Nowadays, all businesses are competing in a race for the most “connected” customer journey. And whoever gets the most touch-points scores extra brownie points in customer service (translation: increased ROI). So while email still reigns supreme for marketing, nothing beats a text message for reaching your customer anytime, anywhere. From Google’s RCS messaging, to Apple’s Business Chat, and even Salesforce Einstein bots, AI-powered messages have become the new obsession for businesses when it comes to customer support. And now, Whatsapp and Facebook have joined the automated messaging bandwagon.
Facebook & Whatsapp Get on the Business Chat Bandwagon
On August 1st, Whatsapp announced the launch of their new Business APIs, which allow large businesses to manage and send non-promotional messages to their customers for a fixed rate. Soon, those businesses will also be able to run Click-to-Chat Facebook ads, redirecting users to Whatsapp to chat with the company. Facebook launched a similar feature last December, Click-to-Message ads on their News Feed, leading users to chat with a bot or a support agent on Facebook Messenger.
Streamlined Customer Support with Click-to-Chat
This new feature provides companies with a streamlined path to their customers. They have the option to send out automated messages by bots, such as appointment reminders, shipping information, and event tickets. Additionally, businesses may respond to incoming messages from customers for free within the first 24 hours, but would have to pay a fixed rate on all messages after the 1-day mark. Whatsapp has yet to announce what the fixed rates are. However, to protect the customer’s privacy, businesses will only be able to contact people who have personally shared their numbers or initiated conversations with the company.
The Future is Now with Whatsapp Business
Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, and COO, Sheryl Sandberg, have repeatedly discussed their long-term plans to monetize Whatsapp and Facebook’s family of messaging apps. Yet with 1.5 billion active users on Whatsapp, it’s no wonder their “long-term plans” happened in such a short span. They launched the standalone application, Whatsapp Business, in January and went on to develop features that help businesses easily connect with their customer base and improve their customer support game. One of these features is the group-call, which allows allows 4-person groups to perform conference calls on the Whatsapp Business. By April, the application had accumulated 3 million business users, yet Facebook has not revealed a more recent count.
Now, before you go running to your Facebook ads manager and start texting your customers, here are a couple of things you should know.
You’re probably not on the A-list just yet…
So hold your horses. This feature is currently only available to 90 of the biggest companies worldwide, including Uber and Booking.com, and will be rolled out to the rest of the world over the coming weeks.
And you might not be for a long time.
If you’re based in India and the European Union, that is. According to Whatsapp’s announcement, these two regions won’t have access to this new feature. And there hasn’t been any comment about if or when they will.
Are you looking to improve your business’s customer service?
Clearly, these big tech giants wouldn’t invest billions on customer support if it wasn’t so important. At Changi, our consultants have been implementing cloud-based Service solutions for over 15 years now. That’s why we know that great customer service will lead to even greater revenue for a business. Now, if you’ve read this far, there’s a good chance you believe in the value of good customer service and might need some help with yours. That’s what we’re here for. So request a FREE consultation today and let’s talk!