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If you’re an enterprise communication platform company that wants to spread its wings and gain visibility points alongside some more well-known applications, you could do worse than to hook up with Instagram.

Rocket.Chat, an enterprise communication provider, today announced a new service called Instagram Direct, which enables businesses to integrate their Instagram business accounts with Rocket.Chat’s omnichannel customer-service package. The new integration is designed to help businesses build relationships with customers by facilitating a conversational commerce experience in the familiar Instagram DM app in addition to providing a single omnichannel platform for the various consumer connecting points, CEO and founder Gabriel Engel told VentureBeat. 

Rocket.Chat is a secure, open source-based collaboration platform that is installed on more than 500,000 corporate servers and counts more than 12 million users worldwide, Engel said. It’s also available as a SaaS service. The company counts among its customers the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, Lockheed Martin, and other organizations desiring complete control and storage of their digital correspondence.

“These customers are looking for privacy as an important feature,” Engel said. “With Rocket.Chat, a company can host its data wherever they want, and they are absolutely certain who is going to have access to that data. And they can even use all the data because it’s already on their servers to model and improve their own AI strategies. This is because they have full access to everything that’s happening in real time.

What Rocket.Chat wants to give to its customers is data ownership and sovereignty, because the platform can run on any infrastructure they own, and they can connect to all the social networks as they come and go, Engel said. “They will still keep the same relationship with single customers, then keep the data. They will have more of a future-proof strategy by using our type of technology,” Engel said.

Software review site G2 lists Rocket.Chat competitors as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Jabber, Slack, LiveChat, Webex App, Mattermost, Zoom, and Bitrix24 — although none of them enables private storage of data.

Combining chat, video, internal communication, customer service

Users can run Rocket.Chat with a range of features to tailor their platform: individual and group communication, video conferencing, file uploading, screen sharing, LiveChat, and integration with a variety of different communications platforms.

“Rocket.Chat, as the name says, is a communication platform, but not just for chat,” Engel told VentureBeat. “We do video conferencing and other forms of communication as well. But the whole reason why it was created was to break the silos of having communication systems that are only in the cloud, or only designed for internal communication, or a system that was only designed for customer service. We decided to go to a platform, where you could have two customer services interact in inter-company communication and between different companies. So it’s really a cooperation engine.”

Businesses must be ready to embrace conversational commerce (c-commerce) on messaging and chat apps including Instagram DM, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp, or through voice technology, to provide improved customer experience and win more sales. Engel said. Conversational commerce — the intersection of messaging apps and shopping — continues to gain traction as consumers look for meaningful engagement and increasingly embrace shopping via chat with their preferred brands. According to a recent Meta study, half of all buyers reported they engage in c-commerce primarily through social media and messaging platforms. 

Users expect quick responses all the time

Consumers chat with businesses for a wide range of reasons, including product information, gift advice, a store location, flexible delivery, impulse purchases, and receiving personalized support. Research has shown that when commerce is conversational, satisfaction – and sales – increase. However, the effectiveness of c-commerce is driven largely by execution: Consumers expect businesses to answer quickly and provide helpful responses. 

However, replying to multiple Instagram messages can be time-consuming for a customer support team. Rocket.Chat’s integration with Instagram DM is designed for the team to quickly respond to customers’ messages from one interface and provides the ability to set up chatbots and quick replies to reduce handling time, Engel said. Chatbots can help customers with frequently-asked questions while saving agents’ time for conversations that require human interaction. 

The company has an active community of more than 1,000 developer-contributors who help its core team of developers to improve the product. Rocket.Chat’s long-term vision is to replace email with a real-time federated communications platform, Engel said.Instagram is a powerful marketing tool, with about 500 million daily users. About 36% of Instagram users follow at least one business on the social media channel.

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