Evidently chat apps are now a hit amongst businesses and customers alike. Some of the most commonly used chat apps locally in business are WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Most people can afford to regularly use these chat platforms owing to their relative affordability of access. This is one of the many reasons why businesses are now using chat apps in business operations – particularly in their interactions with customers. Just like in any undertaking there’s a need to do things right by knowing what to or what not to do. That’s why herein I shall be discussing some useful tips to use in your use of chat apps for business.
Why Are Chat Apps A Big Deal Now?
Chat apps, especially WhatsApp are now a huge deal owing to the so many things one can use them for in business. Intra-company communication can be effectively done using company-wide WhatsApp groups or departmental groups. Sending out customer communiqués and also providing customer support services can be effectively done with chat apps. We see this with most businesses now using WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger to handle customer care issues. Even basic advertising of products and services can be easily done using chat apps. For instance, on WhatsApp messages tend to be re-shared if composed in a catchy manner. Some businesses have even hinged their key business operations to the use of WhatsApp. A perfect local example is Fresh In A Box whose main delivery avenue is a WhatsApp number. Basically if one wants to place an order they simply send a message to a WhatsApp number dedicated for that. Here are some tips to take note:
This is really first and foremost – responding to messages as soon as possible. In practice, it’s advised that you should respond to messages within 24 hours. The thing is people are wired into the idea of ‘instant messaging’ so they expect prompt responses, especially in customer care. Responding quickly to messages helps you score big with customers who regard quick responses as good customer service.
Composition Of Messages
There are quite a number of things to take note of such as how you compose your messages. A lot of people have a tendency to use upper case when composing messages to add emphasis. That can pass off as being rude or shouting to most people; in fact, it has a tendency to be less visually appealing – so desist from doing that. If you want to add emphasis, italicize or embolden (only key parts) – don’t use capital letters for the whole message. There are certain text messages that can be taken the wrong way; in fact, this can happen to any message. To guard against this employ the use of emojis, for example, add a smiling emoji in front of ‘OK’ to avoid it being taken as rude. Don’t be overly formal but rather incorporate some healthy colloquialism where necessary. Desist from overly using abbreviations i.e. shorthand – the safest approach is to use full words. Be wary of the nature of the subject you’re discussing, for example, avoid discussing sensitive or emotionally-charged subjects through chats, voice calls or in-person would be better. The other thing to mention here is to avoid lengthy chunks of messages. Generally, people prefer messages sent in reasonably-sized snippets rather than a long chunk akin to an email message.
Integrate chat apps into your basic communication framework so that there’s seamless coherence in your coms ecosystem. Here’s what I mean, the use of chat apps shouldn’t be standalone and separate from the other communication channels you use. If someone contacts your business on WhatsApp and then they call at a later point enquiring about their prior interaction with you you should know. It wouldn’t be proper to respond as if it’s their first interaction with you simply because your chat app isn’t integrated with your other channels. Another example of my point here is when chat apps fall short other channels e.g. voice calls can take over.
We have discussed how important it is to respond quickly to customer messages. One way to help in that regard is to use chatbots (i.e. automated responses). If you’ve ever contacted Econet on Facebook Messenger or contacted some businesses using WhatsApp Business you’ll notice they use automated messages (or chatbots). These help ease customer impatience by getting a sense that they have been responded to quickly. However, note that the use of chatbots becomes more effective if the human touch is also quick to step in when messages get more complex. In principle, chatbots can only go as far as a certain point from which a human touch becomes necessary. Chatbots help in ensuring the human touch only gets in the mix to address pertinent issues thus creating more time for other things. For instance, enquiries on your business products, services and other basic issues can be handled through automated responses.
Leverage On Multimedia
With chat apps, you can more than just use text to compose messages. You also have voice notes, GIFs, emojis, images and videos – make sure you use them also. The use of audio-visual elements such as those I just highlighted goes along in getting rid of possible misinterpretations or ambiguities. After all, people are more predisposed to material composed in a visual and audio format e.g. jingles, short clips or infographics.
These are some of the tips you can make use of in business when it comes to chat apps. To even take it further you can conduct your own surveys in order to know your customers’ sentiments regarding chat app communication. Customer bases can be highly segmented and trends can always shift so be diligent enough to always ensure you’re flowing together with your customers in harmony.