Release Notes is our monthly publication to update the community on the recent
feature additions and product improvements. This is so that you can easily stay
up to date on what’s new. Here’s what we launched in January’19.
We welcomed 2019 with the resolution to improve customer satisfaction and a goal to make sure not a single customer leaves us. So we took a few paces backward and dedicated the first month of 2019 to build the most wanted features based on your requests. Read on for more!🌟
What’s New on iOS🚀
Custom Message List View:
You can now create custom message lists with Applozic. This update is for users who have distinct users in their app and would like to populate separate views for each set of users. For example, if you are using Applozic for customer support chat, then you can populate separate lists for specific agents and also for assigned and unassigned conversations.
Vertical Layout – Quick Replies:
Did you dislike the horizontal layout of the Quick Reply buttons? If so then we have heard you and acted on it. We have changed the view to accommodate Quick Replies on a vertical layout. The current layout makes it easier to read and select the options.
Not using Quick Replies yet? It is a great time saver, engages users and improves message response rates.
Improved File Handling and Attachments:
We made two major enhancements here:
✅ Users can now upload any type of file; PDFs, Docs, and others directly from iCloud and share it with their contacts.
✅ We have added an option that shows only specific file types from the gallery when a user is sending attachments. The application admin can enable it for specific cases when they are certain about the file types that application users will send.
Your favorite message bubble view just got better. Now you can change the color of the message bubble and all its internal elements like the text color, the button color and the color of all the icons.
Other Features & Enhancements:
💬 Now the Typing Indicator will be dismissed in 30 seconds if the user is still typing
📊 We added a message metadata option in the configuration so that if metadata is set, it will then be sent with all the messages. This will allow you to get more information about every user.
🆕 Added support for Submit button and Link button as rich messages.
🐛 Squashed a few bugs and made performance updates for a smoother experience
What’s New on Android 🚀
New & Improved Push Notifications:
Applozic now supports HTML formatting in Push Notification. So all your HTML messages will be rendered in the notification tray in their native form.
Improved File Handling and Attachments:
Just like in iOS, the option to filter out specific file types from the gallery while sending an attachment is also available on Android. So for users with a packed gallery, it becomes convenient to search for specific items.
Other Features & Enhancements:
⚡ More updates = increased SDK size? Not in our case! With the latest release, we made various optimizations to bring down SDK size by 500 KB.
🔒 You can now show/hide group subtitle for your users.
👨✈️ Application admin can update the metadata even for a logged in user.
Our top resource of ideas and fixes is your honest feedback. Please continue
sending all your great suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org - we’re
Normally, we come across situations where we need to decide between build or buy. Ultimately, we need to focus on our core technologies and business. We use different SaaS products to maintain our fast growth. Knowing about the security protocols of these services is an essential part.
One of such services is the chat service. In this article, we will cover basic security checks developers need to consider while integrating chat. Even if you are building your own chat component, you should consider these checks.
5 Basic Security Checks for Chat Service
All APIs call over HTTPS
In most of the cases, you need to call the APIs of your service provider to send or receive information. This information might be very private for your users or your business. You need to secure the transport layer and ensure that you are communicating with trusted resources. For this, your first check should be to ensure that all the APIs calls you are making must be on HTTPS.
Two-factor user authentication
User authentication is the best thing to do to avoid any unintended users to log-in to your chat system. You can authenticate the user from your backend before giving them access to the chat system. Sometimes, it may feel like an extra effort but this will give you complete control over authorizations.
Your chat service provider should have the configuration to provide your own authentication URL where user’s credentials should be verified. This will enable you to take other security measures such as expiring user password after some time. You can check out how you can configure it with Applozic.
Identify the source of any incoming calls to your servers
You might be using proactive callbacks from third-party servers to your backend servers to get some event-based data. For example, if messages are not delivered to a receiver within X minutes (let’s say 5 minutes), post messages to your backend servers. Sometimes we keep these webhook URLs open. Calls from an unidentified source might cause potential damage.
Your chat service provider should have some setting to pass parameter or header in each call. You can control and change this setting anytime to identify the source of the calls to your backend.
We, at Applozic, provide similar configuration to define your own token which we pass in each call as a header.
Real-time updates to authenticated users
You must ensure that data transferred is intended to intended users only while sending real-time updates.
Encryption of your chat data
It is very important to understand if you really need encryption of data and what level of encryption you need? You might not need any encryption if your chat service covers all of the above points and you have configured it correctly.
However, based on the nature of your business and usage of the chat data, you can decide whether to encrypt the data or not. For example, if you are using chat service in some kind of social app where chat data directly belongs to your users, you may enable E2E encryption.
Another usage case might be customer support, where chat data significantly connected with your business and you might need to analyze data for improving services. You can keep it to only encrypting data in motion or even avoid it.
It is really important to implement basic security checks for any service that you use. Especially in the light of recent major data leaks and privacy mishaps. These basic checkpoints will make your system more reliable and robust.
Small businesses have to overcome many obstacles on their path to transform into bigger organizations. However, in this digital age, you can conquer these obstacles by using technology. Technology allows small businesses to look much bigger than they are. Reach more people across horizons, at lesser costs.
One example of companies leaping over hurdles is in the area of communication. Good communication helps small businesses find new customers and listen to their own people. It also helps them develop new strategies for marketing, sales, and operations. The following tips could help small businesses continue on the path of growth.
How to Enhance Business Communication
Develop a Communication Strategy
First, you need to think about what kind of communication strategy you want as a company. Together with your employees, think about your mission, vision, and goals. Thereafter, you can think about a communication strategy can help you achieve these goals.
Additionally, analyze your existing communication strategy to figure out what is working and what is not working. How cost effective is your current strategy? Finally, be sure that your strategy works with your goals and objectives.
Analyze the Received Information
It doesn’t matter how good your communication strategy is if you don’t listen to your employees or your customers. Learning and practicing active listening is essential if you hope to improve your communication skills overall.
Many business owners find active listening a difficult skill to master, but with practice, anyone can improve their listening skills. Active listening is more than just listening to what is being said. You should understand what the person is trying to convey, respond and give feedback to the person. It is also important to remember what was communicated to you. Think about turning off or moving any distracting devices. You can also take notes on the conversation to remember it later.
CISCO had set up a social media listening center and listened to more than 5000 social mentions per day on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels. It enhanced team productivity and developed new sales opportunities. It has successfully generated an annual profit of 1.5 million USD by using this communication medium.
Use of Cloud Tech
Many businesses find cloud-based technology essential for improving communication, both with employees and customers. A cloud-based phone system or chat platform allows employees to communicate and keep track of communication with other employees, vendors, customers and partners in order to facilitate and retain communication for later.
In addition, cloud-based applications in word processing, payroll and accounting, and even task management allow employees to collaborate and share information in real time. This, in turn, makes it much easier to work, not just from within the same office but also with other offices around the world.
The new way to do business is to have some employees who work remotely or do part-time freelancing. Using cloud technology is essential for business expansion. For Example – DemandBase, a B2B marketing cloud utilized white paper, infographic, webinar, SlideShare to assist the B2B marketers to make the correct choice for technology investments. They generated around 1700 leads and 1 Million USD for their business development.
Integration of Technological Communication tools
To have an effective communication strategy, you need to be sure that your tech tools are up to speed. In an environment where voice networks, the internet, and data are all connected, communication is simplified, and costs are reduced.
In addition, a seamless integration of such tech networks can result in a business gaining a competitive advantage over your closest competitors — and in this competitive business market, you need as much advantage as you can get.
Customers want a quick and easy way to communicate with a business; if they have questions, they want them answered as quickly as possible. If customers run into problems, they want to communicate with business to get them resolved.
Integrated tools allow a company to streamline the process of communication and increase productivity, which leads to more profit. For instance – ADP Solutions devised a content marketing campaign to reach to its targeted customers with the means of white papers and diagnostic assessment tools. It successfully generated close to $1m is sales from such campaigns.
Create an Internal Communication System
You need to come up with a way to have a dedicated internal communication process for your employees. Lots of platforms are available to help with employee communication and file or document sharing.
In addition, there are lots of messaging apps that allow employees to message each other in real time. There are also apps for collaborative messaging and group messaging, even while employees are working on documents and sharing documents. Some applications also allow cloud messaging, where some messages between employees are saved and then used later when needed.
If communication with people outside the business, such as vendors and customers is important than communication in the business is even more important. Without good internal communication, the business can’t continue to move forward. Take the case of Virgin Trains that created an internal app store called “amazing apps” with 20 distinct apps serving to provide information to its employees on the company smartphones to understand their demands and queries in a better way.
Create a Feedback Mechanism
So, now you are feeling pretty good about finding new ways to improve your communication, you need to think about the final step. How do you know that your communication strategies and working? You need a feedback mechanism in place. Companies need both internal and external feedback to determine how effective their business practices are.
In order to ensure you are receiving positive feedback, you need to figure out a method for both collecting feedback and ensuring that your feedback gets out to the people who need to hear it. There are multiple platforms that allow to collect feedback and get the feedback out.
You can use employee surveys to determine how well the employees feel the business is living up to their expectations. Best would be to use a combination of personal-stressors questions as well as business-related questions to gauge the climate within the business.
Businesses can send feedback questions to their customers to ask about how they did on the customer service and communication front. Some of the survey platforms even reward customers who answer the survey by giving them a coupon towards their next order with the company who requested the survey.
Ensuring that you have good communication externally and internally is vital to the success of your business. It helps you reach more customers, ease through troublesome issues between employees and increases productivity at work. With good communication skills, you can take huge forward leaps in your business.
The perfect example of this is Logicall. They provide inbound and outbound customer management solutions. They use communication tools such as e-mails, microsite, and ebooks to enable custom messaging for its sales team and have successfully generated 8 million USD business.
About the Author:
Peter Davidson is a senior business associate. Peter strives to help different brands and startups to make effective business decisions and plan effective business strategies. With years of rich domain expertise, he loves to share his views on the latest technologies and applications through his well-researched content pieces. Follow him on Google+ and Twitter.