By Brontë H. Lacsamana, Reporter

Viber has seen a 506% year-on-year growth in transactional messages as brands have been using the messaging platform to send order and account status updates in order to provide better customer support. 

In the Philippines, the messaging platform has a penetration of over 80%, making it the top market for business messaging in Southeast Asia, according to Cristina V. Constandache, chief revenue officer of Viber, at a roundtable on June 30. 

“We’re not aiming to become another WeChat or another Line. … We’re not aiming to copy anybody. We’re aiming to provide features and services that are going to help you in the Philippines and in other markets around the world,” she said. “It’s no longer about messaging. It’s much more a utility app.”  

Viber aims to provide “conversational commerce” to reduce the pain points in the user experience.   

In a May 2022 study by Attentive Mobile, 71% of consumers said they want convenient access to communication with a business, while 90% of consumers expect a fast response regardless of the time of day.  

Etienne Dupont, Viber’s senior director of global sales & B2B marketing, shared that Filipino brands can avoid making customers wait or go through unnecessary hurdles. 

“You can build lasting customer relationships with conversational Viber business messages,” he said. “All the solutions are really to reduce the gap and frustrations of users when communicating with brands.”  

He added that Viber’s business solutions cover the entire customer journey, from brand awareness (using advertising, branded stickers, and branded lenses) to conversion and loyalty (using business messages and chatbots).  

According to Viber, the top three industries using its business solutions in the Philippines are retail (51%), finance (27%), and hospitality and travel (10%).   

Retail companies contributed to the 20% rise in promotional messages year-on-year, as they sent out messages about redeemable coupons and discounts. 

Primer Group of Companies, which carries lifestyle brands, maintained the growth of their retail sales and distribution by enabling online purchases through Viber, which became an avenue for customers to buy essentials during lockdown in the Philippines.  

“Security is part of our DNA. … A high priority in business development from onboarding to encryption,” said Berina Tanovic, Viber’s senior partnership manager.  

Aside from ensuring limited application programming interface (API) systems whitelisted on the application, Viber manually checks each submission for opening business accounts so that there will be only one official or verified account.