Communication is the key to great customer relations.
Is that a revolutionary statement? A hot take?
No. You probably knew that already.
What you might not know is the best way to communicate with customers to improve your relationship with them. Unfortunately, there's no one answer there, as there are tons of ways to communicate with customers — a popular one being texting through WhatsApp.
While WhatsApp may seem too casual for customer support, it actually brings the perfect amount of comfort to your customer interactions. When used properly, WhatsApp turns a formal support ticket into a constructive conversation, creating moments of delight that strengthen your relationship with your customer base.
If you're looking for a fast and effective way to support customers, below are six things you can do to turn WhatsApp into a powerful customer service tool.
How to Use WhatsApp for Customer Service
1. Create a Personal, Casual Conversation.
Emails are great for customer service. But, people tend to write emails differently than how they speak in person or over the phone.
In emails, we say things like, "It was a pleasure making your acquaintance." and, "I would like to inquire about 'x' service and the benefits it provides." Most people aren't that formal, and that tone acts as a barrier to one's personality, making it hard to have an authentic conversation.
Texting, on the other hand, is usually closer to how we typically communicate, allowing more personality to show through. When employees are more personable, customers get to know them better, trust them more often, and generally enjoy interacting with them.
Keep in mind, you should keep your conversations on WhatsApp somewhat professional. You don't want to come across as lazy or like you don't care. As a precaution, try to avoid things like:
- Abbreviating too often or with too many words — It's okay to use abbreviations and acronyms to save yourself a little time. However, you shouldn't assume that the customer knows what you're talking about. Be sure to explain the full version first, in case the customer gets confused.
- Having poor grammar and punctuation — You don't have to be super strict with grammar, but make sure what you're saying is clear and makes sense.
- Being too casual with greetings — Unless the tone of your brand calls for it, you should stick to professional introductions. For example, opening with "What up bro?" may not be the best way to start a conversation with a frustrated customer.
The key is finding the right combination between casual and professional. And, that balance will be slightly different for each customer as some may appreciate an informal tone, while others may prefer it more professional. Use your best judgment based on what you know about the customer and how they've communicated with you so far.
2. Provide a Speedy Response.
How long does it take you to respond to an email?
Several minutes? An hour? In some cases, you may not even respond until the next day if you receive it after work.
Now, how long does it take to respond to a text message? Just a few moments, right?
We respond to texts faster because our phones are always in our pockets. We're alerted immediately when someone tries to communicate with us, and we feel the need to respond quickly because we know the other person is expecting a fast response. In fact, the average response time for a text message is about 90 seconds.
This fast-paced environment allows you to be there for customers right when they need you, making them feel important and cared for. This is crucial in today's world, where people expect a quick response from businesses, especially when they need help with something.
3. Take Advantage of Voice Notes.
29% of people text and walk every day. That's almost a third of the US population. There are probably thousands more who do it; they just don't text and walk daily — or at least they don't admit it.
I get it. You're on the go, trying to make the subway, and a client texts you with an urgent question that needs an immediate answer. What do you do?
Wait to text them back and possibly annoy them with your delayed response? Stop walking altogether to safely text them, but potentially miss your train?
For that 29% of us, this is game time. You're off at full speed texting and walking away as the esteemed multi-tasker that you are.
But, with WhatsApp, it doesn't have to be this tricky. You can record your voice and send it as a note to the customer. That way you won't have your eyes locked on your phone when you're crossing a busy street, putting yourself and others at risk.
To activate voice notes, all you have to do is press the mic button to record your response, then release the button to send it to your recipient like a text. The best part is they don't have to download the sound file. Once they receive your voice note, they simply hit play to hear your voice.
At the office, voice notes are great for reps who are better talkers than typers. Some people don't type fast or struggle with grammar, so voice notes eliminate these challenges by allowing reps to talk out their messages instead of typing them. This can even be faster than typing since the support reps don't have to go back and edit their work before sending it.
4. Use the Reply Function in Group Chats.
If you've been working with a customer for a long time, then you may have several employees communicating with them, not just one. In this case, creating a group chat can be extremely useful to ensure everyone is on the same page.
But, when texts are flying in, things can get confusing, making it difficult to remember previous texts and understand who's responding to whom. This gets amplified if you're off your phone for a bit because you could come back to several missed texts and have no clue what the group is discussing.
Fortunately, WhatsApp has a reply function in its group chats. If you hold down on a previous text, no matter how far back, it will quote that message in your new one. That way, people will know exactly which text you're responding to.
5. Engage With an International Audience.
While there are plenty of ways to communicate internationally — such as email and video calls — there are some situations where a text message is the best or most convenient method.
But, international texting can be expensive with most cell phone plans. Instead of paying exorbitant fees to send a simple text, you can use WhatsApp for both direct messaging or group chats. Doing so is free because all you need is an internet connection.
And, since WhatsApp is the most popular global messenger app, your customers are likely already using it. In fact, the chart below shows that people of all ages prefer messaging apps like Whatsapp over phone or email.
6. Leverage the Desktop Version When Needed.
WhatsApp has an online version called "WhatsApp Web," where you can send and receive texts from your computer. It's synced to your phone, so if you send a text on your computer, you'll see it on your phone, too.
WhatsApp Web is really beneficial for sending things like:
- Website links
You could do all of this through email, but WhatsApp is easier and quicker because you don't have to compose an introduction and closing statement. Just copy, paste, and send.
In other words, WhatsApp Web makes sharing information much more efficient, leading to happier customers.
Still not convinced? Check out this case study where an SEO company started using WhatsApp for customer communication.
WhatsApp Customer Service Case Study
Pearl Lemon is an SEO company based in London, where it operates remotely and works with customers from all over the world. This means that a lot of the company's communication takes place over the internet, which includes using WhatsApp.
WhatsApp has been a significant part of the brand's success as the company uses it to communicate both internally and with clients. Because of WhatsApp, Pearl Lemon has developed some great relationships with its clients, which you can see showcased on the company's customer testimonial page.
To learn about another customer support channel, read how to provide Facebook customer service.