When most people think of WhatsApp, they think of it as a chat app. Not many see it as a customer support channel.
But as a business owner, WhatsApp should be a customer support channel first and then a chat app.
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As the world’s most popular instant messaging app with a whopping two billion users worldwide, not using WhatsApp for customer service support represents a loss in the chance to retain happy customers and grow your business.
So if you’re among the five million businesses worldwide using the WhatsApp Business app, a job well done!
You must be familiar with its basic features: a business profile, a product catalogue, automated messages, and more.
But beyond these, there’s so much more you can do with the app to enhance your WhatsApp customer support service.
In India, Policybazaar, IDFC First Bank, Adidas, and Flipkart are some of the companies using WhatsApp for customer service.
Why use WhatsApp for Customer Service?
People don’t frequently check their inboxes and email conversations are slow. This drawback makes it difficult for businesses to offer individualised solutions, speed up resolution, and enhance quality control which can be solved through WhatsApp.
WhatsApp is a popular messaging application with over a 98% open rate. Because WhatsApp conversations have a high rate of engagement and customer queries can be answered quickly.
Agents can also view the chat history on the same thread and use the contacts’ numbers to identify customers, enabling agents to provide personalized service.
How to use WhatsApp for customer support?
You may utilise WhatsApp for customer service in a variety of ways. But we’re here to provide you with examples based on strategies employed by top companies.
Get customer feedback
Whether or not a customer has made a purchase from you, feedback plays a significant role in how they view your company. You may ask for feedback in a more natural, intuitive way using WhatsApp because it is a conversational medium.
You may, for instance, send a customer satisfaction survey or ask a customer to review their conversation after it has ended.
Send real-time order status to keep your customers updated
A key requirement of good customer service is keeping your customers informed about the progress of their orders.
Sending alerts to inform your customers of the status of their orders is one method to use WhatsApp as a customer service channel.
You can send
- Shipping details
- Order confirmation
- Estimated arrival date
And anything else through WhatsApp.
Manage frequent consumer inquiries with automated replies
When customers contact you with their inquiries, they anticipate prompt responses. With WhatsApp, you may program automated messages to welcome clients or send responses after hours, letting clients know when to anticipate a live agent’s response.
You may also set up chatbots with Wati to deal with the majority of customer queries.
Now that you’re aware of how to use WhatsApp for customer support. Let’s take a look at the five ways you can go the extra mile by setting up WhatsApp Customer Service on your WhatsApp Business account.
Ways to optimize WhatsApp for customer service
1. Install a WhatsApp Chat Button
Having a WhatsApp Business account and not publicising it is counterproductive. And this is where some businesses falter.
After installing the app and setting up a WhatsApp Business account, they fail to broadcast their availability on the chat platform.
There are many ways to promote your WhatsApp number and give it as much visibility as possible—starting with your website.
The most straightforward way would be to list your WhatsApp Business number in your contact information—be it on a dedicated page or in your footer.
We recommend going the extra mile and adding a chat button for easy access, just like how we did it on our website.
A sticky WhatsApp icon on the bottom right corner of all pages that floats along as you scroll will remain visible to the reader no matter what.
Clicking on it brings up a mini chat box with an option to start a conversation with us on WhatsApp.
If you’re browsing on your smartphone, this will direct you to your WhatsApp immediately, whereas the web browser will open up a new page with WhatsApp web.
Note: All you need is 5 minutes to add a WhatsApp Chat Button on your website in under 5 minutes.
2. Use Its Automated Messages With a Touch of Human
One of the most popular customer care features of WhatsApp Business is its automated messaging system.
As mentioned in our post on the WhatsApp marketing tutorial, you can set up automated away and welcome messages and create templates (quick replies) to send out prompt customer support messages.
This simple feature saves you a ton of time and frees up your customer service team so they can focus on more pressing matters.
However, there’s a limit to what automation can do. There may be times when providing WhatsApp support with a human touch may be needed, especially when customer disputes arise.
In such cases, it’s reassuring for customers to know that a real person is looking into the issue.
And that’s where personalising your responses can allay frustrations. This can mean anything from addressing the customer by name to providing detailed updates about their case.
The best part of doing this through WhatsApp is if you already have set up quick automated replies. You can use them as a reference and adapt your message accordingly.
Plus, you most likely already have a chat going with these customers. So all you have to do is follow up with them in the existing WhatsApp chat.
3. Jump on a Call When Needed
If you want to take things further, there’s always the possibility of jumping on a call with your customers.
Sure, chatting has its benefits. But a phone call provides an even more personal touch and can sometimes be more efficient in resolving disputes—especially miscommunications and misunderstandings.
If and when you decide a call would be the best next step for your WhatsApp customer support, we highly recommend getting permission from your customers to call them before actually doing it.
A simple WhatsApp message like this is usually sufficient:
“Hi John, we’re sorry about [issue/misunderstanding]. May we give you a call to clarify the issue?
Do let us know when’s a good time to call you. Thank you.”
When dealing with unsatisfied customers, the last thing you want to do is catch them at the wrong time (when they’re in a meeting or driving) with an unexpected call.
Furthermore, the fact that you’re already chatting with them on WhatsApp would mean that you already have their contact information.
And who can forget the best part about WhatsApp calls? No (international) call charges!
4. Make Use of WhatsApp’s Multimedia Format Options
WhatsApp Business’s customer service communication features go beyond just chatting.
It allows the exchange of multimedia messages, including photos, videos, audio notes, and documents in popular formats like .docx and .pdf.
For instance, the national flag carrier of the Netherlands, KLM, uses WhatsApp to send boarding passes to its passengers using an image with a QR code.
Depending on the nature of your business, there are plenty more ways to take advantage of WhatsApp Business’s multimedia feature for customer support. These include:
- Sending invoices in .pdf format.
- Send additional product images (or even a video) when those in your product catalogue aren’t sufficient for your customers to decide.
- Send explanatory videos of how your product works to resolve your customers’ doubts and queries. You could also send a YouTube link directly since WhatsApp allows YouTube videos to play automatically within the app itself.
- Provide any relevant product certifications or documents in .pdf format if and when customers request for them
From pre-sales to post-sales, WhatsApp’s multimedia features can come in handy as a customer support tool.
5. Send Follow-up Product Care Reminders
Another way to leverage WhatsApp Business as a customer support channel is by sending post-purchase relevant reminders.
Here’s an example.
Say you sell robot vacuum cleaners. After your customer has purchased the product, you could send them a message when it’s time to clean or replace their filters and brushes to remind them to do so.
As an added plus, it’s also a sales opportunity if you also happen to sell replacement parts. Since you already have their purchase details (model number, delivery address, billing information, etc.), making follow-up purchases with you will be a breeze.
This activity also works beautifully if your business sells products that consumers purchase regularly. Examples of such products include office supplies like printer ink or A4 paper or day-to-day products like vitamins and detergent… You get the gist.
However, to use WhatsApp for customer service, you’ll need to have a WhatsApp Business account which comes in two types.
- WhatsApp Business App
- WhatsApp API
Using WhatsApp API for Customer Service Support
The free WhatsApp Business app is probably enough to cater to your customer service support needs if you’re running a small business.
But if you’re in an expansion phase or are a larger enterprise, chances are you’ll require more advanced tools and features.
For that, WhatsApp Business API is your answer.
Aside from getting the official verified green tick next to your business name, you can also benefit from a shared team inbox and the ability for multiple customer support staff to access a consolidated dashboard.
For a detailed breakdown of what the API offers over the free app, check out our post on the differences between Messenger, WhatsApp Business APP and Business API.
Companies using WhatsApp for customer service
Pretty Ballerina is a Spanish shoe brand that makes comfortable and trendy footwear for Women. They wanted to accelerate their WhatsApp customer support in Israel by handling 100s of queries and chat requests during their campaigns.
Read Pretty Ballerina’s case study on how they achieved the goals.
Terpel is the biggest oil and gas retailer in Columbia, with over 1,600 gas stations nationwide. Terpel’s goal is to cement its #1 position by accelerating its growth through innovations such as setting up electric charging stations across the country.
Terpel’s execution partner Nodo has been helping them deliver a better customer experience in the last 5 years.
Nodo & Terpel’s goal was to promote economic reactivation after the lockdown drawbacks that arose due to COVID-19. With the help of Wati, Terpel and Nodo ran Columbia’s largest WhatsApp promotion and generated USD 35 million in sales. Read more about this activity from our case study.
Using Whatsapp for customer service and support has a broad reach, which opens up a whole new world for enterprises to forge closer relationships with their forward.
WATI can help you acquire and implement the WhatsApp API as an official WhatsApp business service provider. If you need assistance, please feel free to reach out.
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