While you might think that social media continues to rule the roost in terms of how we communicate, research from Business Insider has shown that the top four messaging apps have just as many active users as the top four social networks. And that’s a lot of users – 2.125 billion, to be precise.
So why are messaging apps gaining so much traction? For starters, messaging apps are a free alternative to sending text messages. More often than not, sending a message through an app doesn’t affect your data plan, as most apps work over Wi-Fi. And unlike many social media platforms, they also provide some level of privacy, which many young millennials value pretty highly.
Furthermore, messaging apps do so much more than just send messages. They’ve evolved to include video and text-based messages, which makes for fun communication.
And recently, a small number of companies are catching onto how messaging apps can provide an extra level of attentive customer service.
WeChat is the Everything App
WeChat is a free messaging and calling app that’s seen as a global leader in consumer marketing and technology. It’s particularly popular in China, with more than 450 million active users in that country alone. In fact, since the app began promoting their open API, it’s fast becoming ‘The Everything App’ for users of all kinds across the country.
As reported by Wired, WeChat is now how users in China “book train tickets and get their laundry done, order dinner and play the lottery, pick out clothes and play videogames. It’s the remote control for your smart home, a mobile bank, a way to renew your visa”.
Gaming corporation Caesars Entertainment has recently partnered with WeChat to create “connected hotel suites” in their Las Vegas hotel, LINQ. To effectively tap into the Chinese market, the app is available in both Mandarin and English.
Now LINQ guests can control the environment in their hotel room from the convenience of their smartphone. Guests can adjust the lighting, sound, coffee machine, blinds, thermostat and even the lock on their door via the app.
In the future, Caesars is looking at introducing both a booking and payment system through WeChat to facilitate the entire customer journey. With approximately 5 million Chinese tourists expected to visit Caesar hotel destinations in 2016, the gaming corporation is predicting that WeChat will be one of their most important tools for communicating with these tourists.
While this practice of integrating messaging apps into a companies’ communications and customer service strategy hasn’t gained wide popularity just yet, it soon could. Just as social media was once a fledgling platform, so too are messaging apps, and we’re only just beginning to see their true potential.