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WeCom

Guide to WeCom

We’ve completely updated our comprehensive guide to WeCom (formerly known as WeChat Work). Everything you need to quickly understand why WeCom is important, tips for implementing it at your organization, and deep dives into the essential features. Check out the links below to download the full eighty-seven slide presentation.

If you’re unfamiliar with WeCom, think of it like your company having its own version of WeChat: you control who can join your account, what apps your team needs, and just about every other small detail.

The most exciting feature is that WeCom and WeChat are now tightly connected. The latest updates mean your company can:

  • Post to your customers’ WeChat Moments feed from WeCom
  • Send targeted broadcast messages from employees’ WeCom accounts to any segmentation of customers, and
  • Create group chats for WeChat customers that can be managed with live streaming, bots, Mini-Programs, quick replies, and custom app integrations.

We’ve also included a new section in this deck comparing WeCom to its main workplace messaging competitors in China: Alibaba’s DingTalk, ByteDance’s Lark, and new entrant, Huawei’s WeLink.

Download a high-resolution PDF from Tencent Cloud or Google Drive.

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WeCom

What’s new in WeChat Work v2.8.8

The latest update to WeChat Work (WCW) adds an early version of chatbots, enhancements to customer broadcast messaging, and a somewhat gimmicky email signature applet, among lots of smaller updates. You can read the original posts in Chinese for the updates discussed in this post for the admin backend for v2.8.8v2.8.7, and v2.8.5, as well as the user apps v2.8.7 and v2.8.5.

Chatbots

The biggest recent product announcement is the addition of chatbots to WCW group chats; though the initial feature set is still pretty basic.

Example bots: Feedback bot and Executive Assistant

Admin users can enable chatbots from the WCW backend and whitelist employees who are permitted to add chatbots to a group chat.

Managing bots on the WCW backend

Currently WCW only appears to be publishing the developer webhooks to enable you to manually connect your own services as a bot. We  can safely assume a third-party marketplace for bots is coming.

Once you or colleagues have added bots, you can then easily add them to group chats from the desktop or mobile WCW apps.

Add a bot from the desktop app. Example bots: training bot, weather bot, executive assistant bot.
Or add a bot from the mobile app
WeChat Work Customers

While incremental, the updates to WeChat Work Customers are more immediately exciting. The powerful feature to push personalized broadcast messaging through employees to their customers now supports advanced segmentation on customers and more content types: images, link cards, and mini-program cards.

Push new product MP page announcements through employees directly to a segmentation of their customer contacts

When employees chat with customers in WeChat Work, they have access to their own stored Quick Replies. Now brands can manage shared FAQ content alongside an employee’s own stored answered.

 

iPad User Interface

The iPad app got an all-new interface in the 2.8.5 update. It now supports split-screen mode while simultaneously using another app. With 2.8.7 you can now drag-and-drop files shared in WeChat directly into WeChat Work.

Drag-and-drop content from WeChat to WCW
Email Signature Snippet

The only new feature released with 2.8.8 is a small code snippet that you can use to add a link to your external contact QR code to your email signature. Customers or suppliers can scan your external code in either WeChat or WCW to add you as a business contact.

To enable it, click on your Business Card from the WCW app and select the new option at the bottom right to “Set as Email Signature”.

 

New “Set as email signature” feature

The snippet adds a pretty basic “business card” to your email signature that opens a new tab in the user’s browser when clicked.

 

Other Updates

In internal group chats, the group admin can now enable/disable the ability for users to @all whenever needed.

 

Mini-Programs can be shared before publishing, as a demo, to WeChat Work users for testing.

Group-level admin users can be designated to automatically receive admin rights over all sub-groups of the group.

There is a new class of admin rights to designate a user as an “app admin“. App admin can be granted  permission to send and receive app messages, both one-to-one and broadcast messages. Admin can use the WCW desktop app to send messages without having to login to the WCW backend.

 

Designate “app admin” who can send and receive messages with a WCW app

Admin can now designate some employee contact details as protected. If an employee needs to, say, view a protected phone number of an employee, the action to view the number will be logged, to prevent leaks of employee data.

 

The Approvals App now has a nifty history button. When reviewing, for example, an employee’s leave request, tap the history button to see their current and previous leave requests for context.

 

The Punch In/Out App gets several updates to help employers more granularly manage their work schedules and rules. Admin can now set custom behaviors when employees attempt to punch in from outside the office, designating these events as normal or abnormal in reports, or block the employee entirely from clocking in outside of the office (using GPS radius or wifi signal). Employees with exceptions to the rule can be whitelisted.

 

 

Admin can also now customize the amount of time an employee is allowed to punch-in late, and similary the amount of time an employee can punch-out early.

 

Finally, the number of shifts an organization can manage on the Punch In/Out backend has increased to fifty.

Connect Official Accounts to WeChat Work

Install Grata’s apps in your WeChat Work account to connect customers on your WeChat subscription and service apps to your mobile workforce for on-demand customer service and sales. More details at grata.cn or check out Grata’s comprehensive bilingual Guide to WeChat Work.

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WeChat and messaging
Categories
WeCom

WeChat Work Gets Serious about CRM

WeChat Work’s latest updates show they are taking CRM very seriously now. The update to version 2.7.5 on March 13th added a business card scanning tool, broadcast messaging to Customers, new profile tagging features, and more. You can read the original posts in Chinese for updates to the user apps and admin backend. This latest update builds on the previous update that saw Tencent rebrand “external contacts” as simply Customers, a major part of their 2019 strategy.

 

WeChat Work CRM

The most exciting feature for your sales team is likely the addition of a group broadcast messaging assistant (群发助手) for employees to message some or all of their WeChat contacts from WCW. Open the WCW Contact Customers app, tap on Broadcast Messages in the Tools section, select all or a segmentation of your customers and then fire off a message.

Left: Select recipients, add text and images; Right: A group holiday greeting and image sent to Customers

Similarly, admin users can distribute a company service message (企业客户发送服务消息) for employees to forward to their customers. This option supports text plus a photo, web page, or even Mini-Program page. Company messages are currently limited to once per week per customer. From the Contact Customers app in WCW, the admin can choose “Company message to customers” from the Tools tab.

 

From there you can prepare a new message and view your past messages to track how many employees have chosen to forward the company message to their customers.

 

Employees receive a notification in their Customer app when a company service message has been assigned to them.

The employee can preview the post and then choose to forward the message on to their customer.

The recipient gets the forwarded company message in WeChat, in the one-to-one chat thread with the employee. There aren’t a lot of formatting options yet.

The WeChat Work QR code scanner now doubles as a business card scanner (扫描纸质名片). In our testing, it surprisingly worked only slightly better than 50% of the time. We assume Tencent will improve on this, as some of the WCW third-party CRM apps already have much better performing business card scanners. The third-party apps, however, aren’t able to connect you with the customer’s WeChat contact. This is a big deal.

If the business card owner has both WeChat and WCW users, then you have the option to connect with either or both accounts. The scanned card is saved to their profile and some profile data is imported from running optical character recognization on the scan.

Companies can now set custom company tags (企业客户标签) for employees to use on Customer profiles. Tags can then be used, for example, to segment recipients when sending out broadcast and company messages. If you are a WCW admin, go to the Settings tab in the WCW Customers app and select “Company customer tag”.

From there you can create new tag groups and populate them with tags. When employees edit a Customer profile in WCW they have the company tags as well as a section for their personal tags.

You can now designate group-level admin to manage Customers for different employee departments and segment reporting by department.

 

Group chats with a mix of WeChat and WCW users now support up to twenty members.

Friend requests received in WeChat now give recipients who are using WCW the option to add the user as an external contact in their WCW account instead of in WeChat.

WeChat Pay

Integration with WeChat Pay now supports connecting multiple company WeChat Pay accounts to a WCW Account, as well as the reverse, connecting multiple WCW accounts to a shared WeChat Pay account. And you can now apply for a WeChat Pay account directly from the WCW backend without having to re-submit all of your business documents again.

Other Updates

The Punch In/Out app ( 打卡) now supports managing work schedules by shifts from the WCW mobile app. You can use the desktop backend if you need bulk import/export of your schedules and reports.

 

The Approvals App (审批) gets more granular controls especially suited for larger enterprises. The company can now set custom approval levels depending on the employee. You can also set a maximum number of days for leave requests, and employees who belong to multiple departments can now designate the most appropriate department to submit their application.

Borrowing from WeChat, WCW now lets an employee set a personal name for a coworker, as well as make notes on employee profiles.

 

  • The Report app (汇报) now supports exports to PDF.
  • The group chat by department feature, to automatically add and remove employees to department-wide group chats as they are added or removed to departments, apparently works now. (The feature has been an option on the WCW backend since the beginning).
  • Video calls made from the WCW desktop app now support full screen viewing.
  • The bulk upload feature for adding employees to your WCW backend now supports uploading employees belonging to different companies.
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Categories
WeCom

WeChat Work adds Customers

The latest update to WeChat Work (WCW) brought several new updates that continue to enhance interoperability with WeChat. You can read the original posts in Chinese for updates to the user apps and admin backend.

With this latest round of updates, the ‘external contacts’ (外部联系人) functionality has been re-branded as simply ‘Customers‘ (客户). Tencent has clearly figured out that their consumer messaging monopoly in China via WeChat is a clear path to own enterprise messaging too. Their biggest enterprise competition is Alibaba’s Ding Talk (钉钉) messenger. Alibaba will never be interoperable with WeChat. Full stop. If your customers are all using WeChat, and enterprise messaging products are basically at feature parity, why would you choose anything other than WeChat Work?

WeChat Work continues to remove friction when adding WeChat contacts as customers

Tencent made the case at their developer conference in January that this is just the natural evolution of WCW as a connector (连接器). This is the discussed in the video below (all videos are Chinese-only, no sub-titles), framing it as an annual progression of connections:

  • 2016: Employees to Employees (v1.0)
  • 2017: Employees to office tools/apps (v2.0)
  • 2018: Employees to WeChat

Getting deeper into Tencent’s motivations, the Father of WeChat, Allen Zhang, spent a few minutes of his marathon four-hour sermon musing on the high-level concept of “People as a Service” (人就是服务). Over a couple examples, he notes that talking directly to a service provider is often what the customer really wants (跟一个人交互是比跟别的所有的都要更方便的). Beyond providing the consumer and business software that makes that connection technically possible, WeChat also plays a trust-keeper role by verifying the identity of service providers.

Finally, the third video gives some, admittedly vague, insight into how the team is executing on this mission; trying to answer the age-old question of how to scale service without sacrificing quality. Their answer is to think about people, service, and service tools as one product (你要把服务和人整合在一起…工具和人是一体的).

So what does that look like so far in the product? The WCW v2.7 update added a Contact Customers app in the Workspace. The app opens to a graph reporting how many customers you personally have added, and for admin users, how many your team has added in total.

Personal and team dashboard tracking customers added; customer list; sharing customer contacts with other employees

Several related features are accessible from the Customer app menu in Tools and Settings sections. There is a “Contact Me” (联系我)feature that allows you to generate personal or shared/team QR codes and Mini-Program contact buttons. From Allen Zhang’s example in the video, the pain point of saving many different contacts for dozens of couriers, MP developers could use this button feature to let customers in a Mini-Program contact their couriers using WeChat Work.

For Mini-Programs, after you generate the MP feature on the WCW backend, you can add it on your MP backend as a third-party plug-in or code the button yourself. When customers scan a shared code, the next employee in the rotation is selected as their contact.

Generate personal and shared QR codes and Mini-Program contact buttons

You can set a Welcome Message for your company that greets customers after they add an employee as a contact.

A simple but useful Quick Replies feature has been added to Customer chats for storing replies to frequently asked questions.

LEFT: Tap the + button when chatting with customers and select Quick Reply, RIGHT: Tap to load stored text to your chat

Customer profiles get a small upgrade with space for phone numbers and images — the perfect place for storing a shot of the customer’s business card.

 

Other updates

Tap the + button in an internal chat to reveal a new meeting invitation feature that lets you quickly share and track RSVPs.

Large enterprises with multiple business units can now more easily manage their workforce. Below, it’s now possible to easily switch between multiple verified entities when adding users or setting up their externally facing public profiles.

Select between multiple entities for employee public profiles.

And in a move likely being piloted before it appears in WeChat, WCW now lets you search your sticker collection.

Finally, external group chats get a few upgrades like the ability to search members by company name, the ability to transfer the group admin role, and the ability to enable/disable invite-only mode for the group. You can also search for group chats by listing multiple members’ names.

 

 

Categories
WeCom

What’s New in WeChat Work v2.6.1

WeChat at Work v2.6.1 went live earlier this week. You can read the original posts in Chinese for updates to the user apps and admin backend.

Interoperability with WeChat

For our non-China readers, a big update to note is that real name verification no longer requires a Chinese ID. You can now use a passport, drivers license or other national ID plus your mobile phone statement covering the last three months. Real name verification is required to add external WeChat users as contacts. As opposed to the Chinese process which is instant and done with facial recognition, non-Chinese citizens will need to wait up to three business days for documents to be approved. (At the time this article went to press, our user had been waiting two business days with no result yet.)

The previous 2.6.0 update introduced group chats with a mix of up to ten WeChat external contacts and Work WeChat employees.

Work business cards get a spiffy makeover. Check them out:

Internal Customer Service

There is a new feature on the backend to enable and manage internal customer service contacts (“Employee Services”) to your Work WeChat.

Once turned on, employees with visibility to the service will see a folder for Employee Services:

Inside the folder are all of the customer service contacts you create. You can create multiple contacts and assign multiple employees to each role.

Employees who are designated as internal customer service providers will see employee service chats show up in their service app.

An employee service chat:

Surveys

You can now create and share simple surveys from within a group chat.

The creator of the survey can export the data from the results page.

Chinese interface:

Other updates

The latest version of the desktop app now supports search across all chat history. Previous versions required you to search within a specific thread or group chat.

The Windows app gets the ability to give remote access to your desktop, eg. for IT support, allowing another employee to take over control of your computer.

For security purposes, all remote access events are logged on the Work WeChat admin backend with relevant metadata.

The do-not-disturb controls (“Take a Break” feature) get a small update so you can make exceptions for incoming voice or video calls.

There is an all-new help center with lots of updated FAQ content, but this is currently only available in Chinese.

Finally, you can now use your business online banking interface to charge your WeChat Work phone plan.

Connect Official Accounts to WeChat Work

Install Grata’s apps in your WeChat Work account to connect customers on your WeChat subscription and service apps to your mobile workforce for on-demand customer service and sales. More details at grata.cn or check out Grata’s comprehensive bilingual Guide to WeChat Work.

Follow Grata_co for the latest on
WeChat and messaging