● Announcing the launch of "Notification messages," an initiative for sending public utility fee notices and other important and critical messages to users
TOKYO – March 1, 2018 – LINE Corporation ("LINE") announced "Notification messages," a new initiative for its corporate LINE accounts which will initially launch with six participating companies, including those in the power, gas, air travel, and transportation industries.
Corporate LINE accounts are a service that companies can use to create accounts for their businesses. At present, over 300 LINE Official Accounts have been created in Japan, with an average of 6.4 million friends each (as of the end of September 2017), and continues to grow as a communication platform that brings many businesses and users together. Corporate LINE accounts have recently grown beyond being simply a means of one-way advertising from businesses to users, and have grown as a tool for users to interact themselves with companies, providing benefits for the user by serving as a method for making inquiries and performing various tasks.
With this background in mind, LINE has announced notification messages, which will initially have six participating companies, including those in the power, gas, air travel, and transportation industries, as a new initiative to provide even greater benefits to users by allowing highly public companies to send important and critical messages and to provide this convenience to the greatest number of users.
Notification messages is an initiative for companies to send particularly important and critical messages (excluding advertisements) to users. By substituting messages from companies that had previously relied on physical mail or email, such as notices of delayed or canceled flights, public utility fee notices, and notices for delivery times,* with LINE messages, LINE aims to make users' lives more convenient while at the same time increasing efficiency and reducing costs for companies. Further, considering that these particularly important and critical messages provide significant benefits to users, and that these type of communications do not necessarily need to be restricted only to those that have friended an account, LINE has made it possible for the companies participating in this notification messages initiative to also send messages to users who have not previously friended their account by matching the user's phone number registered with LINE with the phone number in the company's records.
* The individual's identity must be confirmed before moving forward with viewing messages which include personal information or other procedures.
Announcing six initial companies in the power, gas, air travel, and transportation industries
The following are the initial companies that will participate in this latest initiative. Upon considering what would provide the greatest benefit to users, LINE has chosen to restrict the use of notification messages to include no advertising of any kind, and only to messages which are important and critical to users. The initial companies are highly public in nature, and it is LINE's belief that users will also feel that the sent messages are also important and critical to them. LINE will begin rolling out these new, and even more convenient, services to users jointly with the initial companies in short order,* and will work to raise awareness by – and expand its use among – users.
LINE will monitor the reaction among its users and trends among the accounts as it considers moving forward in discussing and reviewing the option to expand the scope to include notifications for travel and restaurant reservations.
* The respective launch dates for these services will be determined upon mutual consultations with each company.
Comments from the companies participating at launch
TEPCO Energy Partner, Inc. (Comment provided by Tadashi Tamura, Managing Director and General Manager of Smart Life Division)
We fully approve of the idea behind LINE's new initiative and, since we have been given the opportunity to assist in this endeavor, we will be providing users with paperless meter readings, a simplified experience when viewing the website, and more to lessen the burden on our customers and make our services more convenient. We will initially be implementing an option for customers to check their electricity usage and fees at any time with the press of a button and will put our customers above all else as we strive to provide services and cut down on operation costs, such as reducing the customer’s burden from procedures involved in moving process. "
Chubu Electric Power Co., Inc. (Comment provided by Yuuji Koyama, Executive Officer and General Manager of Living & Business Sales Division, Customer Service & Sales Company)
"We see this notification messages as an environment conscious initiative since our participation will enable us to allow our customers to easily check their electric and gas bills at any time over LINE, cutting down on paper and CO2 produced during delivery. Customers can also use LINE to read information on saving energy and various useful lifestyle tips from our KatEne online service. We will continue to provide our customers with appealing services that further enrich and make their lives all the more convenient. "
TOKYO GAS Co., LTD. (Comment provided by Hiroshi Kishino, Senior Executive Officer and General Manager of Residential Sales & Service Innovation Project Dept)
"In this era of fully liberalized electric and gas retail markets, we want to provide gas and electricity, as well as services that suit people's individual lifestyles, to even more customers, and the use of digital communication is a major initiative for us. We believe that LINE – which has one of widest demographics among the various means of communication available – will be the solution that addresses our customers' needs, and we have high hopes for this notification messages service. "
Japan Airlines Co., Ltd. (Comment provided by Hideo Ninomiya, Managing Executive Officer; President and Representative Director of JAL Sales Co., Ltd.)
We will use LINE as part of our initiative to create personalized and timely services to meet the diverse needs of our customers on into the future. Notification messages will be used to provide flight information to our customers, such as when their plane is delayed by 30 minutes or more, or canceled. We will strive to provide stress-free services, including possible features that can simplify the procedures for when events like this occur, which is made possible by allowing our customers to use the form of communication most suitable to them. "
All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd. (Comment provided by Kenya Inada, Executive Vice President)
ANA is an airline group used by over 50 million passengers per year across our routes to 43 international cities and 50 domestic cities. We are currently undertaking initiatives to enhance our services in line with the customer journey. As touchpoints with our customers are centering more and more around mobile, we have been placing increasing importance on rolling out services across a variety of channels. We plan to use LINE's new notification messages service to confirm reservations and provide information about flights. We will undertake initiatives to provide even greater convenience and will strive to improve our services to make our customers' travel all the more pleasant. "
Yamato Transport Co., Ltd. (Comment provided by Hajime Hirajima, Division of Business Development and Enhancement General Manager)
"In order to respond to the increasingly diverse lifestyles of our customers, we have begun providing services that make sending and receiving packages all the more convenient, such as increasing touchpoints, such as convenience stores, where they can receive packages outside the home, sending pre-delivery emails to customers registered with Kuroneko Members, and more. In January 2016, we started sending upcoming delivery messages over LINE, a service that has become incredibly popular among many of our customers. Through the notification messages service, we hope to raise awareness among even more LINE users of the Kuroneko Members service, and have them experience it for themselves. "
Through its various services, LINE is devoted to continuing to be a valuable touch point of information for both businesses and users, and explore new and diverse ways to be useful as a communication infrastructure.