that best meet the needs of the business and its customers.
While the answer isn’t simple, it is helpful to examine the possibilities presented by popular messaging apps and understand their pros and cons in the context of customer communication.
In this article, we will focus on the top 5 messaging apps — Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram and WeChat to help you figure out which one is ideal for your business.
- Whatsapp’s end-to-end encryption makes it the most secure channel for businesses that need to seek or share sensitive information during conversations.
- Due to the inbuilt security, Whatsapp is a good choice for businesses catering to privacy-focused individuals.
- As of June 30, 2019, the Whatsapp API is in limited public preview and businesses seeking access have to apply to get access to it or go through one of their API partners.
- In its present form, Whatsapp’s API offers very limited types of messages and is missing the ability to engage users with buttons and quick replies.
Businesses that fall under Banking, Insurance, Health, and Luxury Concierge industries as they are all prone to exchanging sensitive information with their customers.
- Messenger is ideal for businesses looking to implement FAQ bots. If you’re wondering what exactly are those, well, FAQ bots have the ability to answer the frequently asked customer queries in an automated manner, with zero human interference.
- Buttons and quick replies in messages, as well as the persistent menu, offer a ton of opportunities to engage users and guide them in taking the requisite actions.
- Customers who put privacy first don’t prefer to transact with businesses over Messenger. It might be ironical that Facebook-owned Whatsapp’s biggest pro is privacy but it is just the opposite when it comes to Messenger; a primary reason could be that it is built atop Facebook’s core app and has the potential to expose a ton of user data.
- To communicate with their customers via Messenger, Businesses need to play by the rules set forth by Facebook. While the rules seem to be favouring users, they also make it hard for a business to engage with their customers freely and violating them can attract a temporary or even a permanent ban from the Messenger Platform.
Local Businesses, E-commerce Stores and Software Products.
- Telegram is leading the pack when it comes to communities and group conversations, both of which are great for engagement and retention.
- A business can create a virtual notice board and bring users together to facilitate discussions and gather feedback.
- Telegram users are known to be spread over a few countries, limiting its reach only to users from those. As per Google Play’s numbers, Telegram is one of the top communication apps in Belarus, Brunei, Cambodia, Germany, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Singapore, Spain & Uzbekistan.
- Telegram bots, which a lot of businesses use, have been found to have security flaws and vulnerabilities, making them unsuitable to businesses who actually care about customer privacy.
Any business looking to build a community and engage people in countries where Telegram is popular.
- Viber is ideal for businesses to send transactional messages as it can target customers using phone numbers. For businesses, this turns out to be much cheaper than delivering messages over SMS.
- Viber has over a billion users and receives a fourth of its traffic from Ukraine and almost a fifth from Russia, making it the ideal choice for businesses looking to engage users from those countries
- Viber Service Messages allow only text with a button and an image; nothing else.
Viber for businesses offers all features that other messaging apps do — end-to-end encryption to ensure privacy, a plethora of messaging formats as well as the ability to create bots. Therefore, it is an ideal choice for businesses catering to users from Ukraine and Russia where almost half of Viber’s user base resides. Vietnam, Belarus and Bulgaria are the third, fourth and fifth respectively on the list of countries with the most Viber users.
- One word — China. Businesses looking to serve Chinese users cannot ignore WeChat which boasts over one billion monthly active users.
- WeChat’s mini-programs allow businesses to create mini-apps within its thriving ecosystem to offer all kinds of services. Users are able to not only communicate with businesses but also easily transact with them.
- Currently, WeChat’s reach beyond China is negligible, forcing businesses to adopt different channels to communicate with users from different regions.
- Businesses have to follow WeChat’s rules that are modified regularly. For instance, Service accounts on WeChat are allowed to send just 4 broadcasts per month.
Not just ideal but a must for businesses that wish to cater to users in China.
The messaging world is complex and is only going to get more so as adoption and reach of these apps keep rising. Moreover, customers often switch between multiple messaging apps and expect businesses to be everywhere they are and this poses a completely new set of challenges.
We hope that this article helped you narrow down the channels that suit your business’ needs. If you conclude that your business needs to be on multiple channels to implement various use cases and reach a wide audience, check out Amio’s unified API that makes building and deploying messaging experiences a breeze while bringing significant monetary savings to your business.