Closer to the customer: the benefits of WhatsApp for customer service

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WhatsApp is one of the most important channels for online customer contact. With 2 billion users in 180 countries, you can reach almost anyone with this popular communication channel. OBI4wan has integrated the WhatsApp Business API into OBI Engage, the all-in-one solution for digital customer contact. Because who doesn’t want a more efficient, faster, more personal and more productive webcare team? In this blog, we will discuss the benefits of using WhatsApp as a customer contact channel.

Easy-to-access channel for a broad target group

WhatsApp plays a big role in our society and daily routine. There are very few people who do not know the channel or do not use it. Currently, WhatsApp is used by a whopping 12.4 million Dutch people (Newcom.nl, 2021). 9.8 million of them even use the app daily. This makes WhatsApp the most popular social platform. Since WhatsApp has been part of our daily lives for quite some time, it is a familiar channel to communicate with. It has become increasingly common to approach organizations through this channel.

Justlease started using the WhatsApp Business Solution a year ago. Giovanni Dammers, Team Lead Sales and Acceptance at the mobility specialist, says: “When we just started using WhatsApp, we received a few messages a day. Now that our target group has understood the convenience of WhatsApp, we receive 100 to 200 WhatsApp messages per day. It is an accessible channel that is frequently used by a lot of people.”

PRA Health Sciences is also using the WhatsApp Business Solution with great success. Astrid Poiesz, Marketing and Communication Specialist explains: “For people who are interested in participating in our studies, it is an accessible way to ask a question. And for the people who are already in the process of participating, it is an easy way to let them know, for example, that they will be a little late for their appointment for the medical examination.”

WhatsApp is easily accessible; it works intuitively and is suitable for a wide target group, from young to old. Rutger den Toom, Policy Advisor for Customer Service at the Municipality of Goes, agrees: “Everyone has WhatsApp on their phone these days. Even older people who are less able to deal with new technologies seem to be familiar with the use of WhatsApp.”

Be where the customer is for a positive customer experience

WhatsApp has long been one of the preferred channels for online communication between customers and organizations. Research by Forbes shows that there is a correlation between preferred channels and customer satisfaction. What does it show? 27% of respondents said that not being able to use a preferred channel contributes to a poor customer experience. So? Use your customer’s preferred channel for positive customer experiences, and don’t forget to look at the possibilities of WhatsApp!

Easy to use

Anyone who has WhatsApp on their phone knows that this app is incredibly easy to use. The app is free and you don’t have to log in for every conversation. You open a conversation and ask your question to the relevant organization, simple as that!

Sending a photo? Sending a video? Share an audio clip? With a single click on the button you can send these rich features to friends, family or organizations. Rutger den Toom explains that the Municipality of Goes receives photos from residents every day via the popular communication channel. “It’s a small effort to look up the conversation with the municipality in WhatsApp and make a notification with a photo and short accompanying text.”

Giovanni Dammers of Justlease also recognizes the convenience of the channel. “It’s a nice bonus that you can easily send documentation via WhatsApp. Damage to the car? You can easily send a photo with evidence.”

At vacation park De Krim in Texel, complete reservations are processed with the ease of the popular channel: “Complete booking requests are handled without interference from other channels. All in all, very valuable for both the guest and us!” says Jolanda Kamphuis, Commercial Director.

Personal communication

We often use WhatsApp for interpersonal contact with friends and family. But organizations are also seeing an increase in customer contact via WhatsApp.

The personal nature of chats is valuable for both organizations and customers. Customers generally like the fact that they can have a personal conversation with a customer service employee. In the case of the municipality of Goes, the human contact is seen as a great advantage. Inhabitants value human contact and you don’t have that when a system handles a report. “Residents want to hear from us that we are sending someone to deal with the situation or that we are taking care of a report,” says Rutger den Toom. The fact that the chats with organizations within WhatsApp are among the conversations with family and friends also contributes to the informal and personal nature of the conversations.

But it is also valuable for organizations to be able to communicate with customers in an informal and personal way. The distance between customer and organization is reduced and the threshold for the customer to contact you is lowered. This limits the chance of misunderstandings and miscommunication. By enabling contact in an informal and personal way, you also build customer confidence and ensure loyal customers.

Giovanni Dammers agrees. “At Justlease we like the fact that WhatsApp allows real personal contact with customers and prospects. You have a lot of interaction, so the conversations are usually very personal. This is a real benefit for our business.”

Never forget that every interaction with a customer can leave a lasting impression. Make sure you use channels that inspire trust with personal, friendly and attentive communication. This way you build your positive brand reputation!

Fast and effective customer support

An app is sent in no time! This is one of the great advantages of WhatsApp. Communication through this channel is fast and incredibly efficient. This was the decisive reason for Remeha, experts in heating and hot water systems, to get started with WhatsApp.

“Remeha has been using WhatsApp as a channel for installers for 3 years. They can contact Remeha directly from their location with questions and these are also dealt with directly via WhatsApp. Because of the speed and the direct 1-on-1 contact WhatsApp is the ideal channel for this. Our installers experience this channel as very pleasant. For us it’s great that WhatsApp is now officially available for organizations.”

Vacation park de Krim in Texel is also convinced of the convenience of the fast and effective method of communication. “The possibility to communicate via WhatsApp is greatly appreciated by our guests. This is due to its low-threshold nature but also the fast and personal handling. Instead of walking to reception, the guest now simply sends a message. Questions, tips, problems and compliments find their way effortlessly this way. 24/7, because our night concierge is also watching!”

Insurance company Aon also indicates that the speed of the WhatsApp Business Solution has many advantages. “A WhatsApp message is sent in no time. This convenience, coupled with its speed is an important reason for us to use this popular customer contact channel. In 90% of cases we can respond to chats within an hour, which is a win-win situation for both parties” says Marion Jonker.

Take your customer contact to the next level with the integration of chatbots

As a channel, WhatsApp offers excellent opportunities for automation. In addition to various standard messages that can be set up, chatbots can be integrated within the WhatsApp channel to create more efficiency for the webcare team. Chatbots can take care of common questions and answer them outside of office hours, thus relieving the pressure on customer service. The chatbot can also gather information from the customer in advance in order to prepare the work of the service agent.

Work efficiently within one total customer contact solution

WhatsApp is easily integrated within the all-in-one solution for webcare, OBI Engage. Using this online platform, you keep an overview of all your digital channels, like social media, live chat, messaging channels and review platforms. The integration of the WhatsApp Business Solution within OBI Engage allows you to chat directly with your customers in addition to your other online customer contact channels.

Also at Municipality of Goes, they manage the WhatsApp messages within the online environment of OBI Engage: “Customer contact staff can quickly answer the questions that come in through various channels because of the simple structure of OBI Engage. And the system clearly logs who sends what and when. The ease of use of OBI Engage allows us to focus on our core business, namely helping residents and entrepreneurs with their government affairs,” said Rutger den Toom.

Do you also want to get closer to your customers?

With the integration within the all-in-one solution for customer contact, OBI Engage, you keep an efficient overview of all your customer contact channels, including WhatsApp. Effective and fast!

Are you convinced of the benefits of WhatsApp? OBI4wan is an expert in the field of customer contact and advises you on the use of WhatsApp, so that your customers can effortlessly get in touch with your organization. Contact us now!

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