Messaging in general, and WhatsApp in particular, have changed how people around the world communicate. Messaging and the WhatsApp Business API are now transforming how businesses across all industries communicate with their customers.
UIB is an official WhatsApp Business API solution provider — WhatsApp is one of the 30+ communications channels (e.g., WeChat, LINE, Viber, Telegram, Facebook Messenger, etc.) on which businesses can talk to their customers on UIB’s UnificationEngine® Conversational AI platform with Cognitive IoT capabilities — so we wanted to share with you our guide for how to make the best use of WhatsApp to digitize your business, whether you use it for marketing and engagement, e-commerce, after-sales service, and/or customer service and support.
If you’re new to UIB, UIB’s UnificationEngine platform helps people to communicate with the exploding number of connected/IoT devices. We are an H2M communication exchange – giving our customers complete interoperability between all connected users and all connected devices. UnificationEngine connects all users to all devices and services. UIB has 19 patent families, 25 AI/IoT awards, and 250+ integrations for thousands of devices across several hundred brands.
Why does messaging matter to businesses?
Messaging has become an indispensable part of modern communications.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently said “People increasingly want the intimacy of connecting privately. Messages are by far the fastest-growing areas of online communications. We all need to communicate privately, and this service is becoming more important in our lives.”
Every 24 hours, 100 billion messages are sent on Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp, and Instagram Direct messaging platforms. WhatsApp is simple, reliable, and secure, and with 1.5 billion users, WhatsApp is the global leader in messaging.
How have customer expectations changed?
61% of people prefer to message a business than to pick up the phone and 59% of people prefer to message a business than to send an email. To better reach their existing and prospective customers, businesses need to adapt to messaging.
A harsh reality check — while nearly 7 in 10 business surveyed think that they’re communicating effectively with their customers. But just 2 in 10 customers surveyed agreed.
Customer engagement is critical. Based on global consumer surveys, 89% of respondents expect a company to respond to them within 24 hours and 80% of respondents say that the experience a company provides is as crucial as its goods and services. Further, 52% of respondents switched companies because of poor customer service.
Why use WhatsApp?
With 1.5 billion users in 180 countries using 60 languages, WhatsApp’s mission is to connect the world through real-time communication. WhatsApp creates digital living rooms/lounges where people have control over their personal, private conversations.
9 out of 10 of the messages sent on WhatsApp are from one person to another and the majority of groups on WhatsApp have fewer than ten people.
What is WhatsApp’s value to businesses?
WhatsApp wants to enable any person, no matter what country they’re in and what language they speak, to be able to discover, communicate, and transact with any business.
Businesses depend on WhatsApp because of its reach (every single day, 102 million WhatsApp messages are sent to businesses around the world), engagement (64% of WhatsApp users agreed that WhatsApp fostered a personal connection to businesses), and preference (68% of WhatsApp users agreed that WhatsApp is the easiest way to connect with a business). People want to message businesses throughout the customer journey, from pre-purchase to purchase to post-purchase.
And compared to other messaging channels, WhatsApp messages have higher delivery, higher open and higher conversion rates.
How can businesses get the most out of WhatsApp?
WhatsApp enables any person to discover and communicate with your business. Startups and SMEs can interact easily with their customers on WhatsApp by using the WhatsApp Business app (available from the Apple Store and Google Play) to easily automate, sort, and respond to messages. Businesses of all sizes can communicate with customers at scale using the WhatsApp Business API (available from UIB) for customer care and notifications.
Customer care messages are responses to customer-initiated conversations on WhatsApp. They enable companies to:
- Resolve issues one-on-one with private conversations;
- Connect with instantly with prospective and existing customers; and
- Communicate with customers on their preferred channel.
UIB customers using customer care on the WhatsApp Business API have seen increases in customer satisfaction and customer service operational efficiency, and a decrease in customer service operations spend.
Notifications enable companies to:
- Deliver important, timely messages to your customers;
- Continue the conversation with customers who respond to your notifications; and
- Use different message templates across the customer journey.
UIB customers using notifications on the WhatsApp Business API have seen an increase in opt-in rates, delivery rates, open rates, conversion rates, and customer retention rates.
How do businesses get a verified WhatsApp account?
Getting the green verification tick for your WhatsApp Business account requires separate approval. UIB will pursue this approval for our customers with WhatsApp. Note that verification does not impact your WhatsApp Business account’s functionality or ownership (not all businesses have verified accounts).
How does pricing work?
Responses to customer-initiated conversations are not charged by WhatsApp if you send replies within 24 hours of a customer’s message. Responses after 24 hours are charged as notifications.
Notifications are charged by WhatsApp per message. Messages are priced based on how many notifications businesses send within each market (i.e., the country code of the recipient’s phone number, see WhatsApp’s public rate card. WhatsApp has significant volume discounts so companies pay progressively lower prices as their message volumes increase.
How are businesses using WhatsApp’s Business API?
The following use cases and case studies represent just a small number of the ways businesses can use UIB’s UnificationEngine Conversational AI platform with WhatsApp’s Business API. If your business communicates with customers, you can decrease costs, increase revenues, and delight customers by simplifying that communication with WhatsApp!
Telcos, Utilities, and Other Service Providers
Customer questions: account balance, upgrade or downgrade of mobile or internet plans, plan inquiries
Customer resolution: order changes, shipping delays
Updates: late payment, two-factor authentication
Purchase confirmation: appointment reminders, mobile phone order confirmation
UIB Use Case: du
du is a vibrant, multiple award-winning telecommunications service provider serving over nine million individual and business customers with its mobile, fixed-line, broadband internet, residential, ICT, and managed services. du’s goal was to improve its customer service by making it faster and fun.
du’s UnificationEngine-powered Blu helps customers to instantly get answers to questions they previously answered by calling up the Contact Centre or visiting a du retail store.
Making customer support fast and easy (and available 24/7/365!) has resulted in happier customers and reduced the load on du’s other customer service points, including their call centers.
UIB Use Case: DEWA
Rammas is DEWA’s virtual assistant, designed to assist customers and answer their questions. Answering instantly, Rammas analyzes customers’ questions, checks the available data and information, and then answers their questions. If customers questions can’t be answered by the virtual assistant, they will be directed to a customer service agent. Since launching, Rammas has responded to over two million customer questions.
How does this benefit DEWA’s customers?
Launching conversational customer service in Arabic and English means DEWA customers can access Rammas 24/7/365 on WhatsApp with zero wait time. They can use Rammas to answer queries (e.g., how to set up a new account) and access services (e.g., check and pay bills). Users simply scan a QR Code or click on a link to add Rammas to their smartphone’s contacts. They message Rammas “Hi” on WhatsApp and let Rammas guide them through how to use it.
Airlines and Travel Companies
Customer inquiries: seat selection, cabin upgrades, payment/billing, itinerary changes, reward points, product service inquiries, re-share tickets
Customer resolution: ticket changes or cancellations
Travel updates: flight cancellation, delays/flight rescheduling, gate changes, check-in notifications, passport requirements/known traveler requests
Purchase confirmation: boarding passes, hotel bookings, hotel information/directions
Hotel and Hospitality Companies
UIB offers a turnkey UnificationEngine-powered Digital Concierge/Smart Butler solution for Smart Hospitality with the following five capabilities:
Retail and e-Commerce Companies
Customer inquiries: return/refund requests, order updates/changes, product availability requests, payment/billing, product service inquiries
Customer resolution: immediately resolve order changes or shipping delays
Purchase confirmation: purchase receipts, order receipts
Purchase updates: delivery notifications, delivery tracking
Financial Services and Insurance Companies
Customer inquiries: quotes, account statements, loan balances, credit limits, lost and stolen credit cards
Customer resolution: account-related issues between the account manager and the customer
Updates: irregular or suspicious credit card transactions, fees charged, reaching credit limit, two-factor authentication
Account updates: bank transactions, appointment reminders, policy application approved, policy changes updated
Supply Chain and Logistics Companies
Customer questions: delivery scheduling
Conversations with customers: real-time location sharing
Updates: last-mile delivery notifications
Purchase confirmation: VAT and customs payments, delivery receipts
How can your business learn more about how a WhatsApp Business API can increase your revenues, decrease your costs, and delight your customers? Try out UIB’s WhatsApp Business API for yourself. Contact UIB today on firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a Digital Transformation Workshop and/or get a free, no-obligation check for a WhatsApp Business Account approval for your business!