In 2018 it is safe to say that most of us who have easy internet access are heavily users of instant messaging app WhatsApp. I’m positive that by know you have already received many ‘good morning’ messages that you wish you hadn’t, you might have gotten more gifs and videos that time allowed you to contemplate, and have left a few of those WhatsApp groups that you don’t seem to fit in.
In a recent Facebook report to the business’ investors it was revealed that WhatsApp reached the mark of 1.5 billion monthly active users and 60 billion messages being sent daily. This is an absolute increase from when WhatsApp was acquired by Facebook in 2014 with only 450 million monthly users, according to Tech Mundo – and perhaps lot of unnecessary “good morning” messages.
At this point it is worth reminding you that the business doesn’t rely solely on messages exchange. The Stories feature on WhatsApp is the second most popular in the world, falling right behind Instagram’s. Altogether, WhatsApp and Instagram add up to 300 million people sharing stories daily, against the 178 million Snapchat users.
You’ve been using WhatsApp on your personal life so far we are here today to explore the features of WhatsApp for businesses, its commercial use in Brazil – a country with a large amount of the app’s users – and how you can better explore the recently released commercial features your business.
WhatsApp Commercial Usage in Brazil
Brazil is the WhatsApp’s second largest market falling right behind India, and it has only recently (in January) received the corporate version of the App. WhatsApp for business is destined to be used by micro and small businesses. According to G1, a Brazilian news website, 4 in every 5 small businesses in Brazil are already using WhatsApp as a work tool, which was revealed on a research by Morning Consult that was requested by Facebook.
The use of the app remains free of charge. You just need to download it and fill a form containing your business’ details such as an address, a business profile and a phone number that will be used to verify the user’s account. At this point you won’t need a business number (CNPJ as it’s called in Brazil) to open your business account.
The users, on the other hand, don’t need to download the corporate version of the app to receive messages from the companies. They will remain using their existing apps to do so.
Some of the new features of WhatsApp for Business include – but aren’t limited to – replying to customers inquires and complaints automatically at any time, displaying business details and providing statistics. Let’s take a deeper look into each one of them:
WhatsApp Business Account
Even though a regular WhatsApp user is able to add their personal detail, their profile remain restrict for viewing. With the business version of the app companies are able to add the name of the business, its working hours, the official company’s website, field of operation, business description, address and a phone number.
With the intent to shorten the time of customers inquires reply, businesses are able to automate messages which can be used mostly for frequently asked question, to offer business details and to let customers know of temporary unavailability of the business or the customer service department.
With the business version for WhatsApp you’re also able to access statistics of your customer interactions. For instance, you can check how many messages were read and replied by consumers.
Ideally your business should use WhatsApp to interact to existing and recent customers. I say that because no one really likes to get messages from unknown numbers so it will be a quite challenge to use WhatsApp to acquire new ones. Usually the receptiveness to a WhatsApp message – and the inclination of customers to engage – is higher than with phone calls that are frequently rejected by customers especially when the caller is an unknown number.
WhatsApp for business is also an excellent tool to bring back customers, improve customer support, increase brand reliability, upselling, improving internal communication and more. Let’s explore each one of these:
As people are more engaged than ever with mobiles in 2018 and constantly looking into incoming messages, the commercial version of WhatsApp is an excellent tool to engage quicker with your customer and have them answering you within a shorter period of time than they would do on an e-mail contact or phone call.
With the automation of messages your customer will also receive quicker reply from your business. But however useful WhatsApp for business can be to your customer service department, we wouldn’t recommend it in case you have a high customer demand, as it doesn’t allow you to keep close track of open and close enquires – at least for now.
When a customer sees your brand with a business profile, a phone number that is easily reachable (and verified by WhatsApp) and quick replies to inquires, the brand reliability will automatically increase. The feeling of speaking to an actual person on the other end, and not solely with automated replies, also increase your brand’s credibility especially when the company is able to offer a quick reply.
The business version of WhatsApp also allows you to use the tool for marketing purposes. With the app you are able to send personalized messages to your customers, let them know of specific sale, product or service releases, etc.
If you have a small business you can use WhatsApp to a more efficient communication with your staff. They can reach you to solve quick issues, ask quick questions and make quick decisions that don’t require a phone call or an e-mail to solve it.
Brazilian website Ecommerce News released a few numbers of a research made by CXTrends with 350 companies and 500 customers along with MindMiners to understand the usage of different points of contact between brands and customers, including WhatsApp.
This study shows that WhatsApp falls into third place in the run of tools to contact customers in Brazil according to businesses, falling behind phone calls and e-mail messages on first and second place. But when the same question was raised to customers they didn’t list WhatsApp as a main tool of contact used by companies. Actually WhatsApp came in 8th place giving space to phone calls, e-mail, live chat, self-service support and the Brazilian website that ranks businesses according to complaints by customers and service rating, Reclame Aqui. However when asked which tool is preferred by customers WhatsApp came in third with 41% of overall preference.
That being said, it is highly recommended that if you wish to expand your business to Brazil you make use of WhatsApp services for business. But how should you do that when you don’t even speak the local language?
Using Local Customer Support to Elevate Your Customer Reach
To begin with you should probably start advertising the use of WhatsApp to your customers. That can be done through a footnote on your website and e-mail marketing, you can use social media to make them aware and create a video to teach customers how they should be using the tool. As popular as WhatsApp already is this will allow you to tell customers in which cases they should use WhatsApp to contact you and what to expect from this type of communication, such as WhatsApp operating hours.
Secondly, it is important that in a country such as Brazil you are able to communicate to your audience on the local language. According to Brazilian magazine Exame less than 3% of Brazilians is able to communicate fluently in English, so unless you are able to talk to them in Portuguese chances are you will be losing not only your reach as it can also damage the brand trust.
The best solution for this matter is to hire a local customer support that is able to understand your business and the local customer too. The internet is full of companies that offer remote services such as customer support in various language to help businesses that operate from other locations. With a full training on your services and products and the right candidate you are able to improve brand trust and shopping experience which can impact on retention and acquisition of customers.
The good news is that a Stanford Study released that remote employees tend to be 13% more productive that those who make their way to the office. However in order to hire a remote customer support employee you need to pay attention to skills and personality traits that you wouldn’t if you were to hire someone for your office. One example is that a remote employee need to have excellent communication skills in order to be clear both to the company that is hiring them and to the customer. A remote employee also needs to be extremely organized and self-motivated in order to be productive while working from home.
While 75% of the world is on messaging – and most of them are using the same app – your business has nothing to lose (not even money as it’s free of charge) by adding commercial WhatsApp as one of the customer support tools.
It is the opportunity for 1:1 exchanges with your customer that will allow you to improve customer experience, increase brand trust and get customers insights with the touch of a finger.
And while the new app has landed on solid grounds as it’s being explored by many business up until this moment, we should be definitely looking forward to updates and improvements to the commercial version that might make it easier to manage your customer’s inquires.
Sign-up for our newsletter.
Get the most relevant info on ecommerce.