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Driving conversational commerce and customer support with WhatsApp

While there are several channels of communication that enable a chat between brands and customers, not many have been able to make the cut like WhatsApp. Over the years, it has gained prominence as the preferred medium for businesses to improve the customer journey, helping build lasting relationships that hinge on loyalty. But what is the secret sauce, and how can we unlock its potential to deliver results?

With over 2 billion active monthly users across the globe and 400 million active users in the Indian market, WhatsApp has a large base of loyalists. Increasingly, brands have realised the power of this medium and are using it to interact with customers for both sales and support. Moreover, it helps in product discoverability, support, and even the payment cycle. To discuss this and more, a conversation was steered by Devesh Gupta – Lead Brand Solutions, ETBrand Equity, with Karthik Rajaram, VP India and ASEAN, Freshworks and Sahiba Ratra, Strategic Channel Sales, Meta.

The power of WhatsApp

Karthik kick-started the conversation by providing a snapshot of the power of WhatsApp as a medium of communication for people and businesses across the globe.

Over the last five years, we have seen a paradigm shift from the customer support perspective – from ticketing-based support to conversational support. There’s a new wave of users and customers who want to engage with brands on a channel of their choice, with context personalisation, and a lot of insight and relevance,explained Karthik.

With 50 million+ businesses in India using WhatsApp, it is clear that customers are looking for an innovative way to engage with brands. We are starting to see this play up from the start of the customer journey, right from acquisition to advocacy to sales and post-sales, and support, he added.

According to Meta, messaging enjoys preference over legacy customer communication channels. The data reveals that 82 percent of customers read texts within 5 minutes, but open only 1 in 4 emails. Furthermore, 64 percent of customers would rather text a business than call them for inquiries or support. 7 in 10 customers are more likely to buy from a business they can reach via messaging.

Benefits of using WhatsApp for business

There are several advantages of using WhatsApp, revealed Karthik. For one, serving customers

gets less expensive – a 60 percent reduction in cost per interaction was observed, by moving from calls to messaging. Further, data showed a 65 percent increase in agent productivity, after implementing messaging to answer basic queries. What’s more, there was also a 34 percent reduction in customer queries after using messaging to proactively update customers.

Highlighting the power of combining WhatsApp and Freshchat, Sahiba shared that it can be a powerful addition to your CX strategy.

From pre-sales to purchase to post-purchase and customer care, we want to ensure that we are engaging our customers and they know we are here to support them. Every point is a make-or-break situation to build a customer relationship and drive sales,she said.

With WhatsApp, businesses see higher delivery rates, open rates, and eventually conversions. During pre-sale, customers can make a general inquiry or ask about a product or service. This helps them make purchase decisions that really matter.

During the purchase stage, customers can schedule a consultation or make a purchase, while in the post-sale stage, they can request support or renew subscriptions, or make another purchase. This stage allows us to maintain customer loyalty,noted Sahiba.

Unlocking value for customers, with Freshchat

Freshworks has partnered with Shopify to build a unified CRM for e-commerce, where Shopify merchants can engage with customers and prospects with a lot of personalisation.

“This has helped us to counter drop-offs, personalise the offer, and simplify the buyer-rep communication. It also makes support easy to access, helps speed up service, and streamlines agent-rep exchanges,” shared Karthik.

On the other hand, Sahiba highlighted how brands can scale their business, with bots and automation. The integration of WhatsApp and Freshchat helps to reduce first response time, optimize agent workload, and simplifies escalations. What’s more, it helps customers make purchase decisions.

The results are proof of this path-breaking innovation – No saw a 2.8x increase in transactions after injecting their online sales with messaging. Moreover, Renault experienced a 163 percent increase in direct communication with clients

Getting this setup up and running from an onboarding standpoint takes only a few minutes, since it’s a low-code, no-code platform.

It has integrations with third-party apps that help with innovation. We are able to connect multiple WhatsApp numbers to one Freshchat inbox. Plus, we can rapidly deploy and scale WhatsApp business to engage prospects and customers 24×7,said Karthik.

The companies that are future-ready with Freshworks include Zalora, Decathlon, Bridgestone, and Lenskart, among others.

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