Organizations today are constantly searching for new and innovative ways to engage with their customers and drive business.
WhatsApp is one, if not the way to connect with today’s consumers. The messaging platform allows businesses to provide support to customers, generate more qualified leads, and help nurture prospects along the sales funnel. All thanks to the power of automation and§ chatbots.
However, the effectiveness of a WhatsApp chatbot depends heavily on the quality of its design and implementation. Businesses need to ensure their WhatsApp channel is optimized for user engagement and satisfaction, which will ultimately help them grow.
What is User Engagement?
User engagement refers to how and how much your users interact with your WhatsApp channel. It includes actions such as opening and reading messages, clicking on links, interacting with chatbots, and acting on the information provided (for example, downloading a report or signing up for a newsletter.) High levels of user engagement indicate that your customers find value in your messaging and are interested in what you have to say.
But why is it so important?
Engagement is critical to building lasting relationships with your customers. The more engaged they are with your business, the more likely they are to stay loyal to it, repeat purchases, and even recommend it to others. Engaged customers are likely to be happier customers who will vouch for you, leave positive feedback when asked about your products or services, and, ultimately, help attract new customers and drive more business.
Setting up an Engaging WhatsApp Channel
Before diving into WhatsApp automation and chatbots, let’s look at the basics of building an engaging — and successful — WhatsApp channel.
Setting up your WhatsApp channel requires a strategic approach, especially if you’re starting to bet on a WhatsApp-led growth strategy for your business.
First things first, you need to define your goals. Ask yourself what you want to achieve through your WhatsApp channel. Will it be part of your marketing strategy and used to generate leads? Are you using it as a customer support channel? Depending on the purpose you define for your WhatsApp channel, you can then start creating a plan that aligns with the objectives you want to achieve.
What’s important is that your WhatsApp strategy is precisely that — strategic. Without a clear goal, you might flood users with content they don’t want to receive, or that’s not useful for them. Think of providing value with each WhatsApp interaction.
That being said, you’ll want to keep communications via WhatsApp simple. Remember, WhatsApp is used in day-to-day conversations with friends and family and is text-based, so messages are usually kept short. Avoid sending too much text in one message. Rather, break it down into smaller pieces, just as you would if it were a private conversation.
Following that, make sure to add multimedia elements to the content you send users on WhatsApp — whether that’s images, videos, or just emojis. These visual items make for a more engaging experience than just plain text.
WhatsApp Chatbot Best Practices
By following the tips above, you’re already on your way to setting up an engaging WhatsApp channel. But we can’t really talk about making the best of WhatsApp without talking about WhatsApp automation and chatbots.
Having a clear goal, using simple, conversational language with visual elements, and adding value to customers also apply to WhatsApp chatbots. But there are other key aspects to remember when it comes to user engagement.
Provide Valuable Information
It might sound repetitive since I’ve already mentioned that a WhatsApp channel should provide some kind of value to the user. However, being an automated process, some might fall into the temptation of communicating anything and everything via WhatsApp.
You should avoid this pitfall and focus on sharing only valuable and relevant information. Sending users a link every time you publish a new blog article? Not the best idea. Offering personalized recommendations or exclusive offers and communicating important product updates? That’s more like it.
Don’t forget that users don’t want to constantly receive notifications from business channels they have subscribed to. In this case, less is more if you want to keep people engaged with your channel.
Personalize the Experience
Personalization is another crucial factor in building an engaging WhatsApp chatbot. You can use customers’ data to tailor messages to their preferences. For example, you can send them product recommendations based on previous purchases, or discounts dependent on service usage.
Another simple way of personalizing your chatbot interactions is to use variables to record data in real-time and use them during the conversation. You can save the user’s name to keep referring to them by their name, or their contact information if you need to double-check it at some point.
Showing users that the chatbot is “paying attention” makes it feel like the conversation is much more personal than professional, which makes it more engaging.
Offer Options & Interactive Elements
When it comes to engagement, chatbots have a lot to offer besides simply carrying on a message or asking users for their names and contact information.
You can use buttons to offer multiple response options, for example. You can break down what you want to say into smaller pieces, and, in between, have users participate like we do in our WhatsApp-led Growth channel:
Instead of simply sending all the information we want to share with users at once, we have them click buttons to get the next message from the chatbot, and then give them options to either learn more information or instantly download the report.
If we’re talking about engagement, it’s important to have users interact with the chatbot. This can be achieved rather quickly with something like the example above or with something more complex like a quiz or game.
Respect Users' Privacy
Users who want to receive your communications via WhatsApp need to opt-in to receive them. Businesses can’t just buy databases and start messaging people.
In that sense, WhatsApp is already a relatively private space where users can be sure they won’t be flooded with just any message like what often happens in email inboxes. But that’s not enough when it comes to respecting their privacy.
Let’s not forget that WhatsApp is a personal messaging platform, so make sure you’re not constantly sending them updates, or they will likely unsubscribe from your channel.
Provide an Opt-out Option
That being said, you should give users the option to opt out of the chatbot experience if they wish to do so.
Whenever we send an update on our WhatsApp-led Growth channel, we provide users with this option by typing in "unsubscribe" on the chat:
This may sound counterintuitive — if they unsubscribe, how will they be engaged with it?
Well, at least they won’t have negative feedback to share about it. If a user thinks the WhatsApp chatbot experience is intrusive or annoying for their liking, the best option is to allow them to leave without a hassle.
Measuring User Engagement
To understand if you need to improve your WhatsApp channel’s engagement, you first need to measure your current user engagement. There are a few important metrics to take into consideration:
- Open rate: the open rate refers to the number of users who open the messages you send in your WhatsApp channel. It’s a good indicator of interest in the content you send.
- Response rate: monitoring the response rate to the messages sent in your WhatsApp channels is a good indicator of user engagement. If your customers are taking the time to respond, it’s possibly a sign that they find the content shared interesting.
- Conversion rate: if you’re using your WhatsApp channel for sales or lead generation, you should look at the conversion rate to assess the channel’s success. A high conversion rate indicates that users are engaging with it and that it’s fulfilling its business goals.
Although this qualitative data helps you paint a picture of how your users interact with your WhatsApp channel, quantitative data is also important. You could have a high response rate, but what if users only reply to your messages saying they’re not interested in what you’re sharing or asking to unsubscribe from the channel?
It’s vital to ask users for feedback regularly. You can do so directly on WhatsApp, or ask customers to jump on a call and go over what they think of the content you share in the channel and how you could improve it.
This combination of data and feedback helps you gain insights into what’s working or not. Don’t forget to regularly test and optimize your WhatsApp chatbots to improve user engagement.
WhatsApp chatbots are a powerful tool for businesses looking to engage with their customers in a more personalized and efficient way. The best practices outlined here can help you implement chatbots that add value and foster a positive relationship with your brand.
In doing so, you can drive higher levels of user engagement, increase customer satisfaction, and strengthen your brand's overall reputation. And sales! So, start exploring the possibilities of WhatsApp chatbots today, and if you want to keep up with our WhatsApp-led Growth updates, you can subscribe to the channel here.