Following in the footsteps of the mini-programs in China’s WeChat app, a new tool has emerged on Japan’s popular LINE messaging app to centralize companies’ various user touchpoints and CRM (customer relationship management). The service is called “Anybot”. We took a closer look at this promising new enterprise.
Evolany Co., Ltd. is a startup that has developed Anybot, a platform where small and medium-sized businesses that have difficulty getting ahold of development resources can amalgamate their services on the LINE messaging app platform to host and manage them cheaply. The service also allows an automated omnichannel approach. Anybot is set up for businesses to realize automated customer service through multiple channels, including phone, email, and LINE.
However, ‘customer service automation’ only skims the surface. n reality, Anybot is a comprehensive platform that automates everything from points of contact with customers to data-driven marketing strategies. Once set up, it will classify and save customer data, conduct communications, and handle promotions and bookings.
Evolany CEO Song Yu clarifies that “offering automated communications between businesses and their customers is not the main focus. Our true value lies in centralizing the work of lead nurturing (cultivating potential customers) and lead generation (selling to potential customers) for our clients in order to efficiently support them.”
Anybot can be implemented into any internet-connected system, but Evolany is focusing on expanding to clients that use the LINE platform.
Anybot’s system allows the different points of contact with customers, such as a company’s homepage, app or online store, to be consolidated on the messenger app platform and controlled together. Plus, all the data generated through this setup can be automatically saved and uniformly managed from a control screen.
Previously, CRM systems have required data to be input manually, however, Anybot collects data itself during the process of automated customer service and then saves and segments it. Anybot also comes with functions for event-management, payments, and e-commerce rental carts.
Using a messenger app familiar to users as a “stage”
CEO Song, who also runs an information technology company in China, has seen firsthand the trend in the Chinese market of businesses refraining from having their own websites and apps and instead utilizing the functions of messenger apps such as WeChat and QQ, where Chinese consumers spend the most amount of time. Song explains “Evolany was founded on the idea of bringing to Japan and other countries the concept of tying together all the functions that companies provide into a messaging app, like we see with WeChat. However, in Japan LINE doesn’t quite occupy 100% of the market share. So it was decided to develop Anybot so that it integrates multiple channels instead of favoring LINE exclusively. We’re aiming for a service that can be used by small and medium-sized businesses that are finding it difficult to have their own development resources.”
LINE’s special accounts for companies (so-called “official LINE accounts”) are mainly aimed towards major corporations and they certainly don’t come cheap. Anybot offers an initial setup fee of 300,000 yen (US$2,750), but if clients can carry out the set up themselves this fee is waived. As for the monthly fee, while it can depend on the number of users registered with the account, it starts from a reasonable 15,000 yen (US$137) per month.
The system that Anybot offers can also contribute greatly to reducing the costs and work involved in marketing for small and medium-sized businesses. Continued communication with customers who’ve made a purchase can be conducted over LINE, and there are also functions for issuing invitation codes and tracking such codes and incentives. Businesses can also easily and efficiently set up mechanisms to induce fans to invite their friends.
The service also has functions to integrate simple visual-heavy UI designs, similar to Instagram and Tinder, making for a tool that can easily be utilized by beauty or fashion-related businesses.
By expertly and accurately using and linking data together, Anybot has the potential to help deepen the relations between companies and customers (“fans”) and create unique ecosystems. By aligning Anybot services with offline stores and their listings and content marketing, as well as with existing ways of capturing new customers such as mass-targeted ads, end users can find the services easier to navigate and businesses can run smoother communications. Anybot is looking like a promising platform for helping to increase businesses’ value and boost their brands.
Text: Ching Li Tor
Original text (Japanese): Jonggi HA