The Internet has helped open a new frontier in customer experience. After a shaky start, brands have taken to the medium for everything from promotions, online sales, customer service, and more.
But the Internet as the West knows it is very different from the Internet landscape in China. There, 95 percent of users access the Internet using a mobile device. Hence, the ‘superapp’ has been developed, where users can do everything from hail rides, order food, chat, share videos, and do often seemingly unrelated functions – all without leaving the app’s ecosystem.
One of these superapps is WeChat, which dominates the market. It consists of over a billion active users worldwide, with 98 percent of users under the age of 50. To leverage the sheer volume of people on the platform, WeChat has turned itself into an all-in-one solution for much more than messaging. People can send texts and voice messages, launch a call or a video call with their contacts on WeChat, publish texts, short videos related to their lives, read news, share articles, pictures, songs or videos on their walls, and interact with other contacts. In terms of practical needs, the platform includes bill paying, reservations, e-commerce and sending money. Since Chinese people use it for everything, Chinese brands have figured out how to use it to stay closer to their customers.
WeChat is the perfect platform for engaging in personalized, convenient conversations with customers, and the wide array of tools it facilitates means that virtually any customer service task can be integrated through it. Customers can even make purchases directly through the platform. And since users must follow a brand and indicate what type of news they want to see from it, it’s a non-intrusive way to share promotions, updates and special deals.
As a result, social media marketing and experiential marketing events are increasingly used to drive customer engagement. For example, Dior, one of the pioneers of WeChat marketing, offered unique handbags during the Qixi Festival, and allowed customers to interact with Dior representatives through WeChat prior to placing their orders.
WeChat also allows B2B firms to up their customer experience game. Through its integration of WeChat, SF Express has enabled customers to make delivery service requests, track the status and location of parcels, and manage orders. SF Express’s WeChat service also further reduces customers’ time and effort in placing and tracking orders. This is just some examples of the transformative power that WeChat has had on Chinese firms’ customer experience. It is clear that WeChat and other superapps herald a new era in CX, as well as a model that other platforms like Facebook and Google seek to emulate.