Paolo Fabrizio
February 28, 2016

The Rise Of Instant Social Customer Service Apps

Technology is like a Ferrari: everybody wants to have one but few would be able to drive it safely.

As online conversational platforms are being developed faster and faster, what we still call Social Customer Service might have already become obsolete (!).

In fact Social networks are just part of the online customer service basket that each brand may choose while new channels, especially instant messaging apps are rapidly becoming new interesting channels.

Customers are going mobile and service is doing the same

About a month ago I read an interesting article written by the guys at on the future role of mobile Apps for customer service. They have focused on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger since there are some interesting case studies of brands that are using such channels.

Facebook Messenger case-study

Hyatt Hotels opted in for Facebook Messengerthis new channel enables customers to check availability, book rooms and order room service via that App. The big hotel chain was already active on Social Customer Service through their Facebook and Twitter handles, but decided to add also FB Messenger in order to better serve their mobile customers (and engage with them privately unlike social networks).

NOTE: Facebook Messengers users exceeded 800 mln (Techcrunch).

WhatsApp case-study

The best-in-class Social Customer Service brand KLM has just started to offer a new service: customers can now use WhatsApp to re-book their cancelled flights. The service is currently available only for passengers traveling from Amsterdam Schipol airport and that’s the result of KLM’s tests made on the App which were announced in February 2015. 

NOTE: WhatApp has reached 990 million users (Expandedramblings).

In both the above mentioned cases – regardless the App used – the strategy is clear: 




Telegram: born for customer service

Telegram App

Credit image:

For those of you who still don’t know it, Telegram is the ‘most talked about’ instant messaging app for customer service. Even though it has not yet reached big numbers (100 million users) this App has got appealing features for brands.

So, let’s discover why, having a look at Telegram’s distinctive features…

  • Synchronization on different devices: it’s a multi platform App (IOS, Android, Windows, Mac) that allows synchronization across desktop and/or mobile platforms since it’s open and cloud-based
  • Privacy & security: all messages are encrypted (text, images, videos, voice) + users can also schedule an ‘auto-destroying’ option for sent messages, after a certain period of time
  • It’s free: neither subscription fees, nor ads.
  • You can create groups (max 200 people)
  • You can launch channels: very useful for brands to send news/information/extra content to their followers/customers on a regular basis

Telegram case-study

In May 2015 Allianz insurance direct operations in Spain ‘Fenix Directolunched either WhatsApp and Telegram channels in order to enhance their customer service. The brand decided to add both Apps. Since they consider them suitable to different target audience, there is no redundancy.

Your Turn

When setting up or implementing your customer service channel-mix, take into account that social media is customer service tool. But don’t underestimate instant messaging apps.

First of all listen to your customers expectations, then choose channels.

Have great social conversations.


Image: Origin unknown

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Paolo Fabrizio

Digital Customer Service Consultant, Trainer, Author, Speaker. Paolo has been helping companies to harness digital customer service as a business driver. Founder of CustomerServiceCulture, author of books and speaker at conferences in Italy and abroad. Lecturer at the Bicocca University of Milan