Perhaps the most popular mode of modern communication is messaging and it is no wonder then that even businesses have started to rely on the platform to connect with customers due to its simplicity and easy access is helping them provide personal interactions and more streamlined experiences.
Explaining the business aspect of WhatsApp communication during a masterclass at the first-ever India edition of The MAKERS Conference, Chetan Kumar, Head of Partnerships at WhatsApp India, said, “Customers today expect brands to simplify their lives, respond faster to their queries and prefer messaging a business over other traditional mediums. This has eventually led to a change in customer expectations too. Statistics show that most people find messaging the most convenient and fastest way to contact business.”
Changing consumer expectations
A survey shows that about 89 percent of respondents expect a brand to respond to them within 24 hours. Another 80 percent respondents said that the experience a business provides is as crucial as its goods or services.
It is thus important for a business to be where the customers are. With a vision to help businesses connect and be on the same page as their customers through real-time communication, WhatsApp has introduced some features.
"WhatsApp has a large number of features that enable efficiency in a business and accelerate customer relationship and service," Kumar adds.
According to Kumar, WhatsApp focuses on the same core principles as its Messenger and business apps - simplicity, reliability, and security.
Substantiating on why businesses depend on WhatsApp, he says, “Around 400 million people use WhatsApp every month in India. Similarly, about 72 percent of users in India agreed that WhatsApp fostered a personal connection with the business.”
Creating meaningful connections
WhatsApp enables any person to discover, communicate and transact with any business. Small businesses with the help of WhatsApp Business app can interact with customers by using tools to automate, sort and quickly respond to messages. Medium and large businesses meanwhile can communicate with customers at scale through the app.
The app steers clear of direct display of ads for security reasons and to avoid spamming. However, clicking on ads on Facebook and Instagram can lead users directly to WhatsApp. Customers can also scan the QR Codes present in the business products or services.
Other features include options for quick replies to let customers know when to expect a response, selling multiple items at once with ease, among others.
“Customers will be expecting a quality response from the business. However, it is upto the businesses to decide how to leverage the customer’s needs. Businesses can decide how to build WhatsApp channel awareness - whether use the phone IVR, web, email or click to WhatsApp ads. The businesses can also decide how to manage the customer conversation thread- using NLP, routing/ escalation or via live agent vs automation,” Kumar explains.
He further adds that integrating the exit points is equally important. A business needs to decide how to integrate their back end sales and service systems- whether through knowledge base, ticketing system or CRM.
According to WhatsApp, using the above discussed features, a business can increase its customer satisfaction or net promoter score; increase customer service operational efficiency; increase in engagement, delivery, open and conversion rates; and eventually increase customer lifetime value.
Another feature that WhatsApp has started to deploy in its app is WhatsApp Payments. One can now pay via the app.
Kumar concluded his masterclass by sharing a few success stories of businesses that had used WhatsApp features, some of which include MakeMyTrip, Shopclues and Aramex.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)