If Viber is popular with your customers, you've probably been wondering how to use Viber for business. Do you want to know how to get a Viber business account and how Viber business pricing works? What’s the difference between Viber Business Messages and Viber Chatbots? This guide will answer these questions and explain the best ways to use Viber for business.
What is Viber?
One of the first messaging apps, Viber launched in 2010, even before LINE and Messenger. It is free to use and focuses more on calling compared to other messaging apps with a VoIP feature called Viber Out (more on this later).
There are three main tabs in the Viber app. The Chats tab contains conversations with contacts, Viber Business Accounts and Viber Communities. Ads will occasionally be shown in the chats list.
The Calls tab shows contacts and recent calls. Here users can add new contacts or invite friends to Viber. Users can also use Viber Out here to call contacts.
The More tab contains everything else like settings. It is also used to promote Viber Out and the Sticker Market. Although Viber’s Sticker Market is not as large as LINE’s, its sticker packs are rather expensive.
Viber’s Unique Features
Viber has a couple of unique features that set it apart from other messaging apps. These are Viber Communities, which are large interactive groups, and Viber Out, which allows voice chats.
Longtime users of Viber will be familiar with Viber Communities, outsized chatrooms commonly used as fan pages by celebrities and businesses. Users can follow Viber Communities and interact with businesses by asking questions in the public group chat or participating in polls.
Viber Communities are not searchable by default. However, you may request to have your Viber Community added to the search list. Keep in mind, Viber only indexes Communities with more than 1,000 participants.
Once your Viber Community is on the search list, you may link it to a Viber Chatbot account, one of the Viber business account options. We’ll explain the Viber business account types in the Accounts section.
Viber Communities appear in the main chat list, right next to all the private and group chats. In a way, it makes brands and public figures feel more reachable. Viber claims Communities are driving growth, but it seems like Viber Out is the feature making gains.
The flagship VoIP feature, Viber Out, allows calls to mobile and landline numbers. It’s similar to Skype, where users buy credits or monthly subscriptions for calls. Viber’s user base continues to expand by attracting users that use Skype for calling.
Skype is losing its market lead to Viber, which targets users calling places like the Philippines and Tajikistan with cheaper prices. A Viber monthly plan for the Philippines with 120 minutes costs only $9.99 per month, while a similar plan with Skype costs $15.59.
The Viber Out feature is driving user growth in Eastern Europe and Asia. With over 2.3 million Filipinos abroad and over a million Tajiks using apps like Viber to call home, the company is just getting started in this user niche.
Where Is Viber Popular?
With over a billion users worldwide, Viber ranks among the top five messaging apps, mainly concentrated in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
To get a better look at Viber’s popularity, let’s take a look at Monthly Active Users (MAUs). As of 2021, Viber reported 820 million active users, a huge growth over the 260 million it reported two years earlier.
During the pandemic, user numbers grew rapidly as people turned to online groups to socialize and share information. Viber pushed this growth with initiatives like Covid-19 chatbots and e-commerce support. App usage remains strong in its key markets.
The most concentrated user group is in Ukraine, with 97% of Android users having the app on their phones as of September 2021. Viber is also extremely popular in the Philippines and Myanmar, growing faster than local competitors like WeChat and LINE.
If your customers are in these areas where Viber is dominant, consider using Viber for business.
Types of Viber Business Accounts
The way Viber business accounts work has changed due to Viber’s new policies and pricing plans implemented in September 2022. There are now two business account options: Viber Business Messages and Viber Chatbots.
We’ll briefly explain Viber Business Messages and then discuss how you can use Viber Chatbots as a Viber business account. Both options are effective ways to send business messages of a transactional, promotional or conversational nature.
Viber for Business: Viber Business Messages
A Viber Business Messages account allows businesses to message customers using their phone numbers. It is usually used by large companies to send a high volume of transactional messages, like user authentications and status alerts.
You’re not limited to transactional messages, however. It can also be used for promotional messages and conversational messages within a 24-hour session window.
A great advantage of Viber Business Messages is they use SMS as a fallback when there’s no internet connection, so you can be sure your messages will be delivered.
The drawbacks? Sending messages incurs fees, which vary per region. In addition, it requires a lengthy setup and verification process and you’ll need to subscribe to a Viber partner, which further adds to the costs.
For small to medium-sized businesses, we suggest using Viber Chatbot as that allows you to send up to 10,000 messages per month for free.
Viber for Business: Viber Chatbot
A Viber Chatbot can be used as a business account customers can interact with. As the name implies, Viber Chatbot accounts can use automated messaging. However, they can also be connected to a messaging platform to message customers manually or via automated Workflows.
Provided you don’t spam your customers, you can use your Chatbot account to send transactional, promotional and conversation messages.
Viber Chatbots are relatively similar to other messaging app business accounts, but have one feature we haven’t seen anywhere else - a customizable keyboard! The in-app developer tools allow you to customize the keyboard a user sees when they interact with your bot.
Viber Chatbot Pricing
In the past, a Viber Chatbot account was completely free and there were no limitations on messaging or the number of contacts. This is no longer the case under the new Commercial plan introduced in September 2022.
Now, as soon as someone messages your business, a 24-hour messaging window starts. Also known as chatbot-session messages, exchanging messages with customers is free during the 24-hour window. However, when the session ends, you need to restart a conversation with chatbot-initiated messages.
Businesses have up to 10,000 free chatbot-initiated messages for each chatbot. To send more than 10,000 chatbot-initiated messages, you’ll need to agree to the Viber Commercial Bot plan terms, pay a deposit and incur charges for messages over the limit. The charges vary by country.
How to Create Viber Business Account
To create Viber Business Account, you’ll need a Viber Chatbot. Creating a Viber Chatbot is simple. All you need is a personal Viber account and go to the Viber Admin Panel to start the Viber
1. Log in to the Viber Admin Panel. Enter the phone number registered to the personal Viber account here.
Once done, you’ll get a prompt to enter the verification code sent to your Viber account.
2. Add your business details. Add a picture and some basic information about your business. You can change this information later from the app.
Here are a few things to keep in mind. There is a Map to select your business country, but the search bar does not work. Just move the pin on the map to the business location and the country will change accordingly.
In addition, there is an adult content checkbox; if you check this box your Viber chatbot cannot be accessed by users who are not adults.
3. Press create at the bottom of the form. When your Viber Business Account is ready, you’ll get your token.
You’ll notice there is no place to manage messages sent to your Viber bot because Viber does not have an interface to send or receive messages. To start chatting with customers, create a respond.io account and connect your Viber Chatbot.
Using Viber for Business: Best Practices
You’re probably used to communicating with customers via email, phone or SMS. Chatting over messaging apps is a bit different. In this section, we’ll go over some best practices for using a Viber Chatbot to connect with your customers.
Viber for Business: Finding Your Customers on Viber
Although Viber assigns User IDs based on phone numbers, you can’t just import contacts from a CRM. To get your customers as Viber Contacts, you’ll need to get them to message you first. This is a limitation created by Viber to avoid spam marketing.
There are a few helpful tools to get customers to message you first. You can send chat links and QR codes, install a Viber chat widget on your website or attract new customers with Viber advertising.
Chat Links and QR Codes
In the Viber Admin Panel, you can generate a QR code customers can scan to start a conversation with your Viber Chatbot. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to start chatting unless you actually connect your account to an inbox using the token.
QR codes work like Messenger Codes, converting offline traffic like foot traffic in a store to Viber contacts. You can also add the QR code to your website or emails. The QR code only works if users have the Viber app installed on their phones. It will not work on the desktop version of Viber because desktop computers cannot scan the code.
You can also create a shareable click-to-chat link so contacts can reach you on either desktop or mobile.
All chat links will only work if users install the Viber app. Users accessing the site via mobile will go directly to the app. On desktop, the link directs them to Viber for Desktop, which they’ll need to install if they haven’t already.
Viber allows you to create URI links, not URLs. The URI goes to a part of your bot, either to open a conversation or to your profile info page, depending on how you configure it. Note that if the link is set to go to your profile info page, it will not work on desktop.
Viber Web Chat Widget
Another way to get customers to message you when they visit your website either via mobile or desktop is to add a Viber web chat widget. This is a pop-up box on your website that allows visitors to message you by clicking on the Viber icon or scanning a QR code.
To set this up, you need to have Viber Chatbot connected to respond.io. As with general QR code links, the chat widget will only work for users with the Viber app installed.
Viber for Business: Advertising
You can also promote your Viber Chatbot through Viber advertising. Ad formats include desktop ads, post-call ads, ad banners and promotional stickers. Each of these will take the user to your Viber business account profile.
The most interesting format is Viber stickers. When users download branded sticker packs, they’ll be subscribed to the Viber Chatbot automatically. Viber advertising is intended for larger companies. To apply, fill in this form.
Messaging Customers Using a Viber Chatbot
Once customers have initiated contact on Viber, you can start messaging them. In this section, we’ll discuss 1:1 messaging, broadcast messaging, and group messaging.
Viber for Business: 1-to-1 Messaging
Most messaging app business accounts block all replies after some time using a messaging window and don’t provide read receipts. Viber Chatbots are more business-friendly because they allow a limited number of messages outside the window and provide read receipts.
When you send a message, you expect to know whether it was delivered, right? Luckily, Viber sends message statuses through your connected business messaging platform so you can see if a message has been delivered, read, or failed to send.
In addition, some messaging app business accounts will mark the messages sent by customers as read automatically, so they may be annoyed if you don’t respond right away. Messages from a Viber business account will be marked as delivered but not seen.
Viber for Business: Broadcast Messaging
Once you’ve got 1:1 messaging figured out, you can start exploring mass messaging with Viber. Remember that you can only message Viber contacts who have messaged you first.
Viber doesn’t limit your broadcast content. However, you’ll be charged for messages that exceed your monthly limit Make sure that your connected business messaging platform has broadcast functionality.
Remember to be careful with broadcasts, as Viber contacts can block you if they feel they are being spammed. If your Viber Chatbot gets blocked, you’ll see an error message like: Failed to send the message. The user is not subscribed anymore.
Viber for Business: Group Messaging
In addition to sending broadcasts, you may want to have interactive discussions with large groups of customers to share information and get feedback. Viber has three group messaging options: Groups, Channels, and Communities.
Groups are limited to 250 members and Viber bots cannot join or host a group. However, you can start groups with a personal Viber account under your business name.
These may be used by micro-businesses or to communicate with smaller groups of customers.
Channels are an option for one-way group communication from a business, and are not available in all countries. They can have an unlimited number of members. Only admins can post in the channel, but members can respond to polls or quizzes.
When they reach a certain number of members, which Viber does not specify, Channels may become public Channels. This means they will be searchable on Google and people who are not members can view a preview of the channel.
Communities, which we’ve already mentioned above, are similar to Channels in that they have an unlimited number of members. Unlike Channels, they allow two-way communication, which boosts interaction but requires moderation effort.
How to Use Viber for Business for Support, Sales and Marketing
Now that you know how to get contacts and message them, let’s briefly look at some of the applications for Viber Chatbots connected to respond.io. With Viber, you have many options for marketing, sales and support use cases.
Viber Business for Marketing
As Viber has fewer restrictions on promotional messages than other messaging apps, it’s easy to use it for marketing. Even with the new limitations on free messages, it’s still relatively low cost.
With your Viber account connected to respond.io, you can broadcast promotional messages to Contacts to let them know about new products and the latest deals.
Viber Business for Sales
Salespeople want to reach leads where they’re most likely to engage. If a large number of leads are on Viber, that’s the best place to reach out to them.
A Viber Chatbot connected to respond.io allows you to set up automation to shorten your sales cycle by quickly answering questions and qualifying leads. In addition, you can use respond.io to integrate your Viber inbox with a CRM or data enrichment software.
Viber Business for Support
Your Viber business account is a great way to provide customer support to those who frequently use the app. When someone has a support request, they’ll likely send the first message, so you’ll be able to reply to them free of charge within the messaging session.
When you’re connected to respond.io, you can provide faster support with automated messages, get a full overview of customers’ chat history, send customer satisfaction surveys and more.
Are you ready to get started with Viber for business? Sign up for a free trial with respond.io and connect your Viber Chatbot account today!
We’ve discussed all the most important issues in using Viber for business. Read these articles if you’re interested in using other messaging apps for business: