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Messaging is a significant part of daily life in the modern world. An average user uses messengers approximately 24-24 times a day, which means at least twice an hour. As popularity of messengers grows, businesses begin using them to reach their customers, improve brand awareness, promote and sell products and provide technical support. 

Here are examples of using messengers for communication with customers. Many companies have official Facebook pages, and people contact them using Facebook Messenger. This includes answering questions, user support and feedback. 

Another example is Viber Business Accounts. This solution lets companies integrate their Viber account with chat systems as JivoChat, Zendesk and other to balance the load between support agents. At the same time users have the same user experience as communicating in a common Viber chat.

However, there is one huge problem in using messengers to communicate with customers – messengers are designed for people and not for businesses.

A typical business may have several customer communication channels at the same time – email, Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram and a support desk. These channels may vary from company to company, but the truth is customers contact companies using the easiest way to do this. 

Reply Now solves the problem with having all communication channels in one place. There is no need to monitor social networks and messengers for customer activity in different browser tabs and applications – everything is organized in one place. 

All you need is to connect your social messaging accounts, organize a team and begin handling incoming chats with customers. Simple, yet fast and powerful, Reply Now offers integration with the most popular social networks and messengers, team work, assignments, rules, canned responses and much more. 
Join Reply Now beta testing to become an early adopter and evangelist of the most powerful social messaging platform.

eugene

In our previous post we described why we decided to develop Reply Now – all in one social messaging system for businesses to communicate with their customers. We plan to have all popular social networks and messengers in  Reply now, including email accounts, Viber, Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, SMS and more. 

For now we have already set up integration with Facebook and Viber. This was not an easy journey as each platforms has own requirements and limitations. 

Facebook was the platform we decided to start with. Facebook offers businesses to create an official company page in order to post news, increase customer engagement, grow business and reach more than 2 billion Facebook users. People can contact a Facebook page using Facebook messenger. 

Facebook has a REST API that lets you send and receive messages. To do this, you must create a Facebook application on the Facebook Developer Portal. This is quite easy and costs nothing. By default Facebook only grants you basic permissions to access the person’s email address, name and profile picture. 

However, we needed deeper permissions – manage pages to be able to connect a Facebook page to Reply Now, and read page mail boxes  in order to get the list of messages and be able to reply to them in our interface. Obtaining these permissions requires to pass the application review process from two sides. 

First, you must show how you will use the application (we provided a step by step instruction to Facebook testers on what exactly Reply Now does, together with login credentials). Second, Facebook wants to verify your business and make sure you are a company. This includes submitting company documents for review.

The review process took took two months for us to approve the application by Facebook. We did several resubmissions, clarifications and edits to comply with Facebook rules. After all, we are happy to receive the final approval from Facebook for Reply Now.
Stay tuned for our updates. In the next article we will describe how we connected Viber as the second communication channel for the Reply Now social messaging platform.

eugene

Viber became the second integration added to our social messaging platform Reply Now. Viber is a popular messenger with more than a billion of active users in 193 countries. Every minute there are around 7 million interactions with the messenger. An average Viber user launches the app more than 12 times a day. 

All these facts point that Viber is a widely used messenger with huge potential for business. For business purposes the messenger offers the so called business accounts that let you register a company in Viber, set up integration with third-party chat systems and communicate with clients.

Viber allows using their API only to send and receive messages in business account, which sounds reasonable. Previously anyone could register a business account in order to promote their business in Viber. However, the company changed the policy, so we had to pass the registration and verification procedure in order to get the business account. 

Once we received it, we began testing connection and sending messages from our Reply Now. Unlike Facebook that uses OAuth to connect a page to Reply Now, Viber only requires an authentication token, which can be found in the business account settings. 

The testing schema was the following – we connected our business account to Reply Now, found it in Viber and began sending messages. Amazing, it worked! So, we set up our next goal – connect one more messenger or social network. It could be Twitter or Telegram, for example. 

Stay with us in our fascinating journey in the ocean of social messaging!     

eugene

When we brainstormed the idea of an all-in-one social messenger for businesses, we set the main goal – Reply Now should be fast, scalable and support all major platforms, such as Web, MacOS, Windows, iOS, Android. At the same time we had limited resources and could not allow spending budget into several teams. 

Finally, we decided to use Golang for the backend of Reply Now. Main reason of such choice was that Golang fits perfectly for concurrency-oriented applications. It uses goroutines instead of threads consuming minimum resources (comparing, for example with Ruby, Python, Java or JS). Another benefit of Golang lies in its beautiful code. There is no insane syntax as in other languages, everything is neat and organized. 

Golang is a modern language that uses latest approach to development of programming languages. It is perfect for developing small-size microservices working in concurrency. Moreover, Go has a reach standard library that allows implementing extensive applications without recourse to third-party libraries.

Talking about infrastructure to run our product, we fixed eyes on Amazon Web Services. We already have experience working with Microsoft Azure in our main product, so we decided to try something else. Another reason is that we use Golang. It pushes us to use Unix oriented environments, where Amazon is the most stable one. Under certain approach Amazon prices are significantly lower than Azure prices.

As for desktop and mobile applications, we use React. Its component-based model lets us reuse modules in applications of different types (desktop, mobile), which means reusing the existing code in most cases. Additionally, React allows rendering user interface in a most optimal and quickest manner.

Finally, we use Kubernetes in Reply Now. Kubernetes is the system that orchestrates microservices and allows easily keep the system up-to-date and releases us from numerous issues with manual configuration.

eugene