Author's blurb: It is so tedious to reach out to a lot of people for interviews when my co-workers need to know what is going on in a conversation, especially since messaging apps don't have a CC function like email. Unfortunately, the only way to do this is by handing over my phone.
Carliff realized that this is a pain point for many entrepreneurs too. Especially in retail and e-commerce when it comes to customer service and sales.
He said most companies have a single business number on a phone that needs to be passed on to many employees when answering customers.
Businesses can also ask their employees to use personal phone numbers, which can be a work-life separation problem.
"That's fine for a while, but in the long run, employees won't like it because they have to provide 24/7 customer support, which they may not really want because they can't run away from work," he said. "There are also data and privacy issues for the company."
With a background in ChatBot development in 2017, he converted his expertise into YesHello, a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS).
Team inboxes for WhatsApp
YesHello is a team inbox for WhatsApp and other messaging platforms like Line, WeChat, Facebook Messenger and SMS.
Basically, it's a business messaging platform that allows teams to share a business phone number to answer customers without having to share a single phone.
Team members are added to the company's YesHello account, which allows members to access all incoming and outgoing messages at the same time using their own separate login.
Imagine editing the same Google Doc from separate Google Accounts.
The software also has a chatbot function with which customer inquiries can be answered immediately.
The YesHello team in a video conference / Photo credit: YesHello
Wouldn't a team inbox be messy if multiple people had access to each chat? For example, how would requests be delegated?
Carliff said this is what the Assignment function is for. A boss can assign his coworker (let's call him coworker Bob) to a contact, and other members can see who each contact is assigned to.
Chats are also divided into 2 folders. They are called "Everyone" and "My Folder".
If no one is assigned to a specific contact in the Everyone folder, this works based on availability.
As soon as Bob chats with a contact, he is automatically moved to "My folder" of his account.
A notification will then appear informing Bob that this contact is in the middle of a conversation with a bot and asking if he would like to take over.
"Then he's assigned that contact and he's no longer in the Everyone folder, so there is no confusion for the team," added Carliff.
Doesn't this violate WhatsApp encryption?
According to WhatsApps Security, the encryption ensures that only you and the person you're communicating with can read what's being sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp.
We didn't understand how YesHello bypasses this encryption, especially with so many users tied to a single WhatsApp number.
"Encryption goes from their device to the service provider they work with to ensure the conversation is private and secure. When a conversation is between a WhatsApp user and a WhatsApp Business API account, encryption is done between them two "users". "
Since there are only two numbers – the customer number and the business number – YesHello does not technically violate encryption guidelines.
Attract customers to help customers
Since launching in April 2020 during the MCO, the company currently has 100 active users and sales of more than RM50,000.
Their notable customers include Volvo in Bukit Bintang, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia (MITI) and Landrover in Penang, to name a few.
Although their primary role in launching this software was to help SMBs, YesHello's subscription plans can cater to businesses of all sizes.
Their pricing structure is as follows:
- For the starter plan of RM79 / month, 2 team members get access to serve 200 customers.
- Their Pro plan costs RM299 / month for 5 team members and 1,000 customers.
- A business plan costs RM799 / month for unlimited team members and 5,000 customers.
To us, any monthly messaging software plans seemed pretty expensive.
But Carliff reasoned that they were worth it, especially the business plan for large multinational companies with a global customer base.
"If you have 1,000 inquiries about your sales campaign worldwide, 20 members from anywhere in the world can take care of it," he said.
"If you make 5 to 6 numbers in sales with them, what is RM799 if you make 5 to 6 numbers?"
He also stated that the number of customers on the platform can be accumulated and deleted during the month to stay under the plan's quota.
The team was able to back this up with case study results from one of its largest customers, Peche, who develops beauty products in the e-commerce scene with resellers in Africa, Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore.
By reducing the average time it took Peche's sales reps to respond to leads by 89%, which was from 90 minutes to 10 minutes, YesHello helped Peche's sales grow from RM200,000 in less than 2 months to double to 400,000 RM.
Some products from Peche and a screenshot of a WhatsApp conversation with their customer / Photo credit: Facebook from Peche Malaysia.
In the future, the team plans to roll out an omni-channel messaging automation platform where all communication apps, including Messenger, WeChat and Line, can be integrated into a single platform.
“That way, you can get your customers involved and interacting with them in one place no matter how or when they connect with you,” said Carliff.
Bottom line: I believe this system would most benefit giant multinationals that deal with millions of customers from around the world as it would allow them to keep all department members involved informed of the status of a sale fairly easily .
- You can find out more about YesHello here.
- More information on other Malaysian startups can be found here.
Selected image source: YesHello