Messaging apps are the future of business communication, providing increased speed and convenience communicating with companies for customers, and improved efficiency and productivity for businesses.
75% of consumers are willing to opt into SMS marketing, and more than half say they would prefer to contact customer support via texting. In addition to using the contact method, your audience prefers, using SMS and instant messaging apps reduced the load on your customer service team. Mainly, it cuts their call queues by handling queries via messaging instead.
Business messaging apps are much more than just a way to quickly send messages. Indeed, they offer a wide range of additional automation and organizational features. Finding the right messaging app for your business will take some research and an understanding of your needs. This article will cover the key features and benefits of text messaging apps and instant messaging apps for business to look out for. Also, we’ll explore some of the best messaging apps for businesses currently available.
Text Messaging Apps for Business
Text messaging apps for business enable you to easily send and automate updates, reminders, and alerts to both your customers and your team members. SMS is the ideal medium for messages of this nature. The reason for this is the fact that recipients usually open texts quickly even when they are on the move. Moreover, texts don’t require an online connection. 90% of people read a text within 3 minutes of receiving it.
In addition to improving communication with your team and customers, text messaging apps are also a vital medium for personalized marketing messages. It only takes a few seconds to open and read a text message. Furthermore, unlike email, there are not dozens of other marketing messages fighting for attention in their inbox.
By using your website and social media to get customers and leads opting into your SMS marketing, build a text mailing list. Thus, you’ll be able to send promotions and time-sensitive discounts using codes and links. Moreover, you’ll offer a text-based customer referrals scheme. Many businesses now even use SMS to take orders from customers simply by texting back to promotion.
It is important when choosing text messaging apps for business that your chosen service is compliant with regulations on text communications and marketing. These differ from region to region, so services offering automatic global compliance are preferable. You can do this yourself by researching how and when you can text customers in each country. However, there’s time and effort involved along with the legal risks of getting it wrong. So, it is usually safer to go with an app that does it for you.
TextMagic allows you to create automated alerts, scheduling, and a two-way chat via a web app and email. Tools for scheduling and sending texts are simple and easy to use. It makes them a perfect option for businesses new to SMS marketing campaigns and customer service. TextMagic also lets you send longer messages of up to 918 characters. So, it gives you more flexibility in how you communicate with customers.
Mailing lists, text scheduling, and ongoing conversations can all be managed from within the app or web portal. However, a gateway API is also available, allowing you to integrate SMS into your existing business systems. This has numerous potential uses. For example, a retail business could send managers automatic alerts when an item is running out, or a venue could automatically text customers about upcoming scheduled events.
Flyde Property, a UK estate agent, was able to greatly reduce its number of missed appointments by using TextMagic. The operator sent alerts and appointment confirmations to customers. Moreover, the company enabled customers to change or cancel their bookings with a quick and convenient text. This resulted in a clear boost to efficiency by cutting time wasted on missed appointments.
Teledrip is an SMS service powered by artificial intelligence. Its features are designed primarily for following up leads and assisting your live sales agents. In addition to automating your marketing and sales messages, Teledrip can create appointments, answer simple queries about your business. Also, it can qualify leads to ensure the most efficient use of your sales resources.
Most people don’t want to answer calls from an unknown number. Often, customers won’t connect the call to have opted in to your marketing. Teledrip can help get around this by starting the conversation via text to arrange a convenient call time. Thus, you can learn more about your lead’s needs along the way. This process can be set up using many bulk messaging apps that offer an API. However, the use of artificial intelligence allows for more personal interactions than simply texting shortcodes. Moreover, it can handle more complex queries and requests when qualifying leads.
Nexmo provides a flexible SMS API with an emphasis on privacy and security. It offers a built-in two-factor authentication option to verify users. Also, it enables private and anonymous text conversations. Nexmo’s SMS API is great for advanced users. However, the software is not provided to make immediate use of it. Instead, you will need to use the API to create a bespoke solution according to your needs. While there are many advantages to creating a purpose-built SMS solution, you should take into consideration the extra time and cost of setup.
Vonage Garage used Nexmo to create an SMS-based chatbot for hailing rides. The app uses Nexmo to relay user responses into a natural language processing AI. It enables the app to read intent from customer messages and work out where they wanted to go from only partial information.
Heymarket is a text messaging app designed around supporting your customer service teams. Using shared inboxes, your team can easily stay in contact with customers and partners. It’s easy to achieve by keeping all SMS and instant messaging conversations in one place.
You can easily add and remove team members to each shared inbox. Thus, you allow for a more efficient distribution of customer service agents and improve response times. Heymarket also lets your team members leave private notes and comments in-line with customer conversations. So, it helps your colleagues pursue a consistent approach and stay up to speed on each customer’s situation.
Texas social club Pershing used Heymarket’s shared inboxes to improve both their customer service and internal communication. Staff members were able to keep track of important discussions and decisions. They were also able to work together on conversations with customers. So, it ensured a streamlined and personal experience for each club member.
Instant Messaging Apps For Business
Instant messaging apps for business allow you to connect with your customers on the messaging platforms they use in their daily lives. These messenger apps enable you to engage and socialise with your customers. In addition, they provide fast and convenient customer service and conduct marketing campaigns. You can use chatbots to automate basic customer service tasks and answer queries. This makes your customer service team able to prioritize more complex requests and interactions.
Unlike social media, the majority of your customer service interactions on instant messaging apps will happen in private. Because of this, you might think instant messaging has less impact on your customer service reputation. However, it has a significant effect in other ways. Fast response to a complaint can often be the difference between getting a negative review and earning a loyal customer. Customers are willing to spend more with businesses that respond to their issues within 5 minutes.
Discord provides instant messaging chat rooms and one-on-one conversations that let you get to know your customers and respond promptly to their questions and issues. By creating purpose-specific channels Discord can be a great tool for customer service, technical support, and advice.
You can also share images, animated GIFs and video at the click of a button, as well as set up private VoIP calls, enabling your team to easily talk customers through issues and show them what to do. Including short videos in your responses can increase engagement and help your audience understand you better.
One of the strengths of Discord in customer support is the variety of chatbots available. You can integrate them into any channel or message directly. Last year Zendesk released a support bot for Discord. So, users can ask for help using simple commands, and get contacted via private message by a support agent. In addition to providing a way to manage incoming support requests efficiently, this also helps demonstrate your speedy responses, as the bot can reply publicly that the ticket has been progressed.
For these reasons, it is arguably the ideal instant messaging app for supporting and engaging users of your website or software.
In addition to providing another channel for customer service, Discord also helps foster a community around your product or service. Customers can help each other with tips and advice on using your products, and socialize in off-topic channels. As with any service allowing customers to post publicly, you can’t rely on the automated tools provided to filter out profanity and other offensive content. Active moderation is a must, either by your team or by one of your trusted customer advocates.
Discord lacks many of the productivity tools and integrations offered by business messaging apps like Slack and Flock, (though its list of supported apps is growing) as it was not designed specifically for this purpose. However, the ability to quickly add and remove as many people as you want to the group with no per-user cost can make this a cheap alternative in some circumstances. For instance, you can use it when you’re organizing large numbers of freelancers or remote workers on a project.
The most obvious advantage of using Facebook Messenger to communicate with customers is its vast user base. With 1.4 billion active monthly users, most of your customers already have Facebook accounts and check their messages regularly, so Facebook allows for rapid interactions with a wide audience.
Chatbots can be very useful to automate simple customer service queries and even make purchases without leaving Facebook. Movie ticket distributor Fandango has enabled customers to book tickets for themselves and their friends via Facebook messages and event groups, helping them to increase sales with social media users.
Delegating straightforward tasks to a chatbot such as purchasing and simple information requests also allows your team to focus on conversations that need a personal touch. Such conversations are complaints and technical support. They can also serve to put users in contact with a live agent, allowing them to give some details about their issue or query before talking to your staff.
While it has the advantage of the largest audience, Facebook Messenger lacks many of the features businesses need to manage their customer interactions, so it can be a good idea to integrate it into a business messaging app.
Messaging Apps for Business To Connect with Youth – Snapchat
With 68% of 18-29-year-olds using Snapchat, it is a great platform for businesses aiming to connect with a younger audience. Snapchat and Instagram have 24-hour Stories. You can use them to engage your audience with entertaining or informative status updates, images, and video. Furthermore, it is also possible to create time-sensitive promotions and competitions with these apps.
Snapchat provides numerous opportunities for creative marketing, such as Adidas’ campaign to promote its 8-BIT baseball cleats. Partnered with AvatarLabs they created a playable game within Snapchat which also enabled users to purchase the product without leaving the app.
This is a great use of the informal messaging app, reinforcing their friendly and approachable image.
While Snapchat does allow users to reply to your Story with private messages, the temporary nature of conversations makes it unsuitable for customer support, as users will not be able to return to your messages.
Originally designed as an Internet-based alternative to SMS, WhatsApp also provides a business messaging app created specifically for small business owners. The app has basic management features. They are: as grouping users into mailing lists, automatic greetings, quick reply templates and performance tracking. Similarly to Snapchat, WhatsApp also lets you update your status with text, video and images that last for 24 hours. This is great for reminding customers about events and promotions that are ending soon. Also, it allows you to give out time-sensitive discounts and codes that give users a reason to check for updates frequently to avoid missing out.
WhatsApp Business is a fairly new service, only being introduced in 2018, but already has some high-profile backers including Netflix, who started using WhatsApp last year to send users recommendations based on the content they watch.
Business Messaging Apps
Business messaging apps let you manage tasks, scheduling, and workgroups via a shared instant messaging app. These have a multitude of uses on top of just letting your teams stay in touch, providing your teams with channels to share their work manage their tasks and communicate. They can also provide a social space for remote team members to socialize and form stronger bonds with their colleagues.
While most messaging apps for businesses offer similar features, the differences between them can be critical. First and foremost, the messaging app you choose must be compatible with your website and software, especially your eCommerce solution. Additionally, your choice of messaging app should reflect the way you work, and whether you need a messaging app to check in with your team and keep tasks on schedule, or to enable collaboration between different disciplines or remote workers.
Slack is one of the most well-known and popular business messaging apps, giving your teams a place to collaborate and share their work in addition to offering private and group instant messaging. The simplicity of creating new channels and workspaces, and of sharing images and files, make Slack very useful for working in a remote team and discussing projects with clients. It can also help keep you on schedule and on top of your daily tasks, integrating your email, calendar, social media, and many other apps and services.
Slack offers a free version that can benefit small businesses and startups. However, limitations on integrating apps and searching your messages make it advisable to take a paid package as your business grows.
There are many big brands using Slack including HubSpot, who used its integrations and channels to manage the many notifications from services and clients their site receives every day, enabling support teams to work through automatically sorted messages and tasks.
Flock offers many of the same instant messaging features as Slack. Still, the added benefit of productivity features is individual or team-wide to-do lists, polls and surveys, helping your team collaborate and provide each other with feedback. This app can be particularly useful for programmers. It automatically formats code snippets for easy reading and allows full access to your GitHub without leaving the app.
While Flock supports fewer integrations than Slack, it has other benefits. They include allowing group calls on its free package and is overall slightly cheaper. It also allows you to add guest users to your channels without extra costs. This is particularly useful when collaborating with remote workers or clients on a project.
Creative brand agency HIYO Design used Flock to communicate effectively with both their remote workers and clients across the globe. They found its cheap video conferencing to be a particular advantage due to the need to discuss designs in detail with colleagues and clients.
Troop aims to offer the same core features as Slack, including easy setup of collaborative workspaces and chat channels, simple file sharing and screen recording, and advanced search functions to easily find messages and users. The biggest difference between the two is the price. Troop offers a more fully-featured free version and much lower monthly costs for its paid packages. It makes this app popular with new businesses on a budget.
As a newer platform Troop currently falls behind Slack when it comes to the third-party systems and services that can be integrated with the app. It is a good idea to check and make sure Troop is compatible with the other tools and systems you rely on. Moving to a new instant messaging app can be inconvenient once you are already using it to share files and hold important discussions you will need to later reference.
Twist is a Slack alternative for teams with a more hands-off approach. Depending on your industry and the individuals on your team, in many cases, people are more productive when able to schedule a large ‘time block’ to a task without switching focus or the need to multitask.
If you trust your team to get the job done, staying in constant contact could simply serve as a distraction. Twist gives a greater degree of control over which threads, comments and profiles should send notifications to individual users. Also, it does not feature online indicators to remove the expectation of instant replies to non-critical messages.
Like other Slack alternatives, it lacks the vast range of third-party integrations Slack benefits from. Sometimes, you may find constant messaging to distract your team or add unnecessary stress to your work. Then, Twist can help you adopt a communication style more suited to the way you work best.
Messaging Apps for Business – Conclusion
Messaging apps for business are a vital tool for communicating with customers and colleagues alike. So, they offer major benefits to companies in any industry. Improve your customer service and marketing efforts by staying in touch through text messaging apps and instant messaging apps. Also, remember about building stronger connections with your audience. Internally, business messaging apps can boost your productivity by improving the organization and schedule. In addition, they enable easy collaboration through group chat channels and file-sharing capabilities.
One of the biggest benefits of any messaging app for business is the potential to streamline and automate your daily tasks and processes. You can achieve this by integrating messaging apps with your other business systems. Accordingly, compatibility should always be one of your first considerations when deciding which apps are right for your business.