We are starting the year with major news! To improve user experience, increase the app’s utility, and lean into our superapp strategy, we are releasing two brand-new products: Business Inbox and Commercial Account.
This update has been planned with both users and businesses in mind, as, research shows, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 82% of organizations plan to implement a value enhancement strategy to deliver a better customer value through services. Commercial Account and Business Inbox will help us address these trends, expand our superapp portfolio, and lay the foundation for more exciting additions planned for this year.
Business Inbox is a dedicated space for brand-user interactions, accessible directly from the regular Chats screen. It enables users to store and organize all business messages from official brand accounts in one folder: from transaction notifications and order confirmations to special offers from favorite brands and 1-to-1 brand-user chats.
After release, the Business Inbox folder will be created for users who have business chats in their account, and all business messages will move there automatically (on Rakuten Viber version 18.0 and above). For users who do not have business chats in their account, Business Inbox will be created once the first business message is received. Once the Business Inbox folder is created in the Chats list, all business messages will go there by default.
Business Inbox will let users customize their Rakuten Viber experience and organize the interactions with brands in a way that is most convenient to them:
At the same time, the latest updates from a business will be easier to find: the folder will be pinned to the top of the Chats screen by default, and business messages will not mix with personal Chats.
Business Inbox is designed to improve the brands’ customer experience, encourage engagement and loyalty, and enhance user safety and trust. Here’s how:
1. Business Inbox is hard to miss and easy to find because it is pinned to top by default and, even if unpinned, moves up the Chat list with every new message, so it’s practically always in view. Users will have an easier time finding the info they’re looking for, and brands will get more exposure, raising both visibility and engagement rates.
2. Business Messages are neither mixing nor competing with personal chats, which improves user disposition. According to a survey launched on Rakuten Viber before the the release of Business Inbox:
3. Brands will see reduced block rates and higher Open rates, thanks to removing the overlay that used to come with the first business message to specify it was from a brand.
4. Having organized their interaction with brands in a way that’s convenient to them, users will be more likely to engage and be satisfied with their customer experience.
5. Business Inbox admits messages only from verified official accounts. Thanks to that, users don’t have to worry about safety when receiving a new message in Business Inbox: they can be sure it’s from a real company. This will improve the general levels of trust towards business messages and put users at ease.
6. Moreover, Business Inbox also protects brands’ reputation because fraudsters who would possibly seek to impersonate a brand, won’t be able to send their messages into Business Inbox.
7. An attractive new ad placement inside Business Inbox lets brands advertise where their potential customers are ready to communicate with businesses.
Commercial Account is a single meta business entity that allows users to search and discover all business info and channels of communication—in one place. What makes it different from a Business Messaging Account:
Rakuten Viber will continue to expand the capabilities of Commercial Accounts post-launch, adding more channels of communication to be available at users’ fingertips (starting with Chatbot), more services under a single account, and extended features, including location, in-app calling, and more.
Commercial Account is an overhaul of brand presence in Rakuten Viber: it’s better organized, it will offer more channels, improve the flow of brand-user interaction, and simplify the orchestration of brand communication:
Most importantly, Commercial Account lays the foundation for more features and solutions we will be adding this year, as part of our superapp strategy.
How will Rakuten Viber help educate users about the new feature?
To help users get acquainted with Business Inbox, a tooltip will be added in the main Chats screen and an explanatory overlay modal will greet users first entering the Business Inbox folder. Moreover, there will be a CRM campaign to introduce Business Inbox with a deep link leading to the folder, as well as a follow-up campaign that will target users who have not opened Business Inbox some time after the launch. On top of that, we have PR activities planned that will help disseminate information about the new feature and raise awareness among the users.
What if users run into trouble with the update? For questions and complaints, how fast will the response and turnaround be?
Before launching Business Inbox worldwide, we have provided early access in Bulgaria. Thanks to that experience and invaluable feedback from our users and clients there, the Rakuten Viber support team is well-prepared to answer user questions about the feature. The average turnaround time for such a response is 12 minutes.
Can a user delete or disable the whole Business Inbox folder? Or select some setting to just receive all BMs in the main chat, as usual?
No, Business Inbox cannot be disabled or hidden. All business messages land in the Business Inbox folder by default. However, users can move any business chat out of it, to the main Chats screen.
How can I edit my Commercial Account?
Commercial Accounts and BM accounts will be editable through a new management tool that will arrive along with the update: Commercial Account Management Portal (CAMP). Business Messaging Portal (BMP) will be removed. Just as with Business Messaging accounts, you will be able to make changes with help of our messaging partners.
Will the Chatbots be added by default to all Commercial Accounts on launch?
On launch, only existing Business Messaging accounts that meet the criteria will receive a Commercial Account. The ability to link Chatbots to Commercial Account will be introduced soon after launch. Once that becomes possible, partners will be able to link existing or new Chatbots to Commercial Accounts via CAMP, as well as create a new Commercial Account for their client (and link to it either a Chatbot, a new Business Messaging account, or both). To each Commercial Account, multiple Chatbots can be linked, but there will be only one Business Messaging chat per account.
Can a user search for a Commercial Account if they haven’t received any business messages before? Can a user send a message to the account that hasn’t enabled conversational messages? Is it possible for an end user to contact a company that has never sent them a message for any reason?
Users will be able to search for any Commercial Account and initiate conversation with any brands who had existing Business Messaging accounts (even if they didn’t receive any messages from brands before). If a brand hasn’t activated conversational messages, the user will get an auto reply saying that a company doesn’t currently receive messages.
Will the customer-brand messages be encrypted? What other privacy features will be available to them?
Business messages chats available in Commercial accounts will have encryption in transit, just as all business messages on the app. Encryption in transit is used when messages are sent not by an individual but through a brand’s platform using an API protocol. As soon as the message is sent (it’s “in transit”), it’s encrypted, and is only decrypted once it reaches the messaging app’s back-end system. The back end then encrypts the messages again before sending it back to the user or service. Encryption in transit provides an exceptionally high level of security for brand-user communication. It is the closest thing to end-to-end encryption that’s used for peer-to-peer messaging on Rakuten Viber.
The logic behind these two releases is two-fold. First of all, it represents Rakuten Viber’s long-standing principle that the needs of users and businesses are not at odds with each other—they are a part of the same equation. As a mediator of brand-user interaction, Rakuten Viber knows that good user experience is the foundation of good customer experience for our business clients, and good customer experience is crucial for enterprises. This release follows this philosophy: Commercial Account and Business Inbox are convenient for users and effective for brands.
And at the same time, it’s building the foundation and architecture for developing as a superapp. Users have dozens upon dozens of apps, and so, so much to do; people have grown overwhelmed and tired of juggling them to get things done. They have many apps, but they’re using fewer and fewer of them regularly and yearn to streamline their lives and their digital interactions, organize them, and give themselves a cleaner user experience—human experience. But messaging apps like Rakuten Viber are integral to most people’s routine and consistently top the lists of most used mobile apps. That makes messengers perfectly positioned to fill in this role of a superapp, to enable users to solve as many tasks as possible—within the comfort of one app that they’re already using anyway.
And the thing is, a lot of the things that users would seek to do via Rakuten Viber involve interacting with businesses anyway: ordering food, tracking and managing deliveries, shopping, getting support, etc. Being able to do all these things within Rakuten Viber is convenient for people. And of course, all of these use cases are, in fact, potential touchpoints and tools for our business clients to engage their audience, build a stronger, long-term relationship with customers, promote loyalty, and drive sales.
That’s why maximizing Rakuten Viber’s utility to the users is a boon to both people and enterprises. And as a superapp, Rakuten Viber seeks not only to have many services to offer, but to actually tie them all together into a seamless ecosystem, where everything works in synergy: a one-stop shop for all brand-user interactions.
This year is the year of the superapp at Rakuten Viber: we have much more in store for you, and we’re very excited to see our users and businesses—from micro-enterprises to international corporations—thrive in the system we’re building.
Stay tuned for more game-changing Rakuten Viber news in 2023.
*Rakuten Viber Survey (18-20 of January 2023); markets: Greece, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary.