WhatsApp is the communication channel par excellence for users, and is increasingly used as a means of contact between customers and companies. How to use WhatsApp for customer service effectively?
When the name of a technology becomes a verb, we know that we are dealing with much more than a tool: we are dealing with a cultural change. For years now, “whatsappear” (or “wasapear”, as it is accepted by Spanish academics) has been the form of messaging most used by cell phone users (and we could argue that it is the most used form of communication, perhaps only behind the spoken word). It is logical that companies have incorporated WhatsApp as one of the ways of contacting their customers, as happened with social networks.
In fact, due to this growing use of WhatsApp in the business world, the platform launched WhatsApp Business, with specific functionalities for companies. But are all companies ready to include WhatsApp among their communication channels? How to implement it effectively to generate a good bond with customers? We tell you all the secrets to successfully “wasapees” with your customers and do not leave them “in sight”.
Advantages of using WhatsApp for customer service
Everyone uses it: In the Western world, everyone (except for very analog spirits) uses WhatsApp. Enabling this avenue will connect you with a broad spectrum of customers who have WhatsApp as their primary means of communication, so they are already very familiar with its use and feel comfortable in this medium.
Allows closeness: Being the most used tool to chat with friends and family, WhatsApp enables a bond of greater trust with customers. The level of proximity is greater than in other media such as email, phone calls or even social networks, which are seen as more “corporate”. However, although it is a more “relaxed” means of interaction, it is important to maintain a professional communication and not to fall into excessive colloquialism.
The customer is in control: Most Millennials prefer WhatsApp contact to telephone customer service.Why? Because they can have much more control over response times than in a 100% synchronous communication. But at the same time, it is not as asynchronous a medium as email. Communication can be immediate, but the timing is always on the customer’s side.
It allows to better track the process: It is very difficult for the user to receive a Whatsapp message and not see it. Even if he does not read its content, he knows he has received a message. The messages arrive directly to the user’s cell phone, which gives us a much higher open rate. In addition, even when we do not receive a reply, we can know if the person received a message and did not open it, if they read it but left us the seen, or if they have not been connected. this allows us to make future actions with much more information.
It can be used as a marketing tool: Because of its reachability, WhatsApp is a very good tool for Outbound Marketing campaigns. We can send images, audios, videos and texts very easily, with a high probability that the customer will receive and read it. However, we must be extremely careful not to be invasive and only send messages to customers who are really interested. WhatsApp has strict rules against spammers and can block the number if a massive sending is noticed.
It is a good Lead Nurturing channel: As a marketing tool, it is viable to use WhatsApp to communicate with potential customers with whom we already have contact. Depending on the stage of the sales funnel in which the lead is, we can nurture them by sending them information of interest or personalized proposals that lead them to purchase or re-purchase.
Other uses: Because of its immediacy and high open rate, Whatsapp is an ideal channel for sending notifications at different stages of the purchase and marketing cycle. For example, you can notify an upcoming payment due date, confirm a course registration or a purchase, in a non-invasive way.
Tips for a good use of WhatsApp in your Contact Center
1. Define audiences and objectives: Yes, almost everyone uses WhatsApp, but will all my clients want me to communicate with them via WhatsApp? It will depend on the type of company and the communication objectives. Before implementing this new channel, check that your customers will make use of it.
2. Customize the account: It is essential that users can recognize your company on their phones. As in other social networks, you should place a logo as profile image, the company’s name, and if possible add an email or URL. Take advantage of the “status” to provide useful information: instead of the default “Hey! I’m using WhatsApp”, we recommend something similar to “We are the support line. We are here to help you. It can also be the opening hours in case it is limited.
3. Align communication: Agents pass, companies stay. It is very important to align the communication of all agents in terms of tone, style and content, especially in a medium that allows informal expressions. Although it is usually an advantage to provide attention with a more personal and relaxed tone, it is important to set certain guidelines and ensure that the company’s values are transmitted in every interaction. In order to mark professionalism, care must be taken with spelling and writing. Having pre-written sample replies will help you to ensure a good quality in your messages.
4. Let your clients know that you are on WhatsApp: If no one knows that you can be contacted by WhatsApp, all planning is a waste of time. Add your contact number on your website, social networks, email signature, the footer of your newsletters and other means of communication you use. On your mobile website, you can make the contact clickable so that the number is automatically saved. You can also communicate specifically that you are now available on WhatsApp, sending an email with this news or broadcasting it on social networks.
5. Respond quickly: We already mentioned that customers like to take the reins of communication via WhatsApp. That is to say, to answer us when they want to, but not to wait for our answers. To be successful on WhatsApp, it is important that responses are immediate. It is not recommended to wait more than an hour to answer an incoming message; and when answering, be attentive to continue the chat smoothly. For this, you must have the necessary equipment to meet this demand, and seek maximum speed. For this, it is also very helpful to have pre-defined message templates.
6. Establish an opening hours: One of the challenges of enabling WhatsApp is the “always available risk”. If we do not have a 24-hour service capacity for a channel that users can use 24 hours a day, it is important to make the service hours explicit so as not to leave customers “hanging”.
7. Use good support technology: A very small company can manage WhatsApp using just a cell phone or WhatsApp Web. Companies that receive many daily interactions should opt for specialized software to distribute queries, assign conversations and collaborate between agents. Even more so if you have multiple contact numbers depending on the company’s department.
8. Apply a distribution strategy: Use all the potential of your management tool through an intelligent distribution of interactions, according to the agents’ skills or the customers’ characteristics. If your priority is the quality of support, for example, you can define that messages are distributed first to agents with more knowledge on a certain topic. If the priority is immediate attention, the best distribution criteria will be by availability.
8. Integrate whatsapp with all your customer service channels: For the customer experience to be optimal, it is key to integrate WhatsApp service with the company’s other contact channels. Integrating WhatsApp to an omnichannel management system allows you to centralize all customer data, better track queries through different channels and ensure a smooth experience for the customer every time they contact your company, regardless of the medium.
9. Consider including a ChatBot for Whatsapp: Artificial Intelligence commands the trends in omnichannel customer service, and it is a good idea to bet on this tool if you need unlimited service hours or if the volume of queries is too large for the number of agents available. Automating some responses through a ChatBot will free your agents to deal with queries that require human interaction. Happy customers, optimized operations.
Would you like to learn more about how to provide excellent omnichannel customer service? We tell you all the secrets in this material!