#5 Messenger Update: Which Messaging Service Suits Your Business?

Is there a ‘best business chat app’? While the main contenders all have similarities and differences we can use a stack of KPIs to gauge their overall effectiveness and make an informed decision. But which will emerge victoriously?

by Verena Feller

The world of business messaging apps is a bit like the Wild West – without the gunslinging. That said, the battle for supremacy is probably even bloodier. But can you really pit Google Chat, Facebook Messenger For Business, Apple Business Chat, WhatsApp For Business, and Web Messaging Apps against each other directly?

Well, we are – right here and now! So how are we going to measure them? Which KPIs are we concerned with? For the purposes of this article we will look at an adapted version of AARRR metric model - used by many startup businesses. In addition to being a famous pirate expression(!), AARRR is also an acronym meaning:

  • Acquisition -- does it help users find your business?
  • Activation -- does it give them a great first experience
  • Retention -- does it ensure they come back?
  • Revenue -- does it make money for your business?
  • Referral -- does it make them tell their friends?

Pretty straightforward, right? Let’s get started.

1. Google Chat

android-messages The search giant’s latest foray into mobile messaging, which saw the introduction of Rich Communication Services (RCS) – SMS’ successor – means there is plenty of scope for brands and businesses to offer customer service and support in real time.

  • Acquisition -- If you have an Android phone, Chat is already there (or soon will be). And considering how many Android handsets are sold globally (around 2 billion at last count) Google may well have hit the jackpot in terms of user numbers.
  • Activation -- RCS’ richer media functionality allows messages to be sent via the GSMA network, meaning greater coverage. But it also ensures that each brand’s interface looks like a seamless digital shop front, so it is clear who users are talking to and who they are buying from.
  • Retention -- The fact that there is no end-to-end encryption could be a turn off to some; particularly given the media scrutiny given to data security of late by some big tech players (no names mentioned...).
  • Revenue -- This is where Chat falls down to some extent. While we can presume that Google Pay For Android will at some point be paired with its business messaging tool, nothing’s concrete as yet. This will be essential from a sales standpoint. And also, from a user perspective, the fact Chat uses the mobile network means messages could eat into a user’s monthly allowance.
  • Referral -- Diehard Androiders will no doubt love Google Chat. So adoption will more than likely be swift and lasting. But as for converting iOS fanboys and girls? Not a chance.

2. Apple Business Chat

Apple Business Chat Apple may have been late to the business messaging party, but they did not rush the details. However, Apple Business Chat is very similar to iMessage, so on the surface it may seem as though nothing totally new is featured. But that is not necessarily the case.

  • Acquisition -- If Apple Business Chat follows suit with iMessage, then there is a good chance that it will be pre-installed on every new Apple device -- iPhone, iPads, and Macs; meaning conversations that started in one place can seamlessly move to another. Smart move.
  • Activation -- Apple is known for replicating the sleek design of its hardware and transposing it into an equally smooth user experience. Apple Business Chat is no exception. Aligning your business with that is no bad thing.
  • Retention -- Messages are fully encrypted, so the security conscious will definitely be happy with that. And… it’s Apple, right? You get one device and others shortly follow.
  • Revenue -- Apple Pay is fully integrated with Business Chat, so that is a definite bonus. Not only that, but the two working in tandem basically form a new sales platform; giving companies the chance to convert customers in the app itself.
  • Referral -- The main caveat with Apple Business Chat is that it is restricted by geography. It is currently only available in the US, which means world domination is not entirely assured: yet.

3. Web Messaging Apps

Web Messaging Apps It is easy to forget that apps are not just a mobile phenomenon. Web apps, like in-browser messaging and web push notifications, start from an advantageous standpoint – the fact that those they are served to are already engaged. But does that make conversion easier?

  • Acquisition -- The job’s already been done. Customers are actively exploring your site. Stress not.
  • Activation -- There are two schools of thought as to whether these messages offer a good user experience or not. Yes, both are basically ‘interruptions’ in the conventional advertising sense. But they are also native aspects of your site. Well, in-browser ads are. Although web push notifications manifest in the same way as other desktop announcements.
  • Retention -- Web push messages work even when the customer navigates away from your site; as long as their browser is still open – so a well-timed message could bring an abandoned cart back into the fold. One problem though: users need to opt-in to see these messages. Good job they have in-browser messages to prompt them to do so.
  • Revenue -- As these types of communications can be directly linked to your brand’s digital store, they arguably offer the best monetization motivation.
  • Referral -- If a web messaging app gives customers a way to share a relevant offer, incentive, or code then, yup, there is every chance they will do exactly that: if they see value in doing so. It all depends on how each app is set up.

4. WhatsApp for Business

WhatsApp Business Although owned by Facebook, WhatsApp’s global popularity supercedes its parent brand’s Messenger service. Payments are already possible, but when it finally launches a formal business app, will chats be as forthcoming?

  • Acquisition -- WhatsApp, in its current form, might seem a bit too informal for many businesses. But the sheer scale of its reach makes it worth considering.
  • Activation -- WhatsApp is still ad-free; so no complaints there. But the quality of communication right now is down to the brand’s customer service agent.
  • Retention -- Real-time communication is the saving grace here. But there is little in the way of channel customization for those who use WhatsApp as a business tool. So the user experience is literally the same as messaging another person. Which might not actually be a bad thing.
  • Revenue -- Right now, peer-to-peer payments are possible, but other than that, WhatsApp as a business service is best suited to being a robust service tool.
  • Referral -- Basically, if your business is still small scale enough to establish a presence on WhatsApp, you have every opportunity to grow brand awareness, through word-of-mouth.

5. Facebook Messenger for Business

Facebook Messenger For many, Facebook Messenger is the gold standard for peer-to-peer messaging. And given that some 20 million businesses are already communicating with customers on the platform, there can be no speculation that it is performing well. But given Facebook’s recent data breach, do customers still have the same brand confidence - even though Messenger is a separate platform?

  • Acquisition -- When Messenger 2.2 launched back in November 2017, one of its best features was the customer chat plug-in; which effectively gave businesses the ability to integrate Messenger into their websites.
  • Activation -- With Messenger now visible in more places, more people can use it: not just Facebook users. And Facebook users get an instantly personalized greeting when they navigate to a site that uses the plug-in.
  • Retention -- With Messenger now a multi-platform communication tool, there is greater opportunity for customers to engage with brands.
  • Revenue -- Yup, it has user-friendly payment technology firmly embedded.
  • Referral -- In all honesty, your customers’ friends are probably already using Messenger if they use Facebook. But that does not necessarily mean that they would recommend a specific brand’s communication channel within it: though such close proximity makes it a darn sight easier for them to do so.

And The Winner Is… Your Business!

Creating an effective, memorable, and enjoyable customer experience, means using the channels that are right for your business and your customers. And that depends on who your target customer is, where they are, and – just as importantly – the nature of your product and service.

Messaging apps are designed to empower individuals, so the ability to showcase your brand in a distinctive and meaningful way is, of course, a huge benefit. But maintaining a first-class level of customer service that consistently engages customers in the right way, at the right moment, is part of a wider strategy.

Mesaic offers a range of insight, strategic support, and advice on ways to optimize your customer experience across every app, messaging service, and touchpoint. Talk to us today!

„Creating an effective, memorable, and enjoyable customer experience, means using the channels that are right for your business and your customers.“
Verena Feller
Verena is responsible for online marketing at Mesaic. She is interested in online communication and social media channels.

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