Instant Messaging: Beyond Customer Service

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Throughout the years, instant messaging has become one of the main methods of communication either through social media websites such as Facebook and Google Hangouts or through mobile apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat and Viber. It is now ingrained as a daily routine with over 800 million active users on WhatsApp and around 600 million on Facebook Messenger.

More and more social media applications are integrating instant messaging into their services as it is now the main use for smartphones worldwide. Instagram launched Instagram Direct in 2013, allowing users to send messages privately and directly to certain followers. Snapchat also recently integrated an instant messaging feature within their application so that users could communicate with written text and ‘Emojis‘ privately and quickly.

Instant messaging has now taken a new direction and is being applied to businesses, helping them build relationships with consumers through private messaging. Allowing customers to directly contact companies about any queries they might have. Facebook launched a new prospect last month with Business Messenger, where private messages can be sent to companies through their call-to-action buttons on local awareness ads. We can already see this taking shape with live chat customer service help from some companies, allowing the customer to get quick, efficient responses, making them more likely to return and use the service. (Read more about Facebook’s Business Messenger here.)

There are a few companies that currently use instant messaging as a main feature to further their business opportunities with clients. BusyOrders is an online service aimed at cutting down the complexity of the e-commerce industry by allowing customers to place orders for different products directly to the company via WhatsApp. Tap Order is another cross-platform instant messaging service that caters to IOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows users and allows them to instantly place orders by directly messaging a team member and getting immediate responses. PayPal has recently launched PayPal.me, a personalised link system where users can generate custom URLs with details of the exact payment they are waiting to receive that can be easily sent via instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, without having to disclose any personal information. (Read more about PayPal.me  here.)

Ultimately, the primary goal of integrating instant messaging within a company’s customer service method is to eliminate loss of time through company-to-consumer interaction, which could potentially result in loss of business. In a day and age where every online interaction is almost instantaneous, it is evident that instant messaging is rapidly expanding and soon to become the next big step to revolutionising the way people interact with each other and the way businesses develop their marketing strategies to construct lasting relationships with clients.

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