Following in the footsteps of Facebook's Messenger, Viber is the next chat app to enable business profiles. They're called public accounts, and are just that - a way for you to talk to representatives from businesses and brands, getting information or support. You don't need to add a business as a contact before you talk to it.
At the moment, around 1,000 public accounts are debuting, including such brands as The Huffington Post, Yandex, and The Weather Channel. You can subscribe to any of these and receive updates throughout the day. The customer care aspect isn't launching yet, but will be coming by the end of the month, after Viber will have integrated with between 10 and 15 popular CRM suites. Once this is live, businesses will use the same software for interactions on Viber as they do for emails and social media.
Obviously, public accounts can also be used for bots, but Viber won't be providing any bot functionality to its business partners. On the other hand, if you are a brand and want to use a bot through a public account, Viber won't be stopping you.
The new public accounts feature builds upon the already available public chats option, which got added in 2014 letting any celebrity run a conversation with the public. However, that requires you to have that person in your contacts before you can interact with him or her. Viber has 800 million users, of which 266 million are active.