Will WhatsApp become a digital communication game changer?

WhatsApp brings out a solution for companies? Apart from WeChat, which in China is already something like the new Internet, the topic of messenger marketing is getting a whole new dynamic. And that comes with full power: WhatsApp, which reaches over 1.5 billion users worldwide and 83 percent of the German online population per month, will enable companies to interact and communicate with customers in real time.

Who is Afraid of WhatsApp Business?

“The so-called Rieplsche law of the media states that no socially established instrument of the information and thought exchange of other instruments, which come in the course of the time, completely replaced or displaced”, commented Christian week AG, Co-Founder & CEO at agency Gerhard lately a discussion on LinkedIn.

The statement I can not contradict, after all, even in my circle of friends, I still people who use “Teletext as the preferred New Channel”. Nevertheless I take a look at some channels and dare to make a prognosis

Where WhatsApp will stir up powerful disruptive dust in the future

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SMS

Mobile TAN, flight time changes, or payment confirmations are still very popular via SMS, as they are relatively fast, secure, and eye-catching. But they are also expensive and not very interactive. With the “Notifications” WhatsApp brings just one solution.

Forecast: complete demolition.

e-mail

In the relationship customer – company, the e-mail has become established. Invoices, shipping confirmations and other things that we like to save or print, we get via e-mail. Customer service works this way but more badly than right and current information usually does not make it to the right place at the right time. If done well, an e-mail newsletter can still come up with quite acceptable opening and click rates.

Forecast: E-mail will be available for longer than we would like. In customer service WhatsApp will prevail but very quickly.

website

The normal corporate website has long had the status of a business card on the web. Anyone who does not have a relevant blog, an online shop or a booking platform actually does not need a website to get in touch with the target group. This has taken over social media for a long time. The introduction of payment directly into WhatsApp could become the next game changer here. Who is still struggling to search websites for products when they can have everything from product advice to payment through messenger directly in the conversation?

Forecast: Web pages remain the digital home of any business – but more and more they act as a hub for all the brand’s digital touchpoints.

Social web

Facebook, YouTube and Co. have established themselves as boredom killers – if you’re looking for a bit of distraction, you’ll still appreciate the mix of updates from friends, cat content and influencer berry muesli. For brands, therefore, the audience and reach of the social web remain exciting, even if you only reach them through the use of more and more budget. The direct line to the target group, troll-free and with real feedback but WhatsApp and Co. conquer relatively quickly.

Prognosis: peaceful coexistence. Consume on social, communicate on WhatsApp.

Service hotlines

Gartner estimates that by 2022, customer service over the phone will fall 40 percent to a total of 12 percent, while chatbots and messenger service will increase from 3 percent to 22 percent.

Forecast: Please even faster! (see customer service – let professionals get started!)

No walk for WhatsApp

Despite all the popularity and possibilities, for WhatsApp the way into the business is not easy. Whether the introduction of the WhatsApp Business API has serious implications for the SMS, the service desk and the online marketing industry depends on two key factors.

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First, privacy is a big issue with WhatsApp and Facebook. The regulators will closely monitor WhatsApp and WhatsApp will have to put in a lot of effort, so that large companies also sensitive data (and this is often the case in customer service) via the app.

Second, one will have to wait and see if the prices for notifications can prevail in this way. Officially, nothing is known yet, but various media report a range between 0.5 and 9 cents per message. Pretty sporty compared to email and even versus SMS service.

So it remains exciting. I will report…

To the author: Matthias Mehner is Vice President Strategy & Innovation at WhatsBroadcast. For LEAD he writes about the subject of messenger.

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