Monday, May 20, 2024

Verified brands can now earn ‘blue tick’ on Viber

Experiencing the same penetration rate in the Philippines as it did in 2020, instant messaging platform Viber has seen local transactional business messages soaring to 603% and chatbots expanding by 34%.

To build on this momentum, Rakuten Viber officially launched a dedicated hub where individuals can manage brand-user interactions called “Business Inbox,” and a searchable “Commercial Account” that will act as a centralized touchpoint that users and customers can access to engage with brands.

As a natural next step in Rakuten Viber’s long-term superapp strategy, the two features are designed to build user trust and safety when they are engaging with a brand, a vision that is further reinforced by adding a “blue checkmark” for verified businesses to prevent impersonations.

In a McKinsey report that sheds light on how demonstrating customer intimacy directly influences revenue growth rate, 82% of organizations are planning on improving the way they deliver customer value through services while 71% of consumers expect companies to provide more personalized interactions.

In an earlier statement by Rakuten Viber senior partnership manager Berina Tanovic, even before the pandemic, users were already spending more time on their smartphones — which is also their primary method for accessing the Internet.

“The first thing they do and what they visit online is social media or messaging apps…during the Covid restrictions they were not able to go to the stores and ask questions to the staff in-store so they wanted direct access to the brand to ask questions or to share their interest in the products,” she explained.

Beyond conversations with businesses, the Business Inbox function also includes bank notifications, order confirmation, special offers, and many more. Previous conversations before the update will also be automatically migrated to this folder, and users have the discretion on which brand messages are moved to the main Chats screen.

Rakuten Viber chief revenue officer Cristina Constandache says that the major update to Viber represent a strong foundation for the introduction of additional features as part of the company’s superapp strategy.

Currently, the app has been downloaded over a billion times on Android alone while ads impressions reached 6 billion — with 680.1 million coming from the Philippines.

“This strategy aims to improve the utility of the app for users and expand the ways in which brands can connect with their audience in a natural way, resulting in increased value for both parties. By adding more features, services, and communication channels, Viber is able to offer more value to both users and brands in a streamlined manner,” she said.

Meanwhile, the reinvented Commercial Account feature will not allow users to access verified brands and communicate with them, but also host business information and services/products offered. Brands can also direct potential customers to their mini-website opened from the Viber application.

“Knowing and responding to these personal and business communication needs of our users has resulted in growth in the usage of new features and solutions. This growth tells us we are on the right track in always prioritizing our customers,” Rakuten Viber Apac senior director David Tse said in a statement.

Rakuten Viber has clear indications that it will continue to roll out features to better improve the experience of customers and brands using the platform for business. Both the Business Inbox and Commercial Account are now live with the latest version of the app.

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