At the end of 2019, the three major Facebook services – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – not only got a new logo but were also assigned to the Facebook cosmos. Since then, there has been a note “from Facebook” in the Instagram app. The same applies to WhatsApp, and as confusing as it looks at first glance, a corresponding note can also be found in the Facebook app. Because one is the group, and the other is the platform.
Repositioning or at least standardization?
While various sources state that the repositioning of this graphic is done because of transparency so that all users know that they are also active on Instagram or WhatsApp in the Facebook cosmos, the main reason is different: Because what appears on the surface now you have been working in the background for years: Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, different stories and While they have been using different technological standards in the background for a long time due to their requirements, they now have a common point.
This created the basis for Facebook services to be linked with one another and, as was already announced in January of this year, for chatting between the individual apps. However, in the medium term, Facebook will combine the three platforms into one super messenger to become the WeChat of the western hemisphere. Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram are only individual messenger functions – comparable to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in Microsoft Office.
On the one hand, the analysis of the program code of the latest WhatsApp beta version shows that this will not happen in some distant future. This analysis took place in June 2020 and revealed a future merger of WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. On the other hand, in August, the first Instagram users were allowed to chat with their friends on Facebook Messenger.
What does that mean for the future?
Why is Facebook doing this? So that the meanwhile 2.47 billion daily (!) Users of all Facebook apps can write back and forth between the messengers? That too, but there are other reasons: Facebook is building the WeChat of the western hemisphere. At least if the antitrust authorities allow Facebook. Which, however, can be assumed. And then the users will not only communicate in the Facebook cosmos but will also shop, book taxis, transfer money, check into hotels or take out simple insurance, etc. They will do everything possible with WeChat for years.
WeChat is not just a messenger, but in principle, the digital center for life in China. And that for years. In order to make it clear how far behind we are in our understanding of messengers, you have to be aware that when WhatsApp introduced read receipts in the form of blue ticks at the end of 2014 and thus caused attention and an uproar, WeChat already enabled entire hotel rooms in Las Serve Vegas. You could open the door via messenger and control everything in the room (music, lights, and curtains) with it. All of this was possible with WeChat half a decade ago! Just like money transactions, purchases, or taxi orders.
Messenger first: Facebook as a relevant channel for insurance sales
Facebook will also be a highly relevant channel for insurance companies. And I don’t even mean sales, which will be possible on a whole new level here. WeChat and Taikang Life showed what this could look like in a test balloon at the end of 2017. At that time, an online health insurance company called WeSure was launched on the market. However, only WeChat users whose movement data shows a positive picture and has no serious previous illnesses such as tumors, heart or liver damage were considered. Ultimately, the WeSure link was only shown to one percent of WeChat users.
Nothing is known about the campaign’s success, but that is not relevant at this point because the “Facebook super messenger” will only be of limited relevance for sales. In contrast to customer service: Because in the future, insurers, exclusives, brokers, everyone in the industry will have the motto “Messenger first!”.
The messenger will be the standard channel in customer communication because it will be a central part of digital life. Ten years from now, it will seem crazy not to allow insurance customers to get in touch via Facebook Super Messenger. About as crazy as when you say today that you can communicate with insurance customers without any emails or telephone.
For everyone in the insurance industry, this means that you have to be prepared for messenger communication with customers or potential customers. I know from my experience that this is already the case for many brokers because customers already make brief inquiries via messenger. When damage occurs, the mobile phone is often quickly pulled out, and a picture is sent via messenger.
This will only increase in the future. This means that customer communication must have a messenger interface. You have to think about how you can map previous routines in messenger communication and which of them AI will take over. Because “Messenger first!” It also means automated, individual, and fast customer communication via chatbots. And with it, a higher level of customer satisfaction. We look forward to it!