Is WhatsApp killing SMS, email, IVRs, and other customer communication channels?

Last year, when the pandemic was at its peak, the Indian government sought a solution to eradicate misinformation and encourage citizens to take precautionary measures and take the right steps to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. This 24/7 digital helpdesk was to answer COVID-19 queries and handle the scale and variety of queries being directed in English and Hindi from millions of users across the country.

Within just five days, Jio Haptik created MyGov Corona Helpdesk, a WhatsApp chatbot that helped users check symptoms and get a diagnosis, and provided tips and precautionary measures to stay safe. Apart from this, it also shared the latest updates and advisories from the Ministry of Health.

Leading D2C brand, which recently bagged a deal from Piyush Bansal, co-founder of Lenskart in Shark Tank India, State Plate was looking for a reliable solution to streamline its customer support. Within a few months of signing up with interact, a Jio Haptik product, it was able to resolve 1.5X more customer queries on WhatsApp. Brand uses automatic ticket assignment feature WhatsApp Business API To take customer queries to the relevant team and resolve them expeditiously.

This is the reason why these government agencies and new age businesses are using WhatsApp as their communication medium. The first is its widespread use that cuts through classrooms to reach the masses. According to Statista, India alone has over 487 million WhatsApp users, making it the leading country in terms of the messaging platform’s audience size. Another reason for the channel’s success is its support for regional languages ​​and providing services like customer support, commerce, automation and more through WhatsApp Business API.

Apart from enterprises, SMB companies are also realizing the advantages of adopting the world’s leading messaging platform by engaging with their customers. Many people have made serious inroads to make WhatsApp their de facto communication channel, choosing it instead of traditional ones like SMS, email and voice calls.

According to a joint research by Morning Consult and the messaging platform, 70% of SMBs on WhatsApp in India said they have built their business on the platform, while 78% say they have increased sales due to WhatsApp and 80% believe that the platform allows them to sell. their products or services in other cities, states or countries.

This does not mean that the latter have become redundant. While they continue to be part of the customer outreach mix, WhatsApp has emerged as the channel of choice for engaging with customers. They can take advantage of such apps interact, built on the WhatsApp Business API, which enables them to manage their entire business on WhatsApp. They can use it to communicate with their customers for product inquiries, customer service, alerts, notifications, helpful sales, automating answers to frequently asked questions, and more.

So, let’s see how WhatsApp’s API-based offerings score over other traditional channels while attracting customers and what benefits it offers to SMBs.

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Most customers now want to control their interactions with a company by having the option to view and reply to a message. While both SMS and WhatsApp offer great open and response rates, bulk SMS are mostly unidirectional and are considered spam these days, their open rates are falling and response rates are fairly negligible. Whereas, the functionality of WhatsApp extends to customer conversations that are interactive, media-rich and informative in a single chat, resulting in higher engagement rates.

Another big advantage of WhatsApp Business API for Customer Support This is how SMBs can create a company profile that helps display information including your company name, address, business details, email address, website, business hours and catalogue.

SMB companies can optimize WhatsApp communication by including attractive graphics, images, PDFs and videos without worrying about word count restrictions. They can also send WhatsApp broadcasts to thousands of opt-in customers with a single click, to engage in meaningful conversations. This massively simplifies the communication process for SMBs, ultimately making it more cost-effective and attractive.

E-mail

Email has a prominent presence in customer communications and adoption is limited to a certain class of tech-savvy users, and, it is better suited for delivering one-way information such as announcements, confirmations, or documentation. Response time can also be a bottleneck, which WhatsApp can easily overcome.

WhatsApp messages and emails can both be sent in milliseconds, but often emails can end up in spam or junk folders. In addition, the open rates of email messaging are much lower than the WhatsApp ping that a customer receives on their smartphone. WhatsApp has an open rate above 90% in most countries, so if a brand wants to capture the attention of its customers, WhatsApp is the way to go because the open rate directly affects sales conversions and interactions.

In addition, emails are subject to phishing and security breaches, which is another reason why users are wary of opening them and pushing them directly to the Junk folder. However, WhatsApp has overcome these issues by offering verified business accounts and end-to-end encryption.

Call and IVR

Social media platforms are flooded with complaints and memes about cold calls that have to be fielded throughout the day by customers. This is why automatic call recognition apps are doing well because users can filter the calls they can take and those they can block.

However, this puts SMBs in a difficult position, as their calls cannot be answered. Also, at certain times, especially during the festive season, their contact centers may be overburdened with calls, leading to long wait times for callers, resulting in customer dissatisfaction. And while IVRs may appear as the ideal option, menus often can’t address specific customer issues, again leading to frustration.

While companies like Jio Haptik provide intelligent chatbots to enterprises, SMBs are not far behind. Interact provides an IVR-type automation solution suitable for SMBs with, for example, OOO, delayed response, and welcome messages to keep customers engaged while human agents are unavailable. The custom auto-reply feature is another great way to support customers through WhatsApp automation.

Why should businesses choose WhatsApp Business API?

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There is no denying that WhatsApp is a communication powerhouse for SMBs, considering its excellent penetration rate and ease of use. To help them in this bandwagon, Jio Haptik introduces interact, It helps merchants set up their ‘conversational storefront’ equipped to handle mass sales and customer queries on WhatsApp, and that too with ease.

By adopting a message-first business approach, SMBs now have the power to turn conversations and connections into revenue. And they can build a face-to-face relationship – all with the click of a button.

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Disclaimer: Content Produced by Interakt

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