Being where your customers are is a golden rule in business. And with two billion monthly users, according to Statista, it’s safe to say the ‘where’ is on WhatsApp.
As one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet, it’s no surprise that there's now a huge number of companies using WhatsApp for customer service.
Why businesses use WhatsApp as a customer service channel
The benefits of incorporating Whatsapp into your customer service strategy stretch far beyond just the platform’s broad appeal.
- Immediate, personal assistance. Similar to using live chat on your website, WhatsApp provides one-to-one customer support on demand. With WhatsApp, your customers can get help right from their phones — without having to navigate away from the app they already use to chat with friends and family.
- Flexibility. Available wherever there’s an internet connection, WhatsApp is an easily accessible communication tool. And, since any message history is stored and readily available, customers can pick up a chat when it’s convenient for them. Live chat agents can also use the saved chat history to gain invaluable context and continue conversations from exactly where they were left off.
- Security. WhatsApp is well-known for its secure, end-to-end encryption. Customers can rest assured that their communication through the app is private and safe. Additionally, because businesses have to follow WhatsApp’s policies around outgoing communications, including requiring customers to give their consent to receive messages, customers can feel more comfortable using the platform without the risk of getting inundated with spam.
WhatsApp even offers a free WhatsApp Business App for small business use. Along with features like quick replies for frequent customer support responses, WhatsApp for business allows you to communicate while staying true to your brand. Companies can create business profiles complete with product catalogs to build trust and establish credibility so customers know exactly who they’re chatting with.
Medium to large businesses can also take advantage of the WhatsApp Business API to scale customer support. This allows WhatsApp to integrate with business systems, such as your CRM, to unify customer data in one place, giving your agents a single reference point when interacting with customers.
Given the benefits of chatting through WhatsApp for both customers and businesses, it’s no wonder that the platform is gaining traction — with 17 million downloads for the WhatsApp Business app in October alone.
7 ways to use WhatsApp as a customer service solution
Now, let’s take a look at some examples of how to use WhatsApp for customer service.
1. Keep your customers up-to-date on their order status
One way to use WhatsApp as a customer support channel is to send notifications to keep your customers in the know about their order status. After a customer places an order, you can send confirmations, shipping updates, tracking information, estimated arrival dates, and anything in between through WhatsApp.
2. Manage bookings and reservations
For bookings, appointments, and reservations, WhatsApp can act as a central hub for sending and storing confirmations, updates, and travel documents. You can also field booking-related questions and process requests, like changes, upgrades, and cancellations.
Using the WhatsApp Business API, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines sends customers booking details, boarding passes, notifications, and flight status updates. They’re also available 24/7 for questions or reservation changes.
2. Engage with customers after the sale
WhatsApp is a great way to stay in touch with customers once they’ve completed their purchase. For example, you can use their purchase history to send proactive messages and personalized recommendations for potential upsell or cross-sell opportunities.
You can also help them manage their accounts.
Tata Sky, a company providing direct-to-home broadcast satellite services, offers WhatsApp customer support to check account information, make changes to channel or channel pack selections, and update account balances.
4. Automate your WhatsApp messaging for real-time responses
Using WhatsApp, you can set up automated messaging to greet customers or send replies after hours so customers know when to expect an answer from a live agent.
Taking things a step further, you could even set up a chatbot to automatically answer routine questions. Not only does this allow you to provide service around the clock, but it frees up customer support agents to handle more complicated queries, too.
AirAsia’s Virtual Allstar (AVA) AI chatbot fields common requests sent through WhatsApp. AVA communicates in multiple languages, and customers can ask about routine topics like baggage policies or make changes to their travel arrangements.
5. Leverage rich media to augment your customer support
WhatsApp supports communicating through a number of different file types, like PDF documents, images, audio files, and videos. And if there are issues that are better handled live, agents can jump on a voice or video call.
During Hellmann’s Whatscook event, customers could connect with a chef through WhatsApp. Users would send photos of ingredients they had on hand, and the chef would guide them through a recipe — all through the app’s multimedia capabilities.
6. Gather insights through feedback
As WhatsApp is a conversational medium, you can use it to request feedback in a more natural, intuitive way. It’s a great chance to gauge your customers’ satisfaction levels and ask questions that help you learn where you can improve your customer support, products, or services.
For example, you could send a customer satisfaction survey or ask the customer to rate their experience at the end of an interaction.
7. Incorporate WhatsApp into an omnichannel approach
In September, WhatsApp was the 4th most downloaded app, behind only TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. If you’re already using Facebook and other social media channels for customer service, adding WhatsApp as a customer support channel expands your arsenal, increasing your customer availability.
You can let customers know that you’re available on WhatsApp by ensuring your WhatsApp number is visible across your website, contact pages, and social media. And you can make it even easier for customers to get in touch by launching the app using a button or QR code on your website, social media, or app.
Going beyond multichannel customer service, you can bring all your interactions into a single platform and customer profile to create an omnichannel customer experience. Equipped with the customer's information and history, agents can jump right into the conversation when a customer reaches out for help, regardless of which channel they're coming from. This way, you’re giving customers the freedom to connect with you seamlessly across all your communication channels.
Yebo Fresh, an online grocery store in South Africa, is one of the many companies using WhatsApp as part of their omnichannel customer service. It gives customers the option of ordering groceries for delivery and getting customer support on their website, through text or voice calls, or directly in WhatsApp.
Global customer service for the future
WhatsApp provides an effective channel for customer communication — whether that’s answering common questions, sending updates and notifications, or helping customers manage their purchases and accounts.
According to Facebook, over 100 billion messages are sent, and over two billion minutes are spent on voice and video calls on WhatsApp each day.
With such a massive reach, using Whatsapp for customer service and support opens up a whole new world for ecommerce businesses to build stronger connections with their customers well into the future.