Launched in 2013, WhatsApp is now the leading messaging service in the world, with more than 1.3 billion users globally, and 1 billion daily users.
However, according to research conducted by digital marketing specialists, Digimax, only 48% of British businesses have switched on to the power of WhatsApp for client communication and marketing.
Presenting an informal way to communicate quickly, and without charge, WhatsApp was originally adopted by the teenage demographic, but it’s the messaging app’s other features that most appeal to business users:
- While 38% of business clients like that it’s free to use;
- 29% like to see how long it takes the recipient to read a message (90% of WhatsApp messages are opened in three seconds);
- The overwhelming majority (73%) say that the biggest advantage of the service is the ability to see that the message has been delivered and read, giving it a distinct advantage over text messaging.
Drilling down into usage, 63% of businesses only employ WhatsApp during business hours, 67% limit the times they are available for clients on the app, and 57% have admitted to hiding their online status so that clients can’t see it.
Perhaps most interestingly, given that the app was created as part of the wave of new social media communications, 72% of business customers do not use group chats with business colleagues, keeping it for one-to-one and client communication, although the typical group size is five people, with 65% of users belonging to groups of five people or more.
When asked what features of WhatsApp business customers used, 83% said that they did not use emoji’s, meme or gifs when communicating with clients, and 74% did not think that the service was secure enough to send sensitive business documents through.
Shaz Memon, creative director at Digimax and Digimax Dental comments: “WhatsApp enables immediate, free and convenient communication and is ideal for work-related discussions.
“One of the best reasons for using the instant messaging app is that most of your customers are probably already using it – more than 50 billion messages are sent through WhatsApp every single day.
Memon continued: “However, before you create a new group for clients and colleagues, take a step back and think about the potential pitfalls of entering into a WhatsApp discussion with a disgruntled client or having endless conversations about work when you’re trying to unwind.
“By taking group sizes, basic manners, timing and content into account, you can ensure your business WhatsApp chats remain professional and keep those work/life boundaries firmly in check.”