Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

WhatsApp: The key to responding to customers’ needs in the moment

By Melissa Cowdry, Director of Field Marketing, at Odigo

Over the past decade, Meta’s WhatsApp application, released in 2009, has gone from a near-failed app to exploding in popularity. Originally intended for social use, it now offers versions for both personal and business use, with a user-base of around 2 billion. Undoubtedly, WhatsApp has played an instrumental role in today’s social media landscape, helping bring the social and commercial spheres closer together.

For businesses, the commerce-driven WhatsApp Business has provided a brand new way to communicate with their customer base. Building on existing SMS channels, businesses can now adapt and evolve their contact centres to meet their customers’ current communication needs and preferences. 

Consistent contact anytime, anywhere

When contacting a brand, customers expect to receive all the right information easily and quickly so they can resolve their queries. And in order to keep customers’ loyalty, this flow of information and support has to happen consistently. This should be reflected in an organisation’s contact centres and customer service agents should be given all the tools to meet customer experience (CX) expectations.

This is where WhatsApp Business can step in. Much like rich communication services, it offers an additional communication channel for both the customer and the agent. The application can connect to apps that run on natural language processing (NLP), through application programming interfaces (APIs). Suddenly, the range of content delivery methods stretches from the standard channels, such as text and voice messages, to well-trained automated chatbots. Customers can be given options and varied options to communicate and agents gain an increased amount of flexibility so they can provide the best CX through a blend of automation and live-agent interactions.

Customers can quickly get the information they need through WhatsApp and the pressure put on specific contact centre communication channels, such as voice, can be spread out and eased. Agent experience is just as important as CX and helping to alleviate congestion on specific communication channels can directly impact agents’ work in a positive way. Automation can solve the more simple and routine issues and queries, allowing agents to better allocate their time and prioritise customers who really need their support. This also helps growth and development, by allowing agents to focus additional time on tackling the more complex requests and really use their problem-solving skills.

WhatsApp Business can help serve both agents and customers by giving them access to a familiar communication channel where they have constant and direct access to the information they need almost at the exact moment they need it.

Embracing a personal two-way communication approach

The benefit that WhatsApp Business has over most website-based contact centre chatbots is the ability to send rich content, such as personalised promotions and announcements, brochures and eBooks. This can help personalise CX even further, helping the agent – and by default, the business – build a more detailed picture of their customers. It can be added to the collection of contact centre solutions that can be consolidated to give agents all the information they need to provide a customised CX.

This two-way communication channel allows the customer to tailor their own experience by opting in to receive relevant updates or announcements via WhatsApp. The information customers input on this specific channel, and other communication channels, can help to build an individualised customer profile. When appropriately consolidated with other contact centre channels, agents should be able to easily obtain the precise information they need to answer any future queries and will have a better understanding of what kind of content a customer would need.

Today, customers expect almost instantaneous and efficient communication. Contact centres can utilise WhatsApp Business across all stages of the customer journey and shape it further for each one. With this app, agents can provide a more customised CX, by sending rich content, in both the pre-purchase and post-purchase phases of the journey. As such, the flexibility of this channel helps foster more direct and personal interaction between the agent and the customer. WhatsApp Business is the key to responding to the precise needs of customers as close to real-time as possible.