When it comes to doing business online with your customers, it’s all about instant gratification. Your customers want what they want, and they want it now. However, a setback for most online businesses is usually communication. Emails can take up to a few days, and calling customer support can be a process that customers don’t want to go through, or for some, really inconvenient to go through due to their geographic locations. So what’s the new best way to communicate with your customers?
Nine out of ten companies are now active on social networks, with 4 billion global active users of social messaging apps. Some of the largest and most frequently used messaging apps include:
- WhatsApp (900 million monthly active users)
- Facebook Messenger (800 million users)
- WeChat (650 million monthly active users)
- Skype (300 million users)
- Viber (236 monthly active users)
With the most frequently used apps in the world as messaging apps, companies are slowly expanding on the traditional customer service methods and incorporating messaging apps into their strategy. Facebook recently developed a function letting customers chat with businesses via messenger on their website and brands like Hyatt are testing Facebook Messenger as a customer service channel.
With that said, here are 6 reasons you should be using messaging apps for your online business:
1. You can chat with anyone anywhere in the world
Messaging apps are free to use, and you can send a text or call anyone in the world as long as you have a reliable internet connection. This not only helps business owners to communicate with their overseas customers, but also with their suppliers. For example, any organization or business can set up their own account on WeChat, where they can easily communicate with their target audience, sell goods, and collect payments.
“Be both mindful and respectful of a time difference. Even though these messaging apps give you uninhibited access to communicate with clients, it does not mean that you should bombard them with questions and thoughts at odd hours. Be aware of any time differences and if the message is even urgent enough to send at a late hour.” – Jennifer Lee Magas, Vice President at Magas Media Consultants, LLC
2. It’s faster than email
You search for a company on Facebook, click on their Facebook page, and have the option to instantly message the company with any question you have, while resting assured that you’ll get a response within hours, or even minutes. Or a simple WeChatID or WhatsApp number can be found on the company’s page, and you can simply shoot over a message on your mobile phone. In contrast, email can take up to days, and it can easily get lost in your inbox, not to mention you might not be having the conversation with the same person each time – which can get pretty confusing!
“If you target a younger clientele, set your Facebook Page’s Call to Action button to a “Send Message”button. While a phone call might be off putting to many millennials, a Facebook message is quick and commonplace.” – Michael Eckstein, Tax Accountant at Michael Eckstein Tax Services
3. You can respond instantly even while on-the-go
Instant notifications from messaging apps allow you to have conversations with your customers/suppliers wherever you are right on your mobile phone. People appreciate real-time conversations much more than the disconnects that emails can result in.
“Wherever I am, I am sure to receive messages from my customer and can respond easily. Without these free tools, a micro business such as mine would not be able to have overseas customers, or it would be cumbersome.” – Maggie Mahboubian, founder of Lalun Naturals
4. Customers feel more comfortable talking on messaging apps
If a customer is already using a messaging app, he/she would not hesitate to contact a company on it because he/she is already familiar with the platform and its functions. Not to mention messaging apps create a much more personable environment, where a customer knows who they’re talking to and is assured that their inquiry will continue to go through one person and not a different person every time he/she gets a response.
“As a small business being in contact with my target audience is crucial to keeping my business afloat. Messaging apps like Facebook Messenger is very important because potential customers feel a lot more comfortable using an established brand to communicate with my business. It’s also widely used
which means it will reach a larger user audience base than any other messaging platform or app.” – Lisa Chu, owner of Black N Bianco Kids Clothing
5. It gives your business a competitive edge
For example, with Facebook Messenger, a customer could place a food order on your site, and then immediately make a correction via Messenger. Customers could directly ask questions about items for sale, send in a complaint or provide feedback.
Businesses who respond to their customers promptly and in a timely manner automatically become much more credible. Leveraging messaging apps the right way for your online business can really differentiate you from your competitors.
Are you currently using a messaging app for your online business? Let us know in the comments which one(s) you are using and how you are using them!
Matt Clark is the Chairman and Co-Founder of Amazing.com, a serial entrepreneur, and investor. He’s been featured on Forbes, CNBC, and Entrepreneur.com.