On Monday 4th October, the world seemed to stand still for five or so hours. There was no issue with power or the internet. Instead, the standstill was due to a major outage at Facebook which resulted in a $65 million loss for the company, as well as a sales decline of over 75% for some small companies like Bare Kind.
The Facebook outage didn’t only affect the marketing and advertising divisions of big companies, but it shook small businesses to their core, too. What many people are not aware of is that WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook are so much more than communications platforms – they are modern-day selling machines! But what happens if another outage happens, and 5 days instead of 5 hours?
Are there alternatives for WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram? Absolutely! Read on to see the top 5 alternative messaging channels you wish you used during the great Facebook outage of 2021.
While the concept originates from a France-Germany GSM cooperation in 1984, the first text message was sent on 3 December, 1992 by Neil Papworth. A simple “Merry Christmas” sent to then Vodafone director Richard Jarvis’ cellphone. Just shy of 30 years later, many providers saw their SMS traffic quadruple during the Facebook outage of 2021.
While SMS usage isn’t very high, it is the most common channel as it can be used on smartphones and regular cell phones alike. Nowadays, businesses use SMS mostly for notifications: order and delivery status for recent (online) purchases and appointment reminders. SMS is also used for two-factor authentication when logging into various online accounts.
Released in 2018 as part of the iOS 11.3 update, Apple Business Chat (also called ABC) is fully integrated into the Apple ecosystem, a plus point for 1.5+ billion iOS users. Customers can start conversations directly from Apple Maps, Safari, and/or the iOS search function. They can also schedule appointments, make purchases, and get up-to-date information on their current orders.
Its Apple Pay integration makes it the perfect match for ecommerce businesses, enabling customers to pay directly without leaving the conversation. Full integration includes appointment scheduling that not only checks for Calendar conflicts, but also alerts customers via Maps when to leave for the appointment (if they have push notifications on, and the appointment includes an address, of course).
Released in 2017, Google Business Messages was only available on mobile. Google went on to develop an API (June 2020) and a desktop application (February 2021) for Business Messages. This communications solution provides customers access to businesses by directly starting conversations from Google Search or Maps.
Drive sales, customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty with Google Business Messages with rich communication. Create innovative customer experiences with personalized messages, quick replies, product carousels, and more.
Telegram launched just 8 months before Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp. In their first year alone, Telegram had 100.000 daily active users. That has grown to 550 million active users! Their main focus is to create an ad-free, privacy-above-all app.
Sales and customer support are where you can drive the best results from Telegram. The sales potential lies in the ability to handle orders as well as share product updates and discounts. In terms of support, Telegram offers what most messaging channels do: replying to incoming queries and sharing media such as documents, images, and videos. Something Telegram offers that the others in this list don’t are their branded communities, which are communities that you can build around your brand to help increase brand loyalty.
Viber was a huge acquisition for Rakuten, one of Japan’s largest internet companies, in February 2014 at a whopping $900 million. Its 1.1+ billion users look to Viber for voice and video calls, group chats, and to join social communities. Viber is most popular in Greece, Eastern Europe, Russia, the Middle East, and Asian markets.
Viber has two particularly interesting business solutions. On one hand, we have Viber Business Messages: the preferred solution for larger companies with high transactional messaging traffic. Viber Business Accounts, on the other hand, allows customers to interact with your brand. With Viber Business Accounts, you also have the potential to reply with automated messaging or connect to a customer support platform where live agents can take over the conversation.
Hopefully you now have enough information to prove that Facebook and Facebook-owned channels are not the only messaging channels for customer contact. You can implement one or more of these 5 alternative channels with Saysimple’s multichannel inbox so you’ll never feel the pain of a Facebook outage again! To see how to combine multiple channels into a single inbox, request a demo today.