With over 3 billion messaging app users worldwide, Business Messaging has become an inevitable trend - customers increasingly turn to messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp to contact businesses. We’ll explain the benefits of using instant messaging apps for business, the best ways to use messaging apps for marketing, remarketing, sales, support and notifications, and reveal the best messaging apps for each use case.
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- It's Easier To Get Conversations Started On Messaging Apps
- Messaging Apps Conversations are More Effective
- Using Messaging Apps for Business is Less Expensive
- Marketing: Best Messaging App for Business
- Remarketing: Best Messaging App for Business
- Sales: Best Messaging App for Business
- Support: Best Messaging App for Business
- Notifications: Best Messaging App for Business
Most Popular Messaging Apps for Business
When it comes to chatting with friends & family, we’ve moved away from calls and SMS and embraced instant messaging. Similarly, more people are turning to messaging apps to communicate with businesses.
Customers will most likely engage with you on a messaging app they are already using. When choosing a messaging app for business, always go for the most popular one in your country. Here’s a cheat sheet to get you started.
Popular messaging apps allow you to connect with more customers. Mainstream apps like WhatsApp & Messenger will work most of the time, but niche apps like Telegram, Viber, WeChat, LINE & KakaoTalk have an edge for certain use cases in some regions.
Other than connecting with more customers, there are several other reasons you should use chat apps for business - let’s take a closer look at them.
Why Use Instant Messaging Apps For Business
Messaging apps make it easier to start a conversation and control conversation tone and speed. Moreover, they help reduce operational costs. In this section, we’ll explain how messaging apps help you achieve these goals.
It's Easier To Get Conversations Started On Messaging Apps
For businesses, it’s important to get your customers to start a chat with you. On messaging apps, it’s easy to start chatting with you by clicking a link. This is as simple as web chat, but a lot simpler than drafting an email or navigating Interactive Voice Response (IVR).
Another way to start a conversation is to reach out to customers. Unlike email and phone, not all messaging apps allow businesses to send the first message. However, messaging apps that allow reaching out have a distinct advantage over email and phone.
Customers are more likely to respond on messaging apps because messages create hard-to-ignore push notifications. Plus, people spend most of their time on messaging apps. Even if they ignore the notification, they’ll see your message when going into the app.
Messaging apps allow customers to start a conversation with you effortlessly. Some messaging apps even let you reach out to customers by sending the first message. They are a real godsend because it’s almost guaranteed that customers will reply.
Messaging App Conversations Are More Effective
With more customers messaging you, it's time to involve your Sales & Support team. Phone has been the gold standard for Sales & Support because it gives agents control over conversation tone & speed. But messaging apps also offer the same benefits.
Messaging apps conversations have a casual tone - a stark contrast to emails where conversations are formal. Using abbreviations & emojis lowers a customer's guard, transforming an adversarial relationship into a partnership.
Messaging apps also promote faster interactions. With messages flying back & forth on messaging apps, you can solve tickets as fast as you would on web chat. Plus, salespeople can control the emotion levels in conversations which is impossible over email.
Put simply, you’ll get the same quality of Sales or Support on messaging apps as you would over traditional channels like phone. However, messaging apps are much more affordable than traditional channels.
Using Messaging Apps For Business Is Less Expensive
For business, reducing operational costs is just as important as keeping your Sales and Support team effective. Phone is the only channel that comes close to messaging apps when it comes to Sales and Support quality, but it's costly. Many business messaging apps like Facebook Messenger are free, although some apps are only free to start.
Moreover, messaging apps let you have conversations with more customers without increasing your Sales and Support team headcount. This is because messaging app conversations don't require both sender and recipient to be present simultaneously.
On messaging apps, Sales and Support agents can handle multiple conversations in parallel. This is nothing new compared to SMS and email, but a huge upgrade from phone which requires agents to be fully engaged in one conversation.
Switching to messaging apps is the best decision you can make for your business. You can keep operational costs low while messaging more customers. Remember messaging apps work differently for each use case - we'll discuss more below.
Best Messaging Apps for Business By Use Case
Messaging apps can benefit any use case. They help capture more leads, reactivate more customers, close more Sales, provide more personalized Customer Support and reduce Notifications costs. Here we’ll discuss the best messaging apps for each use case.
Best Messaging App for Business: Marketing
It all starts from attracting leads with Marketing, whether you are a B2B or B2C business. Before we reveal the best messaging apps for Marketing, let's find out how messaging apps help you start a conversation with more leads through Click-to-Chat ads.
Here’s how a typical B2B business advertises: first, you show ads to target buyers. When clicked, the ad will take them to a contact form. If they provide their email address or phone number, you can connect with them via email or phone.
However, customer drop-off is usually high in conventional advertising because many are unmotivated to fill in a long contact form or have privacy concerns.
Messaging apps let you skip the contact form, taking leads right to the conversation with Click-to-Chat ads. Once leads send the first message, you can message the person back even without their contact details.
Moreover, messaging apps interactions are fast and you'll get an instant reply most of the time. This means you can move leads down the funnel faster on messaging apps compared to emails, where it usually takes days to get a reply.
Messaging apps are a clear winner when it comes to marketing, but there's a caveat: you need to have someone there to answer messages. Therefore, we recommend using messaging apps to promote high-priced or complex products like web analytic tools.
Messaging apps are the best option for Marketing because they help capture more leads and move leads down the funnel faster, but which messaging apps should you get? Here are the big factors to consider:
- Click-to-Chat Ad: Some messaging apps don't support Click-to-Chat ads, while others require you to contact the company to place an ad. Ideally, you should get a messaging app that lets you set up an ad easily.
- Messaging Window: Some messaging apps only let you reply to customers within a specific period of time - we call this Messaging Window. Get an app with no Messaging Window so that you can chat with leads anytime you want.
- Third-party CRM: Not all messaging apps come with a built-in response platform for business. Make sure your messaging app can be integrated into a CRM like respond.io which offers an easy-to-use response platform.
In this respect, the best messaging apps for marketing are WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. You can easily create WhatsApp and Messenger ads without contacting the company. Plus, both WhatsApp and Messenger can be connected to a CRM.
While WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger have a Messaging Window, it's not a dealbreaker. By connecting to respond.io, you can use WhatsApp Template Messages or Facebook Message Tags to reopen the Messaging Window. One thing to consider if you have a tight budget - Message Tags are free while Template Messages are not.
Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger can help you attract more leads with Click-to-Chat ads and push leads down the funnel. But do you know they work equally well for Remarketing?
Best Messaging App for Business: Remarketing
Remarketing connects you with people who previously interacted with your business, for example those added items to cart. If you use emails for Remarketing, consider switching to messaging apps because they help you reactivate more customers.
Here’s how email Remarketing normally works. You send email blasts enclosed with a discount to customers who abandoned their carts, in the hope they complete the purchase.
This strategy is good in theory but not in practice - emails have low open rates because people don't check their inbox all the time. Compared to emails, messages are more likely to be read because they trigger push notifications that are hard to ignore.
Messaging apps also help build brand trust by making Customer Support more accessible to your shoppers. Shoppers can simply reply to a broadcast message to get in touch with your Support team.
While sending broadcasts over messaging apps is a great way to reactivate a shopper, there are two caveats. You need someone to be there to answer messages, and customers may mark your broadcasts as spam if they haven’t opted in.
Despite these caveats, messaging apps are your best choice for Remarketing because they help you reach more shoppers and build brand trust. But which messaging app should you use? Here's what to look for:
- Content restriction: Messaging apps have different rules when it comes to sending promotional broadcasts. Find out the rules on what you can and cannot send before committing to a messaging app.
- Broadcasting fee: Some messaging apps offer free broadcasting while others may charge you a fee. Carefully compare the broadcasting fees when selecting a messaging app for remarketing.
- Third-party CRM: Choose a CRM like respond.io which has an easy-to-use broadcasting console and supports targeted broadcasts.
At first glance, Viber and Telegram seem like the best chat apps for Remarketing. Both are free messaging apps with no broadcast content restrictions and they support third-party CRM integration.
However, Viber and Telegram are far less popular than WhatsApp and Messenger. Unless you are targeting niche markets where Viber and Telegram are popular, we recommend using WhatsApp and Messenger for your Remarketing campaigns.
WhatsApp & Messenger may have content restrictions for broadcasts, but they aren’t dealbreakers. WhatsApp gradually allows non-transactional Template Messages, and you can always send promotional broadcasts on Messenger with Sponsored Messages.
We've seen how messaging apps transform Remarketing process - they help you reactivate more customers and build brand trust. But do you know they work equally well for Sales?
Best Messaging App for Business: Sales
After laying the groundwork with Marketing, it's time to close the deal. In this section, we’ll show you how you can close more Sales by integrating messaging apps into your workflow.
Every Sale starts with a lead, and it hinges on how fast you can respond. You need to be there to pick up phone calls, or answer web chat messages. As for contact forms, you want to email the prospects back before you lose them.
With messaging apps, salespeople don't need to be available that very second because prospects can't leave the conversation. Plus, notifications will get them back into the conversation as soon as the salesperson responds.
Messaging apps make qualifying easier too. Fast interactions on messaging apps let Sales reps gather information faster & decide sooner if someone matches their buyer profile. Qualifying using email can be slow as it involves a lot of back-and-forths.
Once leads are qualified, the next step is to build rapport with them. Building rapport through emails is challenging because they often sound cold. Fortunately, it's easier to build a partner-like relationship over messaging apps as the interactions are more casual by comparison.
Building a relationship with leads is half the battle, but to convert leads salespeople need to be constantly available to take calls or reply to web chats. On messaging apps, sales reps can follow up later without fearing they can’t restart the conversation.
It’s important to leverage the power of emotions when closing deals. On messaging apps, salespeople can use the cadence of conversation, emojis & gifs to build excitement before they close the deal. It's hard to drive enthusiasm with email because it’s inherently formal.
There are many reasons to use messaging apps for Sales. Messaging apps make things easier for sales reps and empower them to succeed. Remember not all messaging apps are created equal - here are the things to look for:
- Messaging Window: Go for a messaging app without Messaging Window so that you can follow up with prospects anytime you like.
- Third-Party CRM: Get a messaging app that can be connected to a third-party business software. Respond.io has features like multi-user functionality which improves the productivity of your Sales team.
So what are the best messaging apps for Sales? The best messaging apps for Sales are LINE and Viber because they have no Messaging Window and can be integrated into a third-party software.
That said, you should always take into account whether your customers actually use LINE and Viber. Being niche messaging apps, LINE and Viber are only popular in select regions like Japan and Eastern Europe.
Outside these regions, your safest bet is to use a mainstream messaging app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. We recommend connecting these apps to respond.io so you can message them again to follow up even after Messaging Window has closed.
We’ve shown you how messaging apps can empower your Sales team to be more productive. Now let’s find out how messaging apps fit in your Support process.
Best Messaging App for Business: Customer Support
After-sales support plays an important role in customer satisfaction and helps cultivate customer loyalty. By adopting messaging apps to your Support workflow, you can close cases faster and have more satisfied customers.
The Support process starts with a customer finding a way to contact you. Messaging apps make it simple for customers to reach you. On certain apps, they can search for your business in-app and start a chat right away. You’ll save customers the hassle of finding an email address or phone number buried in the Contact Us webpage.
Once they start a chat, customers can continue the conversation right away without waiting in a queue because agents can handle several text conversations at once. With phone and web chat, customers have to wait for an agent to become available.
Agents will try to understand customer context through the conversation before they come up with a solution. But this is easier said than done on web chat where visitors are usually anonymous. Most messaging apps give you a name or phone number, allowing you to identify the person & personalize the solution.
Keeping resolution time low is just as important as offering a quality solution. Messaging apps reduce the Time to Resolution thanks to their fast-paced interactions.
Email interactions are slower by comparison, so it takes a longer time to resolve a case.
Support doesn't end with a case resolution. Managers need to review the conversation for quality assurance like listening to the entire recording. With messaging apps, managers can just glance over the text conversation to look for red flags.
In summary, messaging apps make it easier for customers to find you, reduce wait times, enable personalized solutions, reduce the Time to Resolution, and allow for speedy ticket review. It's clear why you should use messaging apps for Support, but which one suits your company best? Here are the factors to consider:
- In-app searches: To make Customer Support more accessible, choose a messaging app that lets customers search your business in-app.
- Messaging Fees: The messaging fees can add up if your Support team deals with a large number of cases every day. You should carefully compare messaging prices across different apps.
- Messaging Window: Sometimes it takes days to resolve a complex case. You should get a messaging app with no Messaging Window, or at least one with a reasonably long Messaging Window. Respond.io is one of the few CRMs that offer an extended Messaging Window of 7 days on Messenger.
- Third-Party CRM: Go for a CRM that supports multiuser functionality which increases your Support team's efficiency.
The best messaging apps for Customer Support that check all the boxes are Messenger, Telegram and WeChat. They support in-app searches, offer free messaging, have no Messaging Window or have an extended one, and they can be integrated into a CRM.
Keep in mind Telegram and WeChat are only popular in niche markets such as Eastern Europe and China. In other regions, the globally popular Messenger or WhatsApp fulfill almost all the criteria we discussed above.
If you connect WhatsApp or Messenger to respond.io, you can message customers outside the Messaging Window. Remember, messaging outside the Messaging Window will incur extra costs on WhatsApp, but it’s free on Messenger.
Messaging apps like WhatsApp and Messenger improve Support quality, reduce operational costs and more. Learn how messaging apps enhance the Notifications process in the next section.
Best Messaging App for Business: Notifications
Notifications have diverse uses in business, from notifying customers of shipment updates to announcing scheduled maintenance. Before we go over the best messaging apps for Notifications, let's review how Notifications work.
An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system is a central database that lies at the heart of every Notification workflow. It detects all new events that occur on your website. For instance, someone placing a new order.
Once the ERP system detects an event, it will generate a Notification using a template and personalize it with customer information. With order confirmations, the Notification will include the customer's name and order number.
The Notification will then be relayed to your Channel provider such as an SMS provider and ultimately, your customer.
You may be accustomed to using SMS or emails for Notifications, but messaging apps are a better option because they are more affordable than SMS and have a higher open rate than email.
Messaging apps can reduce operational costs because many of them let you send Notifications for free. By contrast, SMS providers charge a per-message fee which can add up if you send many Notifications.
Plus, messaging apps have a higher open rate because people are constantly on messaging apps. Even if people miss the notification, they’ll see it when they go into the app. By contrast, email notifications often go unread because we don't check our inbox as often and many of us turn off push notifications for emails.
Messaging apps are a great way to send Notifications, but don't bombard your customers with too many Notifications or they may block you. And it’s good practice to ask your customers which app they prefer to receive Notifications on.
Other than customer preference, here are the things you should consider when choosing a messaging app for Notifications:
- Personal Account ID: In cases where security is important such as sending an OTP, you may prefer sending Notifications with a messaging app that uses phone number as the Personal Account ID.
- Outreach capability: Ideally you should go for a messaging app that allows sending the first message. Otherwise, you’ll have to request your customers to message you first.
- Third-party CRM: Go for a messaging app that supports third-party CRM integration. Respond.io helps you send Notifications to different Channels without doing multiple integrations. Remember, a CRM needs to be used in conjunction with an ERP system.
The best chat app that ticks all the boxes is WhatsApp. It uses phone number as the Personal account ID and can be integrated into a CRM software. Plus, WhatsApp allows sending the first message to those who opted-in.
Remember, WhatsApp only allows sending the first message with Template Messages. To start sending Template Messages, connect to a WhatsApp CRM like respond.io.
If you’re interested in exploring more about Business Messaging, check out these articles: