More and more businesses are now using Mobile Instant Messengers for business communication. Earlier, only handful of the projects, finance and marketing oriented professionals were exclusively using Blackberry Messengers (BBM) and subscribing to Blackberry’s enterprise solutions.
With the smartphone revolution let by Android devices has made Mobile messengers more common. Whatsapp is not only the must have app in your device, but also a part of the Facebook Inc, after the $19 Billion takeover. School students, Parents-Teachers groups, families separated by distances, people who got drunk together in TGIF- everyone is forming the Whatsapp group and obviously the businesses are not behind.
Few years back, Vodafone’s Television campaign showed how the original Blackberry boys were grumpy when everyone started using blackberry and typing ruthlessly on a QWERTY keypad was not limited to Corporate boys.
Unlike BBM, the use of Whatsapp was not driven by Corporate and Enterprise users. It’s entire model of being free and available in even Symbian O/s ( Remember symbian ?) made it popular among young users first. Students and techies were the first adopters. Also, the subsequent phones and Android/ IOS smartphones manufactures also marketed Whatsapp as the free and better replacement of BBM. This led to the eventual downturn of BBM.
According to survey by Ericsson Consumer lab, around 98% respondents in India said that they use Whatsapp, however 66% of the user indicated that they use it for entertainment purpose only.
Quality of business Communication on Whatsapp
There are many advantages of Whatsapp in businesses. The speed of communication has never been faster. However, the thing that suffered most due to its increase of use in business is, the quality of communication. Since most of the users have previously used Whatsapp for entertainment and as personal communication app only, has also migrated their personal messaging behaviors to professional world.
The next round of evolution in business communication will involve moderating chats and training employees how to professionally use Whatsapp. The pressure of responding immediately and the use of short words & emoticons when not applicable is particularly annoying.
Many managers are also seeing Mobile IMs as the replacement to the emails but I think so that it is the flawed thinking. The detailed, and quality communication can never be replaced, however, it can be complimented with faster and hands-on communication app.