With the rise of mobile messaging and social-networking apps, a wave of innovative startups are providing social management solutions for companies trying to reach customers in new ways.
Kenyan startup Ongair has gotten a foothold in the market by offering a service focused on enabling companies to speak and make offers to their customers through Whatsapp which has garnered enormous user base of 600 million over short period of existence.
Ongair, derived from the Kiswahili word, “ongea,” meaning “talk,” has helped businesses from around the continent communicate with their customers and launch marketing campaigns using Whatsapp. With this software, companies can send its clients personalized messages like rose flower images on a valentine day and birthday wishes.
According to Ongair CEO Trevor Kimenye, already several local and international companies are using the software to communicate directly with their clients hence upgrading their marketing. He said that the tool help companies to cut on marketing budget while giving their clients timely information. He explained that the software is pegged on the growing smart phone penetration in Africa.
The company developed a user friendly desktop interface with a striking resemblance to most email clients. From inside the program, users can easily send messages, text, audio and video to single users or groups. Clients can also tag topics for customer service and track complaints from customers. The interface also allows users to get analytics on their interactions, to give them better insights on where opportunities and challenges lie.
Over the top (OTT) services are becoming popular in Africa, with a majority of users accessing the Internet through their phones. Last year’s report by the Communication Authority of Kenya, reported that OTT services have eaten into revenue for regular short messaging service (SMS) for most telecom companies. In Kenya, 99 percent of Internet access is done through the phone.
‘’With Ongair, Customer service representatives do not have to ask for personal numbers to reach the clients since Whatsapp uses phone number. It is also assure the client privacy more than other social media platforms like twitter and Facebook’’, said Kimenye
Ongair also has plans to expand its services to individual users.