WhatApp is the most popular messenger app globally (see Figure 1). WhatsApp isn’t just a communication tool anymore; it’s an avenue for a customer service team to streamline responses and manage customer service requests. Successful businesses are aware of this and they leverage popular platforms like WhatsApp to revolutionize their customer service strategies.Figure 1. Most popular global mobile messenger apps as of January 2023
In this article, we will explain the use of WhatsApp for customer service operations by mentioning its:
- Application areas
- Successful real-life examples
10 benefits of implementing WhatsApp for customer service
WhatsApp allows customers to get in touch with businesses in a way that’s convenient and familiar to them. They can reach out whenever they want, from wherever they are.
2- Fast response time
WhatsApp enables real-time customer communication. Businesses can use it to answer customer inquiries promptly, which leads to increased customer satisfaction.
3- Various communication content
WhatsApp supports various types of content, including text, voice messages, video, images, and documents. This versatility can greatly enhance customer interactions, allowing for detailed explanations, visual aids, and more.
With WhatsApp, businesses can offer personalized customer service. For example, businesses can use customers’ names in their messages, or they can tailor their communication to reflect previous interactions with each customer.
5- Global reach
WhatsApp is used worldwide, making it a useful tool for businesses seeking to reach international customers.
For small businesses or startups, WhatsApp can be a cost-effective customer service solution, requiring minimum or no additional costs if customers and businesses already have the app installed.
7- Automated messaging
The WhatsApp Business application offers automated messaging features. Businesses can set up automatic greetings, away messages, and quick replies for frequently asked questions, which can greatly improve efficiency.
8- Organized customer interaction
WhatsApp Business also offers ‘Labels’ to categorize chats, helping businesses stay organized and follow up effectively.
9- Customer analytics
WhatsApp Business provides basic analytics, such as the number of messages sent, delivered, read, and received. These insights and customer data can help businesses track customer engagement and improve their customer service.
10- Catalog feature
Businesses can showcase their products or services through the catalog feature on WhatsApp Business, which can enhance the customer shopping experience.
7 use cases of WhatsApp in customer service
1- Customer inquiries and support
Customers can use WhatsApp to ask questions about products or services, report issues, or seek support. Businesses can respond to customer queries promptly, providing a superior customer experience.
Figure 1: A conversation between a WhatsApp chatbot and a customer about refunding
2- Order updates and tracking
Businesses can use WhatsApp to send confirmation messages, updates on order status, and tracking information for shipped orders. This can help keep customers informed and enhance their overall experience.
3- Collecting customer feedback and reviews
After a purchase or service experience, businesses can collect customer feedback or reviews via WhatsApp. This not only helps businesses gather valuable insights but also shows customers that their opinions are valued.
4- Booking & appointment scheduling and reminders
For businesses that operate on an appointment and booking basis, WhatsApp can be used to schedule appointments and send reminders. For instance, a salon or clinic could send a WhatsApp message to confirm a booking and then a reminder a day before the appointment. Also, hotels or restaurants can use WhatsApp for booking operations.
Figure 3: An example of WhatsApp hospitality chatbot that engages with a user.
5- Product promotion and updates
Businesses can use WhatsApp to share information about new product releases, promotions, or updates, keeping their customers in the loop about their latest offerings.
6- Personalized marketing
Based on a customer’s previous interactions and purchases, businesses can send personalized product recommendations or offers.
7- Community building
Businesses can create WhatsApp groups for loyal customers, providing exclusive content, early access to products, or special offers. This helps foster a sense of community and enhances customer loyalty.
Best practices for using WhatsApp for customer service
1- Create a rich WhatsApp business profile
When setting up your WhatsApp business account, fill in as much information as possible. This includes your business name, address, description, website, and business hours. Also, use your logo as the profile picture of the WhatsApp account to enhance brand recognition. The more information you provide, the easier it is for customers to understand your business and get in touch.
While creating a WhatsApp business account, you might want to have a WhatsApp Business API especially if you are not a small firm. WhatsApp API helps companies to engage with their customers using WhatsApp’s interface. It outperforms WhatsApp business app in various ways, as shown in the figure below.
Figure 4. WhatsApp Business API vs Business App
For more, check out our detailed article on WhatsApp Business API.
2- Let your customers know that you have a WhatsApp customer service
Once your WhatsApp Business account is set up, promote it extensively. Add your WhatsApp number on your website, email signatures, social media profiles, and other marketing materials.
If you have a physical storefront, consider displaying the WhatsApp logo with your contact number. Inform customers during in-person interactions or phone calls about the option to connect via WhatsApp.
3- Use WhatsApp chatbots
WhatsApp chatbots can improve efficiency and provide instant support to customers. They can:
- Handle frequently asked questions
- Provide information about your business
- help with order tracking or booking appointments
Chatbots can operate 24/7, providing instant responses when human agents are unavailable.
There are a wide variety of chatbots that can integrate to WhatsApp for customer service, such as those working with automated templates or more advanced ones including conversational AI systems for more human-like interactions.
We have an article on how to build a WhatsApp chatbot for your business. However, working with third party companies that focus and master on chatbot development would be a more professional solution.
We have vendor selection articles on WhatsApp chatbots across various countries:
- Top 5 Chatbot Companies in India (2023): Evaluation & Examples
- WhatsApp Chatbot in UAE: Top 4 Vendors
- Whatsapp Chatbot In Singapore: Top 5 Companies
- Whatsapp Chatbot in Malaysia: Top 3 Vendors
- Top 5 Indonesia Chatbot Companies for WhatsApp Integration
4- Keep your live agent interactions
Chatbots powered by AI can automate about 70 to 80% of customer inquiries. However, to address all inquiries effectively and optimize customer satisfaction, the presence of live customer service agents is crucial.
The advantage is that you can continually update your chatbot and train it to handle unique and unexpected questions, leveraging its human in the loop AI capabilities.
This powerful combination of live chat with customer service reps and chatbots can boost your team’s capacity, reduce the time required to resolve problems, and improve customer satisfaction by providing your customers with instant answers to all their questions.
5- Integrate with your customer service software and CRM tools
For example, if a customer reaches out on WhatsApp, the integrated customer service tools or CRM can display the customer’s past interactions and purchase history, allowing the service agent to provide more contextual and personalized support.
Integration with other customer software can also facilitate the customer data collection and analysis processes.
6- Use rich media
WhatsApp allows you to send:
- Voice messages
Use this capability to provide richer and more engaging customer support. For instance, you can send product images, video tutorials, PDF instruction manuals, or voice messages to provide thorough answers.
Utilizing these features can lead to a more interactive and satisfying customer experience.
7- Use buttons to navigate users
A key goal of WhatsApp chatbots is to minimize user effort. Hence, incorporating interactive buttons into your chatbot’s responses can simplify the interaction and negate the necessity for users to type out text messages.
Implementing buttons can also serve as a successful strategy to prevent chatbot errors. Users may occasionally use ambiguous language or make typing errors that can confuse the chatbot. By utilizing buttons, you can ensure that your customers communicate in a way that your chatbot can readily comprehend.
2 real life examples to businesses using WhatsApp for customer service
Vodafone Germany has created a WhatsApp customer service solution. This solution allows customers to interact with the business through text, audio or video messages. In addition, it enables them to send and receive documents. They also integrated an AI powered chatbot, TOBI, to WhatsApp. As a result:
- Each month, Vodafone received and managed to handle the problems of 200,000 customers
- 80% of the customer problems were solved successfully
Raiffeisen Bank Russia
Raiffeisen Bank, with 2 million active clients, has adopted WhatsApp as a customer service channel in their Russian branch. As a result they achieved:
- A 10x decrease customer service costs
- 19% boost in Net Promoter Score (NPS)
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us:
Cem has been the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per similarWeb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.
Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.
Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised businesses on their enterprise software, automation, cloud, AI / ML and other technology related decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.
He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.
Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.
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