WhatsApp business solution provider and customer engagement company Clickatell has confirmed its contribution to MTN SA's rollout of WhatsApp-based MTN Chat service.
According to the companies MTN Chat will enable customers to engage the telco over WhatsApp and initiate the purchase of airtime and data bundles within their chat session.
Over time, clients will also be able to access customer support and self-service options, including performing upgrades, managing their accounts, and receiving low balance alerts, they claim.
MTN SA is the first wireless operator globally to roll out a WhatsApp service to customers said Jeppe Dorff, chief product and technology officer at Clickatell, who added that the alliance is the culmination of a relationship between the two companies since the early 2000s.
"Our vision of changing the way consumers interact with brands and MTN's vision to engage with their customers 'where they are' were aligned and going on a long journey with a partner requires a similar view and we had that," said Dorff.
According to Clickatell the WhatsApp Business API provides brands with the ability to send out notifications and conduct two-way conversations with consumers within WhatsApp once they have opted in.
Jacqui O'Sullivan, Executive for Corporate Affairs at MTN SA, said, "It is imperative that companies focus on improving their self-service experiences in order to retain and grow their customer bases. The Clickatell offering provides an easy, secure, and convenient way of giving users control over their accounts through WhatsApp, a platform they already have an affinity for."
Pieter de Villiers, Clickatell Founder and CEO, said the company is focused on helping MNOs deliver value over digital channels.
"By offering convenient services over a secure, convenient channel, MNOs can both increase their transactional volume and attract and retain customers – something that is paramount in an age of continuous digital transformation and growing competition."
He believes Clickatell has "low effort, high return offerings" that will help MNOs leverage digital transformation and achieve competitive edge.
As to any other partnerships or alliances in South Africa or Africa, Dorff said the company constantly talks to partners around the world but is currently focused on making MTN successful.
According to Clickatell over 1.5 billion people in 180 countries use WhatsApp every month and "delivering chat commerce experiences on WhatsApp is one of the most efficient ways to reach a majority of consumers who can immediately benefit from the services offered on the channel."
In early February 2019 Clickatell announced that technology heavyweights Michael Jordaan, Willem van Biljon and Ryno Blignaut have been appointed to the company's board.
The appointments come at an opportune time as Clickatell plans to build on a 30% year-on-year organic growth across its regions of global operations.
"We see chat banking and chat commerce growing rapidly around the world. Our board's collective global experience along with our leadership team's on-the-ground emerging market success gives us an edge enjoyed by very few companies," de Villiers added.