WhatsApp marketing: professionalized private chats with customers
How the popular messaging service can be used best as a marketing tool and in which cases digital customer conversations via messenger are suitable.
WhatsApp is enjoying unbroken popularity in Germany as the app continues to lead the download statistics in 2019. 75% of Germans use the messenger several times a day. Brands and companies can benefit from this tremendous popularity.
With the introduction of the WhatsApp Business App and the Business API, the parent company Facebook has been providing companies with an opportunity to use the successful messenger for direct customer contact since 2018. While the Business App is aimed at smaller companies, large enterprises can integrate the WhatsApp Business API into their communication channels.
According to a study conducted by YouGov and MessengerPeople, the messenger is the digital channel of choice for inquiries sent to companies from a customer perspective. Interactions initiated by companies is also more popular if it is not public and impersonal via social media. The Munich-based company MessengerPeople is a pioneer in the industry and supports numerous companies with a software-as-a-service platform for professional messenger communication.
Simple, fast and direct dialog
The use of the messenger has great potential when it comes to fast and direct communication in customer service. Usage of WhatsApp in this area enables personal communication with customers, while at the same time opening up various multimedia possibilities. It is easy to share videos, photos or documents, and quickly resolve even complex problems.
According to Johannes Lenz from MessengerPeople, the channel’s efficiency can result in significant cost reduction in many cases. Customer satisfaction increases tremendously due to fast solutions to problems, uncomplicated and very personal contact with the company.
Personal consultation via WhatsApp as a model for success at Intersport Hübner
The retail company Intersport Hübner, for example, uses the messenger for direct customer contact and product advice. The vast majority of WhatsApp customer contacts lead directly to a visit to one of the company’s retail outlets. Due to the low barriers to entry, the wide distribution and the great popularity, the channel proves to be a perfect online marketing tool for the company to increase sales in its brick-and-mortar stores.
“We recommend a hybrid communication strategy to our customers,” says Katharina Kremming of MessengerPeople in an interview. Initial contact can be supported by automated dialog to solve frequently asked questions with predefined answers and to retrieve initial information. This relieves the first level support team and opens up capacities for individual problem solving for more complex issues.
Real-time information for the customer and direct feedback for the company
In addition to customer service, WhatsApp’s alerts and notifications can be used as a marketing tool. For example, DB Regio NRW successfully uses the messenger to inform its customers quickly and easily of train delays. Appointment confirmations, changed opening hours or the status of an order are just a few of the numerous scenarios that can be used by even the smallest companies to easily send information to customers on their smartphones in real time.
At the same time, customers can reply and ask further questions directly. This interaction can be easily initiated by the company. Querying customer satisfaction, participating in sweepstakes or surveys are good ways to maintain a community.
Tips for successful WhatsApp marketing
Speed is the top priority in messenger communication. Customers expect prompt responses. WhatsApp is trying to educate its API users by allowing them to respond free of charge only within the first 24 hours after the customer’s request. Once this period has elapsed, the companies are forced to switch to the fee-based notification feature to reply. It is also important to pay attention to the language adapted to the channel. When using WhatsApp marketing, companies are communicating in a very personal environment between conversations with friends and family chats. Informal speech is always preferable here, and a healthy dose of emojis makes the conversation more lively. In professional messenger communication, the possibilities of automation and the use of multimedia elements should be used to increase efficiency and speed.
The bottom line
WhatsApp is an excellent marketing channel due to its wide distribution and popularity, low barriers to entry and ease of use. Fast and direct communication coupled with multimedia options can be used to not only increase the efficiency of customer service, but also increase customer satisfaction and loyalty as a virtual extension of personal conversations.