Customer Service via Messaging Apps: Why It Beats Live Chat & Apps

 In Messenger Communication

Our Customer Service: Why Messaging Apps Are #1 series explores how messaging app customer service performs when compared to e-mail, telephone, social media, etc. But what about other “innovative options,” like live chat or apps? Actually, the right tool for standout customer service has been in your back pocket the whole time: WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple Messages, Viber, etc. These messaging apps are full of business potential and advantages that highlight how unwieldy and inconvenient other types of customer service really are.


Messaging Apps, Apps, or Live Chat? Why messaging apps are the only modern way to offer convenient, effective customer service.

Messaging Apps vs. Standalone Apps

  1. App Usage is Declining
  2. Apps Require More Development Effort
  3. Apps Have Minimal Reach

Messaging Apps vs. Live Chat

  1. Live Chat Costs More
  2. Live Chat Isn’t Asynchronous
  3. Modern Service Means Mobile First

Messaging Apps vs. Standalone Apps

1. App Usage is Declining

In 2008, consumer apps boomed — but now it’s 2019, and what McKinsey termed “brand app fatigue” in 2016 means that users have reached full app saturation. TechCrunch writes that over 50% of all of consumers download less than one new app per month. In the US, app downloads fell by 38% from 2014 to 2017. The golden age of apps is over, and customers aren’t interested in using a variety of apps: consumers spend the vast majority of their time on their top 3 apps. Unless you are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or maybe Amazon, it’s unlikely that your customers are interested in contacting customer service via your app.

app usage

The only apps that consumers constantly use, and which are still growing, are messaging apps. Especially in developing markets, messaging apps are the main form of communication in part due to the low data prices. Messaging app companies themselves have noticed their potential and are developing more tools for businesses, like the WhatsApp Business API and Apple Business Chat. Business messaging is the future, and it’s simpler and more seamless than apps.

2. Apps Require More Development Effort

Apps require a lot of effort, time, and budget for the original development — and then they have to be properly marketed and maintained in order to consistently offer a satisfactory experience. All of this has to be done with little to no guarantee that the app will then be downloaded or used.

In contrast, solution providers for messenger communication have fully developed programs which can be started after minimal onboarding. MessengerPeople has already provided over 1,800 customers with access to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Viber, Apple Business Chat, and Telegram for business communication, and customers can get started offering high quality service immediately. Even automation solutions like pre-set answers, Chatbot hybrids, or self-contained bots for appointment scheduling or FAQs can be developed quickly, making messaging app service a feasible, user-friendly option.

3. Apps Have Minimal Reach

WhatsApp has 1.5 billion users worldwide, and Facebook Messenger is closing in on that with 1.3 million users. It’s estimated that there are also about 1.3 million iOS devices currently in use, which shows how many users can be reached via iMessage and the business solution, Apple Business Chat. Standalone brand apps simply can’t compete. Companies have more to gain by actually expanding their reach over messaging apps, rather than engaging only a small percentage of their users with another app that has to be downloaded.


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Messaging Apps vs. Live Chat

1. Live Chat Costs More

Live chat has been touted as a cheaper, more convenient alternative to phone or e-mail service. However, messaging app service is even cheaper than live chat, and allows you to handle even more customer inquiries at one time. According to data from Execs in the Know, live chat costs a company $3 per interaction, whereas messaging apps cost only $1 per interaction. This naturally already makes a difference, but what really compounds the value of messaging apps is how many more inquiries can be resolved in the same amount of time. According to the same analysis, agents can help 15 customers per hour over live chat, whereas with messaging apps, agents can help 60 customers an hour. The savings associated with messaging apps are huge, and that’s not even touching on the better usability for consumers.

2. Live Chat Isn’t Asynchronous

Another main problem with live chat is the fact that similar to telephone, it isn’t asynchronous. The user has to stay within the browser to access the chat — if they need to leave, the internet connection fails, or they accidentally close the tab, then the entire connection is lost. Chat history often isn’t saved, so users have to repeat themselves when they start a new conversation, and they can’t find information from previous conversations. This also means that agents don’t have access to all the information they need to properly and consistently help returning customers, or offer more personalized service.

Messaging apps are an easy solution to this problem: all information is contained in one chat, and users can respond whenever is convenient. They can flexibly continue the conversation from on-the-go and still have full access to their chat history. The possibility for synchronous and asynchronous communication means that you can integrate yourselves into the customer’s life and help modern customers in a smarter, more convenient way.

3. Live Chat Isn’t Mobile-Friendly

With the growth of mobile shopping, mobile banking, and payment directly within messaging apps, such as Apple Pay or Instagram’s new shopping feature, it’s obvious that smartphones are a force to be reckoned with in terms of the user experience. Live chat is not mobile-friendly – if you’re going to chat on your phone, you want to do it over a messaging app. Live chat also doesn’t offer any of the other mobile advantages that users are used to, such as multi-media support. For companies looking to provide user-friendly mobile customer care, messaging apps are clearly the way to go.


From the extensive reach of the top global messaging apps, to the integrated pay and shopping experiences offered over Apple Business Chat, to the easy automation opportunities, messaging apps have an enormous potential for businesses. Rather than splitting resources between a variety of channels that can’t satisfy your customers, messaging apps allow you one channel that can meet all your customers’ needs in a seamless way. To learn more about how to harness the potential that WhatsApp and Co. offer, take a look at our upcoming webinars:

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