“What are we going to do tonight,” Pinky asks Brain. “Same thing we do every night, Pinky, try to take over the world.”
The two famous lab rats – one a genius, the other insane – make this exchange after they fail in their quest to rule over the world. If Warner Brothers were to revive the cartoon series today (it ended in 1998), there is no doubt one of the episodes would tackle social media and how many have used it as a tool to dominate the world.
Social and content honcho Amaury Tréguer predicts conversational commerce – using automated conversations to drive up commerce – will shape social media this 2020, a forecast that is not impossible to happen as Australian businesses are already using bots and machines mimicking a human voice to boost customer service and sales. Treguer also sees an evolution of conversational commerce towards what he calls “WeChattisation” – after WeChat’s strategy of integrating messaging, shopping, payment, and booking – without ever leaving the famous Chinese platform.
WeChat is so popular Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is planning to copy it by fusing Libra, a digital currency, into all his other social media platforms, such as Instagram and WhatsApp, to entice billions of users to do what they need to do within just one app. It cannot be denied that with over 3 billion users worldwide, Facebook is the world leader in social media, except in China where it is banned. But is the proposed integration of Libra good news for industries whose customers are the heart of the business or is Zuckerberg just out to take over the world?
We are in a fast-paced world, and people need information fast. Almost all people in the world use smartphones to do just about anything because they are handy and easy-to-use. Consumers expect services now to be also like a smartphone — a place where they can get information as quickly as possible. Unlike emails, new communication platforms, like WhatsApp, which you can install in both smartphone or desktop, trimmed the procedure a customer needs to go through to successfully conclude a sale to only two steps: (1) open the message, and (2) respond to the message.
The massive 1.5 billion WhatsApp users is not the only reason why businesses are enticed to use WhatsApp – it is also the engagement. According to RocketBots, WhatsApp users send out 45 messages per day on average. WhatsApp enjoys high traffic because it is commonly used to send messages to family and friends. Users naturally constantly check it. The messaging app also has read and receipt indicators, which, RocketBots said are forms of “psychological pressure” for users to respond to messages they receive. Because WhatsApp is used mainly for personal communication, the tone is typically informal and friendly. With these new communication platforms, unanswered calls and obtrusive contact are expected to drop.
In some industries where customer is king contact can be abrasive at times. People are turned off as soon as they hear the keywords to a sales pitch. Because of this, there is a difficulty of reaching out to clients to create a more personal connection. Conversational commerce, through WhatsApp, is now powered by artificial intelligence that anticipates a customer’s behaviour and needs without being too pushy. The friendly tone draws users to share more information about themselves, and the information shared helps bots create personal recommendations, rather blanket solutions. Bots are friendlier, intending to convert one sale into one loyal customer.
Meaningful conversations are a premium in a customer-centric industry. The trend now is leaning towards a tool or an app that anticipates a customer’s behaviour, engages the customer, and provides personalized responses, in a friendly manner. As in the debt collection industry, each client has different problems that need tailored solutions. With WhatsApp and conversational commerce, gone are the days of generic answers.
There are pros and cons in the rise of new modes of communication. For one, the integration of many things into one app makes people worry about their information being vulnerable to data theft. There are solutions to these concerns though (e.g. WhatsApp has end-to-end encryption where only the sender and the receiver can see the messages), and it is up to us human beings to use technology to improve, not destroy our industries.
“Is Zuckerberg Pinky, or is he Brain? Only time will tell. The answer to that will be told in generations to come when general consensus will decipher whether he has positively or negatively affected the way business is down around the world. One thing is for sure. He is trying to take over the world”.
Liam White joined the Slater Byrne Recoveries team in early 2013. He has worked across the credit & dispute resolution industry for a number of years. He is currently working in a Marketing/Head of Sales capacity at Slater Byrne Recoveries.
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