Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Clickatell helps SA companies leverage chat commerce

Article Image
Chat commerce is helping many South African companies solve their customer service problems, according to Clickatell CEO and co-founder Pieter de Villiers, in an interview with Connecting Africa.

"Clickatell is an intersection between communications and commerce and, since our inception, we have created a platform that connects commerce with the mobile phone," de Villiers said.

"For us, chat commerce is the third wave of digital commerce. First, it was Internet commerce. Secondly, there were e-commerce websites, Internet banking and many brands invested in their e-commerce websites," he said.

However, in 2007, Internet commerce transitioned into app commerce, he explained. He said 10 years later, four chat platforms overtook the four largest mobile social networks, which ushered in the chat economy.

The Clickatell difference

The Clickatell CEO said his company pioneered chat banking for South African bank Absa on the WhatsApp channel.

"We were the first company to create payments inside chat platform WhatsApp. We did that in 2019 for MTN where we did a mobile recharge top-up through a credit card transaction initiated out of WhatsApp," he continued.

He explains that chat commerce has a simple proposition which says that it will take the brand and put them where its clients interact the most and that is on networks like WhatsApp.

"People are currently running their lives on these platforms, so it is only reasonable that brands leverage that," he continued.

The company is also working with one of South Africa's largest airlines, FlySafair; the airline has invested significant time in assessing how it can improve its offering across the digital journey.

Through Clickatell, the FlySafair WhatsApp channel hosts key information about flight cancellations and changes, luggage restrictions, identity requirements, COVID-19 safety requirements, as well as the option to chat with a live agent.

"Additionally, customers can also choose to receive their boarding pass on WhatsApp, significantly improving and streamlining the passenger experience," he added.

"Upselling over a known and trusted chat channel, like WhatsApp, is as simple as a quick text message. Once bookings are confirmed, travel agents and airlines can offer seat upgrades and even suggest places to stay at specific destinations, complete with special offers and promotions that passengers can take advantage of right then and there," he continued.

Want to know more about mobile financial services in Africa? Check out our dedicated Fintech content channel here on Connecting Africa.

He added that the chat desk integrates tightly with Clickatell's chat flow, which is a drag-and-drop conversation workflow builder that enables businesses like FlySafair to visually create, edit and manage communication and business process workflows across multiple channels with little to no code.

The Chat Desk consists of three parts. The agent desk enables customer service agents to manage multiple customer conversations across SMS, WhatsApp and Apple Messages in a unified inbox. The supervisor desk allows supervisors to route tickets to the right department or specialist agents. That part of the desk also enables the supervisor to manage agents' workloads and performances. Finally, a real-time dashboard also provides supervisors with a view of agent performance and customer sentiment through customer surveys.

Related posts:

*Top image source Image by wirestock on Freepik

— Matshepo Sehloho, Associate Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub


Four agritech startups to watch in 2024

Connecting Africa has compiled a list of four agritech startups that are making a difference in the communities they serve.


Paymentology looks to strengthen its African roots

Global issuer-processor Paymentology's CEO Jeff Parker spoke to Connecting Africa about the company's African roots and aspirations to work with more banks, fintechs and enterprises both on the continent and globally.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

Sponsored video

More videos

Industry announcements

More Industry announcements

Upcoming events

Africa Tech Festival 2024
November 11-14, 2024
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Africa Tech Perspectives


Uber's Marjorie Saint-Lot on inclusion and sustainability in Africa

Uber's Country Manager for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Marjorie Saint-Lot, shares how the ride-hailing company is approaching public-private partnerships, environmentally friendly initiatives and gender inclusion in Africa.


The 100 most influential African leaders in 2023

A new report from Africa Tech Festival and Connecting Africa puts a spotlight on the top 100 African leaders in the telecoms and technology sector in 2023.


Deep dive into East Africa's tech startup ecosystem

New survey reveals a lack of access to investors, reliance on international VCs and global recession trends as the biggest barriers for East African tech startups to access funds.

More Africa Tech perspectives

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: February 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in February 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included 5G launches in Senegal and 5G trials in Egypt as well as Kenya's first 5G MVNO. Airtel also launched a new wholesale connectivity business while MTN and Huawei are planning a joint Innovation Technology Lab in South Africa – that and more in this month's Omdia View.


Omdia View: January 2024

By Omdia Analysts

Highlights in January 2024 in the Middle East and Africa included a $200 million fintech deal between MTN and Mastercard as well as 5G network trials by Telecom Egypt – that and more in this month's Omdia View.

More Guest Perspectives

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up
Tag id test-002