What you may not know, however, is that people relate to companies as if they were people.
Logically then, your welcome messages, home pages, and even reception areas may be saying far more than you think.
We’re looking into the importance of greeting messages for WhatsApp in business and how to ensure that you make a great first impression.
Businesses Are People Too
Susan Fiske, PhD, the Eugene Higgins professor of psychology at Princeton University with a doctorate from Harvard has researched this fascinating subject and offers some thoughts on how people relate to companies.
She notes, “So our psychological research in the past, and ongoing, has found that people make two fundamental time-honoured judgments of other people quite quickly and automatically. The first one is 'friend or foe' – is this person on my side or not? Do they share my interests or not? And can they be trusted, and are they friendly?
And the second one is, given that we’ve inferred their intentions, we infer whether they can act on them competently because their intentions don’t matter so much as their incompetence.”
This snap decision that your customers make about your business, then, indicates to them how warm, competent, and trustworthy you are. That places your business greetings in the spotlight, don’t you agree?
What does this look like in practice when switching over to the WhatsApp Business API?
How to Write a Great WhatsApp Business Greeting
While it would be great to list a whole lot of friendly, professional, perfectly worded greeting templates here, that simply won’t work for every business. Therefore, we’re examining the principles behind these essential interactions so that you can apply them in your business.
1. Welcoming Welcome Messages
With the integration of automated communication platforms available, there’s every chance that you will have, at the very least, a name when your customer reaches out to you. If so, use it.
Your customers will be looking for and will respond well to warmth, and using their name and a friendly greeting is a great start. This is also a great opportunity to let them know that they are in the right place and their subscription, sign-up, or message has gone through successfully.
2. Stay Real
Yes, you’re sending automated messages, but you don’t need to sound like an automaton. Remember that you’re dealing with individuals and let’s face it, we all respond well to a warm tone.
Your WhatsApp greetings should be personable, informal, and friendly. Remember that your customers see your business as a person, so it’s a good idea to act like one. Obviously, we don’t want to slip into colloquial language or display an unprofessional tone, but there is a middle ground that you should find for your business.
Simply using “Hi Matthew” as opposed to “Good day Mr Smith” is a great start.
3. Offer Self-Service
More businesses than ever are seeing the value of FAQ pages on their website. This information offers customers a way to get the answer to their questions without being put on hold or having to call someone up.
Depending on your business, your WhatsApp greeting may include the option to help themselves. For example, “A very warm welcome to The Kitchen Shop. What can we help you with?” followed by buttons to track an order, talk to a customer service agent, or go to their FAQ page.
4. Offer Guidance
Further to the above point, it’s very useful to offer some guidance in your welcome WhatsApp message. This is a new space for them, and they may not know how to proceed.
Aside from self-service options, give them a touchpoint where they can ask questions or get one-on-one assistance from a human. It may also be useful to direct them by using multiple questions such as See Promotional Offers, Track Order, Check Account Balance, Submit a Claim, or any number of relevant alternatives.
Whatever your choice, never leave them hanging in cyberspace. Close off your chats with links to contact pages or even your home page.
5. Keep it Short
One of the key reasons that people love WhatsApp is because it can be used in manageable, bite-sized chunks. Short messages, the odd emoji, and a quick voice note are all we need to convey our message.
So, when you’re crafting your greeting, or in fact, any message to your customers, be sure to keep it short and concise. This is where WhatsApp shines because people expect a to-the-point message without the customary niceties of a phone call or email.
6. Be Honest & Transparent
Consumers today are a smart lot, and they can smell dishonesty and deception from afar. If your systems are down, you’re in the middle of a power outage, or your best team member left to have a baby, let them know. Things like this impact your response time and perceived level of competence, but as long as you give reasons and not excuses, most customers are very forgiving.
A message like, “Thank you for reaching out to us. We usually reply within 2 hours, but we’re having a technical issue right now that may affect our response time. Please be patient with us, and we promise to come back to you as soon as we can.”
7. Setting Away Messages
We’ve all sent a question at 9 pm on a Wednesday to a business; it’s simply part of today’s lifestyle. We may not expect a response from the business, but it’s nice to know that your message has gone through to the right people.
Therefore, an away message may be the very first interaction that a customer has with your business. Why not consider a message such as, “We’re thrilled that you’ve found us and we’re super-keen to chat with you. As soon as our team is back online we’ll make you our first priority.”
8. Manage Expectations
You must agree that so many complaints could be avoided by simply managing customer expectations better. Your WhatsApp business greeting has the ability to do exactly that.
If you’re promising a call back from your customer care team, let them know when to expect a call. (Then stick to it!) For instance, “We’ll call you right back” isn’t as good as “We’ll call you before noon tomorrow.”
If you’re going to send them an email, a coupon, or a link then let them know when, how, and why. Clear communication is always going to win customers’ trust.
9. Be Helpful
WhatsApp is the perfect tool for confirming appointments, travel arrangements, or sending alerts. It may be that this is your first interaction with a customer on WhatsApp, so make sure that it’s super helpful.
What does this look like?
“Hi, Jennifer. Your recent order from Fabulous Shoes has been shipped to you. You should receive your Cherry Red wedges in size 4 by the 24th of June.”
All this information can be quickly pulled from their website order and integrated into WhatsApp for a useful, accurate, and personalised message.
10. Resolving Issues
Another brilliant templated message from WhatsApp, this one allows you to keep in contact with your customer when they’ve logged a call or complaint that requires action.
A concise yet friendly message is all that is needed here, perhaps saying, “Hi Ben, we are looking into the problem with your account number XYZ123 and will come back to you by 4 pm today.”
Communication and customer support are quickly becoming the deciding factor between business success and failure. The WhatsApp Business Solution solves many of these problems and gives you a much-needed edge over your competitors.
The WhatsApp Business API has a mind-bending array of settings that you can apply to suit your needs. When applied to your business, these will certainly reduce your response time, maximise customer satisfaction, and create a string of loyal, happy customers.
More recently, WhatsApp has expanded its offering to additional countries which allow businesses to send more types of proactive notifications to people that opt-in to receive them.
That means that businesses in approved countries will now be able to send non-transactional notifications such as:
- Product recommendations related to a customer’s previous purchases
- Helpful informational alerts
- Relevant offers
- Reminders to book an appointment
Show your customers that you are a friend, not a foe and that you have their best interests at heart.
If you’ve been thinking about leveraging this brilliant tool and would like guidance on setting up your system and creating the best greetings messages in the WhatsApp Business API we invite you to give us a call.