(Branding Magazine) – According to the Ministry of ICT, there are over 5 million WhatsApp users in Zimbabwe; and an estimate of 80% of them use WhatsApp for a customer related activity where they are either enquiring, recommending, or selling a product or service.
For a week now, Internet has been shut down, and switch back on, and shut again, by the Minister of State, after invoking the Interception of Communications Act, allow him to give a directive to all ISPs and Mobile operators citing a national security threat.
This has affected how small businesses do business as social media, amongst many other internet tools, is key to relating with customers.
Customer Relationship Management is key to the growth of a business, start-up or growth-up, and in Zimbabwe most SMEs use WhatsApp as tool for relating with customers efficiently.
In general, Customer-relationship management (CRM) is an approach to manage a business' interaction with current and potential customers, and for Zimbabwe, WhatsApp is the most effective from a cost and a speed perspective.
It is easier for the small business, multi-level-marketing agent, sales executive, or consultant to send and receive business communication via WhatsApp as it is faster than email, and more comprehensive than a telephone call; bearing in mind that even calls and videos are possible on the same platform for free.
Video calling has helped businesses conduct meetings and training via WhatsApp as well, and saving on communication and eventing costs. Some have gone to the extent of amending their Articles of Association for their businesses to include VOIP based board meetings as a mode of communication.
Zimbabweans have turned to WhatsApp as a CRM tool because of the Cost-Per-Lead (CPL). Conventionally Cost-Per-Lead is an online advertising pricing model, where the advertiser pays for an explicit sign-up from a consumer interested in the advertiser's offer. It is also commonly called online lead generation.
With the advent of Social Media, the cost of advertising is becoming complex; many businesses are turning to finding cheaper forms of marketing, and WhatsApp is the cheapest in terms of benefits.