Opinion

How to improve the customer experience? Just look to WhatsApp’s one billion user milestone

4 min read

05 February 2016

As WhatsApp reaches the one billion user mark and even outperforms Facebook Messenger, it becomes apparent that new apps provide an additional and critical portal to transform the user experience.

Putting customers first is not a new concept, but it is incredible how many businesses prefer to hold onto old and outdated technologies rather than reach new customers and provide them with the most up-to-date services.

The companies that ditch these legacy practices and take risks with new technologies will achieve greater success in today’s hyper-competitive market.

This competition is underpinned by growing expectations amongst users, particularly when it comes to technology. If a web page takes too long to load or an application seems clunky or old-fashioned, they will not hesitate to stop using it. This is especially the case for the millennial generation.

Whilst this seems like a constant battle for businesses, they should take this in their stride to better themselves and offer the best possible products and services to retain those elusive loyal customers.

There are a number of great examples of applications that have completely revolutionised how brands communicate with customers. We’ve already referenced WhatsApp, but SnapChat, Facebook For Work and many others are equally redefining the communication space. The fast growth and huge user base of these businesses shows the ever-increasing convergence of consumer tech into B2B.

It is clear, workers are now adapting their communication methods inside work to reflect the ease at which they communicate in their personal lives. The key here is convenience. Consumers want the easy-to-use option and apps like these offer that.

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The growth in app usage indicates that to succeed in today’s connected world, brands need to adopt a mobile-first strategy; one that focuses on using such apps to create a seamless customer experience digitally.

This huge milestone for WhatsApp shows the sheer reach that an app or channel like this can target and unearths great potential to influence more customers. Mobile apps also give the customer more flexibility and control over when and how they communicate with a brand and, as such, create more loyalty.

The value that apps can bring companies is boundless – if they use them in the right way. Apps can help gather and track a great amount of user data which can help equip workers with the right information to provide a better and more targeted service.

As each user is different, it is important that they are treated and approached in different ways. Having access to this data and combining this with an improved worker experience will result in employees having the information they need to provide the best possible customer service.

From here on in, the customer’s digital footprint will only grow bigger, and so will the amount of data accumulated. To stay competitive in this digital age, brands need to arm themselves with the capability to make that data work quickly.

With up-to-the-minute consumer data, brands will be able to ensure a customer experience of the highest quality.

Seemingly discontent with his accomplishments to date, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg started the year by declaring his challenge for 2016 will be to develop technology similar to that found in Marvel’s Iron Man films.

Justin Anderson is VP of sales, CRM and HCM at cloud services firm Appirio