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  • Messaging apps - attract customers

    Messaging apps: Bring your business closer to your customers

    Today, businesses cannot expect consumers to come to them. Instead, companies need to be where their customers are and engage them there, regardless of offline or online channels. Be it on television, social media and now more increasingly, businesses are moving to messaging apps.

    2017 looks set to be the year where more and more companies embrace messaging apps as a potential channel to reach out to a larger customer base. The scene is still nascent, however, with companies still feeling their way and learning by trial and error. By using messaging apps as a marketing channel as well as a customer engagement tool, companies can communicate more directly with their customers.
     
    Some companies are experimenting with embedding themselves within a messaging app in order to help reduce the friction of a customer using its service. While some companies are using online chats or even chatbots to help their customers.
     
    Less friction
     
    One major example of a company using messaging app to its advantage is Indonesia’s motorcycle-taxi hailing app Go-Jek.
     
    Last year, Go-Jek announced a partnership with mobile messaging app LINE that allow users to a hail a motorcycle-taxi service without leaving the LINE app. This means that some 30 million LINE users in Indonesia would not have to leave the app and open the Go-Jek app in order for them to order a motorcycle taxi. They can just do it within the app while continuing their conversations with their friends on LINE.
     
    This trend of using messaging apps as a platform looks to be picking up and there are quite a few ways that startups can ride on this wave and benefit.
     
    Collecting data through chats
     
    Singapore startup Workwander, which provides on-demand meeting and work spaces, uses a service called Intercom. The chatbot can help to guide a customer's journey and help in converting them into sales.
     
    The service also allows companies to engage with customers to increase the retention rate, according to Jeremy Lim, co-founder of Workwander. The services is also able to provide a live chat service on all touch points across the app or website.
     
    “It also allows us to send targeted and push messaging based on user's behaviour on our platforms,” Lim added.
     
    “With sufficient number of users and usage data collected through Intercom we can also use it as a database to send marketing emails that can be both targeted and timed based on usage patterns.”
     
    Communicating directly with customers
     
    Another unique selling point of messenger apps is the capability of allowing customers to perform transactions using natural conversational language through a chatbot. One such example is DBS’ plans to allow conversational banking in mobile messaging.
     
    If the bank delivers on their promise, then customers can check their accounts by simply texting “How much do I have?” to the DBS’ Facebook Messenger chatbot.
     
    Such apps can also act as a real-time troubleshooting guide for customers of other industries and businesses. By equipping the solutions with pre-programmed answers, these chatbots are also able to take on customer support duties, helping to ease the workload of your employees.
     
    For Facebook messengers, there are quite a few options  such as Botsify and api.ai for businesses that want to create a chatbot despite not having a programming expertise. It does not hurt as well that most of these services start off free for companies that only need a low bandwidth.
     
    As consumers' attention spans continue to shorten, it is crucial that companies utilise technology and its platforms to continually engage and interact with consumers in a more intimate way.
    • Leverage on existing platforms like LINE to make the customer journey more seamless
    • Services like Intercom can help to businesses communicate with customers while also collecting data that can help with targeted messaging
    • Communicate with your customers naturally using a bot.

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