Messenger Services

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Digital communication has firmly established itself in our everyday lives. About 75% of all Germans use the services of WhatsApp. Almost one in two [1] currently uses Facebook. In the business environment, too, agreements and discussions take place to a large extent online.

In order to gain a better understanding of different target groups, we take a closer look at the best-known communication channels in both application areas:

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is currently the most popular messenger service on mobile devices in German-speaking countries and has made the use of SMS almost superfluous, especially among young people. This development can also be observed in many countries in South America, Africa and Asia. However, the service is not so popular in its own market (USA). 

  • Target group: comprehensive
  • Application examples for chatbots: newsletter, customer service, appointments, bookings, etc.
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, web browser, Windows Phone, Windows 10
  • Website: https://www.whatsapp.com/

WhatsApp notifications are active for almost all users. A direct customer contact can be established quickly and easily via a Business API.

 

Facebook Messenger

As an independent application, the Facebook Messenger is virtually necessary to write messages about Facebook from the smartphone. The majority of Facebook users therefore use Messenger. In addition to the classic chat functions, interaction with bots through Quick Replies is easily possible.

  • Target group: comprehensive
  • Examples for the use of chatbots: news, FAQ, recruiting, consulting, customer service, etc.
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, web browser, Windows Phone, Windows 10
  • Website: https://www.facebook.com/messenger/

Young people are currently disappearing rapidly from the platform, but older people are discovering the network for themselves. Users are well connected with each other, both in the narrower circle and internationally. chatbots can be integrated in a largely uncomplicated way.

 

telegram

Safety is the top priority for the Telegram messenger service. The Messenger is, thanks to a huge sum of investments, free of costs and advertising, cloud-based and runs on open-source software. 

  • Target group: comprehensive
  • Examples of use for chatbots: newsletters, customer service, appointments, bookings, events, etc.
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Firefox OS, Ubuntu Touch, Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Website: https://telegram.org/

Telegram is becoming more and more popular. "Fridays For Future" demonstrators use the Messenger to organize themselves, to pass on their live location and to network. Bots are easy to create and have a lot of features available.

 

WeChat

In addition to standard messenger functions (partly only in China), WeChat also offers the ability to order food, pay bills, search for jobs, arrange appointments with doctors, play games and much more. In the meantime, it has also been expanded to include the mobile payment system "WeChat Pay". WeChat forwards data to Chinese authorities [3].

  • Target group: mainly China; comprehensive
  • Application examples for chatbots: orders, events, customer support, newsletters, etc.
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Blackberry OS, Windows, macOS
  • Website: https://www.wechat.com/

In the People's Republic of China, WeChat has already become the center for numerous online activities. Strong networking with Chinese authorities makes the platform practically essential for every citizen. Censorships take place. The platform is also attracting new users outside the country. Chatbots are relatively easy to implement.

 

viber

Viber can be used to send messages and make IP phone calls. Calls between Viber users are free, outgoing calls to telephone networks are possible, but subject to a charge (pre-paid model). As far as data protection is concerned, Viber has often been subject to strong criticism in the past [2]. The Japanese company Rakuten took over the company in 2014.

  • Target group: comprehensive
  • Application examples for chatbots: newsletters, messages, customer support, etc.
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Windows Phone, Win 10 Mobile, Windows, macOS, Linux
  • Website: https://www.viber.com/

In order to correctly implement chatbots on the platform, a monthly fee may be charged.

 

kik

Kik is very popular with young people (in the USA). This is partly due to the function to hide messages (from the parents) and to download extensions directly in the app. Chats are possible anonymously without any limitations and without giving the mobile phone number. This is heavily criticised by various experts, especially in view of the young target group.

  • Target group: 13-24 years, mainly in the USA
  • Examples for the use of chatbots: storytelling, newsletters, news, promos, etc.
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Blackberry OS (5, 6, 7) Nokia Series 40, Windows 10 Mobile
  • Website: https://www.kik.com/

An interesting use of chatbots on Kik is certainly "coco”. The chatbot offers "emotional support" for users and has already reached more than 200,000 people [4].

 

line

While problems arose in the Japanese telephone network, Line became popular. News, video and voice calls are free. Similar to Facebook, there is a timeline. Unlike WhatsApp, contacts are not automatically added. So it is possible to better control your conversations and data.

  • Target group: mainly Asia; comprehensive
  • Examples for the use of chatbots: storytelling, newsletters, news, promos, etc.
  • Platforms: Android, iOS, Blackberry OS (5, 6, 7) Nokia Series 40, Windows 10 Mobile
  • Website: https://line.me/

Line offers a free Bot Designer to start with, a connection for more complex bots is possible through APIs.

 

slack

Group, channel or individual chat are possible with Slack. The name is an acronym and stands for "Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge. Due to a cooperation with Google, for example, a Google drive bot can be integrated, which posts comments and requests for access to drive documents in Slack. Use without archive access is free of charge.

  • Target group: Business users
  • Application examples for chatbots: IT support, appointment coordination, employee support, etc.
  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, Linux, Apple iOS, Android, Microsoft Windows Phone
  • Website: https://slack.com

The use of chatbots on slack is strongly limited to business contexts and can accelerate or facilitate work processes. 

 

Microsoft teams

Microsoft Teams is integrated into the 365 Office suite and allows chats, meetings, notes and attachments to be combined. The platform offers the possibility to integrate extensions from third parties. 

  • Target group: Business users
  • Application examples for chatbots: IT support, appointment coordination, employee support, learning aid etc.
  • Platforms: Windows, macOS, iOS, Android
  • Website: https://teams.microsoft.com/

Similar to Slack, Microsoft teams focus on business use. However, the use of a chatbot in learning scenarios is also interesting, as teams are used in Microsoft for Education.

 

Google Hangouts

News, video and voice calls are possible via Google Handouts. In the past, the service was also used for private conversations, but at the latest since the introduction of the G-Suite, its use in companies has clearly predominated.

  • Target group: Business users
  • Examples of chatbot applications: management, setup and configuration, order generation, search, data collection
  • Platforms: Web application, Android, iOS
  • Website: https://hangouts.google.com

Chatbots make sense for hangouts mainly when working with the G-Suite. Integration is possible through developer interfaces [5].

 

 

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Sources

https://cai.tools.sap/docs/concepts/channel

https://app.smooch.io/integrations/categories/customer-channels

https://de.statista.com/infografik/16855/anteil-der-deutschen-die-soziale-medien-taeglich-nutzen/ [1]

https://de.statista.com/prognosen/999735/umfrage-in-deutschland-zu-beliebten-messengern

https://www.zeit.de/2012/09/Telefonsoftware-Viber/komplettansicht [2]

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/companies/wechat-confirms-that-it-makes-all-private-user-data-available-to-the-chinese-government-2391847.html [3]

https://www.kik.com/casestudy/koko/ [4]

https://developers.google.com/hangouts/chat/concepts/bots [5]