In January 2018, WhatsApp launched its much anticipated WhatsApp Business App to a limited market. Since then, interest has grown rapidly as businesses of all sizes consider the value of a dedicated WhatsApp sales or customer service channel.
WhatsApp is the behemoth of messaging platforms with 1.6 billion users and over 60 billion messages per day. With such an enormous user base a WhatsApp business platform seemed like the natural next step, and it was.
CommBox saw the great potential WhatsApp’s business app had for connecting businesses with their customers, and that’s why we were one of the first integrators of the solution. We were chosen by WhatsApp to be one of their alpha vendors for the business API, a position only awarded to a select few businesses worldwide. Since our early adoption, we have grown to understand how to optimize the API to bring maximum benefit to customers both in terms of securing new sales and fostering a great relationship with customers.
WhatsApp Business for Customer Service
WhatsApp Business is designed to make it simple and convenient for businesses and customers to connect. Customer service isn’t just about responding to issues, but also delivering notifications about upcoming products and services to customers and developing an ongoing relationship.
The first way CommBox’s WhatsApp business solution can improve customer service for your business is through increased visibility. WhatsApp business allows the business owner to create a business profile, which houses important information about the business including a description, contact details, website, and address. This allows the customer to get to know your business better.
Flexibility and productivity are also built into the app so that businesses of all sizes can find a solution that best meets their business needs. For example, you can label chats with different color-coded labels to help you keep track of customers or types of inquiries. Businesses can also set up automated messages to instantly connect with customers using a greeting that is personal to their business. This allows you to create your own business voice and style, connecting with users by showing them what your business represents.
Another great aspect of the app is the ability to send quick replies, essentially reusing messages that have already been sent to previous customers. This provides a considerable benefit when it comes to time saving while still actively connecting with customers.
CommBox is committed to helping businesses do all of this and more. One feature we are proud of is the CommBox WhatsApp feature that allows businesses to connect their WhatsApp account as a channel. This means that businesses can connect with customers through a smart inbox in realtime, managing messages and calls with ease. The primary purpose of WhatsApp business is to allow businesses and customers to send and receive messages, thereby adding value to the business through increased engagement. This core aspect is what attracts so many businesses and customers to the platform and is why it’s a major focus of the solution.
Customer Engagement and Loyalty
Good customer service has two key components, customer engagement, and customer loyalty. Successful customer engagement leads to increased customer loyalty, and that means your customers will keep coming back to your business and you can continue to drive sales upwards. So, how does this relate to WhatsApp Business? Because customers come back to companies that they can easily communicate with. Below are some useful facts to know about customer’s attitudes towards messaging in 2019:
- 80% of customers show increased loyalty to companies that are easy to contact.
- 45% of customers prefer a chat service, while only 23% prefer email, and only 18% prefer social media.
- 70% of customers will choose to message rather than call.
- Customers trust companies more when they have a messaging option available.
- 73% of customers say that transparency is more important than price. Online messaging apps such as WhatsApp business can increase your transparency by allowing you to promptly answer the questions your customers want to know the answer to.
WhatsApp Business for Sales
When it comes to driving up sales from your customers, there are some keyways this can be done through WhatsApp’s business API. The first is through effective two-way communication.
Having a chat channel isn’t just about telling your customers important business updates or responding to queries, it’s about having an effective two-way dialogue. You want your customers to get to know your business and what you offer, but you should be getting to know your customers at the same time. By getting to know your customers, you gain a better understanding of their motivations for buying your product or service, as well as their expectations. This grants you the unique opportunity to adapt to trends or the changing buying habits of your customers.
Customers are also more likely to buy from a business they can easily communicate with because they will feel reassured that any issues will be addressed. At some point, we’ve all probably bought a faulty product and struggled to get hold of the business to resolve the issue or get a refund. This situation is stressful, and time consuming for customers and can leave a lasting negative impression of your company.
Having an open dialogue with your customers also allows you to introduce them to your other products that they may not have heard of. Whether you’re a hairdresser, painter, or large software company, your customers are coming to you looking for information and guidance. They want to be assured that they are buying the right product for their needs and that they understand what is being offered. Providing these answers with real-time chat can greatly improve customer comfort levels, lower buying anxiety, and encourage the completion of the sale.
WhatsApp Business for Marketing
You can use WhatsApp Business to successfully market your new products and services, inform customers of discounts, and generally keep them up to date about the business.
Marketing is an essential part of any business, but it’s one that businesses spend a varying degree of time and energy on. Small businesses will have modest marketing strategies and campaigns and can struggle to stand out against larger companies.
Customers also don’t like to be overwhelmed with marketing emails or flyers through the door. It can often feel cluttered and invasive. This is where a WhatsApp business channel can shine. It allows you to put all exciting new developments in one place where the customer can actively engage when and how they want to. It is direct and effective, easily accessible for the customer, and not invasive.
Advantages of WhatsApp for Business Ideal for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (SMEs)
Although different countries have different definitions of what constitutes an SME, they are generally considered to have an upper limit of 500 employees, and sometimes this limit is much lower, around the 250 mark. SMEs make up the lion’s share of businesses in most countries throughout the world. This also means that they have a dominant share of the global economy and play an important role in innovation and economic expansion. In 2016, 99.7% of US businesses had less than 500 employees.
SMEs may dwarf in scale compared to large enterprises, but they have much the same responsibilities to their customers. Small and large enterprises alike both want to make strong connections with their customers to make new sales and retain existing customers. We are now in the age of automation and AI, and products born out of these technological eras are becoming increasingly affordable for small businesses. This allows small businesses to compete with larger businesses in a way they haven’t been able to in the past and WhatsApp Business is one of these tools that can help them get ahead.
Most people are already users of the personal version of WhatsApp and are therefore familiar with how it functions. This provides a great advantage in a business environment where owners and employees can be extremely busy. Sometimes we just don’t have time to learn a new system, and with WhatsApp for business, you don’t need to.
A Modern Solution Fit for the Digital Age
The use of messaging platforms such as Facebook Message, WhatsApp, WeChat, and iMessage has exploded in the last decade to the point where they are now the preferred method of communication. This shift towards online messaging from SMS based messaging has several root causes.
Firstly, online messaging apps allow you to communicate with others in real-time, receiving real-time information about whether your message has been sent, received, or read. You can also see when people are online and therefore when likely to respond. Online communication also allows for group communication which has also skyrocketed in popularity in recent years.
The millennial generation, generally considered to be people born between 1981 and 1996, has also been a huge factor in this change. Millennials have taken strongly to online messaging platforms as their primary method of communication which has encouraged their widespread global adoption. The economic power of Millennials’ shouldn’t be underestimated by businesses. Millennials currently make up around 75 million of the US’s 327 million total population and are overtaking the baby boomer generation. Businesses should be trying to actively engage with the methods of communication that this demographic, and the generation after them (Gen Z) prefers.
WhatsApp, and therefore WhatsApp Business, meet this market need. WhatsApp is part of the Facebook family of products and services which also include Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. According to Facebook’s Q-2 figures for 2019, 2.1 billion people are now using one of these apps every day. What sets WhatsApp apart from other online messaging apps, even those in their own suite, is its sheer popularity and continued growth. WhatsApp is the most used global messaging platform with 1.6 billion users, which is 300 million more than the second most popular messaging app, Facebook Messenger. WhatsApp is also growing twice as fast as Facebook.
All of this adds to the big picture of why WhatsApp is a great platform for taking on business communication needs.
Convenient and Easy to Use
WhatsApp Business allows you to manage the majority of your business communication all in one place, and in an orderly manner. The app utilizes automation, channels, labels, and separate chat and call functions so there’s something for every communication style. The barrier to entry for the business owner is low since the software is intuitive and easy to use. This means less time spent managing several systems and learning all their quirks. This is important because if you’re using a system that’s easy to use, you are more likely to use it often, and increased use will bring you closer to your customers.
Find out more about CommBox’s WhatsApp Business solutions and features by clicking here. You’re only a few steps away from giving your customer service and sales a boost.