Interestingly, the majority of professionals across marketing and customer support departments still favor emailas the primary form of communication with clients and prospects. While WhatsApp as a communication channelis not unheard of, professionals still struggle to adopt it. Use cases tend to exist in silos, making the experience lack cohesion across the buyer journey.
Nevertheless, consumer responses reveal that 60% prefer to use WhatsApp for customer support. Why is that? If we think about “intention,” when a customer contacts support, they are looking for two things: immediacy and personalization. When a customer has a question in regards to a product they’ve purchased, they expect to be answered immediately—in a personalized way.
Moreover, 40% of consumers said they would be open to receiving promotional content (newsletters, discounts, notifications, etc.) on WhatsApp. What does this mean for Marketing professionals? It means that the marketing potential for WhatsApp exists yet is still under utilized.
The 4 P’s of the classic marketing mix come to mind: Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. So, why not promote on WhatsApp? If it’s what consumers want, this is a low-hanging fruit marketing professionals can capitalize on immediately.
WhatsApp is on the map, but most still struggle to get there
Marketers and customer support operatives say WhatsApp is on their radar. In fact, 31% of respondents claimed to currently use WhatsApp for customer service operations and 29% as part of their marketing efforts.
For both departments, WhatsApp automation falls behind the more traditional channels, including email, callcenter, SMS, and social media. However, WhatsApp is taking a clear lead when it comes to consumer preferences. And while professionals are making an effort to meet consumers on this channel, our findings reveal that adoption and implementation are slow. In other words, they are unable to keep up with demand.
Lack of technical resources and budget blocking innovation
Despite marketing and customer service teams managing different parts of the customer journey, their top concerns with WhatsApp automation happen to coincide.
In both cases, challenges regarding budget limitations and the complexity of automation—eating up resources and time—are at the forefront.
WhatsApp Automation: Same challenges different departments
For customer support operations specialists with no prior WhatsApp experience, the main concerns centered around the WhatsApp channel being too new and untested (24%), getting buy-in from the leadership on the experiment (23%), automation taking too long (23%) as well as the complexity of the implementation (21%) ranked among the top concerns.
On the other hand, those in customer support who have had previous experience with WhatsApp are concerned about the automation process taking too long (34%), the complexity of technical Implementation (30%), WhatsApp bot building being too complicated (29%), difficulty with measuring the success of their WhatsApp channel (26%), lack of built-in integrations (21%) and the struggle of finding the right Business Solution Provider (21%).
This begs the question: If marketers are used to building sequences to generate and nurture leads via email cadences, what makes creating cadences for WhatsApp campaigns so different? Our suspicion is that many are not prepared to handle the uniqueness and, sometimes, unpredictableness a WhatsApp conversation can bring. What happens if a person interacts in a way that’s not defined in the flow?
However, with the emergence of ChatGPT, we’ve reached a tipping point, and WhatsApp is ripe with opportunities.
WhatsApp Business: Solution Partners. Beyond API connections
Whether marketing or customer service, both departments face almost identical challenges. However, upon closer examination, these difficulties underline more pertinent issues, such as complexity of implementation, time-to-value, and availability of integrations.
This is where Business Solution Partners (BSPs) come into play. Today, many BSPs go beyond facilitating just an API connection and offer ample resources to minimize key stress points. Offering no-code and low-code tools as part of their experience, they reduce the complexity and production times not just in terms of activating a WhatsApp channel but also by developing conversational sequences that integrate with an existing CRM without code.
The right BSP with a low/no-code ecosystem also answers the struggles of marketers, who may lack the technical know-how to automate complex sequences to generate, qualify and nurture leads using WhatsApp chatbots.
This can be solved with a visual, intuitive builder, empowering non-technical professionals to take an active part in designing and creating conversational flows for marketing campaigns. If you can build a sequence on your Email Marketing Automation platform, you can create an automated WhatsApp campaign that generates and nurtures leads down the funnel in a matter of minutes, too. All you need is to find the right BSP–with the right visual builder, of course.
ChatGPT: A push to speed up WhatsApp Adoption?
We’ve established that visual builders could significantly minimize technical difficulty, time-to-value, and resource expenditure. However, there is always the next layer to innovation, enabling the creation of frictionless customer experiences at scale. We’ve mentioned ChatGPT before, but let’s dive into what it means for the customer journey.
ChatGPT, a web chatbot developed by OpenAI and powered by GPT-3, a Large Language Model (LLM), has shaken up the status quo of conversational automation. It has an unmatched ability to interact with people in conversational dialogue, and provide responses that are surprisingly human. Its reach is so widespread that it's already starting to affect consumer expectations. Nevertheless, the technology is still young, and its practical application is challenging because of expensive AI, limited availability, and delays in completing more complex requests.