Communication builds interpersonal relations. Its immense contribution in connecting people, ideas and opportunities are what prompted people to challenge modern technology to transform communication into a channel that is more convenient and more accessible for all. It was that particular drive of aspiration that gave birth to the development of instant messaging.
Instant Messaging and the Need to Stay Connected
Instant messaging (IM) took a huge role in improving the current system of connectivity without the hassle of distance and time. It started its popularity in the late ’90s, where Mirabilis introduced ICQ (which stands for “I Seek You”), a free Instant messaging that’s accessible to everyone. Between 2000 -2004, it became popular mostly to people in their early teens and young adulthood. Due to the warm reception it received from consumers, IM almost surpassed text messaging as the best communication channel for end-users. Now a more complex and better-equipped system, IM is being used for more than just casual conversations and is one of the more common modes of communication for people of all ages.
Advantages of Instant Messaging
As technology continuously devised ways on how to make interactions more convenient, the social need to be connected also continued its evolution. Through IM and its added innovations and novelties that have been bundled within it – this platform is now globally used for a variety of purposes including currently as a tool in the business sector. Instant messaging, originally created for entertainment and social interactions, also commenced its role in the business industry. Built upon the need for interactions to further business growth, companies left and right utilized the functions of instant messaging marketing, lead generation, and customer support purposes. The benefits of instant messaging for business, which has since been at the core of fostering B2B and B2C relations, are as follows:
Real-time interaction – Distance and location are no longer a hindrance with instant messaging. People can connect with their loved ones while businesses can keep in touch with their customers regardless of where they are across the globe. This is one of the most obvious advantages of IM. Unlike emails, instant messaging allows messages to be opened in real-time.
When applied to a brand’s overall operations for customer assistance, it helps support agents deliver faster response and provide solutions to a bigger bulk of client queries. This is especially true for businesses that regularly receive large volumes of customer feedback.
Cost-effective – The best thing about IM is its low-cost usability. With the power of the internet, connectivity and communication are made possible at any given time and place.
One example of this is video conferencing, where business owners can improve how they operate transactions with customers and business partners, international trades (if applicable) as well as promote better cooperation among their employees.
Convenient – The convenience of IM is quite visible in the business sector. Aside from its capability to send and receive messages in real-time, its features are also both computer and mobile-friendly.
Not only that, by using IM as a communication tool, customers no longer have to use e-mails to upload or attach documents. IM allows users to exchange files — a feature that benefits businesses, their partners and their customers.
Easy documentation – For a business holder, it is important to keep track of all messages exchanged between the company and its customers.
One of IM’s features is maintaining a record for all sent and received messages, making it a good reference for recalling specific information about both previous and current business transactions, departmental meetings, and engagements with customers.
Filtering Spam – Unlike any other platforms, instant messaging can reduce spam or prevent it from penetrating. What’s so good about instant messaging is unlike emails, it does not clutter – this is more applicable for businesses that want an immediate response without interruptions from spam.
Disadvantages of Instant Messaging
Despite the convenience of IM, it still has certain drawbacks that need careful thought and consideration:
Vulnerable security – one of the adverse consequences of using instant messaging is its susceptibility to an online threat. The very nature of being a third party application makes instant messaging vulnerable to malicious attacks, including the robbery of vital system information that could hurt business operations badly.
Anyone can jump into the chat and collect information on the business meetings, and/or confidential and proprietary documents. It is also very delicate to software malware that can damage the computer’s network.
Virus – If an IM’s poor security system is overlooked, it can lead to the acquisition of viruses and spyware. If a business uses an instant messaging app that’s been infiltrated with such harmful bugs, it could breach confidential messages exchanged between the business owner and the customers. Ultimately, the company’s overall operations and development could be jeopardized.
Workplace Distraction – Real-time connectivity is not new to the instance of user misuse. Instant messaging apps like Facebook Messenger can be accessed using a Smartphone, and it could potentially distract employees from fulfilling their tasks. This can affect the overall productivity of the business.
Compatibility – There are several types of instant messaging platforms, each with its unique network and system requirements. As such, it may not be readily available. There are IM platforms that need a particular program to be installed for it to enable access to multiple networks simultaneously.
If this is not given prior assessment by the business that wishes to avail the said IM platform, it could be a waste of investment, time and resources.
Instant Messaging for Business as a Tool
Change is constant, like the human nature of having illimitable satisfaction – man will always seek for improvement. This very reason is why from the usual paper mails transformed to e-mails, then from e-mails it evolved into a variety of platforms namely, text, calls, group chat, video calls, video conferencing, and instant messaging. Development as it was – from social interactions and entertainment, instant messaging abruptly created diverse purposes – including now as an extension of businesses. IM, as it is today, provides a platform that can be used to serve the planned purpose of communication; be it person-to-person, person-to-business, business-to-customer or business-to-business. Beyond the casual conversations between friends, IM has been effectively utilized as a way to enhance consumer experience and/or generate revenue. A few great examples of the industrial contributions of Instant Messaging Solutions include:
Customer Service – The convenience it brings satisfies the customer’s need for accessible assistance and quick response. Instant messaging also eliminates common dilemmas and communication hurdles experienced during phone calls.
Obstructions such as noisy background, weak signal and even different ways people pronounce certain words due to their accent may diminish the clarity of the conversation and thereby contribute to the customer’s confusion and discomfort.
Engagement – Internal communication in a company’s different departments is necessary. Whether the conversation is done to accomplish sales and marketing objectives or maintain camaraderie among the staff, instant messaging helps bring people together and facilitate a solid exercise of team building and open communication among the parties involved.
Notifications – Another perk of instant messaging is how it manages to notify people in an instant. The urgency, interest and even the social engagements among businesses and end-users are being updated in real-time.
Also, e-commerce business can promote their products and reach their customers faster because of its availability in an instant – increasing advertisement and commercials means an increase in leads and production.
Advertising/Marketing – The development of businesses is highly dependent on the marketing strategy that it is coupled with. Well, technically speaking, if the business sector utilizes and maximizes its promotion through wide distribution of their products, then it is more likely that a higher amount of income will be received.
This is because it will occupy not just opportunities for global knowledge of what their businesses can do, but also a higher probability of attracting customer’s interest with what they can offer.
Sales – Products and services can quite be more profitable with the help of instant messaging. Not only is IM customer-centric, it likewise helps businesses deliver more personalized or one-on-one assistance to interested buyers. Similar to when a customer shops at a brand’s physical store, having a sales personnel assist them exclusively consequently boosts their shopping experience.
There are several other practical applications for IM that can be set depending on the core objectives of a business.
Choosing Instant Messaging Services
With the availability of what is now dubbed as communication’s ‘big four’—Text Messaging, Email, Voice and Instant Messaging, should a greater consideration be given to IM? Text messaging is just as convenient especially in this age of smartphones. Email is still viable, and most businesses still use it. Voice is the most direct form of communicating with people. The x-factor of instant messaging is that it has a little bit of the advantages that its messaging counterparts have. It is like text messaging but only quicker and with more options that enhance the end user’s experience. Like email, IM can include content that would otherwise be unseen via text messaging or discarded by spam filters. It is also as convenient as voice calls but with the added benefit of having a text-based record of conversations which can be reviewed any time. Instant messaging keeps individuals and brands connected through maximizing convenience and the quick transfer of information. When used smartly and carefully, it could lead to a vast network of strong connections sitting at everybody’s fingertips. At New Media Services, we offer IM solutions that are not only capable of giving you connections, but likewise boosting the accessibility and appeal of your business. With its distinct features such as providing round-the-clock 24/7 live chat, real-time updates & quick response, secure messaging and chat reports that can be personalized according to your convenience, and a lot more! If you are looking for a potential partner for your IM solution, then we are the right fit for you! New Media Services is your best partner for flexible solutions that will help you achieve your goal!