Why WhatsApp Is What's Up for Customer Service

WhatsApp Business will smooth customer conversations and solve issues faster

Are you using WhatsApp? — because your customers are. With over 1.5 billion people registered on the chat app, the WhatsApp Business API allows companies to connect with their customers on a professional level.

Most brands get it by now: creating a delightful customer experience is key to their success. And today, customers demand service how, where, and when they want it.

“A superior CX [customer experience] is one of the few remaining means of sustainable competitive differentiation," said Gartner's vice president for sales and customer experience research, Jenny Sussin, in a recent Q&A.

Survey after survey shows an ever-increasing number of customers will take their business elsewhere if they can't get the level of service they want with a given company.

What's not always so clear however is exactly how businesses can achieve that high quality of service for large numbers of customers. The newly released WhatsApp Business API (still in limited, early release) provides a solution to that problem for medium-to-large companies that have been reluctant to embrace social messaging because of corporate governance and scalability concerns.

The CX Imperative

One way businesses have provided customer service at scale is through Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems. Users phone a help center and then press buttons in response to prompts to get the right information or support desk. Modern systems respond to spoken requests with conversational responses of their own, increasing satisfaction for customers frustrated with having to wait for prompts.

But improving voice communications for service requests can only go so far in helping customers get service on their own terms. What's also needed are other channels for customers to engage customer service. That means text as well as voice. As a recent Deloitte study found, voice is on the way out as the preferred channel for customers to engage customer service, while chat and messaging is on the rise.

That's why the WhatsApp Business API has gained evangelists from companies both large and small around the world, including Uber, Wish, Singapore Airlines, and Bank BRI—even before its full official launch.

Service on Their Terms

The WhatsApp Business API lets businesses provide customer support through a mobile and web texting app that some 1.5 billion WhatsApp users around the world are already familiar with. Among many other benefits, it allows customer service personnel to automatically sort incoming messages and quickly respond to them. Some early adopters providing testimonials on the WhatsApp website include:

  • Singapore Airlines uses the API to connect with customers more quickly and efficiently than before, helping to alleviate the frustration that all-to-often accompanies travel.
  • Indonesian state-owned financial institution Bank BRI uses the WhatsApp Business API to connect customers to its virtual support agent, Sabrina. Together, the API and Sabrina quickly deliver information on nearby ATMs and branch offices, product information, and other help functions.
  • Uber uses the API to connect drivers with its support center on the same mobile devices that they use to connect with riders, giving them a seamless user experience and faster answers to questions in order to bester serve their customers.

These companies and many others have taken to WhatsApp for the simple reason that it gives their customers and support staff a better quality experience.

Top-Tier Security and More

Ensuring both brands and customers of top-tier security is a major benefit of the WhatsApp Business API. Consumers the world over know that they can trust WhatsApp with their most personal communications thanks to the app's end-to-end encryption technology and emphasis on privacy. At the same time, businesses know they can rely on WhatsApp to help them meet their compliance obligations such as the reporting requirements of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

WhatsApp also helps businesses provide better customer experiences by:

  • Allowing customers to connect easily with brands through a platform they're already familiar with. Some 1.5 billion people already use WhatsApp, sending 60 billion messages a day.
  • Providing a personal, one-on-one communication channel.
  • Delivering relevant, personalized information on demand, thanks to context-sensitive automated messages sent in response to customer queries, fostering a delightful customer experience at scale.
  • Showing those responsible for customer service how they're doing through visibility into whether recipients actually read messages and stats on the number of messages sent and other key metrics.

WhatsApp for Delightful CX at Scale

Customers don't want to call companies for support, and they certainly don't want to navigate torturous IVR systems. They just want answers fast on their preferred channel. Which is why chat is what's up for customer service.

The WhatsApp Business API should only accelerate that trend. What's more, it enables businesses to offer personalized service on demand, at scale, wherever and whenever customers need it. And that is how businesses can delight customers and keep them coming back for more.