Almost six in ten consumers have never received communication from a business via WhatsApp – highlighting a huge opportunity for companies to increase their multi channel presence in 2023.
In a bid to understand the state of customer care post-pandemic, business messaging provider Esendex surveyed 5,000 consumers worldwide to discover how, how frequently and why they tend to contact companies.
In the UK, 74% of shoppers say they have never received a message from a brand via WhatsApp, despite companies having access to WhatsApp for Business, launched in 2018 to enable organisations to send texts, pictures, videos and audios directly to their customers’ pocket, with the addition of branding and even bots for fully automated interactions.
From the research, it appears WhatsApp for Business is being used substantially less in the UK than other countries, including Italy, Germany and Spain, where fewer than 50% of customers say they never receive messages from firms.
As for what messages they’d be happy to receive, the following came out on top globally:
- 1. Delivery information (75%)
- 2. Appointment management i.e. ability to set or cancel appointments (70%)
- 3. Payment reminders (67%)
- 4. Emergency information i.e. a change to business hours, or closure (66%)
- 5. Account updates (66%)
Chris Gorman, head of professional services at Esendex, comments: “Our research shows that despite the popularity of WhatsApp, with more than two billion monthly active users globally, the platform is being severely underutilised by businesses.
“It makes sense for companies to explore this opportunity and to consider adding WhatsApp to their communication portfolio – potentially even allowing customers to contact them via the platform, so it’s a two way street. Not convinced? Statistics highlight that the average screen time per day is four to six hours, with the average person unlocking their phone 26 to 50 times during that period, showing just how active and responsive we are on our devices”.
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The findings of the survey also reveal what customers are most likely to need help with. One in three are likely to contact support in relation to a delivery query or update, while one in four need to speak to an agent about their order more generally, or for a refund/exchange.
The data also shows how 32% of shoppers would be more willing to fill in a customer survey or review for a business if they were asked to do so via text/SMS, or WhatsApp.
Top Tips For Using WhatsApp for Business
Statistics show that 73% of people use multiple channels during their shopping journey. What’s more, those that use four or more channels spend 9% more with a business, on average, when compared to those who just use one channel. Here are some tips when considering whether to use WhatsApp to communicate with your customers.
1. Ask yourself ‘why WhatsApp?’
WhatsApp for Business has so much functionality, it can be hard to know where to start. The first thing to establish is why you want to use it in the first place. Perhaps you’ve identified a specific pain point in the existing customer journey that the platform might help to resolve?
Or perhaps overall engagement and conversions via other channels is too low? Knowing the why will help you identify the how and help you get a clear strategy in place.
2. Determine the use cases carefully
One thing you don’t want to do is message your customers about everything and anything – there needs to be thought behind each communication.
Esendex research shows that customers are most likely to be receptive to texts that enable them to manage appointments, remind them of any payments due and inform them of any updates to their delivery. Two in three Brits are also happy to receive marketing messages from businesses.
3. Encourage two-way conversations
Once you’ve begun opening up your communications to various platforms, it’s time to start encouraging two-way conversations with your customers, for a fully interactive experience.
This makes sense during ‘the mobile revolution’ with statistics highlighting how 69% of people would rather use their phone than approach an in-store employee; two in three also feel more positive towards a business that offers this messaging.
Omnichannel chat is one way to explore this, allowing for customer service and marketing teams to enjoy multiple, simultaneous, two-way, mobile-focused conversations with shoppers through a variety of digital communication channels. Bots can even be deployed to help automate answers to regularly asked questions (such as how to return an item), with the added benefit of being able to provide service 24/7.
4. Don’t forget about GDPR
All businesses should be aware of GDPR already, but did you know customers have to opt-in to WhatsApp communications too? The consent must be done via a third-party channel i.e. a channel a company is already using to communicate with its customers.
It is also a business’ responsibility to tell customers what type of notifications they’ll receive, to keep a record of any opt-ins, and to provide a clear opt-out option.