9 min read
The opinions expressed by employees are personal.
WhatsApp was the most downloaded application of 2019 with 709 million installations worldwide. In recent years, this tool has dethroned social networks to become one of the apps we use most to interact with friends and family and, now, also with companies.
The way in which we communicate between people has evolved rapidly over the last decade, going through the telephone, email, and social networks to reach instant messaging, characterized by the immediate and personal. The dynamics with which people communicate with companies has also changed and today all these service channels coexist.
A worldwide trend
Today, there are more than 3 million companies that use WhatsApp with the aim of achieving more personal, fluid and multimedia relationships with their customers. The Washington Post has called customer service through instant messaging as “the biggest change in the industry since 0800”.
Companies of all verticals such as Banco Bolivariano and General Motors are using messaging applications as the main channel for customer communication. As a result, they are noticing an incredible level of acceptance by consumers.
The launch of the WhatsApp business API in 2018, as well as the Apple Business Chat, further strengthened this movement and have provided companies with concrete and innovative tools to assist customers in their preferred media.
Whatsapp has become one of the most popular channels among companies. Some brands are even going as far as stop using emails altogether as a contact method of attention. But why? Because it is what customers want .
According to a survey, 53% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a company to which they can send messages, and 63% say they send more messages to brands today than two years ago . And it's not just about the younger generations. While 65% of GenX and Millennials favor messaging, 63% of Baby Boomers also prefer this type of communication.
Why are companies implementing WhatsApp?
The customer service revolution is already underway with instant messaging, and WhatsApp is leading the market almost worldwide. This is no accident: consumers want efficient service and companies want to continually strengthen their relationship with their customers. WhatsApp and messaging applications meet both objectives.
A courier customer service strategy adapts to the consumer's lifestyle. Today, people do everything on their smartphone and spend most of their time interacting in these types of applications. When offering a customer service by this means, the user must not migrate to other platforms. As a result, there is a greater degree of interaction and a lower average response time compared to the other channels.
2. Flexibility and asynchrony
Messaging apps stand out for their flexibility, as they allow both the customer and the service agent to resume the conversation when, how and where they want. These types of asynchronous conversations help companies to integrate into the routine of the modern consumer and assist them in a more convenient and intelligent way. In this way, consumers no longer have to wait for the phone for long minutes until their problem is resolved, but they can simply send a message in a few seconds and continue with their life until they receive an answer.
3. Personalized experiences and empathy
Messaging applications are more personal and allow for closer conversations. While email can often be a slow and bureaucratic channel, these apps develop a one-on-one communication between the client and the representative, strengthening the relationship. The use of natural language, gifs and emojis also helps to contribute to the personalization of the conversation and to talk with clients in the way they communicate with their friends and family.
4. Cost reduction and waiting times
According to a livechat, it costs US $ 3 per interaction, while in instant messaging applications this number is reduced to US $ 1. In turn, telephone support agents can assist, on average, 15 clients per hour; while through messaging applications they can help 60 in the same amount of time. Not only does it allow companies to reduce costs but it also means that fewer clients remain waiting for an agent to free themselves to answer their question.
5. Faster responses
Many companies are also opting to automate and streamline customer service processes. This allows customers to receive 24/7 assistance and get answers to frequently asked questions immediately. Thus, the customer can get answers to questions such as “what are the payment methods?” Or “when does my order arrive?” At any time of the day and without waiting for a couple of seconds.
Now, what do companies looking to use this channel have to take into account in their customer service strategy?
- Add value through transactional communication.
This means connecting WhatsApp with user information to, for example, notify you of the status of your order, confirm your purchase, remind you that your debt is due, etc. This will give additional value to the service and personalize the customer experience. Also, no spam! To maintain a close and personal relationship with the client through WhatsApp, behave as if you were a friend of his conversation history.
- Customers have to know that the brand is in WhatsApp
Communicate to your customers that they can use WhatsApp to communicate with the company and implement it in those stages of the customer journey where it is most relevant.
- Lean on data and metrics
Not all clients are equal and it is important to know how they behave. No matter the channel or strategy, it is always advisable to monitor specific KPIs to know the behavior of users and ensure a constant improvement of their experience. Some metrics to consider are the average response time, customer satisfaction, and message volume. It is important to measure them over time and analyze how they evolve and what practices can be put in place to improve them. As I always say, you can't improve what you don't measure.
- Yes, implement the brand's tone of voice, but adapted to the channel and be creative
The tone is essential to strengthen the identity of the brand and be consistent in dealing with customers, so it must be maintained in all communications and channels. However, each channel has its own dynamic that must be respected. In the case of WhatsApp, I recommend short messages, the use of gifs, emojis and multimedia, and even short audios to get straight to the point. In this channel, communicate with your customers the way they do with their friends and family.
- Lean on technology and optimize the customer experience
Automate is a good idea to be present 24 hours a day and answer simple and frequent questions immediately. This will solve a large percentage of inquiries without the need for an agent.
As consumers' habits and preferences change, it is important that companies modify their processes and adapt to them. Today, convenience is the number one priority of users, especially considering that they are constantly on the move and performing multiple tasks from their smartphone.
Using WhatsApp for corporate communication enables better and more efficient communications with customers, resulting in a better experience, an increase in trust and loyalty, and the strengthening of the long-term relationship with the audience. In addition, it not only allows companies to provide better customer service, but also positions them as innovative, human and futuristic, standing out from the competition.
Without a doubt, incorporating WhatsApp into the communication strategy is preparing for the client and the business of the future. It is about understanding the modalities and dynamics that predominate in the market and evolve accordingly. In a competitive and constantly changing digital ecosystem, adaptation to these new dynamics is the only and most important method of survival.