Chat statistics are staggering-from millennials' instant gratification preferences and the number of people who use chat apps to Facebook's WhatsApp transaction and the mobile opportunities that abound for you, your brand, or your competitors.
Clearly, chat for customer service is a channel you needed yesterday. And there are plenty of real-time messaging apps from which to choose. Except most require users to be acquainted with whom they message, register with an email address or phone number, or download an app. This is why chat apps are more commonly used for peer purposes and not so much for professional purposes.
"Statistics show that there's an almost even divide in consumer communication preference between chat, email, and phone. Yet most businesses and professionals don't have a chat strategy. However, having a chat strategy would be staying competitive," says Rino Spano, co-founder and CMO of the latest web and mobile chatting service, Twoople.
"The state of messaging is exclusive and doesn't lend itself well as an engagement channel," says Spano. "Consumers would chat with a business or professional if it weren't so difficult to do so. Twoople makes chat inclusive by removing several layers normally associated with chat, and in the process solves this problem."
Of course, Twoople is not for everyone. A celebrity probably wouldn't want just anybody to be able to contact them. A salesperson would want to create an easy way for any prospects and customers to connect with them in chat. So if you want to be instantly accessible to anyone, you would market your Twoople address just as you market your phone number and email address.
"We've definitely seen the most 'sticky' usage from Twoople being used as a business or professional development channel," Spano says. "Naturally, these users also use it to collect feedback and for support purposes. As expected, our power users are those who market themselves online-with their Twoople address as a natural extension of their online marketing efforts."
The social startup is certainly for any business or professional wanting to manage customer needs easily without the public nature of Twitter or Facebook, and without the detached quality of email.
Initially, Twoople was formed out of frustration in 2012 when founder and CEO, Pat Arlia, couldn't reach a golf storeowner by phone or email. The early entrepreneur and programmer thought businesses should be able to cater to the instant needs of consumers like himself. Ironically, Dallas Golf was one of the first businesses to adopt Twoople, recognizing the platform's value in improving customer service and establishing key relationships.
By Jesse and Joe Realtor Group chose Twoople to chat with tech-savvy millennials entering the housing market. And Luts Wagner, bar owner of Luzz Formentera, uses Twoople to interact with his bar patrons who need service or have feedback during their visit. "We believe Twoople's differentiators expand the market potential significantly," Spano says about the four key differences of Twoople compared to its competitors:
Ubiquitous: Your Twoople address may be distributed anywhere. It's not limited to use on your website.
Democratized: Other B2C chat tools are often complicated for an average user to setup. Anyone can easily create and share a Twoople address.\
"We hope to have 50,000 businesses and professionals registered and marketing their Twoople addresses by the end of 2014," he says. "By the same time, we also hope to have begun generating revenue."
While the bootstrapped startup seeks investment partners, its mission is to become the industry standard for B2C chat. "I envision Twoople addresses will be as commonly shared as phone numbers and email addresses," says Spano. "Especially for online content marketing and engagement efforts, as it certainly lends itself to this purpose better than email or phone."