In the realm of social media, Facebook is king. Founded in 2004, the tech company earned a whopping $85.97 billion in revenue last year and owns a number of popular brands, including Instagram and WhatsApp. Originally developed as a platform for co-ed connections, Facebook has blossomed into a digital empire where both people and brands can constantly communicate in real-time.
Thanks to the popularity of instant messaging, Facebook saw immediate value in acquiring WhatsApp, a freeware, cross-platform centralized messaging service that allows users to send and receive texts, voice messages, and video calls.
Just this past week, Facebook decided to enhance WhatsApp’s functionality with the addition of a new built-in local business directory. This new feature will allow users to tap on a “Business Nearby” option, connecting them with businesses in their area directly through the app. From there, users will be able to learn more about the business, its products, and even facilitate direct contact with the company. Companies will be sorted into distinct categories, such as “restaurants” or “grocery stores.”
The pilot is slated to launch in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Business-to-person e-commerce communication is not a new concept to Facebook. As of last year, more than 175 million users worldwide used the app daily to contact a WhatsApp business account. Moreover, in India and Brazil, users can make in-app payments to purchase products directly from businesses.
However, this new yellow pages-esque business directory will help brands connect with consumers more easily than ever before. It’ll also give Facebook the opportunity to transform the app into an e-commerce juggernaut, paving the way for a digital revolution in developing countries where WhatsApp is the primary means of internet communication for millions of people.
But how can this new WhatsApp feature help your business? The answer: by effortlessly meeting customers where they already are.
The benefits of connecting with consumers via digital channels
WhatsApp’s new feature gives consumers the opportunity to search for businesses in their areas within the app for the very first time. This is the first step of the customer journey when they initially initiate contact with a brand. From there, it’s the business’s job to coax the consumer along, positively influencing them at every touchpoint.
Today’s consumer would rather connect with a business via text than by phone or email. It only makes sense for brands to build relationships with customers in this fashion.
In fact, according to Gartner, more than 60% of all consumer engagements will be through self-serve channels, such as WhatsApp, by 2023. This is why it’s essential for brands to embrace social messaging and integrate it into their customer care strategies.
Benefits of using text platforms, like WhatsApp, to connect with customers include:
Taking a customer-first approach: By engaging with consumers on platforms they already use, businesses can enhance the customer experience. Customers can directly interact with a brand to quickly resolve problems on their own time, and on a channel they already know and love.
Insurance provider AXA integrated WhatsApp into its customer service engagement strategy to provide prompt, personalized service to clients. This has increased their customer satisfaction rating to 4.5 out of 5.
A real way to wow customers: Instead of performing grand marketing gestures, companies can create smaller “wow” experiences that leave a lasting impact. Sending highly personalized messages through WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and other social channels can foster strong relationships with new customers.
Sets a business up for success: More brands are putting social messaging at the front lines of their customer care efforts. By meeting a customer’s needs in a timely fashion, businesses can seamlessly manage crises and build loyalty.
Intimate customer insights: Businesses that deeply understand their audiences can build better marketing methods. Data from social messaging can help a brand glean important insight into how their customers think and feel. It’s literally capturing the “online mood” of consumers towards a brand. This allows businesses to identify opportunities for improvement in order to cultivate strong customer connections.
At Mitto, we believe it is essential to meet your customers where they are. With WhatsApp Business your company can effectively connect with consumers and engage with billions of potential customers worldwide. Leveraging Mitto’s tools, you can easily add WhatsApp to your omnichannel communications strategy today. Text us at (424) 653-3380 to learn more.