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The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp for Customer Support
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The Ultimate Guide to WhatsApp for Customer Support

Illustrator: Xelon Xlf
using whatsapp for customer support

If you’re still sticking to an outdated customer service playbook that includes phone and email support, but not much else, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you’re falling behind. 

We know that technology has made our lives more convenient in all sorts of areas, and customer service is one of them. As consumers, we want immediacy, we want convenience, and we want to see businesses keep up with the times and meet us where we are — consistently online, whether that’s on a social media platform or a messaging app. 

In times like these, businesses need to take advantage of the technology available to them to craft and deliver optimized experiences, including top-notch customer service.

One of the channels that’s been rising to the spotlight since 2018 is WhatsApp, so here is our guide to making the best of it for Customer Support. 

Why WhatsApp Works for Customer Support

Messaging has been gaining traction among consumers for a while now. Therefore, it’s no wonder that its convenience is breaking the barriers of the “strictly personal” to let businesses into messaging apps. 

Consumers are increasingly taking advantage of messaging. A survey across four markets — Brazil, India, US and UK — determined that more than 64% of consumers do it because they are “always messaging anyway." Over 61% of them claimed that messaging is the easiest, most convenient way to contact a brand or business.

messaging apps business

Consumers also believe that messaging apps have an edge over other forms of communication. More than 59% of surveyants believe it offers faster responses; another 59% are convinced messaging a business offers better advice and care than other channels, and a further 49% said it provides them with more truthful information than elsewhere. 

Now that we have established that messaging is a good strategy, why should the focus on Customer Service rely on WhatsApp?

The obvious point is that it is the most popular messaging app in the world with over 2 billion active daily users. Another point is that WhatsApp is present in 180 countries and 60 languages, with special popularity in regions with problematic connectivity. In 25 of those countries, WhatsApp is the market leader. 

According to this report, customers are not just resorting to any messaging to contact a business, but they’re already doing it through WhatsApp. While 53% percent of surveyed people prefer to communicate with customer support via text, 63% mention WhatsApp as the easiest method of contacting a business. Additionally, 76% of WhatsApp users want to be able to do so. So much so that over 175 million users around the world send a message to a WhatsApp business account on a daily basis.

There’s no arguing with the numbers, so the question isn’t as much about why WhatsApp is relevant for Customer Support, but how you can make it work for your support operations. 

whatsapp messaging

There’s no arguing with the numbers, so the question isn’t as much about why WhatsApp is relevant for Customer Support, but how you can make it work for your support operations. 

How to Use WhatsApp for Customer Support

For that, we first need to understand how WhatsApp works for businesses, since it’s very different from how it works for non-professional users. 

To use WhatsApp for business and, consequently, be able to use it for Customer Support, there are two possible routes you can take:

  • Through the WhatsApp Business App, or;
  • Through the WhatsApp Business API. 

I know it seems confusing — the names are so alike; are they not the same thing? 

Well, no, but let’s look closer at what each means and how they work. 

WhatsApp Business App

When WhatsApp first introduced business accounts in 2018, with small business owners in mind, companies were excited about the chance to use the WhatsApp Business Web feature to provide customer support. It quickly became a hit, and it’s not hard to understand why.

The WhatsApp Business App allows companies to set up an official business account separate from the usual WhatsApp messenger profile. It’s also free to download and use, which has made it the leading WhatsApp solution for many companies.

For small businesses, WhatsApp Business web is a great opportunity, since it allows them to leverage the most popular messaging app for customer service. That way, small business owners can build their virtual presence without having to develop an app or a website. Some of its features include:

  • The possibility of managing interactions on a desktop instead of mobile;
  • Free unlimited number of messages;
  • Access to the WhatsApp broadcast feature, which allows them to send the same message (without any content restriction) to up to 256 people at a time. 

A small-to-medium-sized company can truly benefit from using the WhatsApp Business App; however, as businesses grow and need to cater to a wider audience and handle a bigger number of conversations, this solution might not be enough. 

WhatsApp Business API

Just a few months after launching the WhatsApp Business App in 2018, the messaging app started rolling out its beta of WhatsApp Business API, advertising it as a WhatsApp solution for large enterprises

The Business API takes WhatsApp for business to a whole new level, offering companies the ability to:

  • Associate multiple numbers to their official account (as opposed to just one with the WhatsApp Business App) and manage all of them (and the conversations associated with them) under one roof;
  • Send push notifications to unlimited number of contacts;
  • Automate message notifications as well as build case-specific chatbots;
  • Create multiple agent seats (regardless of the account’s associated phone numbers) who can access conversations from multiple devices. 

However, with great power comes great responsibility, and it’s not just any business that can gain access to the WhatsApp Business API. 

WhatsApp prides itself on providing users with a great experience. So, it’s understandable that it’s limiting the number of businesses on WhatsApp Business API. With business messaging, things can get out of hand quickly, so maintaining this entry barrier is a way to ensure the platform isn’t flooded with business messages. 

The two main criteria to apply to the API are business size (it’s intended for well-established medium and large businesses) and business area (WhatsApp favors real estate, financial services, eCommerce, retail, travel and hospitality, education, and telecommunications.)

If you meet the criteria, there are two ways to apply to the WhatsApp Business API:

  • Direct sign-up;
  • Through a WhatsApp Business solution provider (BSP), like Landbot, that will help you get approved faster and with less hassle.

The Most Common WhatsApp Customer Support Use Cases 

Once you get approved, you can finally start using WhatsApp to improve your customer support operations. And trust me, there’s a lot you can do resorting to this messaging app. 

FAQs

You probably already have an FAQ page on your website, but, as we’ve established, customers are more and more willing to resort to messaging to reach out to a business and settle their doubts. 

With an FAQ chatbot for WhatsApp, you can easily answer your customers’ most common questions and provide assistance on autopilot 24/7. What’s more, while building your bot, you can add as many categories as necessary, prioritize your customers' most frequently asked questions, such as shipping and return policies and payment methods, and create a self-help experience for users directly in their preferred messaging app.

Pre-Purchase Assistance and Product Suggestions

While FAQs are already playing a role in providing pre-purchase assistance, you can take it a step further by adding product suggestions into the equation. 

According to this Zero Friction Report, 75% of customers already carry out purchases on their mobile devices. But that’s not to say they don’t need a helping hand during the process. With a WhatsApp chatbot, you can not only clear customers’ doubts that might render them apprehensive about buying something, but you can also set up a product directory and guide them through your items according to the customers’ preferences. 

whatsapp product recommendation

Complaint/Refund Filing

Now, no matter how good your pre-purchase assistance is, sometimes issues still happen. Deliveries get delayed, products don’t meet the customers’ expectations, and a number of other things happen that lead to customers wanting to file a complaint or even request a refund. 

With WhatsApp, you can offer them a channel to do so in a conversational fashion instead of having to craft a lengthy email or fill in a support form. Customer service chatbot templates allow you to easily set up support operations on WhatsApp, which in turn can help save customers’ time and effort by giving them a more convenient way to file their queries. Doing so through a conversation helps set the right expectation for a follow-up and an estimated resolution time. 

Don’t forget to include a chatbot-to-human handoff option, in case the customer is unable to solve whatever is bothering them through the bot interaction. 

Feedback Collection

Collecting customer feedback is key to business growth. You can’t change or improve what you don’t know, right? But as you might know, as a customer yourself, giving feedback isn’t always a great experience. Online surveys and questionnaires are sometimes too lengthy, crafting an email too bothersome, and don’t get me started on giving feedback over the phone. 

Alas, WhatsApp steps in, yet again, as a fix to turn feedback giving and receiving a much more pleasant experience. Through the messaging app, you can have customers interact with a chatbot survey, so that instead of answering static questions, they’ll be engaging in a conversation with a bot, which makes it more interactive. Additionally, because it’s happening on a messaging platform that customers already use in their day-to-day, you can reach them at any time, increasing the chances of them actually replying (as opposed to email that easily gets lost or forgotten in an inbox.)

Finally, you can easily analyze your customers’ answers by setting up an integration with Google Sheets or Airtable that send data automatically from the chatbot to your preferred tool. 

WhatsApp for Customer Service Examples

I’m pretty sure that by now, you’re convinced that you need WhatsApp as part of your customer support strategy. 

But still, here are a few examples that show WhatsApp for customer service in action, to prove the point even further. 

Plum

Plum is an employee benefits platform that provides group medical cover for organizations in India. It helps employers take care of their people when they need it the most and fill their insurance claims digitally.

At first, this process at Plum was done via email, with employees having to send in all documents via email to kick it off. It was confusing for users, there was too much back and forth, and it was all around a too-long process for all parties involved. 

plum quote

Plum found the solution in a Landbot WhatsApp chatbot. This way, employees receive a link to upload their documents via WhatsApp, and upon submission, Plum’s operations team reviews them. In the case of missing information, the bot proactively sends a message to the user to update it, whether it's a missing document or a piece of misleading or incorrect information.

But that’s not all there is. What started as a way to improve Plum’s claim process has now morphed into a full-fledged health messenger service with other allied services — all through WhatsApp for customers' convenience. 

plum landbot whatsapp chatbot

Thanks to the chatbot, Plum was able to increase the number of monthly filed claims to 400, with 80% of them being done via WhatsApp. What’s more, implementing the WhatsApp bot resulted in a 60% decrease in claim processing time and a much happier customer experience. 

Modanisa

Modanisa is a leading online fashion retailer based in Turkey. In a push to meet modern customers’ needs and demands, the business was in search of a way to answer customer questions in just one interaction and provide 24/7 support. 

Thanks to a WhatsApp chatbot, Modanisa quickly saw customer queries being solved faster, while saving operational costs. Thanks to a messaging solution, this fashion retailer is now steering 56% of customers to the WhatsApp chatbot, of which 70% of all customer requests were solved in-app, with no need to resort to live support. 

modanisa whatsapp chatbot
Source: Meta

Conclusion

There’s no denying that WhatsApp has become a very powerful business tool that can play a key role in customer satisfaction by improving customer service. 

​​WhatsApp, and especially WhatsApp chatbots, are a great and cost-efficient way to connect with your customers and respond to their requests, regardless of time of day or location. What’s more, by mimicking a conversation, they make for a much more interactive experience. 

So, make sure you don’t fall behind and jump on the WhatsApp train to give your customers what they want.

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