Kenyan Ongair and Zendesk to change social CRM globally

Kenya’s Ongair, one of the few customer relations platform leveraging on the power of WhatsApp and other instant messaging platforms, has made a huge stride in partnering with the world’s popular open source customer care product Zendesk.

Ongair – from the Swahili word, “ongea” meaning talk – is the brainchild of Kenyan company Sprout Consulting . This was co-founded by Trevor Kimenye, CEO, and Charles Gichuki, who is the CTO.

This product has caught the attention of many companies in Kenya and beyond due to its use of instant messaging service WhatsApp. This is so popular locally that African mobile phone operators have blamed the service for a decline in SMS revenue.

Now the company’s latest integration will see it offer its CRM services to over 50,000 organisations spread over 150 countries globally.

According to ReportsnReports, the global social CRM growth is tagged at 38.1% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between 2104 and 2019. The report also denotes the use of social CRM to include marketing, sales, customer services, and social engagement with prospective customers.

Ongair’s functionality is easy for any company ready to speak to its clients through instant messaging.  The software enables customer relation officers to track complaints and their resolution path. The tools can also be used to launch social media campaigns.

“Ongair is already in use worldwide as hundreds of companies have been able to give their customers immediate and personal attention via chat. Today we take this to the next level,” the company stated.

The company has already signed up big clients in Kenya including Chase Bank, South African brewer Castle Larger, and Heineken in Kenya.

“Over four billion people use mobile-based Instant Messaging platforms, sending over 30bn messages daily. It’s real-time, personal and allows you to send and receive images, videos, locations and so much more. Customers are 71% more satisfied with customer service via chat compared to email or calls,” the company said.

“We’ve taken the best email-based customer service platform, trusted by over 50,000 businesses and connected it to the most popular chat platform creating one centralized place where you can interact with your customers,” Kimenye, the CEO added.

“The platform allows customer service agents to simultaneously handle multiple chat sessions to quickly resolve customer issues.”

This new integration has been cemented by an agreement with Cloudhop which is an exclusive reseller of Zendesk in Africa. Nadeem Noordin, the CEO of CloudHop reiterated the importance of this partnership and the role instant messaging is having in the world.

“CloudHop is proud to partner with Ongair, enabling organizations to leverage technology to deliver great customer service,” Noordin said.

Ongair does not plan only to leverage its services on WhatsApp but also other Instant Messaging services such as Facebook’s Messenger and Google Talk. It will cost users from US$99 to US$750 depending on the scope of the CRM project or promotion.

The use of social media to conduct customer relation initiatives is not a new thing in Kenya. In fact, Safaricom, one of the leading telecommunication company in East Africa, was nominated in 2013 for the Facebook Studio Awards for using the platform to communicate with customers.

Safaricom was also highlighted as one of the most socially devoted brands worldwide in its use of Twitter in customer care in 2014.

Many companies in Kenya have embraced the use of social media. It is now not uncommon to place your complaint to companies like Kenya Power, Zuku, Airtel and others in this way. This new Ongair partnership could well serve to highlight Kenyan leadership in social CRM.


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Vincent Matinde

Vincent Matinde is an international IT Journalist highlighting African innovations in the technology scene.

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