Mark Zuckerberg is one of the latest names to highlight the much-needed focus on business messaging, reiterating that WhatsApp and Messenger will be the next pillars of Meta and key drivers of sale growth.
But none of this is news to Zipabout. We've been using Meta channels for years to send personalised journey updates to passengers on public transport across the UK. In the last month alone, we've sent nearly 2 million messages on channels including WhatsApp and Messenger. This continued growth has increased every month, with more and more users switching on to the trend of business messaging.
Zipabout’s WhatsApp launch in 2021 was a global first, offering personalised, real-time journey information to passengers. And over the last six months, our WhatsApp user numbers have doubled, as consumers realise the benefits of communicating with brands on channels they already have and use daily.
We’re also working alongside Meta to support them in enhancing their WhatsApp capability. As part of their Beta testing programme, we’ve helped them to create new channel improvements and features that allow us to engage with public transport users.
It’s evident that the time for apps has long gone. And companies who have operated primarily through apps to interact with their customers are now realising that reaching consumers through the channels they’re already using is far more effective and user-friendly.
By using these channels, we’ve made the Zipabout service accessible to millions without any need to download another app, giving passengers the information that’s relevant to them. There is nothing intrusive, no flood of irrelevant notifications and no unethical location tracking.
Consumers are using channels like WhatsApp & Messenger to talk to businesses more than ever – and we only need to look at the numbers to know how vital business messaging is when it comes to providing a personalised customer experience. As of October 2022, WhatsApp has 2.2 billion active users, with 175 million people sending messages to business accounts every day. Messenger comes close to this, too – with 1.3 billion active users.
The appeal of using messaging channels to talk to customers is the personalisation that comes with it. It’s the ‘face to face’ style of communication that users want and need from businesses, with the added benefit of having everything in one place. It opens up the possibilities of directing customers to other services like retail and hospitality, as well as tailoring journeys for accessibility needs. Ultimately, people don’t want to end up restricted in a closed-loop proprietary app. They want information or services conveniently sent to us at the right time and place – and using messaging channels to do that puts us at the forefront of the fast-paced and saturated digital world.
Stop reinventing the wheel when it comes to net zero transport. Councils should instead look to the tech sector to forge a new data-driven path to decarbonisation.
With its messaging numbers now soaring into the millions each month, UK rail has fundamentally changed the way transport operators engage with passengers, to the benefit of all.
All UK train operators already have free access to the Zipabout journey planning system - and it truly is all singing and all dancing.