In a world where communication is essential, businesses are constantly seeking innovative ways to provide top-tier customer support. Traditional methods such as emails and web chats have been the norm for years. However, these methods have their limitations. Email interactions can be slow, and people don’t always check their inboxes regularly. Web chat visitors are often anonymous, making it challenging for businesses to verify their identities. Additionally, conversations on these platforms can be scattered, making it difficult to maintain a clear overview of the customer’s history. These limitations hinder the ability to offer personalized solutions, reduce resolution time, and improve overall quality assurance.
This article explores the game-changing advantages of leveraging WhatsApp’s Application Programming Interface (API) for customer support compared to traditional channels. We will delve into the basics of WhatsApp API and provide best practices for delivering exceptional customer support via WhatsApp. To illustrate the real-world impact, we’ll also showcase successful examples of companies worldwide using WhatsApp as a customer service platform.
Why Choose WhatsApp Customer Service Platform Over Traditional Support Channels
Traditionally, businesses have relied on email and web chat for customer service. However, these channels come with certain drawbacks. Email interactions are often slow and inefficient, as people do not frequently check their inboxes. Web chat, on the other hand, tends to attract anonymous users, making identity verification a challenge. Moreover, conversation threads on these platforms are scattered, resulting in a lack of an organized overview of the customer’s conversation history. These limitations thwart businesses’ primary goals, which are to provide personalized solutions, reduce resolution times, and enhance quality assurance.
Benefits of the WhatsApp customer service Platform
WhatsApp, in contrast, offers a fast-paced environment for customer interactions. This enables inquiries to be addressed promptly, fostering a more satisfying customer experience. Agents can identify contacts by their phone numbers and access the entire conversation history within a single thread. This allows for a high level of personalization in customer support.
To use WhatsApp as a customer service platform, you’ll need a WhatsApp Business account. WhatsApp offers two types of business accounts: WhatsApp Business App and WhatsApp API.
- WhatsApp Business App: Designed for small businesses, this version lacks multi-user functionality and advanced automation.
- WhatsApp API: Tailored for medium to large companies seeking to provide customer support via WhatsApp with a team of agents. It offers more extensive capabilities and automation.
WhatsApp Customer Service Platform: What You Should Know
WhatsApp API is more complex than WhatsApp Business App, so it’s essential to understand its fundamentals before diving into customer support.
Costs Involved in Using WhatsApp API for Customer Service
While WhatsApp’s API offers a powerful customer service platform, it is not entirely free. There are two primary components of your monthly WhatsApp API payment: WhatsApp partner fees and WhatsApp conversation charges.
WhatsApp partner fees can vary among Business Solution Providers (BSPs). Some common practices include charging setup and hosting fees for WhatsApp API. Some BSPs may even add a markup per message, which can become costly for businesses with high volumes of monthly support conversations. It’s crucial to choose a BSP that doesn’t add message markups to keep your monthly costs in check.
Costs involved in using the WhatsApp customer service platform
For example, Leadshouse does not charge its users for the aforementioned services, making it a cost-effective choice for businesses looking to adopt WhatsApp as a customer service platform.
Costs Involved in Using the WhatsApp Customer Service Platform
Regarding WhatsApp’s conversation-based pricing model, support conversations typically fall under the service conversation category. These conversations are usually initiated by customers seeking assistance or making inquiries. The good news is that service conversations tend to be more cost-effective than business-initiated ones. WhatsApp provides each WhatsApp Business Account with 1,000 free service conversations per month.
However, WhatsApp imposes restrictions on when businesses can message customers. To provide efficient support over WhatsApp, businesses need to be aware of WhatsApp API messaging restrictions.
24-Hour Customer Service Window Restrictions
To maintain quality customer support practices and prevent spam, WhatsApp API enforces a 24-hour customer service window. This means that businesses can only respond to customer inquiries within this time frame unless they use a pre-approved WhatsApp Message Template to reply to customers outside the window or to initiate new conversations when following up on support requests.
It’s essential for businesses to understand these restrictions and use them to their advantage. Importantly, the messaging window can be extended to 72 hours when users initiate conversations through call-to-action buttons on WhatsApp click-to-chat ads or Facebook Page call-to-action buttons. These conversations are not only extended but also free, providing businesses with an opportunity to engage more effectively with customers.
How to Use WhatsApp for Customer Support: 4 Quick Wins with Leadshouse
Now that we’ve covered the basics of WhatsApp as a customer service platform, let’s explore how using Leadshouse can enhance your WhatsApp customer support delivery.
1. Use Message Templates to Follow Up on Complex Enquiries
A Message Template is a valuable tool that can reopen WhatsApp’s messaging window, allowing agents to follow up on customers’ inquiries outside the 24-hour window. This ensures that your customers receive the assistance they need, even after the initial window has closed.
What sets Leadshouse apart from other WhatsApp Inbox products is its ability to seamlessly sync, create, and send WhatsApp message templates for support directly from the platform. This eliminates the need to switch between different platforms, offering a more streamlined and efficient workflow.
2. Use Chat Automation to Answer FAQs, Route Customers, and Escalate Cases
With chat automation on Leadshouse, you can set up a WhatsApp multiple-choice menu that provides answers to commonly asked questions. This not only improves the customer experience by providing quick responses but also frees up your customer support agents to focus on more complex and pressing matters.
Setting up a multiple-choice menu on Leadshouse
Furthermore, with the right workflows in place, routing customers to the appropriate teams becomes an automated process. The Shortcuts button allows agents to escalate support cases or create support tickets on external systems like Zendesk with just a click of a button. This level of automation ensures that your customers’ needs are met efficiently and promptly.
3. Answer Messages Anywhere with the Mobile App
The Leadshouse mobile app is a game-changer for customer support teams. It empowers agents to answer customer inquiries through WhatsApp on multiple devices. The app offers vital modules, including Dashboard, Contacts, and Messaging, to provide a seamless and effortless messaging experience.
Respond to customer inquiries on the go with the mobile app
Agents using the Leadshouse mobile app receive push notifications for new messages and contact assignments, ensuring that they never miss important customer inquiries. This app is available for both Android and iOS, making it accessible on Google Play Store and Apple App Store, respectively.
4. Get a Holistic View of Customers with Contact Merge
In today’s multichannel world, customers may use various messaging channels to reach your business. However, this can result in siloed conversations and contact duplication. Leadshouse offers a solution with Contact Merge, which consolidates all contact details and conversation history into a unified profile. This provides a 360-degree view of the customer, allowing your agents to understand their context and make more informed decisions about how to assist them effectively.
Contact Merge is a powerful tool for businesses seeking a comprehensive understanding of their customers, regardless of the channels they use to communicate.
The Power of WhatsApp for Customer Support: Real-World Examples
To illustrate the impact of using WhatsApp as a customer service platform, let’s explore some real-world examples of companies that have successfully leveraged this technology.
Company A: A multinational e-commerce giant uses WhatsApp to provide instant support to its customers. By implementing chat automation and utilizing WhatsApp’s messaging window effectively, they have reduced response times and increased customer satisfaction.
Company B: A travel agency has streamlined its customer support operations by using Leadshouse’s message templates and chat automation. This has allowed them to efficiently handle inquiries about bookings, travel details, and itineraries.
Company C: A telecommunications company has harnessed the power of WhatsApp for technical support. By utilizing the mobile app, their agents can respond to customer inquiries on the go, ensuring a seamless and uninterrupted support experience.
Company D: An online retailer has benefited from Contact Merge, which has allowed them to consolidate customer information from various channels. This has resulted in a more personalized and efficient customer support process.
Three Companies Leveraging WhatsApp for Exceptional Customer Service
1. Alfa-Bank: Transforming Customer Service with WhatsApp
Alfa-Bank, one of Kazakhstan’s largest financial institutions, has embraced the WhatsApp Business API to offer its customers a more convenient and efficient way to access support and account-related information. Unlike many other banks that primarily use chatbots for simple inquiries, Alfa-Bank takes a different approach by providing live customer support through WhatsApp.
Companies using WhatsApp for customer support: Alfa-Bank
Utilizing WhatsApp for Customer Service
Customers who prefer human interaction over automated responses can easily connect with a live representative at Alfa-Bank through WhatsApp. To initiate a conversation, all they need to do is add Alfa-Bank’s WhatsApp number to their contact list and send the first message. This straightforward process allows customers to access human assistance promptly.
Companies using WhatsApp for customer service: Alfa-Bank
We conducted a test of Alfa-Bank’s WhatsApp Customer Service platform and were pleasantly surprised by the rapid response time. Within two minutes of initiating the chat, we received a personalized, typed response. Unlike many other automated systems, there was no generic greeting message or main menu to navigate. We were immediately connected with a live agent, demonstrating Alfa-Bank’s commitment to delivering quality human support over WhatsApp.
Success of Alfa-Bank’s WhatsApp Customer Service
Alfa-Bank’s approach challenges the industry norm of relying on chatbots for customer service on WhatsApp. By prioritizing human interaction, they provide customers with a more satisfying experience. We hope that other banks will take note and reconsider their strategies, offering their customers direct access to human support through this popular messaging platform.
2. Bupa Australia: Simplifying Insurance Inquiries with WhatsApp
Bupa Australia, an insurance provider, has recognized the potential of WhatsApp Business for enhancing customer support and interaction. Their innovative use of WhatsApp enables customers to handle insurance inquiries conveniently and on-the-go.
Offering Customer Service via WhatsApp
Bupa Australia has integrated WhatsApp Business customer support in two ways. During customer calls, an automated voice can direct them to the WhatsApp platform. Alternatively, customers can begin a chat session by using a WhatsApp chat link available on the Bupa Australia website.
Companies using WhatsApp for customer service: Bupa Australia’s WhatsApp chat link
Upon sending a message, customers are swiftly connected with a live representative who can assist with various tasks. These tasks include signing up for insurance plans, obtaining price quotes, and even filing claims. During our test of the service, we inquired about health insurance plans, and the agent efficiently asked a series of questions to determine our specific needs, such as the coverage required and the frequency of doctor visits. The agent even offered to check for corporate discounts through our employer.
Companies using WhatsApp for customer service: Bupa Australia’s WhatsApp chat support
Once we provided the necessary information, the agent directed us to a recommended plan on the Bupa website, enabling us to review the coverage details. While we couldn’t obtain an instant price quote through WhatsApp, the agent made the process of finding the right plan straightforward and informative.
Success of Bupa Australia’s WhatsApp Customer Service
Our experience with Bupa Australia’s WhatsApp customer service was positive. The agent consistently responded within a few minutes, and the written record of our conversation provided a valuable reference. This is precisely the type of customer service that modern consumers appreciate, emphasizing the importance of providing convenient and efficient channels for customer inquiries.
3. Yas Island: Elevating the Visitor Experience with WhatsApp
Yas Island, a renowned entertainment and leisure destination located in Abu Dhabi, has introduced the WhatsApp customer service platform to enhance the visitor experience and facilitate trip planning. This expansive facility encompasses race tracks, theme parks, hotels, and numerous other attractions.
Operation of Yas Island’s WhatsApp Customer Service Platform
Yas Island visitors can access the WhatsApp customer service platform through two primary methods. They can either add the provided WhatsApp number, which is listed on the Yas Island website and Facebook page, to their contacts, or they can initiate a chat via the WhatsApp Click to Chat link located on the Yas Island website’s contact page.
Companies using WhatsApp for customer service: Yas Island’s WhatsApp chat link
Upon starting a conversation, an automated response provides a menu with commonly asked questions, covering a range of topics from directions to event details. Users can select an option by responding with the corresponding number, typically 1 to 11.
The automated responses offer a mix of concise and detailed answers. For inquiries requiring additional information, users are prompted to select from further options or are directed to the Yas Island website through a provided link.
Companies using WhatsApp for customer service: Yas Island
Notably, there is no immediate indication of the ability to engage with a live agent. However, users can access this option after typing a specific query or, as in our case, after making a spelling error in a message. While it’s not an instantaneous connection, an estimated wait time for an agent’s response is provided.
In our experience, the estimated wait time was approximately one minute, which was surprisingly swift considering we initially anticipated a fully automated process.
Success of Yas Island’s WhatsApp Customer Service
Yas Island’s approach to customer service through WhatsApp effectively combines automated messaging with access to live agents. In many cases, companies tend to opt for either a fully automated or a live agent-based system. Yas Island’s solution offers the best of both worlds.
Ultimately, the objective of customer service is to provide customers with the information they need while delivering a positive and convenient experience. Yas Island appears to have met these goals by offering both instant automated responses and access to live agents, contributing to a seamless customer experience.
The case studies of Alfa-Bank, Bupa Australia, and Yas Island demonstrate the diverse ways in which companies can leverage the WhatsApp customer service platform to enhance their customer support and provide a satisfying experience. Whether it’s a financial institution breaking away from chatbot norms, an insurance provider streamlining inquiries, or an entertainment destination offering a combination of automated and live assistance, these companies showcase the versatile applications of WhatsApp in the realm of customer service.
As customer preferences continue to evolve, businesses should consider adopting innovative solutions like WhatsApp to meet their clientele’s communication expectations. The success of these companies in using WhatsApp for customer service exemplifies the positive impact that embracing new technology can have on customer satisfaction and the overall customer experience. With the ever-growing popularity of messaging apps, companies that adapt and innovate will likely find themselves better positioned to meet the demands of modern consumers.
If you are inspired to explore WhatsApp as a customer service channel for your business, consider trying Leadshouse to acquire a WhatsApp Business API account quickly and efficiently. The potential benefits of offering customer support through WhatsApp are clear, and as these case studies demonstrate, it’s a step towards a more efficient and customer-centric approach to business-client interactions. Visit our website today!