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Adopting WhatsApp as a servicing channel – is it such a smart move?

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Stuck in a hotel recently watching Netflix, it struck me as significant how the company is now actively using the WhatsApp Business platform to communicate and encourage account contact with its subscribers.

Three mobile devices being used in-hand with a stylistic background

Offering WhatsApp certainly makes sense in terms of potential customer outreach. It’s estimated that there are currently over 1.5 billion people using the channel each month, making it the world’s most popular chat app. However, given that a lot of WhatsApp’s popularity stems from its ad-free status, there will be many users who are unhappy with owner Facebook’s first move to commercialise its messaging platform.

Netflix’s adoption of asynchronous messaging platforms such as WhatsApp is indicative of the increased use of messaging as a servicing channel, but for it to be successful it’s important that brands have a full understanding of how these interactions can evolve.

Screenshot of a Netflix opt-in highlighting the benefits of WhatsApp as a servicing channel

Netflix’s deployment of WhatsApp is designed to send account messages and suggestions on what to watch, and provides a great opportunity for stronger personalisation. Netflix users need to have a WhatsApp account to enable notifications.

WhatsApp talks about how its WhatsApp Business strategy makes it easier for customers to connect with their customers, with some basic automation features such as FAQs and the opportunity to chat with a business. If the goal is to encourage customers to engage via WhatsApp rather than other channels, organisations are going to have to make sure they resource their messaging channels correctly.

While asynchronous messaging offers a great way of optimising CX resources, that’s certainly not the case if customers want to start taking advantage of other WhatsApp capabilities such as calling or video. Brands using WhatsApp Business features are primarily expecting text-based interactions from customers, and those are relatively easy to process. Factor in other means of contact though, and you start to have a significant resourcing and integration challenge – particularly as interactions will need to be combined with other contact channels for reporting and analytics.

So in order to get on top of some of the potential issues posed by asynchronous messaging channels such as WhatsApp Business, Sabio recommends that CX teams adopt the following guidelines:

  1. Let customers know exactly what they can and can’t do on your channels
  2. Clearly define your channel SLAs – and make sure you’re able to match them
  3. Track what other best practice organisations are doing with their messaging – today’s CX channel disruption will quickly become BAU
  4. If you’re going to enable voice dialling via the channel, then make sure it’s linked to your ACD
  5. Make sure you resource your digital channels correctly using the latest enterprise-wide WFM solutions, and also ensure that your messaging channels are managed properly from an audit perspective

If you want to find out more about how you can place messaging at the heart of your CX strategy, download our white paper here or get in touch with me directly at [email protected] to discuss your requirements in more detail.

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