WhatsApp - the future medium of Customer Support
Almost half a billion people in India use WhatsApp - that’s more than 1 in 3 people. From small towns to large cities, WhatsApp has become the default medium of communication for a large bunch of people. It has largely replaced SMS and the younger generation prefers to message on WhatsApp rather than calling someone.
Families are creating WhatsApp groups to interact with each other, businesses are creating WhatsApp groups for collaboration. Even internal business communication is happening on WhatsApp. WhatsApp has gained a lot of popularity because of its simplicity and ease of use, especially for people in the age group of 35 - 60 years who are not too tech-savvy.
This opens up a huge opportunity for businesses to use WhatsApp as a channel of customer acquisition, customer engagement, and customer support. A lot of brands have already started using WhatsApp for some or the other use-case. Today, we will talk about the features of WhatsApp for businesses and how can businesses use it for enhancing their customer experience.
WhatsApp Business API
WhatsApp Business API is like a pipe that can be connected with CRM or any other application to send messages to customers on WhatsApp. It allows businesses to send automated messages to their end customers on their registered WhatsApp numbers. for that, an enterprise has to get a WhatsApp number for their business using which they will be able to apply for a WhatsApp business account. The API is much like an SMS API, except that the message will go to the user on WhatsApp with the name of the business that sent the message.
The above is an example of WhatsApp’s push messaging API using which businesses can “push” messages to a user. What if a user replies to this message? In that case, WhatsApp also allows a “pull” API using which, a message that the user sends to the business can be forwarded to a certain server/application for processing so that a further reply could be sent to the user.
In simple terms, WhatsApp provides a mechanism to not only push messages to the user but also, forward the messages sent by the user, to some server or an application. The application can process the message, using various methods, and then based on what the user is asking, it can send a reply.
Remember SMS Banking? This is similar. In SMS Banking, we sent a message on a specific number, in a specific format, and then we got our bank balance as a reply. For instance, if one sends “IBAL” to 9215676766 from their registered mobile number, they will get the balance of their ICICI Bank account as a reply. WhatsApp Business API provides this interface on the favorite medium - WhatsApp.
To summarize, there are 2 types of ways in which Businesses can interact with the users on WhatsApp:
- Push Messaging
- Two-way Messaging
Now, let’s dive deeper into each of the above topics to understand how they can be helpful in enhancing the customer experience and making sure that they remain engaged with your business.
Once you’ve registered your business account with WhatsApp, you would be able to push messages to your customers. This is much like promotional campaigns to customers via the SMS channel. As you can see below, Navi Mutual Fund has sent the below promotional message to a user to sell an offer. If a User doesn’t like it, they can click on STOP and opt-out.
In Push Messaging, businesses can push a variety of content like:
- Rich Text
Using Push Messaging also helps businesses make their customers aware that they are now on WhatsApp.
What if the customer replies to the above message from Navi Mutual Fund? Let’s see what happens.
Oops! Looks like Navi MF always replies with some sort of automated message. Currently, it looks like Navi MF provides only Push Messaging Services on WhatsApp, and does not provide Two-way messaging. What if the user wants to interact with Navi MF on WhatsApp?
At Cogno, we provide an end-to-end WhatsApp solution that includes:
- Setting up the WhatsApp account
- Push Messaging console to drive customer engagement
- Two-way messaging using AI-drive WhatsApp Bots
Using our AI-driven WhatsApp Bots, a business can automatically send a reply to such customers who want to interact with the business over WhatsApp. The idea is to ensure that the user does not have any unfulfilled requests.
Here is an example of a WhatsApp Bot that we have deployed for one of the leading Banks in the country - Kotak Mahindra Bank.
On typing “Hi”, the Bot automatically replies with a personalized welcome message, along with the services it offers. As you can see, the Bot provides a bunch of features:
- Personalization: it knows the user’s name “Aman” from the user’s registered mobile number.
- Vernacular: it supports both Hindi and English (and also Hinglish!). A large population of the country does not understand English and therefore, it is important that the business is able to provide support to the user in their local language.
- Free-flow input: a user can type queries like “where are my account details” and the Bot is intelligent enough to understand what the user wants, and provide them the right information instantly.
- Buttons: the bot has some ready-made buttons which the user can click, to get instant information.
- Secure: the business (Kotak 811 in this case) has been verified by WhatsApp and has a green-tick so, the user knows that their data and information are secure.
Now let’s see when we click on “Account Related”. We basically get 3 options and when we click on “A/C Balance”, it triggers an OTP to the user. On entering the OTP, the Bot instantly provides the account balance of the user, right within WhatsApp. How convenient that is!
So the user, who’d have otherwise struggled with Netbanking, or would have called a call center or would have had to go to the branch, was able to get the balance instantly within their favorite mobile app itself. That’s the power of WhatsApp!
It becomes super easy for the customer to get the information they want, without having to struggle to 5 different places. It is fast, convenient, and secure.
At Cogno, we’ve launched WhatsApp Bots for a bunch of leading brands:
- ICICI Bank
- Kotak Mahindra Bank
- IDFC FIRST Bank
- ICICI Securities
- Kotak Securities
- ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund
- SBI Mutual Fund
- Nippon India Mutual Fund
- UTI Mutual Fund
- HDFC Limited
- Care Health Insurance
- INOX Movies
- SBI General Insurance
- SBICAP Securities
One of India’s leading Stock Broking firms - Kotak Securities, has, in fact, gone a step ahead and launched a customer-to-agent chat on WhatsApp. As a user, I can simply chat with an Agent on WhatsApp and get help with respect to account opening with Kotak Securities.
Do you wish to delight your customers? Send us a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org today!