Why is WhatsApp the Preferred Choice?
As mentioned, WhatsApp is one of the most powerful communication platforms globally, with the number of active users continuing to rise amid the pandemic. There are many reasons that WhatsApp is the preferred choice in apps across a range of spectrums.
WhatsApp is Accessible
It is platform agnostic which means WhatsApp can be installed on almost every device, whether Apple, Android or Windows.
The platform is constantly introducing new features to the app, allowing users to share contacts, content, location pins and status broadcasting.
WhatsApp offers users unlimited real-time messaging which means engaging in conversation with anyone, anywhere in the world at any time.
It’s free to download and all forms of communication are a lot more cost-effective than alternatives. International calls – once extremely expensive – are now much cheaper with WhatsApp. Considering the global nature of modern living, with many loved ones around the world, this makes WhatsApp very much in demand.
The recent civil unrest indicated the value of the WhatsApp group messaging option with communities and businesses able to keep alert and updated on all activities. Group messages save time and effort while reaching a broader audience quickly.
One of the best-selling features of WhatsApp is that, from the start, it has been an advert-free platform. This means uninterrupted use when communicating, making it a much more user-friendly option.
The arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that businesses had to quickly adapt to the required social distancing norms and online interactions. The aforementioned benefits of WhatsApp in a recreational setting could be transferred across to businesses, making it convenient to reach the target audience simply and effectively.
What’s a WhatsApp Bot?
Also known as a WhatsApp chatbot, a bot is a programme or software which is used on the WhatsApp platform for conversational marketing and client solutions. The chatbot is powered by a defined set of rules, designed to engage in conversation with humans over chat. It provides businesses with a number of e-commerce opportunities that are only now becoming mainstream.
Five Use Cases for WhatsApp Bots
If your business isn’t already using WhatsApp chatbots for customer engagement, here’s a look at five ways it can take your business further.
1. Lead generation
The simplicity of starting a conversation with a WhatsApp chatbot makes lead generation that much easier. Businesses will typically share a telephone number or a click-to-chat feature via online adverts which then opens a new chat window instantly. Once the conversation begins, the business receives the customer’s name and phone number immediately, allowing for personalised communication that sees strangers converted to customers.
Using a WhatsApp Business API, businesses can create a verified profile which then automates the process of reaching potential new customers. But, in addition to lead generation, this messaging platform also allows you to nurture new leads by personalising the communication. And, no matter what your industry, the WhatsApp chatbot is a useful platform for getting detailed information and improving the customer experience!
2. Instant Customer Service
In modern business, with the variety of communication platforms and technologies, customers expect instant responses to queries. Without an instant response, customers run the risk of losing interest and might move on to the next business that does respond promptly. The WhatsApp bot is a one-stop customer platform designed to handle all manner of customer requirements, from varied queries to any manner of complaints. They’re even able to facilitate new orders, process refunds and assist in post-sale and post-service follow-ups.
The reality for many businesses is that customer service is an important, but ultimately time-consuming functionality. With automated responses to customer queries – or frequently-asked questions (FAQs), businesses are able to save time and focus employees on other business-enhancing activities. And, where the chatbot can’t assist, it can then re-direct the query to a customer support call centre so employees are dealing with fewer queries, and customers are getting the response they require. Essentially, a WhatsApp bot will act as your virtual customer care agent, day and night!
3. Payment-Related Queries
Ready or not, businesses were propelled to the e-commerce platform as travel restrictions and social distancing prevented in-person visits to establishments. One of the most important aspects of e-commerce is the facilitation of payments online. The payment process needs to be secure and easy, otherwise, customers will quickly lose faith in the business and move away. The WhatsApp chatbot can link accounts, allowing for the easy transfer of money and faster payment processing. In fact, the WhatsApp chatbot can take it even further by targeting those who’ve abandoned items in a cart with special discounts for confirming the purchase.
4. Loyalty Programmes
When it comes to effective marketing, loyalty programmes are a great way to secure customers and invite repeat purchases. However, running loyalty programmes can be a difficult undertaking as customers need to be updated on their points earned, special offers with more points benefits, and ways to redeem these points. Emails are often overlooked or checked too infrequently.
With a WhatsApp chatbot, the loyalty programme is completely automated with point balances and reward reminders sent off to users as a way to encourage redemption.
A small reminder that your customers will always be in control on WhatsApp. Make sure that the opt-in clearly states what messages you will be sending to your customers (Eg: order updates, back-in-stock alerts, product recommendations, etc.) and what value these messages have for them.
5. Alerts and Notifications
Short, sharp notifications to customers is an important tool in modern business, but as mentioned previously, email is often not checked and so time-sensitive messages might be missed. A WhatsApp chatbot is the perfect way to send instant alerts to customers such as appointment reminders, discounted offerings or event notifications.
These bots are also great for sending out automated invites requiring quick RSVPs – particularly in the current environment where events have to change last-minute depending on lockdown level status. The sudden rise in webinars, as well, has prompted the need for such instant alerts and notifications to a large audience. The chatbot can even be trained to answer questions related to the event such as location and itinerary.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also shown the value of such instant alerts with government and hospitals able to send out vaccination registration confirmation, times and scheduling via the WhatsApp bot. Other time-sensitive notifications such as test results can also be sent through via the bot platform.
What are Some of the Other Benefits of WhatsApp Bots?
Apart from the five use cases of WhatsApp bots explained above, these chatbots have a host of other benefits for businesses.
- Easy sharing of multimedia: WhatsApp chatbots let customers upload photos of new products, video demonstrations, invoices or other business-related information. There’s also the option of sharing locations for quick delivery.
- Automation: WhatsApp chatbots are able to operate with minimal human intervention which also lowers the risk of error.
- Security: WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption features making it secure and easy to use when sending banking details.
- 100% deliverability: WhatsApp chatbots get the message through every time, and boast a high response rate.
- Tailored conversations: WhatsApp chatbots use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide continuously enhanced experiences. This means they keep learning about customers and can actually offer personalised recommendations based on customer history and patterns.
- Natural Language Processing (NLP): These capabilities enable the WhatsApp chatbot to provide a much more seamless interaction, rather than a stilted, mechanical communication.
- Familiarity: Because most customers are already using WhatsApp, the chatbot is easy to navigate and a comforting option.
Tips for Building WhatsApp Bots
In order to create your WhatsApp chatbot, there are certain criteria you need to check with a WhatsApp Business API specialist.
Do They Maintain Clear Communication?
While NLP and AI can enable WhatsApp chatbots to hold human-like conversations, it’s important that customers are aware that they aren’t dealing with a customer care agent. This means clear communication to manage expectations.
Do They Redirect Timeously?
The WhatsApp chatbot can answer a range of FAQs, but there are going to be times when an actual customer care agent is required. Your bot creators must indicate when it’s time to switch over to an actual human rather than getting the bot stuck on a loop of responses.
What Are the Privacy Measures?
The POPI Act requires businesses to adhere to stringent privacy measures in terms of customer information. This means never letting the WhatsApp chatbot get too intrusive, and ensuring all confidential information is kept secure.
Make sure you’re taking full advantage of the WhatsApp Business Solution to reach new and loyal customers and improve your footprint. Contact CM.com for WhatsApp bot specialists who can tailor a solution to your particular requirements.