With most Chinese employees opting to use WeChat instead of email, WeChat Work is quickly becoming the go-to alternative for companies who want to have greater control over both internal and external communications.
Yet while adopting the platform makes sense to employers, many managers express that it can be a bit of a hard-sell with Sales Associates. Many of them are reluctant to stop using their personal WeChat Accounts to communicate with customers and leads as some of the main WeChat features they use for selling and customer relationship management are not available on WeChat Work.
But not for long. On December 23rd, at Tencent’s annual WeChat Work press conference, their team made it clear that they have been listening to user feedback, announcing the launch of WeChat Work 3.0 which includes two new major functions, as well as a number of smaller updates.
Photo from the recent WeChat Work press conference. Source: ChatLabs
Before we dive into those updates and their implications, a few key WeChat Work statistics shared during the conference:
- As of the end of 2019, across all brands using WeChat work there are over 1 million employees serving 60 million WeChat users
- Companies from 50+ industries use WeChat Work
- The Top 10 industries using WeChat Work include medical, insurance, automobile, banking, and energy.
Percentage of companies in the top 10 industries in China that are currently using WeChat Work. Source: ChatLabs
Feature 1: The ability to post on customer Moments feed from WeChat Work
WeChat Moments is Chinese netizens’ version of a Facebook Timeline or Instagram feed. It’s where people go to post updates about their lives and see what their friends and family are doing.
Yet it's also a place where sales associates, daigou, and store owners frequently post about new products and services or promote sales and events. In a small survey we conducted of 15 sales associates, nearly half (46.7%) of them said they post on WeChat Moments on a daily basis, with an additional 26.7% saying they do it weekly.
Source: ChatLabs survey
Previously Sales Associates using WeChat Work had no way to post on WeChat Moments, which was a major drawback to adopting the platform as it took away one of their main communication channels. Now, with WeChat Work version 3.0, associates are able to post to their contacts’ WeChat Moments feed directly from WeChat Work.
What’s more, managers can now create posts for employees who will then be notified to share with a simple one-click confirmation.
Example of an employee being able to post to WeChat Moments from their WeChat Work account. (Source: Tencent)
Feature 2: Chat Groups of Up to 100 People
In China, both sales associates and company will create group chats on WeChat as a way to keep in touch with customers. It’s a one-to-many communication method that also helps build community.
Almost three-fourths (73.3%) of the sales associates we surveyed had chat groups for customers and 60% of them had more than three groups.
Source: ChatLabs survey
The group owner typically uses the group to share updates and promotional offers, educate consumers and offer pro tips, as well as answer customer questions. Group members will often invite their friends who are interested in the brand to join the group, resulting in rapid organic growth from referral.
Now, in 3.0, sales associates can create group chats of up to 100 external WeChat contacts with their WeChat Work account (previously the maximum group size was only 25 members.)
And even better than on WeChat, with WeChat Work managers are able to view group statistics such as how many groups an employee has, how many members are in these groups, the number of messages in the group, the number of group members who have sent messages, and more.
WeChat Work users are able to see group activity statistics.
This feature also adds transparency for managers who are able to see and manage these employee-created groups and even re-assign ownership of a group if an employee leaves or moves to a new position.
Group chat (left); Re-assigning group chat ownership (right) (Source: Tencent)
It also allows for more seamless customer hand-off between departments. For example a sales associate can create a group to introduce a client to their colleague who will handle after-sales service.
Other 3.0 Updates:
1:1 Chat: Swipe left on a specific chat to stick the chat to the top of the chat feed as a reminder to handle it later.
Group Chats: Pin an important message to the top of the group chat for added visibility
All Chats: Swipe right for “Quick Open” shortcuts to Calendar, To-Dos, and WeDoc, and other tools
Screenshot of “Quick Open” Shortcut Function
Photo of presentation on communication shortcuts at the WeChat Work 3.0 press conference.
Internal Company Tools
Calendar: WeChat Work users are now able to directly send calendar invites in chat and view available times of other group members to schedule the best time for everyone via the “Make an Appointment” function. This calendar can sync with users’ mobile phone system calendars such as Gmail.
WeChat Work calendar function
Voice or Video Conference: A new Zoom alternative. Hold meetings with up to 25 people. Includes document sharing, screen-sharing and annotation abilities. However, only limited to internal communications and cannot be used to hold meetings with external contacts.
Screenshots of conferencing feature (Source: Tencent)
WeDrive: Similar to Google Drive, this is an online document sharing space with real-time updates of edits and the ability to configure access permission settings for specific departments and users. WeDrive enhances company data security as companies can manage the files and allow user audits.
Screenshot of WeDrive (Source: Tencent)
WeDoc: Online document/form collaboration tool where users can configure access permissions and invite other users to edit in real time
Screenshot of WeDoc (Source: Tencent)
Over the course of 2019, WeChat Work has continuously expanded its feature set to meet the demands of enterprises from a wide variety of industries. The addition of Moments Posts and Chat Groups will solve the pain points of many brands, particularly those in the luxury industry, who have been struggling to get their Sales Associates on board.
As WeChat Work continues to roll out new features, it appears to be poised for rapid growth in the year to come.