Instant messaging has changed the way the world communicates and even more so businesses. A 2017 report by HubSpot says instant messaging apps have well over 5 million monthly subscribers. This number is only likely to increase, especially because instant messaging allows for real-time communication between employees and customers. It’s little wonder that more and more businesses are integrating it into their culture.

Whether yours is a small or big business, you want to offer outstanding customer experience to better stand out from your competitors and build brand loyalty. With that in mind, here are a few tips on how to choose the ideal instant messaging software or platform for your business.

Ease of Use

Before choosing any particular instant messaging software or platform for business, you should consider how easy it is to use. How user-friendly is the interface? Is it easy to use and grasp? These are a few things to ask yourself before making a selection from the myriad of software available.

Read reviews and pay particular attention to customer and employee feedback. That way, you can make tweaks if possible, or move to another software or platform if it isn’t a good fit for your needs. In the case of customers, ease of use would also include real-time customer support. Your customers should be able to count on swift responses to any issues they might face while using a product or service.

History and Retention

A key feature of a good instant messaging platform is being able to retain the history of previous messages. This is particularly useful in the case of employee-to-employee conversations. For instance, if there is a discussion on important business tasks to achieve, it is likely that one or both employees would refer back to that conversation.

Therefore, it is very important to work with software with great information retention features. Always keep in mind that the software in question should be a useful tool that fosters productivity rather than disorganization.

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Privacy and Security

While the internet has many positives such as real-time solutions to issues, it also has a few quirks, such as internet security. A few questions you should ask before choosing an option are: How secure is the software? How susceptible is it to hacks?

Employees are more likely to communicate on a platform that they believe is private and secure. In the case of customers, where personal information may be shared, they will only communicate via software that they believe is secure. Otherwise, they will rely on emails or phone calls. So, before making your selection, find out how secure the software is. End-to-end (E2EE) encryption and Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption should put even the most skeptic customers at ease.

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Analytics

Analytics is a very important feature to look out for when choosing an instant messaging software for your business, as customers and employees may want to refer to previous interactions and stats.

In addition, analytics offers businesses key information on customer behavior, location and other indicators, which would be very useful in understanding customer needs, as customers cannot be properly served unless they are understood. However, be sure to choose a software that has a great privacy policy, which informs users on how their data will be used.

How Well it Integrates with Third-Party Software

Another key feature to look out for is how well it integrates with third-party software. The perfect instant messaging software or platform would be able to integrate seamlessly with essential business apps to provide additional value for its customers.

These days, instant messaging software is able to integrate with social media, email marketing, customer relationship management, and content management system tools. This basically offers the users a personalized experience. For instance, TextMagic has Zapier SMS Integrations which allows third-party compatibility with your favorite apps.

Customer Satisfaction

A customer experience report in 2011 revealed that just 1% of customers, felt satisfaction from the brands they patronize often. That was 8 years ago and a lot has changed since then. Why? Real-time conversation and conversion.

A more recent report says 63% of customers are returning visitors of sites that offer live-chat support. Most customers prefer real-time solutions rather than make calls or emails, which may take forever. So, there is a strong preference for companies who offer 24/7 support, not letting their customers grapple with issues alone. 76% of customers are loyal to brands that offer this service.

Another additional feature worth looking out for is screen sharing. Sometimes, customers are unable to grasp the use of a website or service but with the help of this feature, customer care agents are able to point customers in the right direction by sharing their screen and showing them how it is done. With all that in mind, it is very important to choose software that can offer all these and more.

Mobile Compatibility

You would be doing huge disservice your business by choosing platforms that aren’t responsive to mobile devices. Without mobile compatibility, you put your business at risk of losing customers to the competition, who place huge importance on mobile phone and tablet users. According to Statista, mobile phone usage is expected to rise to 273.8 million in the US.

So, imagine how many potential users your business could be losing out on, especially as the figure is expected to rise by over 3 million in 2020? Still, on the issue of mobile compatibility, you should ensure that your chosen software is compatible with all browsers and not just a few.

Pricing

Once you have considered everything above and found a software that suits your business, the final thing to put into consideration is pricing. Be sure to review everything as regards this, for instance, how many chats are allowed on the plan you can afford, and if users receive monthly reports or discounts. After choosing the most affordable plan, it would be a good idea to test-run the software for a few months, rather than pay for a whole year, in case you need to change software.

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In Conclusion

Implementing the right instant messenger for your business may just be the thing that will give your business the boost it needs in terms of improving employee productivity and customer loyalty. However, it’s easy to get confused when selecting software from the myriad of options available. The checklist above should prove useful in narrowing down your options, to select the one that best suits your needs.