Founded in 2011, MessageBird is a cloud communications platform that connects companies to their customers. In 2020 MessageBird decided to take the next step by expanding their product offering with an all new omnichannel chat widget.
MessageBird, with clients like Facebook, Uber, Deliveroo and WhatsApp, but also a wide range of SMBs, already had an impressive product offering. Products like Inbox, Flow Builder and Conversations benefited companies with several options to connect with their customers. With the new omnichannel chat widget, MessageBird wanted to expand those options further.
MessageBird had seen a gap in the market when it comes to omnichannel chat widgets, and was confident that they could fill that gap by using their existing products and technologies. Where most omnichannel chat widgets would simply redirect you to another channel, for example WhatsApp, MessageBird wanted to unify all channels into one single conversation thread. On top of that, they also wanted to offer more, innovative features like buttons within the chat and showing past orders. We, the team was formed to work on the widget, were challenged to design and build the MVP of the widget in about 6 weeks.
We started the project by conducting competitive research. This helped us to get a clear view of what already had been done by our competitors and how they tackled certain issues. It also gave us more information about what features would set us apart from the rest, an important aspect of the project.
Next, we brainstormed and sketched out possible directions, for example with regards to how switching to other channels would work and when a user would be connected to a chat agent. After that, we iterated further on the chosen directions, in close contact with the stakeholders, and we started testing our designs internally. We also created user flows for both the admin side as the client side.
Based on the testing and stakeholder feedback, we refined and unified our designs into one final concept. With that, we started working on the first high-fidelity designs for exploration and to determine how customizable the widget should be. This also resulted in a split of responsibilities: I started focusing on the widget settings, the other designer started focusing on the widget itself.
In the weeks after releasing the MVP we started expanding on the features of the widget and also conducted several user interviews to find out what pain points were, how the widget could be improved and what features users wanted to see. We used that feedback to refine and prioritise our roadmap. For the settings we started adding more customization options, as well as new features, like custom translations and notifications with certain conditions, and for example an improved onboarding.
In the fall of 2020 we already had made huge progress with the addition of new channels and new features and much more was on the planning for the following months.
After the release, we saw that the widget was already being used by a variety of companies - from large, multinational corporations to SMBs. The widget was also featured on websites like TechCrunch, where MessageBird's founder, Robert Vis, was interviewed: “With the launch of the first-ever omni-channel widget, customers can now opt to have a business get back to them on WhatsApp, Messenger or the messaging platform of their choice. This means no more customers waiting in line, online, and agents don’t get flooded with tickets and can better manage customer relationships and response times.”
A short video about MessageBird's omnichannel chat widget.
With tons of new features and channels like Twitter DM and Instagram on the roadmap, the amount of users is expected to rise in the coming months.