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Messaging Apps: A new shift in customer service


Sawubona SA!

Facebook and Whatsapp have crossed over 1 billion monthly active users world-wide. With over 27 million internet users, South Africa has witnessed an immense growth in the social media landscape.

Now let’s have a look at the following numbers for SA:-

  1. 13 million Facebook users
  2. 7.4 million Twitter users
  3. 8.28 million YouTube users
  4. 2.68 million Instagram users


Now if we calculate the number of top app-store downloads for Android, Apple and Windows Phone respectively in South Africa, this is how the rank board looks like:-

Google Play for Android Apple App Store for iOS Windows Store
1 WhatsApp WhatsApp Facebook
2 Facebook Messenger Facebook Windows Podcast
3 Facebook Facebook Messenger WhatsApp
4 Instagram Instagram OneDrive (Cloud storage)


[Courtesy: https://www.webafrica.co.za/blog/social-media-2/social-media-latest-south-african-stats/]



[Courtesy: www.wearesocial.com]

This provides an insight into where the consumers are and their usage habits. Clearly, Messaging Apps are the new game changers.

There is a valid reason behind it. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Messaging Apps are closer to the personal appeal of e-mail, SMS and phone. People use these mediums for everyday communication as well as businesses.


Facebook recently opened its Messenegr API (April-2016) allowing developers to create tools needed to handle customer support on the platform. This was followed by an announcement from Whatsapp planning to launch a B2C version of its service targeted at businesses.


Similarly wechat and LINE already offer businesses a way to improve customer engagement, improve customer service and allow for payments on their platforms.


So, why use messaging apps as a customer service channel?

To answer this, let’s look at the issues faced by each of the traditional channels (Voice, e-mail, web chat, SMS) of customer services:-

Issues with Voice


Call on hold => more waiting time

With messaging apps, customer sends the message and the agent responds whenever he is available. No waiting time or on-hold time.

Agents => one customer at a time

There are messaging tools that facilitate smooth interaction with consumers even during peak contact hours and enable the agents to handle multiple messages at the same time.

Issues with e-mail


-SPAM and unwanted sign-ups/subscriptions

Messaging apps require a channel to be opened up between the 2 parties. If one of the parties is sending annoying messages, users can very easily ‘block’ or ‘mute’ the conversation.

-Interface issues

A conversation over a messaging app is much cleaner than a long e-mail thread containing innumerable replies. Also, no subject line to digress or deviate the context.

Issues with web chat


-Chat history not readily available

With mobile messaging apps, all one needs to do is scroll up to the previous chat or tap the ‘search’ icon and key in the relevant keyword.

-No recognition of returning users

Through mobile messaging apps, the agent can directly see the name, profile picture and other details of the consumer. All information related to previous interactions will be readily available as well.

Issues with SMS


-Bulk SMS: expensive affair

Most consumers treat SMS as spam. Messaging Apps enable consumers to easily respond to a group message at the convenience of a single tap.


Consumers can easily search for a business via the messaging app but achieving the same via SMS involves many steps.


Sure, messaging apps have their own weaknesses and there will be customer service issues which are better dealt with the aforementioned channels. However, for the majority of customer service tasks such as FAQs, information alerts, discounts etc. messaging apps are the future. Are you ready to take the leap?

If you are interested in integrating messaging apps with your business, connect with us at info@zealousys.com


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