iMessage vs. WhatsApp: What’s the best business app for communicating with your clients?

What do customer service and messaging apps have in common? They are essential for providing a great customer experience! But: what’s the best messaging app? Kara Dilling, business development manager at influencer affiliate platform stylink explains in our WUMMM weekly talk how messaging and customer service go hand in hand, and why she thinks iMessage can be the better business app to communicate with your clients. 

What do you hope to get out of messenger communication with your customers? How do a 90 percent opening rate and doubling the number of users in a few months sound to you? That’s exactly what happened to the influencer affiliate platform stylink – by using iMessage! When the German company grew internationally, they soon realized that they also needed to expand their messaging services.

While WhatsApp is the number one messaging app in a lot of countries, they were able to reach a lot more customers in the U.S. and Australia with the Apple Messages for Business. In our weekly WUMMM talk, stylink’s business development manager Kara Dilling explains how Apple Messages for Business works, how iMessage has helped them to reach their clients more directly, and why choosing the right messaging app for your market is key.

What does stylink do, and why do you love messaging so much?

stylink is a European affiliate platform for influencers. Basically, we work with influencers and shops, and we help the influencers to create affiliate links from any of our partners, and then the influencers can earn money through those links.

As we work with influencers from various industries, from beauty to fashion to finance, we have found that messaging apps are the most direct way to communicate with our customers.

Messaging is the easiest way for us to have this personal contact with our customers, stay in touch with them, and build trust.

You initially started with the WhatsApp Business App. How did your service on WhatsApp develop?

We started out four years ago using the WhatsApp for Business App via an old iPhone. That phone still exists, by the way! However, throughout the years our company grew, and we started to get more and more requests for our customer support. That’s when we switched from the WhatsApp Business App to the WhatsApp Business API and MessengerPeople.

After expanding, our customer support inquiries also increased a lot, and we needed an upgrade. We started to work with MessengerPeople, which really helped us to handle all of these incoming requests, and are now using the service in every country.

We also started using MessengerPeople’s MIA tool to send out newsletters – pushing our marketing – and updates from brands to our influencers. And we are also using the tool to send our influencers their individual affiliate links.

They first send us a message, then we verify that it’s a registered user, and then generate an automated affiliate link for them. This has greatly increased the number of monthly WhatsApp users, and we have gotten a lot of positive feedback for the link service. Receiving the links directly on WhatsApp makes it a lot easier for influencers to upload them to their social media profiles directly from their smartphones.

Since then, stylink has greatly expanded. Now you are present in eleven countries worldwide. How did that change your messaging service?

We learned very fast that you have to research first what messaging services people use in a country you want to expand to. For instance, when we started in the U.S., we soon realized that very few people use WhatsApp there. So, we had to come up with a different messaging channel to reach the influencers because we still wanted to keep our communication personal and direct.

And that’s when we decided to use iMessage through Apple Messages for Business, and, for Android phones, RCS messaging. We combined that with a support team of native speakers to build trust with our customers, and a better sense of community. We promoted the service through our e-mail newsletter and through influencer campaigns with our partner stores—and we’ve had great success.

On iMessage, we have message open rates of over 90 percent. When we send out iMessage links through our newsletter, we have a click-through rate of more than 60 percent. And we were able to double our user base in the U.S. in just two months!

👉 Secure yourself the case study to find out how stylink was able to achieve this 🤯 success on iMessage!

💡 Businesses can use iMessage, but it’s officially called Apple Messages for Business

Apple Message for Business is the business equivalent to the private iMessage. It’s meant for communication between customers and companies. iMessage was introduced by Apple for private communication.

Both chat types take place in Apple’s “Messages” app, which also includes the familiar SMS if one of the conversation partners does not have an Apple device. In the Messages app, users can see the differences by the different colors of the chat messages.

As iPhone user, you may have already noticed this: the green chats are for SMS text messages, blue is the iMessage chat, and grey is Apple Business chat.

For people who are not familiar with iMessage’s business chat, how does Apple Business really work?

It’s very easy! We use Apple Messages for Business through the MessengerPeople Communication Platform. So, all we had to do was register for it, upload our logo, and wait for confirmation, which came really fast. For us, it’s really great to have all messaging services we use in one tool.

Where do you see the differences between WhatsApp and iMessage?

Each messaging service has its advantages. With WhatsApp, you don’t need to worry about different operating systems on phones. With iMessage, on the other hand, you don’t need a local SIM card and phone number to register, which makes it easier for international expansion.

Unlike on WhatsApp, there are also no additional charges for sending newsletters and messages on iMessage, so it reduces costs. You also don’t need pre-approved templates, and you can send voice messages, which we love because we can send out very personalized messages to our customers.

And, it’s also an advantage for users: they don’t need to install an additional app, as iMessage already comes with every iPhone.

The last time we spoke, you already had a high WhatsApp usage. Today, you have over 10,000 users on your messaging channels. How do you handle that?

The growth has really been fast. At the end of 2020, we had seven people on our support team. Now, we have ten times as many employees.

MessengerPeople has been a great support for our expansion. It’s a great tool for skaling! We are able to open a new channels for every new country we enter. The ticketing system is also very efficient. Every inquiry is assigned to a agent and nothing ever gets lost.

What tips do you have for companies that want to start with or develop their business messaging services?

  1. First, I would say to make sure that you use messaging to establish a personal relationship with your customers. Don’t just copy-paste messages. Find out what your customers want, and cater your service exactly to their needs.
  2. Second, if you are an international company, I’d recommend creating a different channel for each country on the MessengerPeople communication platform. It will help you to stay organized, and also give you valuable insights into the differences between the markets.
  3. And finally, research the messaging usage in your target countries first. That’s really the best way to offer the best service to your customers.

🍏 MessengerPeople is an approved Messaging Service Provider for Apple Messages for Business. Find out how to use Apple Messages for Business as a new, innovative way to talk to your customers one on one over iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch!

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