JOHANNESBURG, March 2020 – Today, a staggering eighty percent of conversations between individuals take place via digital media, why is it that only thirty percent of conversations between customers and the companies that serve them use platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram to respond to customer enquiries? Intuate Group and their partner Nixxis set out to investigate why there is such a noticeable discrepancy and general apprehension around the adoption of these platforms to reach their customer experience objectives.

The time when a company’s phone number etched on the storefront window was the only means of reaching the merchant to launch an enquiry is long gone, and customers no longer have the patience to wait in long telephone queues or for a delayed response from a completed web form.  Customers expect instant gratification and if you plan purely from historical data, it is nearly impossible to estimate when a customer will call in or how many agents you need to have in your contact centre to field the incoming enquiries.  Besides this, companies also have limited insight into why a customer may be calling in, as IVR’s have limited options in terms of prompting agents on the reason for contact.  This lack of on-hand historical information often results in a poorly handled enquiry and a disgruntled customer armed with reasons to take their business elsewhere.

Why Whatsapp should be added to your customer experience toolbox?

A staggering ninety percent of internet users in South Africa use the Whatsapp platform, more than any other social or messaging application, and with two billion users worldwide, Whatsapp has succeeded where SMS and even email have failed miserably.  Whatsapp for Business combines the immediacy of an SMS with the complexity of an email with its ability to upload multiple attachments.  Simply put, it has become a platform that adds an efficient, easy-to-use multimedia dimension to our daily lives.

According to Nixxis’ research, no less than thirty to forty percent of all conversations between a company and its customers could be resolved quicker, more easily and more efficiently by using Whatsapp for Business.  This has numerous advantages, apart from the initial wow factor experienced by the customer. 

  1. Perception of time:  When a customer contacts you via a voice call, they expect an immediate response.  If they are put in a queue for ten minutes before reaching an agent, their wait time will seem very long.  If they choose to contact you via Whatsapp, they can send their message, carry on with their daily activities, and when they check their phone again at a time convenient to them, they will have the answer to their question.  They would have waited the same time for a response using either channel, yet due to the freedom provided by the platform, ten minutes on a call and ten minutes waiting for a response are not perceived in the same way by the customer.
  • Advantage of brevity:  Via voice a call, a customer may need several minutes to explain their issue, whilst on Whatsapp they only need a few sentences, pictures or videos to get their message across.  As a result, your agent can resolve the issue much faster and assist the customer in a more knowledgeable manner.
  • Artificial intelligence and robots:  One of the major advantages of Whatsapp for Business is that AI and robots can be used to handle a large portion of customer queries.  The technology available today can handle twenty-five to thirty percent of customer conversations either partially or end-to-end, increasing the efficiency of your agents.

In order to fully realise the advantages that Whatsapp for Business can bring to your organisation, it is important to note that the use of siloed systems in your contact centre will completely negate the advantages that Whatsapp has on offer.  It is imperative that your organisation makes use of an Omni-channel platform where all customer conversations are centralised and the agent has a single view of all historical data, regardless of the channel previously used to contact your organisation.

Apart from the lasting impression and customer loyalty that you can generate by adding a dynamic platform such as Whatsapp for Business to your customer experience arsenal, the Nixxis statistics prove that if a contact centre agent is able to handle fifty to seventy conversations a day, that same agent, active on digital media and benefitting from the assistance of an Omni-channel platform powered by AI, can handle one hundred and fifty to two hundred digital conversation on that same day.