WhatsApp has changed the way the world communicates. Until very recently, WhatsApp for businesses was an unfulfilled dream for the customer-centric company. The popular chat app has over 1.5 billion active users sending 60 billion messages over the platform, daily. Of course, this is all person-to-person communication and businesses have had no way of taking advantage of the massive popularity of the app to connect with their customers. There were plenty of ideas on how to make the most of this channel – but no way to actually do this. Until now.
Create an emotional connection with your customers
Finally, businesses can use WhatsApp to address the needs of the on-demand shopper of today. These are customers who are not used to waiting anymore. Think about it – other than Game of Thrones fans, who waits for the next episode of their favorite show, anymore? Thanks to Netflix, we binge watch and can go through our favorite new show in a single evening. Thanks to Apple and Google, we have literally all of the information ever in the palms of our hands.
Millennials and Generation Z have never known a world without mobile; never known a world without immediate gratification. They don’t wait. And they won’t wait. If you don’t have what they’re looking for, whether it’s a product in stock or information about a delivery they’ve made – you could end up losing that customer. Because in the mind of the millennial, the inability of a business to provide immediate customer satisfaction equals a poor customer experience.
In fact, according to a recent survey, 67% of customers have said that they’re willing to switch brands due to a single negative customer experience. This will cost businesses $75 billion in revenue lost to the inability of these businesses to create an emotional connection. After all, 86% of customers in a separate survey stated that they would be willing to continue doing business with a brand if they felt that there was an emotional connection developed between themselves and a customer service agent.
How do you create such a bond? Talking with someone is generally considered the best way to start building any sort of relationship. But what do you do with a generation that doesn’t call (in the UK, for example, total annual call minutes dropped from 151.2bn in 2016 to 148.6bn in 2017) and instead prefers chatting? You chat back.
Communicate with them over the channel they use with the information they need
Situations occur daily that can be quite challenging for retailers. However, where there is a challenge, there is also an opportunity – specifically, the opportunity to build the type of emotional connection that will help keep your customers loyal to your brand. So, how can WhatsApp help you leverage these situations as a retailer to start an actual conversation with your customers?
1. Help your customers keep score of loyalty program points
Retailers are forever indebted to whoever came up with loyalty programs. These programs gamified the shopping experience before gamifying was a thing mentioned in marketing meetings. With this innovation came challenges – specifically, how do customers keep track of how many points they have? Some of the thrill of accumulating points is lost when there’s no easy way of keeping score.
It comes as no surprise, then, that 57% of customers want to engage with their loyalty programs using mobile devices. Smartphones being as smart as they are, there’s lots of ways to do this. But what is the best way?
One way is via your app. If you have an app and your customer has this app installed on their device, of course. If they don’t, then they need to search the app store for your app. When they find it, they need to download it – which they may choose not to do if they’re on a tight mobile data allowance. Then they need to wait for it to install so that they can register on the new app, after which they can finally open it and navigate to the part of your app where they can see how many points they’ve accumulated.
Take a moment to consider this from your customer’s perspective: wouldn’t it be simpler if you could provide them this information directly over an app that they already have and use? Things get even better if you can also provide them more information about how they can use these valuable points:
2. Use WhatsApp to handle stockouts
Everything is great in retail when hot selling items are flying off the shelves – both actual and digital shelves. But what happens when these items run out of stock? Stockouts cost retailers money – not just in terms of internal costs, but also loss of profits from lost sales. It’s these lost sales that frustrate customers and drive a wedge between them and brand loyalty.
There are ways to proactively handle this sort of situation. Way back when, far before the era of smartphones, the savvy on-demand in-store shopkeeper could suggest a substitute product and save the day. Today, even when most of your customers are on the go, you can bring back the personal touch of the old-timey shopkeeper by leveraging WhatsApp Business to communicate directly with your customers and save the day:
3. Keep customers informed about deliveries with WhatsApp
Time is relative. Three to five days of vacation can pass in what feels like an instant. Three to five days for an item your customer has bought and paid for to be delivered can feel like an eternity to them.
93% of customers that they want to receive proactive updates from retailers about their shipments. Keep your customers happy by keeping them in the loop when and how they want, and do this by using the chat app they want to use:
4. Help make wrong orders right
Despite the implementation of systems designed around error-proofing order fulfillment processes, the massive volume of online purchases means mistakes will still happen inside the statistical margin of error. When this happens, customer emotions can range from mildly annoyed to very unhappy.
Imagine this – your customer ordered and paid for a size L dress shirt. Thanks to the statistical margin of error, they’ll now need to try and squeeze into a size M. With the office party just days away, who has time to return it, and wait for the correct size to be sent back?
This is where the ability to chat with your customers swoops in to save the day. Giving your customers the option to chat allows for immediate resolution – instead of having them go through the standard process, which typically includes calling or emailing a customer service agent. This implies an even longer wait, either on hold waiting for an available agent, or for someone to reply to an email.
Using WhatsApp your customer can send you an image of the item they received and ask for instructions on what to do next to quickly resolve this issue, resulting in a positive customer experience. And 89% of people are very likely to recommend a brand after a positive customer experience on mobile:
5. Help customers book personal shoppers to boost sales
More than half of all customers have said that they’re more likely to shop with a business that they can contact via a chat app. This makes sense considering the rising demand for personalized shopping experiences – and what’s more personalized than one-to-one communication between your customers and your brand?
Well, how about giving them the option to book a personal shopper over a chat app they use and love? Personal shopping can increase a sale to grow almost 100% on average – potentially more if your customer can prepare for this in advance by booking a personal shopping assistant:
Build relationships over the channel your customers use most
These are five simple ways that using WhatsApp for businesses can help you to create the sort of emotional connection your customers value and will keep them loyal to your brand. Engaging your customers over the channel they prefer to use will improve their own customer experience and your bottom line.